Coming into Hawaii Summer Project, I knew that I would be taking a big leap of faith, trusting that God would provide and mold me in any way that He desired. I expected my experience to be one of tremendous personal growth, new friendships, and an opportunity to see God’s work on the island. What I did not expect was that God would use the project as a chance for me to recognize the gospel for the first time and respond.
This recognition of the gospel came after the first week of extensive Evangelism training. During training, I learned how to initiate in spiritual conversations with strangers and to share the gospel. Initially, I was terrified at the idea of having to go out and talk to complete strangers about my faith. It felt unnatural and was out of my comfort zone. My first experience initiating in a spiritual conversation showed me that God was able to use my personal experiences to connect and share with strangers whose stories were similar to mine. As I challenged myself to share the gospel, I realized that the gospel was still foreign to me. I had heard different aspects of the gospel for the past 2 years when I was in community with Christians, usually at church service during sermons about our salvation and grace, but this had been my first time hearing the gospel presented as itself and in whole. This thought was extremely unsettling.
I shared with Jess, a staff on project, about my lack of understanding of the gospel. Jess helped me realize that I had missed out on the most important foundation of Christianity, and that being the gospel. We were both speechless. On project, I was given the chance to know Jesus and responded by praying to receive him into my life. God continued to reveal more of his story to me, through small groups, teammates, staff, serving for sports camp, and evangelizing in Hawaii, and it all began to click. The gospel meant so much more to me as I began to understand that God had redeemed and saved me by sending Jesus Christ as my savior. For once, I was certain that my faith was in Jesus Christ.
Kim Tran, Senior, UC Santa Barbara