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 had the opportunity in Lebanon to see God set up divine encounters with students who were ready to take ownership in fulfilling the Great Commission on their university. It took all of our faith to simply dare praying for such success in our location. This kind of faith – when aligned with God’s will and our own bold initiative – is all that’s needed to achieve the impossible. God can make life flourish in parched soil.
The beginning of God’s answer is a girl named Lily. Finding her alone was a miracle. Usually packed with school and homework, Lily goes straight from class to class and then directly home. The only reason she was sitting on campus at the time Mariah and Holly met her was because she had an exam after her regular classes.
Imagine the joy our Heavenly Father must have had as he directed them both to Lily, knowing that he was about to answer a request they had been praying urgently for the past month. After meeting so many disinterested students, Holly and Mariah were shocked when Lily told them that she was a follower of Jesus and loved to tell others about him.
Lily grew up in a Christian home, but – like so many Christians here – she didn’t actually understand what it really meant to follow Jesus. After graduating high school, she took some time to figure out what she wanted to do before she went to college. The answer she found was Jesus and his sacrifice. Christ radically changed her life to the point that even her Muslim friends noticed. Every time someone asks her what makes her so different, the Gospel message flows from her lips.
She shared the whole gospel with one of her Muslim friends but was afraid to ask her if she would like to put her faith in Christ. When Holly challenged her to do so, Lily was shocked. “What, I can do that here?” She answered.
Holly walked her through a few verses, including the Great Commission. She challenged her to take a risk. To focus on God’s call and promises rather than on the fears that living in the Middle East brings. This shook her up. This was quite possibly the first time she had ever heard someone challenge her to fulfill the Great Commission. Lily now knows what it is the Bible calls her to do. She wants to obey and does take action in many areas, but before she goes all-in, she is first counting the cost.
Here in the desert, lilies do not grow naturally. They exist by sheer miracles from our Heavenly Father. Lily isn’t alone. There are others. Others that are already fighting the good fight and still more that need to be awakened to the reality of our fading world. But, they exist, and it is through them that Christ’s name will be known and adored here in the Middle East.
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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’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.
"The opening sentence of the student's testimony brought everything into perspective for me. I had honestly forgotten that just a month before this, I had no clue who this student was."
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