- By Deborah Yoon – August 2018
Raewyn had always known to look for gospel opportunities at the weekly ESOL class she volunteers in at her church. In fact, that was her primary motive for volunteering there in the first place. But as weeks flew by, serving morning tea and talking with students from around the world, she began to wonder if she was achieving her initial goal of sharing the gospel with them. She had hoped God would provide a connection with one of the students, but it was hard to develop deep relationships because she was meeting new students every week.
At the same time, Raewyn and her colleagues at Tandem Ministries had been working through a weekly devotional series called Redemptive Family. Each week they explored how gospel mission is for every Christian to do together with their local church family. One week in particular focused on the responsibility of Christians to build relationships with those around us through prayerful interest, listening, and serving. Redemptive Family helpfully highlighted how this does not have to be done alone. Rather, it is an opportunity to do mission with our church family. By introducing the friends in our ‘personal world’ to our safe circle of Christian friends, the church can work together to draw them closer to Jesus. Raewyn thought of her ESOL class and wondered which of the students she could have such a friendship with. She and her colleagues prayed for one another each week, asking God to help them to be prayerful and proactive in witnessing Jesus to those around them.
One Sunday, Raewyn saw one of the ESOL students, Jailu, at her church. To her surprise, Jailu walked straight up to Raewyn and asked “Is this your church? I’m not a Christian but my son and daughter-in-law are.” Raewyn was shocked. Sure, she was hoping to eventually invite one of her ESOL students to church, but she didn’t expect one would randomly turn up and walk straight up to her to kick off a conversation about Christianity!
“I never expected in a million years that she would come to me!”
Since then Raewyn deliberately looked for Jailu at ESOL to get to know her better and God continued to direct the two women to one another. Over time Raewyn found out that Jailu was really keen to learn English so she could talk to her grandchildren and that she had seen them read through a picture Bible. After a few weeks, Raewyn asked Jailu if she would be interested in meeting one to one, to which Jailu said “Yes!”
Raewyn was excited for what God was doing in her friendship with Jailu, but she now had to figure out what would be next best step. She knew learning English was Jailu’s priority, so she had to think through what would be helpful for Jaliu’s English while also opening up the space to talk about the gospel. Initially Raewyn asked Amy (her mandarin-speaking friend from church) to join them but she was unable to.
Then Raewyn started talking to Amy’s husband Karl, and found out how to use the Jesus Film app.
The next day Raewyn and Jailu watched the first part of the Jesus Film in Mandarin. Jailu took notes on the creation story, and afterwards Raewyn asked Jailu to re-tell the story in English. At the end of the clip, it briefly introduced Jesus, the one who would fix the broken relationship between God and His creation. Jailu had not heard much of the story before, and when Raewyn asked if she would like to continue going through the film, Jailu was keen. They are set up to meet again soon, and meanwhile she has continued to attend Raewyn’s church.
Isn’t this exciting? Somehow, in one woman’s desire to learn English to communicate with her grandchildren, God has entangled an opportunity to draw her to Himself. He placed regular people like Raewyn and her church family in Jailu’s life, who are simply prayerful and willing to see more people join His kingdom. Let’s praise God for His work, asking He would keep Jailu interested in hearing the gospel and that He would help us also to be prayerfully on mission with our church families too.
Redemptive Family is a fantastic 5 week devotional resource to explore with other believers, especially your church family. It was created by the team at Love Your Neighbour for personal devotions, but also in hopes of enabling dialogue between church members and their leadership team.
If you have a friend who may be interested in exploring who Jesus is, you could check out the Jesus Film app together. With over 200 (free!) videos in 1400+ languages, you’re bound to find something to watch and discuss together.