What image does the word “missionary” conjure up for you? Do you think of someone from Great Britain or the U.S. heading to remote islands, central Asia, or African jungles? Let me tell you about Jared, a young student from Kenya coming to study at an American university, a student involved with our International Student Fellowship.
When he came to Western Michigan University, Jared brought along his relationship with Jesus. Jared and I have recently been talking about him leading evangelistic Bible discussions with his friends. We call them GIGs, Groups Investigating God.
Then just a few days ago, Jared told me about a recent experience of sharing his faith.
A Library Conversation
I left our InterVarsity leadership meeting and headed to the library. I was sitting at a computer in the lower level and next to me were two girls discussing the history of Christianity for their history exam.
I heard them say that Christians today are so fake, that we are hypocritical, selfish, and greedy, and the only real Christians were those around during the times of Jesus 2000 years ago.
I flashed back to what Chris was sharing at our meeting from the book Unchristian, and its statistics about how many Americans feel that Christianity is judgmental, unwelcoming, and hypocritical. I felt the Holy Spirit compel me to share something about real Christian faith with these girls, and I prayed to God for courage.
Listening to the Holy Spirit
I hesitated because I was scared of what they would think of me or how they would react. I walked out of the library, but as soon as I got to the first floor I felt the Spirit urging me to take the risk and talk to those two girls.
I went back, but fear overwhelmed me one more time and I retreated. I left the library and was walking outside in the snow when I felt the Spirit telling me to go back one more time. This time I decided to write down what I was feeling on a piece of paper and hand it to the two girls, but I discovered that they had left!
As I headed out to meet a friend for tacos I felt like I had really failed God. Then a most amazing thing happened. I was seated at the fast food restaurant and one of the two girls showed up to have some dinner. I knew that God was giving me a second chance to share with this girl.
I went up to her and at the risk of looking like a total idiot, I handed her the note I had written. She read it, and we had a pleasant conversation about Christianity.
How amazing is that! I told her that we could meet some other time and talk and she was open to the idea. Since then we have communicated online a number of times about the subject of true Christianity.
Jason Toman works with international students and with InterVarsity’s undergrad student chapter at Western Michigan University.