Well, we did it! 5 weeks of ministry: complete! I am writing this post on the final night as we are packing and saying goodbye to students, and I can truly say that I am proud of all that God has done through us during our time here. As a team, the eight of us were able to pass on a total of 39 contacts to the STINT team. These are students who we have met with, students who have expressed some interest in either meeting back up with us, attending an event, or carrying on the friendship in some way. We also initiated a total of 112 spiritual conversations, 48 of which resulted in an opportunity to present the gospel! This was so encouraging for us because we see the gospel moving forward both through spreading seed widely, and through tending to the seeds that start to grow.
I want to tell you about a few students I would love for you all to pray for. The first is Umberto, a philosophy major we started talking to a couple weeks ago. We have had the chance to meet up with Umberto a couple more times. We gave him a gospel tract, and he said he would read it. Yesterday, we met with him to say goodbye and had a chance to discuss the tract with him. He was very interested in it, and had some great questions about our beliefs. While he is still trying to decide if Christianity could truly be the only true way, he said he has almost never had conversations as thoughtful and sincere as ours were, and he was very glad that he met us. Please pray that the Gospel will continue to confront Umberto as the STINTers follow up with him.
We also got to meet up again with Damiano, a student I mentioned on the first week. Damiano is a catholic student from Australia. When we met to say goodbye to him, we ended up talking about spiritual things for over 2 hours! I think Damiano has some pretty similar views to us, but it was also helpful to go over the Gospel with him and show him how we process through life. Again, he said he does not have friends he is able to have these kinds of conversations with, and he loved our rational, active approach to the Gospel. We challenged him to read through the book of John and consider what Jesus' message has to say about how we should live our lives. Pray that Damiano would be willing to read through John and count the costs of living a life of service to Christ.
Just a few days ago, my friend and I got the chance to meet an Iranian student named Hamid. Although we have only gotten to talk to him twice, we quickly developed a strong friendship with him. Hamid loves to discuss philosophy and worldviews, so we had a great time talking to him. Hamid asks great questions and is very interested in what others have to say - in fact, he made me want to do a better job of taking interest in those who I talk with. I think our conversations challenged his worldview, although he still believes that truth is relative. Pray that the STINT team would be able to continue the conversation with him, and that he would continue to ask important questions about truth.
I want to say thank you one final time to each of you that made this trip possible, either through your prayer or your financial support. I don't have the space to get into it on this post, but on a personal level, this trip has been extremely beneficial and enlightening for me. Having a full five weeks to be immersed in another culture was eye-opening. Spending a month engaged in full-time ministry has made me realize that no matter where I end up long-term, I am called to engage in evangelism. This brings me to my final two prayer requests: first, pray that God would continue to guide my thoughts over the next few months as I process through what I have learned this summer. I really want to glorify Christ to the best of my ability with my life, and I have learned so much about what that looks like, but I want to continue thinking through these things. Finally, please pray that God would continue to send out laborers into the fields. One of the most impactful emotions of our time was the profound sadness we experienced as we realized how many people are going their entire lives without firmly understanding the Gospel. I challenge each of you to consider how you can continue to answer this call.
This will be my final post on the blog, but if any of you would like to hear more about my trip, I would be happy to meet up with any of you for coffee or lunch! Please text or email me if you are interested. I will be in Tulsa between July 3rd and July 6th, then in Austin from July 10th onward.