Not gifted—just available

When I finally realized that God was calling me to go on a mission trip last spring I remember praying, “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” Slowly but surely, I’m realizing that God doesn’t kid that often.

Since my team and I arrived in Philadelphia, we have mostly been working on college campuses. Recently, we were told to go to Community College of Philadelphia. According to our supervisor, it is the hardest campus to reach with the gospel.  We were just going to prayer-walk the campus and get a feel for where most of the students hang out.

I had been prayer-walking for a little over an hour when I found the student life center. I decided to go inside and look around, mainly to get out of the heat.  I sat down and started journaling about all I had seen and just writing my thoughts and prayers out to the Lord. As I was sitting there, a girl sat next to me. I had my headphones on, so at first I didn’t realize that she wanted to talk to me, but she finally tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention. She was at the community college for orientation and wanted to know where she could get something to eat. I just happened to get lost in the student life center about 10 minutes before this conversation, so I pretty much knew exactly where everything was. 

As we walked to the food court, she and I started talking. When we finally transitioned from school talk to other things, I realized that I didn’t even know her name. I asked and we laughed. She told me her name was Emma. I could tell that Emma was definitely introverted and that her opening up to me was not easy for her. So, when I brought up religion, it was either going to be a hit or a huge miss. However, God is absolutely incredible, so when I brought up religion, she instantly was curious about what I believed. She told me her family wasn’t really religious because, they said, it got in the way of their goals in life. I asked her if she agreed, and she started to tell me how she felt that life didn’t even have a point to begin with. 

After that statement, I honestly cannot remember the exact words of our conversation. I know I answered all of her questions about Jesus Christ, and I explained to her how he died for us. The next thing I knew, I was leading her through a prayer to accept Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.

We kept talking after that, and she started asking me all types of questions about what she was supposed to do know, where she should go to church, who she should hang out with, where she could find a Bible, how she can get to know God on a deeper level.  We talked out as much as we could, but eventually she had to go finish her orientation.  

After Emma left, all I could do was just sit in the chair, in the middle of the food court, and marvel at God.  I had never been there when someone else accepted Christ. The best thing about all of it is that I know it was God speaking through me. God is so powerful and so marvelous. God can use us even though we are weak. For it is through my weakness his strength and love shines, and it is through his strength and love that I now have a new sister in Christ, Emma Beasley.

Caitlin Campbell, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, is serving with Go Now Missions in Philadelphia.

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