It wasn’t long after I went through the JFA ambassadorship training the first time that I went on a field trip to Agua Caliente park with our homeschool group. A man from the park service, Mr. R, led the group of Jr. and Sr. high school students in learning about and observing the local ecosystem. In order to describe an ecosystem, he used the analogy of a watch. It is only a working watch, if all the pieces are there and working together in just the right way. It’s the same with an ecosystem. You don’t just need all the right pieces, they need to be working together.
This watch analogy got me thinking, after all, in order to have a working watch, some sort of intelligence is necessary to make it work. By the end of the field trip I decided to ask Mr. R some more questions.
I began by asking him about how ecosystems start, since we had only learned about how they work. He explained that if, say, a section of African savanna burns, there is no ecosystem. Then seeds blow in and grasses begin to grow. A zebra wanders in, then lions follow the prey and so on until the ecosystem is rebuilt. I wasn’t satisfied, though. I gently clarified that I hadn’t asked how the ecosystem moved, but how it began. He then tried to explain that historically, ecosystems (like everything else) were much simpler and it took time for them to develop to the point of complexity that we see now. He still hadn’t answered my question about how they began, though. I continued in this way, moving him backwards using carefully formed questions. By this time, I had decided that the “one question” that I needed to get him to was “how did it all begin?”.
When I finally got him to the origins of the universe, he essentially said “it just happened”. I commented that I simply didn’t have enough faith to believe that. I later found out that that simple comment really made him think. You see, he grew up in a Christian home, and when he came home from college classes with questions about the godless evolution that he was learning, his mother had told him, you just need to have more faith.
I went on to have a total of four separate conversations with him, and throughout my goal was to show him that I have a reasonable faith. I don’t know exactly what kind of impact I had on him, but I do know that he respects me, and recognizes that I don’t make decisions lightly. I pray that I also showed him a glimpse of Christ as well.