It’s so important to get out of our comfort zones to grow spiritually. One of the things that Tandem’s ministry to university students – Student Life – does every year is challenge students to join summer mission trips to locations where people have less access to the gospel message than in New Zealand. During these mission trips students are challenged to grow in their faith as they are placed in situations where they are forced to trust God more than normal, whether because of different language, cultural environment, or living arrangements. Despite, or perhaps because of, these challenges, they also get to experience God at work in amazing ways. They come back with lifelong lessons of how God is at work in and through them, and also get to see lives changed at the same time.
Fiona was one of these students who had the opportunity to share the gospel with someone who had never seen a Bible before!
“My highlight was sharing the gospel with Anna, a second year student studying German. We had already been meeting for four weeks, and God had already taught me a lot about building a friendship that was honourable for Him and Anna. As I was brought out my Bible to put it on the coffee table, Anna gently took it out of my hands. She started flipping the delicate pages, staring at them in awe and wonder. She had never seen a Bible before!
Anna’s reaction startled me at first, but it was humbling to realise how many people just like her know so little about Jesus. After I had shared the gospel to her, she said everything about it made sense to her. God was at work in her heart!
Anna’s response to the gospel reminded me that there are so many more students like her who could be interested in hearing about God.”
Jasmine was another student who had the opportunity to communicate God’s love and caring heart to a student at exactly the right time:
“Emily was someone I met who realised the weight of the gospel as I shared with her. She was amazed that God actually had foreknowledge of Jesus’ death but allowed it out of His love for us. At the end of our conversation, she prayed thanking God for Jesus’ death, and committing to follow Jesus.
A minute after this exciting moment, however, she received news of her parents’ divorce being finalised because of her father’s unfaithfulness. I was able to comfort her as she cried, saying “Even though today you feel like you lost your earthly father, you now have a Father in heaven who will never leave you or hurt you, but will love you forever.”
Emily saw God’s hand in this, and recognised the significance of this day. Her gratefulness for now knowing the truth continues to remind me of the urgency and privilege of sharing this great news.”
As well as the fruit of those who become Christians during this time, summer mission trips are great opportunities for students to experience the life-changing nature of the gospel, and to grow as they partner with God in his work of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Praise God for the 133 people who, like Anna and Emily, responded to the gospel through these mission trips. Please pray that God will continue to grow and mature these new Christians in their situations.