1. What is the take-away value that you hope readers will gain from reading Faces in the Crowd?
I want them see how easy it is to get rid of fear, to accept their calling to obey the Great Commission and to enjoy every bit of it.
2. You share many anecdotes in the book of ways you started conversations with others to build relationships that lead to the opportunity to share the gospel. Can you tell our audience about one of these anecdotes?
Yes, just today I was in the Apple phone store with a problem on my phone. The young man that was helping me had a badge with the name Matt. I said, “I’ll remember you Matt because that is the first book in the New Testament.” He replied that his parents used that name because it is a Bible name. We went on to talk about his purpose in life, what he wants to do in the next 60 years (since he is 22 years old) and since he is a Christian, how he wants to make a difference in this world for the Lord.
Here’s an example of a conversation starter I had with an international. I saw this fellow’s name badge and it was Alpha. So I asked him, “where is Omega?” That made him want to talk with me and we have become friends because of further conversations. Now he has been to my house and I’ve been to his home several times. He is a Muslim from Guinea but is interested in Christian teachings, etc.
3. Why do you think Christians are so fearful of sharing about Jesus Christ with others? What can we do to overcome these fears?
We are taught in our culture not to talk about religion or politics. We are also taught to just mind your own business and leave others alone. When we tell them how Peter lost his fear and share how they can lose theirs, they are open. Give them the story of Phillip and the Eunuch and show them how the Lord used him. Also instill in them that we don’t have to be successful, but we do have to be obedient. Jesus wasn’t always “successful” with those he talked with. Many turned and walked away but he gave them an opportunity to know him. We give the gift of opportunities.
4. Faces in the Crowd has a very international emphasis to it, in that you discuss our need to be more aware of reaching culturally and ethnically different neighbors. What are some pointers you can give about doing this?
Start looking to see how many internationals you can see. Ask for the Lord to let you see the multitude of people through his eyes. Just start looking for them. Allow your curiosity to discover what country they are from. The interesting thing is that they would certainly like to have an American friend. When you give them a little attention they immediately give you all of theirs. They are lonesome…a foreigner in a foreign land. You can offer friendship.
5. When we look into the faces in the crowd and only see our differences, what commonality can we find to open the door to conversation with someone of another race or religion? Is there a way to ask them questions to learn more about their culture without it seeming like we are judging them?
They would love to tell you about their family and they want you to tell them about yours too. They would love to tell you about their homeland. They would love to tell you about their religion and you can tell them about yours too. It is a two way conversation. Just be open to begin a friendship. It can later enable you to talk about what Jesus means to you.
6. How can we know when others we are talking to about the gospel are ready to receive Christ into their lives and make a deliberate choice to live for Him? When we see these indicators, what’s the next step?
You don’t preach to them, you tell them what Jesus means to you. You tell them about some of your difficult times and how the Lord has helped you. You ask them about any difficult times they have right now so you both can pray to the Lord for him to help you in this circumstance. Address their needs. When we show them the Lord can help them, they want to meet that Lord.
7. Tell us about Donna Thomas. What makes you tick?
Oh my, I see these people and I wonder if they know Jesus, what their purpose is in life, and where they will spend eternity. Why should I have the joy of going to heaven when they don’t know the way to get there? I feel sorry for them and I also feel sorry for Christians that don’t care for others. Some Christians only see a physical need but don’t recognize spiritual needs.
8. What are your passions? What is a normal day like for you?
Every morning I ask “Okay Father, what do you have in store for me today?” Then in all I do, I look to see the people I think Jesus wants me to see, whether they are a server in a restaurant, a repair man at my house, a lonely looking person at another table or in a waiting area. If Jesus was with me, who would he see, what would he say, what would he do, what does he want me to do? Tonight I am going back to Abuelos restaurant because of the relationships I have there with several of the waiters. I walk a mile or two in my neighborhood for exercise and now I have friends to walk with that don’t really know the Lord. I get emails from around the globe asking me for prayer, for advice, and assurance. From Peru, Honduras, Mexico, Laos, China, India, Russia, etc. I am working with 12 internationals right now and I hope to find mentors for them as I cannot be with them as much as they need. So do I quit finding more internationals to talk to or do I find Christians that will come along side them and help them grow? I know a former Hindu from India who is now a Christian, who needs a mentor. It isn’t easy to find mentors because many people just say they don’t have time. Where are the Christians, the disciples in this day and age?
9. Give us a sneak peak into your life!
Also I have a wonderful family, 3 sons and 10 grandkids and all are Christian. Last night I got great grandson #2. Yea! I am also the American grandmother to the children of many of these internationals. Some that I have met in my obedience to the Lord and some that are overseas and I have worked with their parents for 20 plus years. What an honor. I am the American grandmother to 7 India children, 2 Chinese, 3 Mexican, 2 Nicaraguan, and these are adults now. Here in the U.S. to a student from Saudi Arabia, a child whose parents are from Guinea, and a child whose parents are from Senegal. I retired 10 years ago from my position as president of a missions organization and am now writing books, speaking around the country, and am a consultant. But I am as busy as ever, even at 80 years old. Someday I hope to slow down but so far the Lord has me very busy. Oh yes, on my 80th birthday my kids gave a party and there were 150 people that showed up from 17 countries and California, Alabama, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Kansas, and more. Before it ended there were 8 birthday parties. Now that was a celebration. Wow!