After a semester of trying to get our schedules to match up, I was finally able to take John on an adventure to Rainbow Falls. John is a student whom I've been blessed to grow close to over the last semester. He was not raised in a Christian home. He did not grow up going to church, or reading the Bible. He is not a believer. But he is searching.
I finally had the opportunity to go out into the beauty of nature that is Hilo, one-on-one with John. As we sat on the top of a giant lava rock in the middle of the Wailuku River, we began to look at all that was around us.
I asked John, "Isn't this beautiful"?
He obviously agreed. We began to talk about how easy it is to miss all the beauty that is around us, because of how busy we allow ourselves to get. How we are constantly walking everywhere with our heads down more worried about what the next step in front of us looks like rather than looking around at where we already are.
With that in mind, I asked him "What do you think our purpose is in life"?
He said to take joy in every breath. To make every breath count.
"And what brings you the greatest joy John"?, I asked.
He told me it's when he helps others. When he feels he's made his life count. I began to share with him my Joy. My Hope. My Purpose.
After about an hour of discussing back in forth, I asked him one final question; "John, what do you know about Jesus? What do you know about Christianity"?
He began to explain to me how he understood it. As a moral guideline for living. The Bible was a book of stories that helped us know how to live. And that if we lived right, God would let us into heaven.
Then he asked a question I never anticipated; "What do I need to know about Christianity"?
He asked it with such interest and concern. I began to explain to him the beauty that is the Gospel. How the Bible is a guideline for life and how it does contain morals, but how it is so much more than that. How he had missed the Greatest story. The story of Jesus. How God had sent His one and only son, to die in our place, so that we could live. How he took on our sin so that we wouldn't have to endure the punishment. And the greatest part of it all: We don't have to earn it. In fact, we can't earn it. It is given to us freely simply by believing that Christ was crucified and that God raised him from the grave. (Romans 10:9)
He did not put his faith in Christ that day, but he does want to hear more. I am excited for more opportunities to share with John my last week here in Hilo!
Ernest "Jude" Davis, a graduate student from Wayland Baptist University, is serving as a Go Now semester missionary in Hilo, Hawaii.