Over Christmas break, Go Now Missions mobilized student missionaries around the world, including to New York, where a team served Chinese churches. Eliud Valle, student from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, tells a testimony from one of the unique encounters he had on the trip:
I wasn't very excited about going out to random streets and handing out bags that contained old newspapers and a card with the church's information on them. My group and I walked for about an hour and a half and we had yet to come across someone to talk to.
On our walk back, I decided to go up to a house and knock on the door. No one answered at first so I left a bag at the doorstep. As I walked down the steps a man came out the side of the house. He asked if I was looking for someone in specific and I explained that no, we were there to invite people to the Lighthouse Chinese church.
The man (Richard) was very curious as to why we wanted to invite people to a local Chinese church and we weren't even Chinese ourselves. I explained to him that we were college students from different states working with this church and that we also wanted to share with people a little about our faith. I asked what, if any, religion he was or what he believed in. He told me he was Catholic for a while but that he wasn't any more because of some teachings he didn't agree with. I told him that I believe in God, the one and only who gave up his one and only son on the cross for our sins. He said he couldn't understand that but he respected it.
I then asked what he did in his everyday life and he said, "nothing really." Richard told me that he was very close to his family once but everyone had either died or moved out of the country. He also mentioned the love his family showed to one another. This interested me and so I asked how he felt about that now. Richard said it was a bit depressing and sad really how he didn't have that any longer. I explained to him that as humans we long for love and there is one greater than any other love that would satisfy us eternally. Love comes from God and Him alone. Again he wasn't very receptive to what I shared but he respected it.
We had about a 20 minute conversation about what he believed and what we know to be the truth. I could just tell Richard was hungry for the truth but he was also cautious as to why everything we said pointed back to God.
The last thing I said was, "Richard, we are servants of God and we strongly believe that this is no coincidence that we are here now talking with you. God put us here at this specific moment to share our faith with you. We care about you and that is why we have been here talking to you. Is there anything we can pray for in your life?"
At that moment a lady and another man came out of the same house screaming that he had a very important phone call and to get inside. He immediately turned away and said, "I have to go" with a face of I'm still curious about what you guys are saying. Once again I felt disappointed because we would go back to the church as we had gone out, without a person to talk to and pray for that he/she would come to know Christ.
So we stepped out of his property and off to one side then started praying for his life. I prayed that God would continue to use others to reach out to him, for God to work in Richard's life and prepare him to be a person of peace. Throughout the rest of the day I felt with a heavy heart wondering if I had done enough for that man. Through constant prayer and communication with God I got reminded even through the smallest gesture of obedience He can work miracles.
It was not about what I did that day or any other day but rather what God worked through me. I was also reminded of Ephesians 2:10, which talks about us being God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do His works which He prepared in advance. Now my heart is at peace knowing God will place someone else to continue His perfect will in Richard's life.This moment helped me understand that everything we do is for God's purpose, whether small or big in our eyes, and is enough for God to continue His will. At the end of it all I was humbled by the many people I encountered and with how broken that city is. Despite all that and the many different cultures, God worked through our little acts of service in every place we went and with whoever we came across, whether it was at a church, or out on the streets, at a restaurant or on a subway.
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