By Manuel, Go Now Missionary and student at University of Texas at El Paso
Being surrounded by thousands of college students, my mind instantly thought I was going to spend 100 percent of my time with them when I arrived in Eastern Europe. The pamphlet, describing the mission trip, talked about grabbing coffee with college students, investing time and building relationships through sports and entertainment around the city. While this is the main focus of this trip, God continues to demonstrate just how powerful He is and how His love tears through spiritual barriers.
One of the ways we serve and share the Gospel is through English classes that happen every Tuesday and Thursday. The people that attend are far from college students. Most that attend this English class are over the age of 40 and have pretty much settled into their lives while having years rooted in their Orthodox religion.
During one of the first weeks we got here, we held an English Intensive week, which means having English class Monday through Thursday. During these 4 days, a certain older gentleman named Ned* was put into my group. Before this, Ned had a bad reputation in groups and was actually asked to leave, but for some reason attended these 4 days of English Intensive. Once that week was over, Ned wanted to continue with the classes that we held twice a week and God put Him in my group again!
Once I realized God was doing this on purpose, I tried to discern the best course of action to continue sharing with Ned effectively. During the English Intensive week, we would read Bible stories and talk about them, but it was difficult to get personal because there were so many people. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case after the English Intensive week ended.
Lesson 1 - In the Beginning (Genesis 1-2)
Ned and I talked about different moral concepts, but for the most part he was closed off to talking about anything relating to spirituality.
Lesson 2 - The Fall (Genesis 3)
We talked again about moral concepts and understanding sin.
As we continued to talk and complete different lessons, Ned’s heart slowly started to open up. Around the 6th lesson, I felt the Spirit put in my heart to ask him a question about Jesus. I really didn’t know what to say, so when it was time for English class, I lead off with:
“Hey Ned, I have a question for you. What do you think about Jesus? Who is He to you?”
We proceeded to talk about Jesus for the next hour and a half and it was something he wanted in his life. God had worked hard in Ned’s heart and was pursuing him relentlessly.
Since then, Ned has gotten plugged into the local home church and is growing in his faith. Please pray for his spiritual growth!