Last month I sat in a room full of students and listened as one student gave his testimony.
He started sharing his story where most people do, from the beginning: “When I began my relationship with Jesus about a month ago, I no longer feared God or feared death.”
His opening sentence brought everything into perspective for me. I had honestly forgotten that just a month before this, I had no clue who this student was. And now, this student standing in front of me seemed so familiar. I knew that he was sharing the gospel with his family, taking steps towards starting a spiritual movement on his campus, starting discipleship groups and bible students with his friends, and even trying to figure out how to make a movie that will show his classmates and professors the message of Jesus.
And all that had taken place in just one month. Wow.
For the past 3 years, the team here has been trying to start a spiritual movement on Alex’s campus. Previous teams have gotten kicked off this campus before, and we were tempted to think that this campus just wasn’t able to be reached right now. However, when we were praying about Alex’s campus as staff team, one of our national staff, Michael, looked up and said: “I just realized that I have a cousin named Alex who goes to this campus! I’m going to text him and see if he wants to meet up. I want to start by sharing the gospel with him.”
So, that’s what Michael did. And then two days later, we got a message from Michael, saying: “Guys, I shared the gospel with Alex and he just decided to follow Jesus! God has clearly been preparing him for a while now!”
We were all amazed. It seemed too simple, really. And since then, we’ve been blessed to witness the mighty power of God’s Spirit strengthening and growing Alex’s faith. We’ve also gotten to witness the transforming power one changed life can bring to a campus. Because now, here we are, hearing stories of how Alex is continuing to share his faith with his classmates, friends, and family.
Unfortunately, there are times when the discouraging circumstances make us tempted to believe that God is not at work around us. And when that happens, it’s hard to keep on hoping and praying that God will give us a breakthrough soon. That’s why I love Alex’s story so much. For us, it was a perfectly-timed reminder and encouragement that God is always working, that God’s ways are always best, that God’s timing is always perfect, and that God is never hindered by our discouragement or limitations.
God gave us a breakthrough on a tough campus in a way we never could have dreamed up on our own if we tried. Not only has God provided us with a student leader on this difficult campus, but God has also now provided Michael with another believing family member. Now, both Michael and Alex pray for opportunities to share the gospel with even more people in their family. It’s such a sweet blessing to watch.
So as I sat listening to Alex share his story, I couldn’t help but stand in awe of God and thank Him for working the ways that He does. Alex finished his story by saying: “I know there are other people like me in my family and at my university, people who don’t realize or know that the story of Jesus isn’t just a story. That the story of Jesus applies to them personally, and that because of him, they don’t have to work and strive to know God. I know there are others like me, and I know God wants me to tell them about Jesus, just as Michael told me about Jesus.”
God’s ways are always best. And we are so grateful for how God chose to remind us of this truth.
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As much as we would like to believe that there is one good strategy to bring Christ’s good news to the ends of the Earth, there isn’t. One technique may work perfectly in one conversation only to fail over and over again when we apply that same technique to other situations. Every heart is different, and the map to pierce each heart with the gospel is different.
"We’ve been praying that God would direct us to students who are ready to receive his gospel or who have already trusted in Jesus and are ready to share the gospel themselves. We knew these people existed on our campus; but, after years of reaching out, meeting such students seemed impossible."
We’re not always guaranteed that we will see our dream of students taking steps of faith come to fruition. So when we do see this dream become reality, we should see it for what it is, as a mighty miracle from God. And, to our continual amazement and praise, it seems like this miracle is occurring almost daily on our college campuses here.
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