College Student Decides to Reach Foreign Governments for Christ

By Howard Hardegree

Melissa Lewis chose her college major by circling all the interesting-looking classes in her course catalog. When she graduated from Baylor University in Texas with a double major in foreign service and speech communications, she wanted to help reach foreign governments for Christ.

Melissa lived in Bogotá, Colombia, as a child, where her parents served as missionaries. But during her senior year in high school, her parents divorced.

"That shook my very foundations," says Melissa. "Missionaries aren't supposed to get divorced."

Money tightened, and after her freshman year, her parents told her she had to transfer to a less expensive school.

Not to be deterred, Melissa shouldered the cost and worked her way through the next 4 years. The young student was already a Christian but had strayed from her convictions, describing herself as "a party girl."

Her roommate was active in the Campus Crusade for Christ group on campus and kept trying, unsuccessfully, to get Melissa to come to the meetings. Finally she told Melissa, "There are lots of cute boys there." Melissa attended the very next meeting.

The boys were enough to keep her at the meetings for a few weeks, but gradually something more substantial caught her attention.

"They were cutting-edge," says Melissa, "and not like a religion."

Soon she began going on Campus Crusade evangelistic outreaches with her roommate.

For her 1st mission trip, Melissa chose Daytona Beach, Fla., during Bike Week. Tens of thousands of motorcyclists descended on the beach during that week and she gave one -- a big, rough-looking, leather-clad man with a bristly beard -- a 4 Spiritual Laws evangelistic booklet.

The next day her roommate suggested they go to a biker bar to talk with people there about Jesus. When they walked in, Melissa saw the same man to whom she had given the booklet.

"He seemed different," says Melissa. So she asked him, "Do you remember that prayer in the back of the book?"

"Yeah."

"What did you do?"

"I prayed it."

He went on to explain that his family had been praying for him to receive Christ for years. His conversation with Melissa had convinced him that it was time.

Melissa decided to give her life to evangelism, and has been a staff member with Campus Crusade's Christian Embassy in New York for 5 years.

Her role bonds her faith with her college desire to influence governments, specifically through her efforts with women at the United Nations. Though she has grown up, that teenage coed in a biker bar continues to face unconventional circumstances today.

Recently, her work with the U.N. wangled her an invitation to a reception hosted by a Middle Eastern delegation. Melissa immediately stood out, not only as one of the few women in the room, but also as the only blonde. Her unique status was quickly compounded when the valet loudly announced her arrival: "Melissa Lewis, Christian Embassy."

At the party, she met a leading diplomat from a North African nation. Standing just out of earshot of the large group, she talked with him about the difference between the Christian and Muslim views of Jesus.

The reception ended, but the diplomat's interest didn't, so she introduced him to John Austin, the director of Christian Embassy in New York. Their friendship has opened the door to talks with the nation's ambassador.

Whether witnessing to bikers in a bar, chatting up North African diplomats, or spiritually mentoring women of the U.N., Melissa Lewis does it the only way she knows how: with everything she's got.