When I entered university, I knew I would gain skills for my future field of work, but I didn’t know I would end up learning how to share the gospel.
Here’s what I learned about God through sharing the gospel with others on my campus:
During the construction of my university’s newest building, Christian clubs gathered together for Jesus Week. One day, I offered a copy of the book of John to a construction worker. He looked at the small book and our banners, and said, “That’s not for me. I’m not good enough.” His smile dropped as he waved the book away.
If I’m honest, even as a Christian, I tend to forget God loves me, in spite of my sin. Even in moments when I mess up, hurt people, procrastinate, or ignore responsibilities— God still loves me, and he loves you too. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not perish but receive eternal life.”
God’s love for us is not dependent on who we are, or what we’ve done or have not done; but is solely based on who he is and what he did. He gave us his son, Jesus, to provide for us eternal life.
When we walked around campus with a “FAQ” handout, one question would top our list. No matter their ethnicity, religious background, or social class, each person with whom we shared a faith-based conversation asked, “Why did you choose to talk to me?” After sharing stories of their parents’ divorce, experiencing abandonment from a parent, or doubts as to whether God heard their prayers, students wondered why strangers came to connect with them. We understood–there’s enough Netflix, Facebook, and Instagram to distract us from face-to-face conversations, much less vulnerable conversations! So we told each student the same thing, “God told us to.”
Cue: raised eyebrows, glances around the cafeteria, and gazing at the floor.
We couldn’t help but smile, and soon enough grew bold about saying it. It was true. We fully believed that in the midst of experiencing loneliness, God was reaching out to them through us and inviting them into a relationship with him. In the middle of heartbreak and stress, God was reaching out to bring them comfort, and reminding them they weren’t alone in suffering. In dealing with friendship or relationship breaks, hardships, or loss, God was meeting them with an embrace of understanding and love.
That’s when we learned God loves us more than we can comprehend. When a young woman told us her father abandoned her, we got to share how God is our father who promises to stay by our side. When a young man struggled with accepting a good-natured God because his mom battled cancer, we got to share how through Jesus’ suffering we came to know God. After suffering God is sometimes able to grant us peace.
Throughout our conversations, we got to know people and make a ton of friends. I loved how we could spot someone in the cafeteria, or in the hallway, and wave “hello” because of the time we spent with them. As the semester went on, we grew more connected to the campus through our conversations, and as our hearts broke for the lost, we started to realize how God felt for the world. God’s love travels through every campus, every border, in between every culture, and around the edges of the earth. How do I know?
We happened to share the gospel with students from Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Europe.
We didn’t hop on a plane to reach the lost; they were in our classrooms. Once, my friend Yan, hosted a prayer meeting on campus. We met in the cafeteria and Yan arrived with a deck of cards. She handed one card to each of us. The front of the card revealed an image of a person, and the back described their people group (communities with their own language and culture), with information on whether or not anyone is able to share the gospel with them.
I was shocked. Here, God led a young woman to bring her friends to pray for people groups around the world! Most people would never know these men and women existed. But God did–he noticed them and wanted more people to love on them through prayer!
“I’m scared.” That’s how I described myself before sharing my faith with others. I imagined being screamed at, rejected, or even someone throwing a table (I have a wide imagination). I anticipated the worst possibilities because I didn’t believe God could use me. I believed my lack of experience in evangelism, or lack of Biblical knowledge meant I couldn’t share. I only believed what people thought of me, and that “fitting in” was more important.
To my surprise, my friend and leader said, “Me too.” Then she pulled me aside to pray.
Instead of letting these lies guide my actions, my leader and I talked to our friends and students on campus. After that day, I fell in love with sharing the gospel. There was so much joy, grace, and love in those conversations. Each time I didn’t know something, my partner would enter with an answer. And when neither of us knew how to tackle a question, we asked to connect with them later and then do some research. God used us in our weakness.
Each time my friends and I went sharing, we prayed God would lead us to deep spiritual conversations, provide us with the words to share the gospel, and to help us be great listeners. God faithfully answered. He answered those prayers every single time, and we knew it was because he loved us. It was God’s love extended to both the ones sharing and to those who had never heard his name.
God also showed his love for us by providing faithful partners to go sharing with. For us, that meant God showed up even when we were knee deep in midterms, struggling with discouragement, or worried about who we’d talk to. He gave us peace and reminded us that even in our difficulties, we can reflect his glory. God’s action of sending Jesus to die for our sins meant he loved us, more than anyone else ever could.
And with that we ventured out into the uni-verse.