When your dad starts an underground church movement in your home country, it’s going to affect you.
Growing up overseas as an only child, Jeremy Lee witnessed his parents living out radical and sacrificial Christian faith in their home and in their workplaces. His dad started a Bible study at his workplace even though it was dangerous in their country to do so. As more people joined and got involved in the Bible study, it eventually grew into an underground church movement.
“My family’s values were based around hospitality and servanthood,” said Jeremy. “My mom and dad were very comfortable opening our home to missionaries or friends—they believe that God’s blessings should not be taken for granted, but be utilized to serve others.”
When Jeremy was eight years old he dedicated his life to following Christ. But his faith was very “surface-level.”
God Becomes Real To Jeremy
“Right before high school, I got involved in my church’s youth group, and it was there that I was challenged to view God as a sacrificial father and a radical King that unconditionally loves and accepts us no matter how much we reject him,” said Jeremy. “I rededicated my life to Christ and I genuinely wanted a relationship with him.”
During high school, Jeremy looked for opportunities to serve in his church and youth group in their home country. Like his dad, he also took a risk and helped create a youth group in his neighborhood for Christian high school students, even though it wasn’t entirely safe to do so. During this time Jeremy was also baptized.
As college approached, Jeremy began applying to schools in the United States. One of the schools that accepted him was California State University—Northridge (CSUN). During the last couple months of high school, Jeremy accepted CSUN’s invitation. Soon after, he started researching which Christian groups were on CSUN’s campus.
God Prepares the Way for Jeremy
“I had a friend who went to Urbana the year before and praised the conference and InterVarsity . . . and the experience he had,” said Jeremy. “Also, when I told my youth leader that I was interested in getting involved in InterVarsity after I moved to CSUN, he told me that his brother knew Eddy Ekmedji [the former CSUN InterVarsity staff team leader].”
Also, through Facebook, Jeremy found out that a high school classmate from his international school was also planning on moving to the States to attend CSUN for college. Jeremy immediately messaged him.
“After several conversations, we eventually decided to move into an apartment together right across campus after finding out that both of us were waitlisted for campus housing,” said Jeremy. “That decision to move in with Kris was one of the reasons why God placed me at CSUN.”
Kris, whose mom is a committed Buddhist, grew up going to temple and learning about Buddhism. He was not open to Christian faith. His dad worked in the U.S. State Department, so Kris moved around a lot to different countries throughout his childhood.
God Uses Jeremy to Share Jesus with Kris
“Kris was very closed off and didn’t trust too many people, so I knew that it would take a lot of prayer and faith for him to admit he needed Jesus in his life,” said Jeremy. “As I got involved with InterVarsity and made friends, Kris would also meet a lot of them. And as time went on, he decided to come to some of InterVarsity’s events and he also made friends.”
Before long, Kris was asking Jeremy questions as he grew more curious about Jesus. During their second year on campus, Kris decided to go to InterVarsity’s fall conference on Catalina Island. It was at that conference that Kris committed his life to Jesus for the first time.
“God was revealing to me in the months following that experience that he is present and he wants to use his followers in powerful ways,” said Jeremy. “God reminded me that he is able to transform lives.”
Today, Kris is helping lead a Bible study for freshman students as an apprentice student leader. He also helps out with audio at CSUN’s large group meeting.
Whether starting an underground movement in a country where it’s not safe to do so or sharing your faith with your non-Christian friends on campus, radical faith looks the same. It looks like persistence and faithfulness in sharing the good news that you yourself have received in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.