Our Lives As Well

by Ben Lim

Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV

In 2016 Chinese international student Sarah[1] started attending a Bible study group in the student residence where she lived alongside hundreds of others from around the world. The group was started by fellow resident Ninoy, a Christian student from the Philippines, then serving on the euFOCUS committee. euFOCUS Howie (staff trainee) Andrew, helped lead. At Ninoy’s direction, Andrew and Ninoy took turns cooking dinner for the international students in the large communal kitchen. Sarah enjoyed the hospitality of the meal each week, and the open and honest conversations which arose, with prayer offered for people’s struggles. Bible study very naturally followed. Andrew and Ninoy spent five or six hours (and money!) each week serving and sharing life with the group. Sarah’s interest grew, if not without careful and sometimes challenging questioning. Eventually, towards the end of 2016, she put her faith in Christ.

Sarah’s story illustrates the ‘concrete relational thinking’ of many international students’ cultures, in which truth is best apprehended ‘in terms of the active emotional relationships present in a concrete situation’.[2] Sarah discovered God’s love in the gospel of Jesus while she experienced the love of God’s people through the meals, time together and prayerful concern of Ninoy and Andrew. Loving relationships where life is shared enable more effective proclamation of God’s love in Christ.

The power of concrete relationship continues into Christian discipleship. This year Sarah moved into a different student residence, again with many other international students. With Ninoy and Andrew’s example and help she was keen to start a similar Bible study in her new home, and is a core member of that group which has begun meeting. Already the smell of dinner cooking has drawn interest from other residents!

Please pray that Sarah, instructed by Ninoy and Andrew’s example, might similarly love and share God’s love with others.

[1] Name has been changed.

[2] See David Hesselgrave, Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 325-40.

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