One More Conversation

The last spiritual conversation of the day changed a life for eternity.

Anele, in white shirt, talks with a friend in South Africa. Photo courtesy Anele Hlongwane.

I grew up in a Christian background, but I never had a personal relationship with God. I didn’t always live a life that was pleasing to God.

In 2008, during my second year studying Sport Science at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Souh Africa, I met two American students. They were part of a Cru summer project and were supposed to leave our campus at 3:30pm that day. But at 3:20pm they thought they could still have one more conversation.

That conversation happened with me, Mdu and Sbu, two friends who studied with me.

The American’s shared the How to Know God personally booklet with me and for the first time I understood my salvation as a 'personal relationship' with God. It wasn’t about religion or going to church with my family. It was between me and God.

It got me thinking a lot. When I went back to my room, I thought more about what they were saying. They showed me the prayer on page 9 of the booklet and said I could pray that prayer whenever I wanted. In my room, I knew God was using those guys to speak to me. And I decided to pray that prayer, speaking to God. I gave my life to Christ that day.

Then the American guys invited me to a weekend workshop for spiritual development. I went and began learning more about the Holy Spirit and the work he does in my life. That was the highlight for me.

Not long after, I began meeting one to one with Gary Price, a staff member from Durban, who mentored me in my new walk with God. We also started a Bible study with Mdu and Sbu. We met for about a month or so, and then Gary asked us what the Lord was saying to us, what our next step should be. All of us agreed that more needed to happen, more students needed to know Christ. We were all convinced of that.

Gary helped us gather for a meeting with most of the students who went to camp and challenged us to form a student leadership team for the ministry at KwaZulu Natal. There were 8 of us part of the leadership committee that first year.

The following year, I was mentored by an intern, Ryan Reeves, who taught me a lot about living a victorious Christian life, sharing my faith and following up with new believers. He even challenged me to start my personal ministry of discipleship on campus.

It was hard, but Ryan was there to help me and encourage me. I learned a lot from him, especially how he lived his life. He has the heart of a servant. I wanted to live that kind of lifestyle.

Doing that during my third year, I was very motivated and got encouraged to see God use a mere being like me for his own glory and pleasure. And to see Ryan, and how impactful his life was to me and my friends and many other guys. I wanted to invest my life to what will count for eternity, so I asked about interning with Campus Crusade for Christ in Durban.

After I was accepted to intern for one year, I enjoyed it so much so that I decided to intern another year. Now I am a full time staff member with Campus Crusade in Durban.

When I applied to do my internship, I wanted to serve God. But I learned that I receive more than what I am giving. Through people, I am learning more about God. My character is changing.

I now have the opportunity to share what Christ has done in my life because of friends who decided to leave their comfort zones to share their life in Christ with me.

I think about what God is doing in my life and can trace it all the way back to the moment I met those two Americans on campus in 2008.

They impacted my life for eternity.