I held my breath as Felicity came to the end of the gospel, which we had been sharing with our new friend, Emily. Although Emily is rather reserved in general, her eyes sparkled when we told her about our relationship with God. She (literally) sat on the edge of her seat as we talked about how He has helped us in our most difficult times. She was amazed when we explained that we can (and do) talk to Him anytime and anywhere. I knew it was all leading up to two final questions, and I couldn’t wait to hear her answers!
Finally, Felicity asked, “Do you understand what it means to follow Jesus?”
“Yes, I think so,” Emily thoughtfully replied. “He forgives you so you can have a close relationship with God. He is like a very good friend.”
“Yes, that’s right!” I practically squealed with excitement. “Do you want to follow Jesus and start a relationship with God?”
She paused a little longer this time… “I do believe that God is real. However, everyone in my family is Buddhist. I don’t think I can follow God, because my family thinks differently.”
This wasn’t the response we were hoping for, but we weren’t totally surprised by it. In Asia, a large part of a person’s identity is determined by the groups to which she belongs (like family). Rejecting part of a group identity could result in being shunned by that group. Emily is not the only friend we have met who defines herself as a Buddhist simply because she comes from a “Buddhist family”.
However, we continue to hope and pray that Emily will join the family soon. As we shared the gospel with her, her hunger for God was evident in every question she asked and every response she gave. Please pray that God will continue to work in Emily’s heart, mind, and life, and that she will take the leap of faith to follow Him.
On another note, three brothers and one sister have joined the family of Christ in X-town in the past two weeks! Please pray that they would continue to grow in their relationship with God and get hooked in with a house church or Bible study.