Colorado Blizzards, Iranian Gangsters, and Jesus.

     Life is certainly an interesting concoction, is it not? Tuesday in particular was a fascinating day. But before I tell you about it, I should tell you about the Tuesday before that. Tuesday the 1st of February was certainly not on my list for the best days I’ve ever had. Nothing seemed to go right for me most of that day and I recall being very frustrated on several occcasions.

It started by not getting enough sleep and waking up somewhere around 7 o’clock which is way too early for a spoiled former homeschooler like me. The temperature outside my house was about -17 degrees fahrenheit. The horrendous temperature then caused the Jonster Monster (the 1995 white Subaru Legacy I drive) to decide not to start. In a panick, I asked my brother if I could borrow his, which he complied, being too tired to rationally debate me about it.

I drove like a madman to get to class on time. Yes, I actually drove over the speed limit. I rarely do that. But, about half-way there his car ran out of windshield-wiper fluid. The windshield was promptly covered in filth and I could barely see and the roads and drivers were already terrible anyway. So just getting to class was quite the adventure. But, I made it, rushed into the building, dramatically ran up the stair to the hallway with about a minute to spare.

It was then that I discovered that all the classes up until 10:00 were cancelled that day. I did not check my email before I ran out the house that morning, and they had not said anything the night before. So I was angry. At least I got to talk with a friend instead of going to class. Though I would have appreciated another hour of sleep. My next class was long and tedious. And I had to again drive like a maniac in order to try to get my brother his car back in time for his class. I failed that and made him a half an hour late. That made me feel fantastic.

But again, I was stranded at my house and in need to get back to the school for my 1 o’clock class. After making frantic attempts at reviving the Jonster Monster, making several phonecalls, and pacing back and forth in an agitated manner, I prayed about it and then remembered the wonders of facebook. I posted a status and got several responses in 20 minutes. So thanks to my friend Joe, I made it to class only 15 minutes late. Through out the day I had to bum several more rides from school to a Bible study and the Bible study to home. So that day made me conclude that even though circumstances can be just plain miserable, friends are pretty fantastic and God is still faithful.

Now, seven days later, the day begins to repeat itself, only it goes a good deal better. Again I awoke with far too little sleep and prepared to go to school in the – whatever degree weather, but this time I remembered to check my email. I found I had a delay, which allowed me to get more sleep. Then the Jonster Monster actually started. And I made it to class early. I even dressed extra warmly so I wasn’t miserable.

I then was sitting in the World Prayer Center, waiting for a friend to show up so I could give her the senior photos I had been working on for the previous two weeks. As I waited a stranger approached me. He had a bristling black mustache, very tan skin, a faded black jacket, and an old pair of jeans. He asked me if I would be willing to give him a ride to Austin Bluffs, and went on to explain that his car had broken down.

Although I readily complied out of habit, I was desperately searching for an excuse to not have to take some odd stranger with me in my car all the way to Austin Bluffs in a blizzard. I was thinking to myself: “Ugh. Why did he have to ask me? Couldn’t he have asked someone else? I don’t even know the guy!” Then God reminded me of the day I had had just seven days before and how I had received transportation and kindness from a good deal of people even at their expense. So I figured I’d better practice the whole “As you have freely received, so freely give” principle and actually try to act like Jesus for a day.

So it was that I agreed to let some odd stranger into my car. His English name was Michael, but his Persian name was Perros. He told me that he was from Iran, but had moved to the States awhile ago. His story was surprising and he proved to be a very interesting person.  He asked me if I’d been a Christian my whole life, so I explained that I did indeed accept Christ at around 5 years old. In turn, I asked him how long he had been a Christian. He said that he had come to Christ 10 years ago.

What he said next came as a surprise to me. He said something to the effect of: “I used to like to drive fast. But driving too fast led me to God.” He went on to explain that he had accumulated so many speeding tickets that he was going to have his liscence revoked. But he had acquired a good lawyer (as he said: “In this country you have to have three good friends: a good doctor, a good mechanic, and a good lawyer.”) and was subsequently sentenced to 5 months of community service instead.

So it was that Perros came to do community service at New Life Church for 5 months. He did not know why exactly, but he liked it there. The people were nice to him as well. So after the 5 months were up, he decided to stay and attend services there. That is where He met Jesus. He accepted Christ as his Saviour 10 years ago, and has had his life completely changed ever since.

Then came the next surprising thing that he told me. He said that he had been involved in a gang for a long time. He said, in his charming and amusing Iranian accent: “I may not look like it now, but I was the roughest of the rough. If you would so much as look at me in the wrong way I could kill you.” But now that he is a Christian he has completely left that lifestyle behind. I was blown away to hear that. Here was a man that used to steal, fight, and possibly worse, who had his life completely transformed by the Gospel. He was truly a new person.

He said that the most difficult part was that so many Christians have told him to just cut himself off from those he used to be in the gang with. This made him frustrated, and with good reason. He told me that he’s continuing to reach out to these gangsters and I think that is so incredible. This man is going back to the people he used to be partners in crime with, people that could potentially kill him, and reaching out to them. He told me that he was surprised by their response, in that many of them told him: “I don’t agree with what you’re doing, but I respect it, because I know that I could never do it.”

It was certainly an amazing conversation. I am just amazed at how God can use things like Colorado blizzards, and broken down automobiles to remind me how He can redeem some of the most lost people out there. It fills me with hope to remember that God can and does use every circumstance, and that no one is ever too far down for Him to rescue. So that’s what I’ve been learning these days. God is pretty astounding and truly nothing has the power to so drastically change someone’s life as the Gospel.


About Jonathon Thigpen

I am a student, writer, photographer, traveler, teacher, and Lego enthusiast, who is endeavouring to be a man after God's own heart.
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4 Responses to Colorado Blizzards, Iranian Gangsters, and Jesus.

  1. musicmaiden says:

    Great story – God is awesome!

    Also, Jonster Monster is an awesome name for a car. I drive around the ‘Blue Bomber’ – our 15-passenger van – and a two-ton truck named ‘Texas’.

  2. Wow, what a great testimony, Jonathan. Thanks for sharing.

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