I have found the word “work” to be one of the hardest words to define when speaking about ministry here in the Northwest. In the American context, most define work as space to complete a task or an hourly fulfilment. However, these examples are constructed with a beginning and an ending. Work is merely the time in between.
The work I’m a part of here redefines and challenges the concept because I am always on the clock with my students. I travel, eat, I feel pain and live life with them every day.
The international students who I minister to are in need of a friend who can answer the awkward cultural questions, give advice about relationships and all around help them succeed while they are here. Throughout these conversations, I am able to share what is most important to me - my faith in Christ.
I am, but not limited to, a travel agent, counselor, friend, etiquette coach and spiritual advisor, and I love every minute of it. An example of work in such a relational context is being able to take students to the ocean which is only one and a half hours from Eugene. These hours are void of distractions and homework, and enable deeper conversations about cultural blunders, stories of our youth and spiritual matters.
On a recent trip to the ocean, my friend and I discussed his spiritual background. Growing up in an atheistic Asian country, his exposure to Christ was only the private school he attended as a child.
As we talked along the fence, I shared the Gospel with him while we looked out over the vast ocean in the direction of his home country. Although he did not accept the Gospel at that time, he is still asking questions and discovering the immense love God has for him on the other side of the ocean from his home.
It is moments like this that I am reminded of Acts 17:26-27, which says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.”
My “work” here is to meet international students during their allotted period of time within the boundaries of the University of Oregon to help them seek God. My “work” does not stop until I pass from this Earth and I hope by that time my friend will come to know the Lord as his Savior as well.
PJ Prewit is a recent Tarleton University graduate who is serving as a year-long Go Now missionary in Collegiate Ministry in Oregon.