Over lunch, when we initially started meeting, she tried to explain to me how the system of Buddhism worked. Enthusiastically, on the back of one of her quizzes, she drew a tree with multiple roots to illustrate that there was one main god and the roots represented all of the other smaller gods. She tried hard to convey to me what going to temples in Taiwan was like. I held back tears as she eagerly explained to me the details of Buddhism. The Spirit compelled me to draw a picture of the bridge illustration—showing Jesus Christ as the bridge between sinful humanity and holy God—on the same paper. She asked questions about it and kept the drawing.
Once, I asked what her priorities in life were and she said career and school. But she added: “I also want to resolve this restlessness in my heart and find out what’s important to me. Something in me needs to be resolved and I can’t figure out what and how to attain that.”
Over the past eight months God has provided opportunities for us to build a friendship, spend time studying the Scriptures together and talking about grace. She invited me to her apartment to learn how to cook Asian food. During our meetings, she often said she thought she would become a Christian eventually, but she had to figure out a bunch of stuff and start living her “real life” first. I proposed to her that if she came to Christ first, he would help her understand more about his character, and his Spirit would provide comfort, counsel and direction in life.
Another time, she said, “I think I’m half Christian.” We talked about what it meant to surrender your whole heart and life to following Jesus. I emphasized that it takes sincere faith that believes in Christ’s death and resurrection as the only way to experiencing a relationship with God.
One thing hindering her from submitting to Jesus was disappointing her mother. Also, she had a hard time believing in the personal and passionate love of Jesus for her individually. She said, “Sure, he would die for the world, but I can’t grasp why he would die just for me.”
One week this spring, she got sick during Bible study, and I took her home early. After caring for her, I waited until her roommate got home. Unexpectedly, the Lord used that time in a very powerful way. On her own she got out her Bible and started asking several questions. She was hungry for truth. She had heard that truth could set her free. She had seen Christians who loved her live in freedom, and she wanted the same joy and peace that defined their lives.
Friends continued to pray for her, and God continued to draw her. Through experiencing God’s presence among believers and hearing the stories of Jesus, the Lord captured my friend’s heart. The week before Easter, she prayed to receive Christ. When she talks about choosing Jesus, she lights up and can’t stop smiling. Her countenance has changed, and she describes how her despair has been replaced with hope. Her kind-hearted actions are no longer motivated to gain good karma or to win the approval of people, but to please the Lord. After making the decision to follow Christ, she called her mother. She patiently explained why Buddhism was not for her. She said she had fallen in love with Jesus and decided to follow the ways of the Bible. Miraculously, her mom was not upset and was OK with her conversion. Hallelujah, that was a huge answer to prayer!
Jane Owen is a student missionary correspondent serving with Go Now Missions in the Pacific Northwest.