I’ve gone to church for most of my life, but it wasn’t until the summer before my freshman year of college when I really understood who God was and what Jesus Christ did for me. My church in Philadelphia and New Hope Fellowship with Pastor Ryan Miller has helped me grow immensely in my faith and my dependence on Him. God has been so, so good in all the ups and downs I have experienced in my life.
Last fall, I studied abroad in London. Overall, Europe is spiritually very dry as far as Christianity is concerned, but I was fortunate to have had many God-centered conversations during my time there. Coming back to the US and reflecting on my experience made me realize the true urgency to spread the gospel. I have always been afraid to talk about Christianity with nonbelievers, but God gave me the courage to share my testimony and my faith to my non-believing friends at school, and in the spring he provided an opportunity to continue doing so in Taichung, my first ever missions trip.
I was excited, but so anxious and nervous the day before our flight that I began to go through my old Mandarin textbooks, looking up translations for words like ‘Christian’, ‘pray’, and ‘blessing’. I then proceeded to worry how I would ever successfully share the gospel in just one week with the language and cultural barrier. But praise God that I will never have to carry the burden of bringing someone to believe because salvation is only by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8).
That week in Taichung was one of the biggest blessings of my life. Everyone was incredibly kind, welcoming, and eager to get to know us. I was most touched by how open my Taiwanese friends were – to talk about their families, their dreams, their insecurities, and to listen to me about my life and the one true living God.
The first few days were very discouraging to learn what a spiritually dark place Taichung is. And half the week alone I was simply getting to know people’s names. But seven days was enough for God to open up many doors and many hearts, including mine. It was humbling to see the students wrestle with the truth of God’s love and sacrifice. Our discussions in class about religion were met by interest and numerous questions. I became friends with so many students who I know I will be keeping in touch with for a very long time. We continue to talk about God, and while their acceptance of Christ may be a very long process, this is the beginning nonetheless. I grew very close to one friend who I know has struggled to accept Christ for the past four years, but each year she grows closer, and I could tell her heart opened up a little bit more during our short time together. I pray that in God’s time, my Taiwanese friends would all come to believe.
I’m so grateful to have been a part of something so much larger than myself. This trip has made me see more of His glory, and I am so thankful to you and your family for all your work there. I hope I will be able to return to Taichung soon!
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