We had no idea whether Aiba* would actually show up. We have not known her long so we were unsure whether she would come through and meet us. She is an international student from the Middle East and very busy with her studies. She lives here in East Asia, a place where the vast majority of Muslim expats are rarely engaged with he Gospel. In fact, most local and foreign Christian workers rarely even try to engage them in Gospel conversations. But thankfully, she showed up and even brought us a cake for a gift, which spoke volumes.
We spent 2 wonderful hours over coffee. We talked about life, our countries, raising children, her family’s recent loss of her brother-in-law, and her funny relationship with one of the elderly guards who lets her back into her university dorm after midnight, unlike the other guards.
She shared about her mother’s health that it failing so she will be traveling back to her home country to visit her (she had to get permission to do so). My wife and I both were in tears as she shared. We expressed our condolences and shared that we are praying for her family. At one point, she said she wanted to share something embarrassing. She then proceeded to tell us about the moment when she first saw us on the bus.
Aiba thought bad thoughts of us. She said to herself, “Americans! They only care about themselves. They would never try to communicate with someone like me because I am from the Middle East. Americans always look down on Middle Eastern peoples”. Yet, we met and God used our encounter to change her heart. She said we deeply surprised her by our kindness and friendship toward her, something she was obviously not expecting, but welcomed with open arms.
We spoke often of the Bible and our faith in Christ during our conversation. We did not give a 3 point sermon on the Gospel but it was clear by the end of our time together that the Holy Spirit had used us to break down barriers in her heart and mind.
I share this so you know how to pray for us. This interaction was a great step forward in our ministry to engage international students with the Gospel here in East Asia. There are many more like her all around us and we need your prayers as we live and serve among them.
I also ask that you pray for the national church where we live. I have been casting vision for serving this int’l student community for many months with little response. My time in this place will always be limited, as is the reality for every foreign missionary. If these int’l students are to be fully engaged for the long-term, local believers and churches must get involved.
I ask that you pray and ask God to raise up local believers to join with us on this journey. They are needed because this mission field is in their backyard.
* name changed for security reasons
David Brown is a Silk Road Catalyst missionary serving in East Asia.
Praise reports, updates and just about anything important written by someone within our global Silk Road Catalyst family.
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