By Olivia Beals
“Well, I am not a Christian. I am not interested. I am actually a Buddhist," Lisa* nervously chuckled out. That was her response to my approaching her about Power to Change at O-Week.
Despite her lack of interest, I still got to know her. It turned out she was a first year agriculture student from a South East Asian country, with a mutual friend. I gave her some space, but at the last second, thought it was still worthwhile to invite her to our Trivia Night at the end of the week. She was interested, but didn't give any useful forms of contact; so surely, I thought that was the last I would see of her.
Trivia Night rolled around, and she showed up - with a friend! I was so surprised to see her again. I didn't get much time with her, and was deflated to see her leave unexpectedly early. Once again, I assumed she wasn’t interested.
Three weeks into the semester, I did bump into Lisa... at our Core Group! She had found our Facebook page. She kept showing up, kept asking questions, and my student co-leader and I kept praying that she would come to know Jesus soon. After a handful of meetings, I thought it was fitting to get some one on one time with Lisa again to walk through the gospel. While going through the “Knowing God Personally” booklet (KGP), she had good, deep, perceptive questions, but at the end said "No" to following Jesus, assuming that God was against the people and matters she cared about. After asking more about the injustice that affects herself and others, I asked, "What if I told you that your heart for people, and God's heart for people, aren't all that different?” I assumed, again, after saying no to the gospel and leaving her with this question, that this was the end of my journey with Lisa.
My faith proved small - she kept showing up to Core Group, she kept asking questions about God's heart for all, and we kept praying. A few weeks later it occurred to me that going through the six-week “Christianity Explained” (CE) course would benefit her. She in the very least seemed to want to be informed to make sense of it all; why else would she keep showing up? We started the following Monday. Meetings involved hard questions, honest, resistant thoughts, and at one point her dozing off! But despite my assumptions, I’d get texts asking what chapters in Mark to read on the weekends.
Session 2: Lisa came with questions and news! She found that Jesus wasn't a liar or a lunatic, but that He indeed was Lord. I asked if she talked about this with anyone else. She replied, "I talk with my friends, I told them that I am converting to Christianity. I just want to know how to honour my family, and my culture too." She later shared that she was ready to accept Jesus, but wanted to make sure she did it for Him, not anyone else. I was elated and blindsided. She was so close - there was no way that I could think it was over this time.
We talked about Jesus’ resurrection in Session 3. This time she was confronted with a new heart she had for people that don't know God yet. As we talked about those who accept Jesus and those who don't, she asked questions as if she was identifying with one of the two groups. "Lisa, what do you think God desires most from you?" She replied that yes, He wanted her to go to Heaven, but also, that He wanted her to know Him. She finally saw God's heart for her (and the world!). "I reckon I'm ready to pray that prayer and mean it." What I thought was disinterest so many times in the past, turned out to be a thoughtful and informed decision for Christ that day.
*not her real name