Students swarmed into the cafeteria for dinner and we decided to join them. It was one of the first times Olive Oyl, our daughter, and I went onto campus as a family to share the good news about God. We negotiated our way to the third floor, hoping to meet friends, share a meal, and spread hope.
At this time, we had been living in Asia for about 7 weeks and school had been in session for 1 week. It is also worth noting that our daughter had been walking for only 2 weeks. This took her social-butterfly-super-extrovert-personality to a whole new level! In the cafeteria, she proudly waddled in circles around us and the neighboring tables. She soaked up every drop of attention that came her way.
Olive Oyl and I sat with two students, hoping to make a connection. We clicked immediately. They were kind…inviting… fun…interesting. Their English was great and we could talk about anything freely. We discussed academic majors, hometowns, and then peppered each other with questions about anything that intrigued us. We shared about our daughter’s journey through the NICU and how she was born pre-mature. I scrolled through my cell phone and showed them an old picture of her weighing only 2 lbs. They leaned toward the picture – gasping and then looked back at the wide-and-wild-eyed toddler giggling with college students a few feet away.
Though we had a chance to share about Jesus earlier in the conversation, I thought it was worthwhile to bring it back up. Since we were talking about my child, I thought I could share some thoughts about the Gospel from a father’s perspective.
First, I tried to put into words how much I love my daughter. She means the world to me. She brings me joy…absolutely effortlessly. I love connecting with her. I love seeing her grow and develop. At one point, I remember mentioning my instinctual desire to protect her. If I had to choose between me suffering… or her suffering- I would choose for me to suffer every time. I don’t want to expose her to unnecessary pain. I would lay down my life for her if it meant her welfare and benefit.
Then I asked: “So then, could you imagine how much I would have to love someone to hand her over to die in their place? Meaning, if a criminal was about to die on the electric chair, could you imagine how much I would have to love that person to let my daughter take their punishment? I couldn’t fathom it! I hate even thinking about the idea!
But THAT is EXACTLY what God did. He loved us so much that He gave His Son over to a cross for our sake. Can you imagine how much G0d loves us if He gave over His Son?”
“For G0d so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:16-17).”
As we talked about this I realized one of them was holding back tears. God was making Himself known. He is so good!
Last week I shared stories like this at a recruiting event. The stories weren’t rehearsed or prepared yet they surfaced as young adults asked questions about church planting in Asia. The event was more incredible than I could have imagined. I spoke with young adults, teens, and parents and encouraged them in their identity and making a difference in the world around them — and, of course, in Asia. 🙂
On a lunch break I met two students from one of the cities that Campus Target works in (in Asia). I don’t think they have heard the message yet and I cannot wait to connect with them again. As I write this, one just sent me a message on my cell.
At the event, over 4 dozen young adults gave us their information to learn more about actually going to Asia to serve with us. I also met workers from a Christian radio station in PA that wants to interview us on-air for their listeners! Altogether it was so much more than I anticipated!
Recruiting is far-reaching. It is a role that lives in multiplication. The more people we assist getting to the field, the more our impact multiplies. I would be thrilled if a few of the young adults I spoke with last week ended up serving with us next year.
On another note, this year’s team arrives in 7 days. We will help train them and then I will fly over to Asia with them to help with the next steps. I can’t wait to go onto campus with them! Please keep us in prayer!