Trevor said that when he and his mates came back from the Gulf they were pretty messed up (he didn't use those words. The words he did use I can't put on my blog!). He told me that what he saw while he was in the army challenged him to his very core. Trevor loved telling jokes and had one for every topic of conversation. He was very raw in the way he described people, cultures, politics and religion.
He asked me what I did so I told him I was a Reverend. From that moment he called me Padre and spoke of his deep respect for Ministers. He grew up in Belfast within a Protestant family and told me that his dad was a born-again Christian.
He spoke of how the Good-Friday agreement had to be on Good Friday because that was the day the Jesus died on the Cross for all our sins and brought us peace.
He sang me songs that he had learnt when in the army that spoke of giving your life to Jesus. He spoke with anger at the way people disrespected this country. He told stories about his family and childhood.
Trevor is a fascinating guy.
First thing that struck me was that unless Christian Ministers go and dwell in the community they will never meet people like Trevor. Trevor is unlikely to walk into church on a Sunday. You'll find guys like Trevor in local pubs and bars that haven't been taken over by a corporation.
Second thing is that Trevor spoke with real clarity about who Jesus is and what Jesus accomplished on the Cross. He quoted me Scriptures and had a clear respect and passion for who Jesus is. I believe Trevor had a deep faith. And he was raw in the way he spoke and I'm sure would offend many people. Yet talking with Trevor was great. I imagine that Trevor was exactly the kind of person Jesus hung out with and called his disciple.
Being here in Newton Abbot, spending time in and around the community is proving to be so valuable for me. I'm meeting so many people from such a variety of backgrounds and getting to listen to their stories. I'm learning to be patient and not rush into anything. I'm realising that authentic real relationships are what it is all about and I'm enjoying building those in this community. I hope and pray that I can be more like Jesus everyday in every conversation and every friendship formed.