From tears to joy

Something was wrong with me physically most of the time abroad, but it was worthwhile. The first week I was fighting jet lag. Then, the heat gave me a heat rash on my back. Later, a virus went around that decided to fall on me. As a result, I had a sore throat, fever and a headache for 24 hours before the antibiotics kicked in.

Those hours were the darkest I have ever experienced abroad. Alone in my room while everyone continued with camp activities, the room felt so quiet and lonely. I had thoughts of wanting to go back home and just wanting to see a familiar face. Tears run down my face, as I couldn’t fall asleep due to the headache and fever. All I could do was cry out to God to save me. Finally in the afternoon, I fell asleep.

I woke up to my roommates coming back. Never had I been so happy to see them. Somehow I had joy to greet them and ask them about their day. They asked how I was and hung out with me for a while.

One of them especially gave me her undivided attention. I decided to ask her about her belief in a god. She said she didn’t because her country did not. However, she did agree that religion beliefs should be personal.

I had no idea how to continue, so I quietly prayed for help as I continued. I told how God was the only one I had when I traveled abroad. “On sick days like this,” I said, “God is the only constant, my only hope of life.”

As I continued, she shared with me what gave her hope and energy to keep going. However, after listening to my story of my sickness and hope, she announced, “I want to know God, too.”

Dumbfounded, I could not believe my ears. I stopped and just thanked God.

God had totally done it. He himself had brought the conversation to that conclusion. That whole day of tears suddenly was purposeful, and my heart was full of joy. I thanked God for my suffering and tears. He had not only rescued me, but also rescued my friend. She decided to learn more about God and read the Bible.

Gabriela, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, served with Go Now Missions in East Asia. Her last name is withheld for security reasons.

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