This marks our 9th year of Canadian students investing their Reading Week to help British students discover Jesus in partnership with local Christian students. This year’s team to the UK split into three teams: Birmingham, Cambridge and Nottingham. Witty, one the Nottingham participants shares how God changed her through this experience. – The Official Blog
by Witty Tse
If you asked me in December what I would be doing during my Spring Reading Week, “going to the United Kingdom with Power to Change for their UK Reading Week Trip” would not have been my response.
After three years of God nudging and sending people to speak to me, I applied on the day of the deadline. Three days later, I found out I was accepted, and three days after that, I had raised 33% of my funds and was experiencing an outpouring of encouragement and support. God shattered the barriers that had prevented me from previously applying.
Expectations versus reality
Heading into this missions trip, I had no expectations—only the understanding that God would work and that I would not fly back to Canada unchanged or untransformed.
As the week went on, my heart broke and ached for these students who expressed their lack of desire to search for truth, held an apathetic view of spirituality and reacted defensivly to the mention of Christianity.
Conversations on campus
We were split into three teams. I was placed in the Nottingham team, where at the University of Nottingham, we helped the Student Life ministry (Power to Change in the United Kingdom) share the gospel and invite students to their event the upcoming Thursday, “Porn Again Christian”, where an ex-porn star shared her testimony.
Each day on campus we went to chat with students. We approached students on campus and asked them to chat with us. We used many tools to spark gospel-themed conversations including: Perspective Cards, the Knowing God Personally booklet, the Think Box (smaller version of Soularium), and even simply: “Hey, I’m Canadian! Let’s chat!”
Three times He asked me…
This particular afternoon Justin, my team leader, and I were aiming to use a deck of Perspective Cards to start a conversation. Before we entered into the canteen, we quickly prayed for the Holy Spirit to lead and for boldness.
As we entered, I heard God ask me, “Do you trust Me?” which struck me as an odd question.
I responded with a sort of, “Duh! Obviously!”
The first student we approached gave us a sort of “deer in headlights” look and stammered out that she had an assignment to finish.
We thanked her and God asked me again, “Do you trust Me?”.
I was not discouraged as rejections are expected, so I responded with, “Yeah! I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t!”
We approached a second student, who was polite but looked taken aback. He mentioned he only had two minutes but was willing to chat for a bit. He shared that he is currently a Ph.D student and a Muslim from Sudan. As the conversation continued, it was clear that he was uncomfortable, so we thanked him and left.
I’ll admit, I was a tad bit discouraged after that last conversation, but nevertheless, still looking forward to chatting with students.
God asked me for a third and final time, “Do you trust Me?”, and I finally understood the weight of His question:
“Do you really trust in Me or do you, deep down, doubt My power?” Ouch.
God answers, even though I doubt
I didn’t get the chance to reply, as we quickly engaged with our third student that afternoon. His name was Ben, and he was friendly, polite, and open. Not even five minutes in, we dove into a great spiritual conversation which was opened up when he pointed to one of the Perspective Cards (the “Hard Evidence” card for the question, “What is the source of spiritual truth?”), and declared, “Definitely not this card.”
Ben grew up in a Christian environment, with a Christian father with whom he constantly clashed and a younger brother with cystic fibrosis, whom he loves dearly. We went from the topic of death, the afterlife, his beliefs, his case against Christianity and even got to share the gospel with him. This exchange lasted about 45 minutes and Ben was interested in connecting with other students in Nottingham so he left us with his contact information to pass along!
Why do I doubt?
As we walked back to the rendezvous location, I finally understood what God was trying to teach me by asking me if I trusted Him.
It’s easy to trust God when times are easy and life seems to be going well, but when times get tough and I face hardened hearts and my own discouragement, I start to doubt.
The students I was seeking to reveal God to, were the ones God used to reveal Himself to me. As I took steps of faith and engaged with students, God revealed the underlying doubts I never knew I had. He gave me opportunities to confront this doubt and to experience Him answering my prayers in ways I never expected him to.
At the end of the week, a letter was returned to us that we had written to ourselves at the beginning of the week. As I finished reading my letter, I could picture God chuckling as He whispered to me, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Trusting God is a muscle that grows when the weight of challenge is placed upon it. He is trustworthy, but we sometimes suffer from spiritual amnesia that prevents us from being confident of His goodness toward us and His power in our lives. Take a minute to remind yourself of God’s goodness and offer up your insecurities and doubts to Him.
- Look back: When has God proved He is reliable, powerful and faithful in your life? Think back and find a specific event. Consider your doubt and insecurity during that time and how God showed up. Thank Him and ask Him to renew your confidence in Him.
- Look in the Word: Is there a Biblical story or verse that anchors your mind in His faithfulness in times of doubt? (Genesis 35, 38-48; Romans 8:31-39)
- Look forward: Confess your doubt to God who knows you and loves you. Surrender your plans, your self-sufficiency and your fears to Him. Cast your anxiety about the future on Him, He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Meet Witty Tse
Witty is a third year student at the University of Waterloo majoring in Biochemistry. She has a knack for throwing out “hilarious” puns and really bad jokes at the perfect moment. She loves making life interesting one way or another, learning new things, meeting new friends, and chatting about anything related to Jesus.