The game plan for my outreach team in Asia was to go out into the universities, make friends with students, hangout, and then eventually share the gospel with the hope of them coming to know Christ.
Now that plan was much easier said than done. I found it quite difficult to just walk up to a random university student, introduce myself and ask them if they wanted to hangout. It was awkward! To my surprise, by the end of our time in Asia, it was really hard to leave the friendships we quite frankly had to force in the earlier days of outreach.
During the second week or so, two of my teammates and I were in our “designated” university on the hunt for friendship. When we saw two girls, about our age sitting on a stone bench in the park with their guitars. One of my brave teammates walked up to them and started a conversation. Thankfully they spoke decent English and my teammate and I really hit it off with the two girls. Awesome. God had pointed us in the direction of these two ladies and we were confident we were starting something great.
As the four of us chatted, my other teammate started talking to another lady in the park just a few feet away from us. The interaction was short, but at least it was a start. We all ended our conversations by exchanging contact information so we could later meet up. (Yes, these strangers with jobs and university classes were planning to give up time to be with us… people they had just met!)
We ended up hanging out numerous times with these three at our English corners as well as other friends we had made. (English corners a place for people to hang out and only talking in English as an opportunity to practice speaking English. It’s also fun to play games like telephone, Pictionary and hangman.)
As we became closer with these students, we would invite them to our Bible study hoping to share the truth about Jesus and the Bible. The two girls with guitars got super weirded out by the invitation and we never saw them again. We did not see that coming as we assumed that God had led us to them to explain the gospel.
We later found out from the other girl we met at the park that she was actually a Christian too! She told us that moments before we met her she was actually praying to God asking for a sign to show her that He truly does exist and that she should continue to trust in Him. The next thing she saw was three white girls from the other side of the planet who wanted to be her friend!
She shared with us weeks later that she interrupted meeting us as the sign from God. I find it quite funny that our awkward socializing was used by God to show this girl His love. We had no idea saying yes in that moment would make any impact at all. Today she is a missionary in her own country. (Please say a prayer for her!!)
I wanted to share this story with you because it shows how perfect Gods timing is. My teammates and I could have taken a different turn in the park, shown up a half hour later or even two minutes later and we could have never met this amazing woman who has a heart for missions within her home country. Because of His perfect timing and our willingness to step outside of our comfort zones we got to pour into her life and she got to pour into ours.
Through this experience, we also were reminded that we don’t always know what’s best. We thought for sure we would get to share the gospel with the two girls with guitars but it just didn’t happen. Not like we imagined anyway. Today I pray that they would hear God knocking at the doors of their hearts and accept Him as their savior.
Finding friends wasn’t my favorite thing to do on outreach as it required being uncomfortable, but it was definitely the most rewarding. I encourage you to say yes to God and let him walk you through His plan for you, He really does know what’s best.