This past winter break I spent Christmas in East Asia meeting university students and spreading the Gospel to more than 100 people who had never even heard the name Jesus. Going to East Asia during Christmas opened a huge window of opportunities to share with students the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. Our outreach included meeting students on campus, inviting them to meet up for lunch and to attend the Christmas parties we had during the two weeks we were there.
My biggest concern for this trip was meeting students. I figured it would be impossible to actually meet someone willing to have lunch or come to a Christmas party with a stranger. But because of God's good plan, building relationships with students after one conversation was incredibly easy. Thanks to these encounters we had over 100 people attend different events such as two Christmas parties, one English corner, a movie night where we watched "Martha" which explains the story of Christ, and multiple smaller lunch meetings or touring days, spent with individual students where we were able to develop some deep relationships.
There are numerous stories I could share, but one particular encounter with a girl named Melinda really deepened my relationship with Christ. Before I met Melinda, four other girls had become daughters of Christ after having conversations with other girls on my team. At this point I was filled with excitement for our new sisters in Christ, yet a part of me felt discouraged that I had not been present in witnessing one of those conversations. Realizing that my feelings of disappointment by not being present were normal, but not ones I desired to feel, I gave them to God by asking Him to give me His transcending peace as He continued to use me in the way He desired.
On New Year's Eve we hosted a movie night where we watched the film "Martha". When we went to meet students to walk them back to our place I noticed a girl named Hadley I ran into my first day on campus.
I ecstatically ran up to hug her, since she was a student I had been trying to meet up with since we first met. She had a friend with her, Melinda, who was rather shy but drew my attention immediately.
When we returned to the apartment we greeted everyone with warm homemade cookies and began the movie. During the movie all the students were attentive for the most part. However, our American team started to feel pretty discouraged. We all were concerned they would not be interested in the movie due to it being an older movie about some Jesus guy that they had never heard of before.
I spent the duration of the movie just begging that God would be working in their hearts. I noticed that Hadley seemed very interested in the video and planned to talk with her afterwards. I also watched Melinda and noticed she did not seem as interested and spent some time on her phone. Once the movie ended, I went to talk with Hadley as I had planned.
She proceeded to tell me she had been to church before and knew all about Jesus, but did not believe. I noticed Melinda looked very withdrawn so I went to check on her. To my surprise, she said she had never heard this story before, but she could feel something tugging on her heart immediately. I asked her if she was willing to learn a little more before she went home and with eagerness in her voice she agreed.
We walked through the basic story of the Gospel together and read through the Four Spiritual Laws together. At the end, she told me the story was so beautiful and she wanted Jesus to be the center of her life, but she needed more time to think. Before she left I told her how she could accept Jesus into her life and let her read what a prayer might look like. Then, I prayed over her. She asked when we could meet again and I invited her to breakfast and Bible study on our last morning there.
When she showed up that last Saturday morning, you could tell she was a different person. She was not shy at all and was so excited to read from the Bible with us. She spoke with such beauty and insight as she read aloud and answered questions.
We all were so confused to how she was so sure of the truth even though she had never made a decision with us to follow Christ. Out of confusion we asked what kind of relationship she had with Christ. She responded by saying, "I am a daughter of Christ. When I left here the other night I went to a park and prayed and asked God to come into my life and to start a new relationship with Him in the new year, leaving my old sinful self behind."
We were all so shocked, but so happy about the work God had done in her life. When she closed in prayer, we all broke down sobbing, so in awe of our amazing God. During our last goodbye she hugged me and said, "We are sisters now, so I know I will see you again one day."
Melinda melted my heart and taught me something so important. No matter what activities we host, words we say, or seeds we plant, God is the ultimate harvester and He is in control. It is a beautiful thing to witness someone coming to know Christ for the first time, but more than that its is so humbling to know the reason those seeds have been harvested is through God's love and desire to have a relationship with us.
He is supreme, and His timing is perfect. Thanks to the experiences I have gone through on this trip, God has transformed my heart. He has placed a special kind of love for those people on my heart, has revealed to me the great need for planters of His truth around the world. He has filled me with the peace to be able to trust He is good and in control. No matter what I may have planned, His plan always prevails.
We have a good, good Father who is constant in drawing all near to Him. I am excited to hear about the work he continues to do in East Asia and the growth of our new sisters in Christ. I encourage you to continue to be in prayer for those who are lost among the nations. Seek what it is God is calling you to do, and be bold in sharing His Good News in your daily life.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Revelation 3:20
Rebecca Bouley served as a Go Now missionary in East Asia over Christmas break.