“…From now on when we go out, don’t talk to me about Jesus.”
The room was filled with friends. I was leaving Asia shortly and wanted to see them again to say goodbye. Perry was there. He confessed that just a week earlier he asked his friend Lily to stop talking to him about Jesus. I know his friend Lily and know she is a missionary from HK where there is more religious freedom.
As Perry told me what he said to Lily he was confiding it with a sense of remorse and regret. Truth be told, he actually did want to talk about Jesus. He had questions… and some misconceptions. He didn’t get the “big deal” about sin. The idea of God’s holiness, goodness, or glory never rocked his world. Frankly, he didn’t think he needed a savior. Perry wondered, “Why can’t we just try harder?”
As we talked it was clear that God was moving. At one point Perry’s eyes filled with tears. I was a bit shocked. We kept talking. Toward the end of our conversation we dove into some words of Paul, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:21 emphasis added). This is Paul basically stating, “If we could fix ourselves by trying harder– why did Jesus have to die? Why was God so persuaded that the cross was necessary?”
Why did He sacrifice His Son if He could have just told us to increase our effort?
We kept talking and it became clear to Perry that we are not our own savior. Like Jesus once said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
Perry eagerly came into the family that night! He prayed and prayed and prayed! He urgently asked for advice about being a Christian. It was late and the bus lines were about to stop for the night but we kept talking.
At one point Perry mentioned that he wanted a Bible. The next day I got one in his hands and we started a reading plan together. This morning he sent me a text saying he is loving reading it! We are working through John and then going to Acts and the rest of the New Testament.
It was a great night!
One of the main reasons I went to Asia was to help get our new team situated and transition well onto campus. They are doing fantastic! I cannot wait to update you more on their trip. They are walking in unity, joy, and faith as they begin their year abroad reaching out to students. Since September 1, they have seen 12 of their friends come into the family. That is about one a day — and the semester just started!
Next week I will be traveling down to Johnson University in Florida for their missions emphasis week. It is a brand new connection for us and I have high hopes that these students are ready to say yes to God if He calls them to serve with us in Asia.