I recently had the opportunity to follow God to the other side of the world.
I prayed before leaving
that I would be ready to give an answer for the
hope that is within me, easily and freely. That I
would meet university students that could speak
enough English to talk with.
We arrived after two days of travel and I was ready
to have some conversations, learn about the
local culture and share with people hope and truth.
The first night I was at an English corner coffee
shop....genius by the way, everyone there came because
they wanted to better their English, they didn't really care what they were talking about.
I walked up and sat with 4 people and met some new friends. It was easy and
fun and they'd help each other in translating. The girl I connected most with was
about to take her graduate school test in English! She aspired to be a written
translator, but would have to start first with oral translating.
I don't think so.
They were telling me about their new year celebration and said,"it's like
Christmas in America."
So we talked about Jesus' birth.
She said she liked to read, so we talked about our favorite books...about the most
important book...the bible.
She said "I'm very interested in hearing the story."
We talked about God and how He wrote the Bible.
The cafe was closing, so I asked her if she would
show me around her university the next day and have lunch. She said she would like to
do that. I gave her a short book about Jesus so I could talk to her tomorrow about it.
Many prayers for my new friend...when you wake up in the middle of the night on the
other side of the world because it's a different part of the day to your body, you have
some time to pray.
We met the next day, and spent all day together. I saw her beautiful campus, took pictures,
and laughed and talked. I asked her if she read the short booklet I gave her, she said she
had and had some questions. Then her phone beeped and she said said we could talk
about that later. We were headed to lunch with some others and her friend was texting.
About an hour later, after they had ordered a massive amount of food for us to eat for
lunch, she turned and said, "ok, let's talk about the bible."
There were 6 people at lunch with us. I was able to share
the gospel with her...talking about sin, the cross, Jesus
dying so we can have a relationship with Him. She asked
me if all Americans believe. I said no. Then she asked me,
"what do you get if you are a believer and what do you get
if you are not a believer?"
Hope, peace, eternal life, relationship with Jesus, purpose,
reason for life. We talked about it all.
Separation from God, no purpose, confusion...
We talked about each of those things. Handsome K and another friend with our
group were also sitting at the table and later said the other two girls were listening too.
Prayers being answered. Getting to talk about the hope that is within me.
We had to say goodbye for the evening, but planned to meet again in a couple of days.
We hung out again and we were able to talk for a few hours and of course talked
about Jesus, her future, her boyfriend, her upcoming test and things she is concerned about.
She asked me if I have a happy life as an American and as a Christian. We talked about
how those are not synonymous. I asked her if she had a happy life. She listed the things
that are going "right" for her...boyfriend, school, promising career,
not wanting for much...really college students are so similar.
She told me she wanted to read more and learn more about the Bible. We exchanged a way
to text with each other, she told me if I'm ever near again she would like to get together.
We shut down the cafe we were in and my team was ready to head back to the hotel...we
waited for her boyfriend to meet her to walk her home. She told me that after her test she'd
like to read the Bible. (I made a mental note to bring that up again via text).
We hugged and said goodbye. We waved and walked away.
Sometimes it's weird for me when I know I will never see someone again that I have prayed
for and will continue to pray accepts Jesus. It's weird because I think things like: "If I hadn't
gone to that coffee shop that night I wouldn't have met her." "If she wasn't able to speak
such wonderful English we would have never had the depth of conversation that we were
able to have. It's weird because now I know her and our lives will continue on...but both
changed because of it.
This wells up in my heart the question...Am I being a friend that is allowing the Jesus kind
of change to happen in my normal life? Am I the kind of person that is open to the Holy
Spirit moving and working in and through me and my friends? Do my kids know a little
more about Jesus and life each day because we interacted? Does my husband experience
joy because we interacted?
I went around the world and God gave me the gift of meeting a college girl to remind me of
being present where I am and looking for His movement in my circumstances, His words,
other believers, and converstions with Him in my quiet moments in a day.
Just this week I asked my friend about the Bible, I'm awaiting her reply and pray that I will
get to one day hear her say that she trusts in Jesus.