It’s not a relationship I would have anticipated – I’ve never had a landlord that I’d also consider a friend. But Shi Laoshi is different – affectionately called “The Hot Professor” by one of our Asian sisters, Shi Laoshi is certainly one of the more fashionable mechanical engineers I’ve met. Also a single mother, Shi Laoshi has still managed to travel to America, Thailand, Malaysia, some countries in Europe and several areas in Asia, learn English, get her masters; by most standards, a very successful woman.
This past weekend, she invited Skittles and I to travel with an outdoor group to a nearby village in the country side. We were excited to go, hoping to get more time to know her better and talk to her a little about the gospel.
Although I had hoped for a lot of great bonding time, in truth, most of the first day was a letdown. Shi Laoshi kept telling people in her language that I couldn’t understand them, which was both irritating and humbling for me. I kept my smile on and hope high, but by the end of the night, after watching several students binge drink during a game and eating the foot of a chicken soaked in pickle juice, I was completely discouraged. I walked to the hotel room thinking that it probably wasn’t really possible to be friends with someone sixteen years older than me; that Shi Laoshi didn’t like me; or maybe that she wasn’t as open as I thought.
Skittles encouraged me by saying that tomorrow would be better and suggested that we start treating this trip like it might be our last time to share about Jesus with Shi Laoshi. So, when the three of us went to bed that night, Shi Laoshi and I began chatting, and I started asking her questions about her daughter and family situation. The conversation grew deeper and deeper and I was able to ask questions about her beliefs and ultimately, I got to share a brief version of my testimony with her. God helped me to plant a lot of seeds in her heart – about how he created her, about his love for her, about how we can know he is real, and his plans for our lives.
In the morning, there was a noticeable change in her spirit. While I was getting ready, she started talking to Skittles about different stories she remembered from the Bible, including the story where Jesus saves a woman from being stoned. Our relationship was also transformed; she started telling people that they could talk to me or ask me questions myself, that I could in fact understand some of their language; I could just tell that she did sort of like me. And I definitely like her. =)
Praise God for this relationship! When we found the apartment, I knew this was the place He’d prepared for us. But I can also see the work he is doing in Shi Laoshi. Skittles even suggested to her that she and her daughter read the Bible together, and offered to discuss it with her sometime. And she said she would think about it! Pray for her that the Holy Spirit would create new life and new curiosity in her heart. Also, please join me in asking that Dad put indigenous believers in her life that she might have more chances to learn about him this year; and that we would be given the words and tools to love her and share with her to the best of our ability.
I’m so encouraged by what God is doing over here. Can’t wait to share more!