Nathan headed to campus on a breezy April afternoon in East Asia.
He was paired with an American student – Amon – who was visiting on a spring break vision trip. Nathan and Amon hoped to make friends with students and share the gospel.
As they walked past the gym, a student saw them and said, “Hello!” They grinned (hurray, this student speaks English!) and got his number. His name was Jackie. He was late for class, but they made plans to hang out later.
They met at a tea house and talked about hobbies, families – all the get-to-know you details. Nathan and Amon mentioned that they were Christians. Jackie started asking questions. So, Nathan shared the gospel with him.
Jackie said that he understood the gospel, but Jesus could not be his focus. His grandfather came first. In Jackie’s culture, children are raised by their grandparents while their parents work full time. Family loyalty runs high, and Jackie struggled with the idea of giving his complete loyalty to Jesus.
Nathan suggested, “Jackie, what if the best way to care for your grandfather is to know Jesus? Jesus loves your grandfather and can care for him better than anyone else.”
Nathan’s phone rang and he pulled away. When he returned, Jackie’s thoughts had completely changed, and he said he’d think about knowing Jesus.
For a month, Nathan and Jackie met on Thursdays and talked about Jesus. Jackie never ran out of questions. The fourth week, Nathan asked, “Why haven’t you prayed to know him?” Jackie thought about it, and said “Because you say to accept Jesus, He has to be the most important. Right?”
“I don’t know if I want that.”
“If Jesus isn’t the center of your life, then what is it?”
“I don’t know….”
Over the weekend, Jackie visited a local church for the first time. Tuesday rolled around, and Nathan’s phone buzzed during class. He looked down and read a text from Jackie. “I want to become a Christian.”
They met outside the library, and Jackie prayed to know Jesus! A few weeks later, Nathan returned to America for the summer, so he did not have any contact with Jackie.
Fast forward to August. Nathan returned and reconnected with Jackie. During the summer, Jackie attended a conference where he learned about a missionary who came to Jackie’s country and shared the gospel. Jackie said he wanted to be a missionary when he graduated!
Nathan asked if Jackie had any ideas for telling his campus about Jesus. Jackie nodded. On a piece of paper, he drew a world with white, black and Asian people worshipping God together. Jackie understood God’s desire for everyone to know Him, and he believed his campus could reach the world.
Nathan asked if Jackie wanted to attend a discipleship training in October. Jackie was all in! “But Jackie, the requirement to attend is that you read the whole New Testament and finish ten discipleship articles. We’ve got three weeks – can you do it?”
“Yes!” If enthusiasm could be a human, it would be Jackie.
So far, Jackie is halfway through the articles and in the middle of reading the gospels. He's telling everyone he knows about Jesus. Each week, Jackie takes his Bible to the library, copies verses, and then shares whatever he learned with the library guard.
May we all love Jesus with the same boldness and freedom as Jackie. “…And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” – Romans 10:14
For some discipleship material similar to Jackie’s go to: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/bible-studies/compass.html
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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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