Every now and then we meet girls with really interesting English names: Rainbow, Ice Cream, Snowflake. This week, I met a girl named Ikea (a name she chose because it is “more unique”). And Ikea really does have a unique personality. The first day we met, I could see that she’s bold, opinionated, and ultra talented. Ikea is the captain of the debate team, a student monitor, a member of the campus broadcast station, part of the student union, and her English is so fluid, it’s like talking to an American. A clear leader, I felt really excited about the potential for friendship. Moreover, I couldn’t help but notice her clear interest in God. When I asked if she was a Christian, she said, “Not really; I’m not fully a Christian, but almost.”
Yesterday, Skittles and I got to have dinner with Ikea and had the chance to talk about God almost immediately. Right at the beginning of our chat, she said, “It just seems that there’s something inside me which makes me feel like I just have to believe in God. I just have to be a person of faith.” As we slowly encouraged her to start her relationship with God, she humbled herself by admitting to us that she had already accepted Jesus into her life. “I felt so guilty when I told you that I wasn’t fully a Christian that I couldn’t sleep that night.” Ikea was even reminded of Peter’s denial of Jesus on the night of his arrest, confessing to us that she felt afraid of what people might say, and felt anxious about the day she’d have to refuse to join the communist party. Talking with Ikea over dinner was like reading through Paul’s letters: without struggle, we talked about the joy of and necessity to share your personal experience of God, not having fear of man but trust in the Father, and having a willing and non-judgmental spirit. By the end of the meal, it was like she immediately understood and found an excitement for telling others about what God had done her in life. This was a huge answer to prayer, as Skittles and I have been asking God to give new believers rapid maturity.
It was like God used us to light a fire in her heart that he’d been building for years. The climax of the conversation came when she asked us if we went to Church on campus. We casually said that there isn’t a Church we know of, but talked about how cool it would be if there was a place like that here – a time when people could get together to study The Bible, worship God, and reach out to other people. As the energy built, it took everything in me to remain calm as Skittles said, “Ikea, I bet you could start something like that.” When Ikea responded, I literally almost exploded. Without hesitation, Ikea’s enthusiastic response was, “Yeah, I can. Do you know any Christians? Do you have any phone numbers? How can I get started? Wow, that would be so great. It would feel like home! Maybe I’ll call Christina; we can have lunch and nice chat about God tomorrow.”
It’s been our team’s vision and hope to plant multiplying churches this year on our two campuses, and it seems like God is already putting that clearly into motion! I’m amazed, thrilled, motivated, and so excited about what He’s doing . I just know he is going to grow Ikea and use her as a world changer and feel that she’s going to play a key role in bringing this about. Please pray for her! She needs God’s strength, vision, passion, and protection.
This week has been truly amazing. I have more stories than I can fit in this update about answers to prayer and divine appointments. As I close, I want to thank you for praying for me and the work here. I know without doubt that prayer is the reason why all this is happening. Skittles and I have felt the call to pray, and I know that many of you are standing in the gap with us. I encourage you to really seek Him about any area of your own life where you want to see Him move in powerful ways. Seek Him with your heart, and you will find Him…
God bless you all!