Have you ever felt unequipped to begin intentional friendships with your classmates, coworkers, or neighbors?
Sometimes it may be as simple (though not necessarily easy) as crossing the classroom, office, or yard to smile and introduce yourself.
Liz,* an intern in ‘The Hood’, was walking on campus in late August, when she noticed a girl looking at her but then quickly diverting eye contact. Curious, she decided to introduce herself. She learned that her name was Rita.*
As they chatted, Liz discovered that Rita was very nervous to talk to her because of the language barrier, but she also really wanted to learn more about American culture. Before parting ways, they exchanged contact information and agreed to talk again soon.
Over a fun lunch the next week, Liz and Rita got to know each other a little better – as new friends naturally do. They talked about usual things: family, friends, school and their backgrounds. When they began to discuss East Asian culture, Liz brought up the topic of faith.
She asked Rita what she believed in, and Rita explained that she didn’t believe in anything; Liz then shared that she was a Christian and believed in Jesus. Rita confessed that she did not fully understand Christianity, although she recalled being told that her aunt was a Christian and prayed for her family regularly.
As they strolled away from the restaurant that day, Liz took the opportunity to ask Rita if she could share more with her about Christianity sometime. Rita enthusiastically agreed!
A few days later, Liz invited Rita to her home for tea. Their conversation quickly transitioned to spiritual things, because Rita asked Liz about her father’s job in America. Liz explained that her father was currently changing jobs and planning to work for a church. Since Rita had already expressed interest in the topic, Liz asked again if Rita would like to learn more about what she believes as a Christian.
Liz shared the gospel with Rita using the God Tools app on her phone. She was intrigued to hear more about Liz’s own story, how God had changed her life, and what Jesus did on the cross for all people. She was sad to hear how Jesus died, but Liz explained that He is alive and wants us to have a personal relationship with Him.
When they came to the point of decision, Rita said that she never had this opportunity to learn about Jesus. She was thankful to hear about Him. Rita decided to pray out loud and accept God’s free gift of grace for herself!
While not every story unfolds this way, it is so encouraging to think back through this story and notice the ways that God uses everyday steps of faith, if we are willing to take them. Liz made a new friend and engaged in meaningful conversation, listened and asked good questions. This is something you can do at any stage of life!
When Rita was eager to learn more about Jesus, Liz opened a user-friendly app on her phone to walk through a clear gospel presentation with her and then invited her to respond. Now, we have a new sister in Christ! And the first step was a simple introduction.
Who could you reach out to this month?
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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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