“I really want to know who you think Jesus is,” one of our students asked as we walked to our community service project! This semester we have been having discussion clubs on Mondays. It has been one of our students’ favorite days. This past Monday, our topic was on society. We discussed things the students like about their society and what they would like to see change. Together we agreed on two projects to do as a class that would represent our English center and would make a statement to the surrounding community. Our first mission was to clean up an alley by our center that is situated between two major roads, one of which is the original Silk Road. One key rule we have at our center is not to share our faith on the premises. The reason for this rule is so the students don’t feel deceived, feeling we have bait and tricked them. So when this student asked me this question off sight it was the perfect opportunity to share who I think Jesus is! I was surrounded by the other students when this guy asked and I literally saw all their ears perk as they waited for my response. I talked until we arrived to the location where we would be doing our project. Even though it was a super nasty job we all walked away looking at a clean alley thinking, “Wow, look at what we can do together if we just take a step in the right direction.” And I was smiling so deeply inside that God gave me this opportunity to share who Jesus is to me and to get deeper into the lives of our students.
So many excellent things have been happening this past month. We started out the month spending three days with our leaders from the States doing team building and learning ways to be more effective in our work. This was a much needed time for our team that consists of six different nationalities. We are blessed to be a part of an organization the takes the time to pour into their people and step in when they see the need.
Athletes in Action
One of the other many things Campus Crusade does is to put together basketball teams in the States and have those teams join National tournaments around the world, which becomes a huge platform for sharing the Gospel. On the Monday ending the leadership conference we welcomed one of these Athletes in Action Teams to Central Asia. Every morning they were on campuses talking to students, inviting them to their games. Each day our team passed out invitations to student meetings we had both weeks while the team was here. During these meetings we had fun activities for the students and in the course of the program one basketball team member came up and shared how they came to faith in Jesus. Americans have a good platform; add in a former NBA player and they really listen! After they heard the player’s testimony we placed a believer at each table to continue the discussion. The first week around 210 students heard the gospel and the second week after the tournament another 200 plus students heard this truth! The second week was particularly special for me, as four of my students from the center sat with me during this time and I got to share my testimony and how I came to faith with them. We are still following up with all these contacts; please pray that we will follow up well and students will see this as fact and be receptive to it!
Reaching Our Goals
Wow, another university year is coming to an end! We can hardly believe it has almost been two years since we came here to start this center! Looking back brings to mind our initial goals of getting the center up and running, showing the local believers how it can work, and then passing it over to them as their long term platform for attracting students. We recall the days leading up to our official opening, not knowing if anyone would come. That first week we had about 5-7 members join, all the way to now when we’re having 67 students study at English Center! We have two levels of students, and the beginner level is being taught by two of our local staff. It feels incredible to see all the work God has done to help us attain our goals!
Recently we have been facing life-changing decisions. Annie’s nursing license will become inactive if she does not practice within five years and it is coming up on that time. So, we have had a big choice to make. Should we stay here, look at what other location our Organization might want us to go to and let her licenses go, or go back to the States and have her start working again? We have been praying about this for months and months. After seeking God’s will we believe He is leading us out of Central Asia. We will be handing the center over to the locals as we have planned and Annie will go back to the hospital. Although, we sense God’s hand as we step in this direction it has been a bitter-sweet conclusion to come to. We are sad to leave our second home here and the work we’ve been so active in. But at the same time we are looking forward to what God has in store for us next! Crusade is working with me on trying to place me in a position where I can still be used with my gifts in Evangelism. I am not certain what that exactly looks like right now, but I look forward to sharing the details as they become clearer! As we seek the Lord about this we would ask you to pray for our direction, as well.
Even before this decision, we knew that we would be returning to the States this summer for our furlough; so we have been saving one hundred dollars a month for the past three years toward our return travel home. We were able to get tickets for our family for $4,400 on June 7th. We need an additional $800 to cover the cost of our voyage. If you are in a position at this time, can you assist us with this one-time need? We are truly grateful for all that you do for us! Thank you so much for your support! We look forward to sharing more stories like these in the coming months!