Friday, January 13, 2006

A New Year's Prayer for the Strangers and Scholars

The beginning of any semester often finds students landing on American soil for the first time full of fervent zeal to see and experience this controversial land and to receive perhaps one of the best educations anywhere in the world. Engineer (electrical, mathematical, civil, and chemical) degrees are by far the most popular that I have seen on the campus where we minister.

This first week of spring semester classes bring a vulnerability to the students who have somewhat lost the momentum they had gained in the fall, and to those new students, it is a time of learning a new campus, new faces, and an uncertainty where they fit in. For a good amount of foreign students, it is an opportunity to explore some of the other aspects of America that interests them: a freedom of religion and a freedom to learn about other religions.

On Tuesday of this week, Jeff was at the first literature table of this semester. Because of the above reasons and perhaps even the presence of lingering New Year's resolutions to do more about religion in their lives, the students are drawn easier to the table for a quick conversation, to commitment to attend a certain Bible study, or to grab some literature to digest later in the privacy of their own room. Just in a matter of an hour, he had met two men from India (newly arrived to the U.S.), and who were very skeptical that our literature was free, but very interested in being able to study the Bible in a small group setting. The next day, we had another table after my girls' Bible study, and the two guys came by the table again. They looked lost and lonely, so we talked with them for a little while.

Another female student came by the table that day and took some literature. She told us that she had grown up in a Christian homes (of sorts) but had never really embraced the teachings. Feeling confused and like there was more out there, she searched other religions, the most recent being Islam. Then she said, "But it just wasn't working, so I'm coming back to Christianity because that's where I really think I'll find what I'm looking for." She came to my all girls' study on the book of Proverbs and said she really enjoyed it. She called me the next day and wanted to talk. Since then, we have played phone tag, but I'm trusting and praying that I will be able to really help her in her search for the Truth.

Last night at our group Bible study, we had a sweet time of reunion and catching up on everyone's prayers requests and praises. The guys from India never showed up, but we are betting that they got lost and couldn't find the room. We'll contact them again on Monday and try to reiterate our desire to be there for them.

Anew we pray that God would send us more and more seekers of the Truth! We pray, too, to be light and salt to this dark world of academia that desires to absorb these students into its recesses of sin and depravity. We choose to differ with the prince of darkness and remind him that "greater is He that is in (us), than he who is in the world!" It is our prayer that these students will find Jesus who died on the cross to become their Savior, and may they, Father, walk away from darkness into Marvelous Light!!!