I want to tell you about my friend Nathan. You are going to love the way that God is working in and though his life!
I met Nathan last spring while I was studying abroad on mission with Cru. My team and I lived in East Asia for one semester; staying in the dorms on campus, earning 12 plus credit hours and really integrating into daily campus life. This threw open SO many doors for us to share the gospel with Asian students because they really just saw us as peers and we found that we actually had a lot in common with them!
Grabbing dinner one night at a little hole-in-the-wall place next to our school’s gate, I started chatting with Nathan and a few of his friends. Nathan was a freshman at the time rocking spiked hair and hipster glasses. He has a real fun and goofy personality but is also incredibly intelligent and kind-hearted. He loves Apple products, McDonalds and “The Big Bang Theory.” Oh, and he speaks almost perfect English. Needless to say, we quickly became great friends!
Nathan and his buddies took me out to try a duck dish that their city is famous for, and I invited them to our Easter party a couple nights later. We had about 30 unbelieving friends join us in the upstairs room of a local fish restaurant to celebrate Easter with dinner and some American traditions. We also got to share the gospel with everyone there! Most of them had heard the name of Jesus before, but none of them had any idea that He died for our sins or that we can enter into relationship with Christ.
It was so fun to get to follow up with each of these students afterward and have great spiritual conversations. But, my favorite interaction was with Nathan when I bumped into him on campus later that week. We started walking and talking and Nathan asked me what we had meant by having a “personal relationship with God.” He told me that he had read a little bit about God growing up and asked me to tell him the whole story. In my head, I was thinking, “Um, yeah! That’s why I’m here!”
For the rest of the night we made a couple laps around our campus as I explained the story of God and his people to Nathan, really focusing on how Jesus can intersect our lives, forgive our sins and change us forever. He eventually stopped me and told me that this was the God he had seen show up in his life. He was able to pinpoint certain events that had transpired and how each one had led to the next and how they eventually led to him meeting me and hearing the gospel.
“Brian,” he said, “I feel like this is God working in my life.”
“Yes! That’s absolutely what is happening, Nathan! God pursues each one of us and it is clear that he has been pursuing you for years. Now you have an opportunity to respond to Him, even right now.”
He replied that yes, not only did he believe, but he wanted to have a relationship with Jesus. And that night, sitting on the steps of our schools administration building, Nathan surrendered his life to Christ. Praise the Lord!
Over the next few months, it was a blast to get to disciple him and see him grow in His faith and start connecting with other local believers! But my favorite day was when he came to me and said, “Brian, I’ve been talking with my friend Ali about God and she wants to know the whole story, too. Can we tell her?” Again I was thinking, “Um yeah, that’s why I’m here.” We had been talking about sharing the good news with others not long before that and I was so excited to see him not only living out his new faith but even starting to share it with his friends.
Well, Nathan and I got together with Ali a few days later (at a Muslim restaurant of all places) and sort of tag-teamed sharing our faith with her. He did a great job explaining his testimony and parts of the Gospel to Ali, and that night she too trusted Jesus as her Savior. It was so evident that God had been working in her life for a while, even using some of the conversations Nathan had already been having with her. Again, praise the Lord!
In just a few months, God transformed Nathan from a student who had never heard the gospel into a faithful Christ-follower who continues to grow in his walk with the Lord and actively share the gospel with others today. When I think about his story, I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to study abroad and so glad that I was intentional to share my faith while I was there. My team saw God work through us in awesome ways, and I love how He impacted each of our hearts as well. You know, when we are willing to live our lives on mission, whether that is overseas at a foreign university or right here at home, God uses us to change others’ lives for eternity.
What an amazing privilege.