Welcome to the Bible Belt-Blog by Shirley Hirano-Dias

In the summer of 2002 my family and I moved to Van Buren. I had done my research and realized before I got here that we were moving the “Bible Belt”. Not being a follower of Christ, I did not exactly know what that meant but thought it would eventually become clear to me.

One day that summer when I was walking to my youngest child’s new school to show him where he would be going, I saw a teenage boy that seemed to be walking with his little sister. I thought, how cute! I made eye contact and smiled just as we were going to pass each other when he yelled at me, “Do you know where you are going if you die today?!” Scared me! I politely replied, “Yes”, and grabbed my son’s hand and kept walking. At the time I thought, this is not what I expected. I am not sure if I am living in the right place.

As followers of Jesus Christ, I believe we are all wired to evangelize, to spread His Good News. But, I also believe there is a time, a place, and a way for how we do that. Personally, I get to know folks and in our conversations I will share my beliefs, hopefully as God asks me to in 1 Peter 3:15, “with gentleness and respect”. Once I was asked why I was so optimistic. That made me happy because I felt she was asking me “to give the reason for the hope that (I) have”. Jesus is my hope.

But, looking back at that summer of 2002, there may be a time the Lord may ask me to very bold when I share Jesus Christ. Maybe someone is asking for a sign that God exists because they are in a very emotionally precarious time in their life. Would I be bold enough to confront them as that teenager confronted me? Truthfully, I am not sure, but I hope I would do just as God tells me.

I don’t know how and when our Lord will ask me to share Jesus Christ, but I hope I do it just the way He asks me to do it, out of love for Christ and out of love for the person in front of me.