I grew up in London; a city with a Church on every corner. At Christmas, schools in the area would rehearse and present the nativity story and at Easter, everyone knew it was about more than just chocolate, even if you didn’t believe. No matter where you went, anyone could tell you who the Christians were and provide a brief explanation of what they believed — always mentioning the name of "Jesus".
This year, I learned these things so normal to me, are not “normal” everywhere.
I spent December 2017 & January 2018 in South-East Asia. Twice a week, my team and I would run an English corner, a place for students studying at the local universities to come and practice their English. We would talk about movies, books, interests, perceptions, opinions, etc. All of us were careful not to mention “Jesus” until the last week we were there — mainly for the safety of the people we were working with.
// Who is Jesus to you //
In our last week, I had the privilege to meet with one of our local friends in a private setting. She agreed to join me, as she knew there was something more, some kind of “God” out there and she was curious to know more. I remember looking across the table at another friend as she gave me a nod of encouragement that said, “Just start sharing, share who Jesus is to you”. I took the hint and started talking, “I first met Jesus when I was 16…”. Before I had even finished my first sentence, a look of confusion fell over my friends face, it became apparent to me that our friend had no idea who Jesus was. I paused, thinking to myself, “This girl doesn't know the name of Jesus, how is that even possible?” I quickly regathered my thoughts and started again — with the basics.
I shared about Creator God, how we hid from Him but He wanted a relationship with us — that was the reason He created the Earth — so God sent His son, Jesus, to bridge the gap. Every time I spoke, shared a simple truth about God you could see the light in her eyes grow brighter & brighter and pure joy came over her face. I then asked her if she had any questions and she asked, “Who is Jesus to you?” I described Him as my friend, my comfort and shared a story from my life. She covered her broad smile with her hand and said, “Sorry, I’ve just never heard this stuff before”. This led to more questions, more answers and reveling in the goodness of God.
// Why we go //
The story of Jesus really is Good News and brings pure, uncontainable joy to those who hear it.
There are people in the world who go their whole lives without hearing the name of Jesus, never knowing the goodness of God. That is why we go to the challenging places with religions and cultures extremely different from ours. To people who often do not speak the same language, so that, they too, may have the opportunity to choose Jesus.