“So, what have you learned about Jesus today?” Ed, the leader of the small group Bible study, looks around the circle expectantly. The air conditioner hums. The girl from Kyrgyzstan fixes her eyes firmly on the carpet. The two Taiwanese girls intently study their printout of the story. The Polish girl twists her hands in her lap.
This handful of international students have come to learn more about who God is and what the Bible says. We’ve been looking at the story of Jesus healing a man with leprosy in Mark 1. While the guy from Ukraine seems to have had some exposure to the Bible, the girl from Kyrgyzstan said at the beginning that she didn’t know anything about Jesus. So we’ve been reading over the verses slowly, explaining words or concepts that may be new to non-English speakers.
Finally the enthusiastic young Ukrainian next to Ed speaks up. “I learned that Jesus can heal people. Just by touching him and speaking!” He beams at the rest of us. Others follow his lead.
“I learned that Jesus has compassion,” someone offers. “He cares about everyone,” another pipes up.
“What about you, Andrea?” Ed asks. The tall blond girl from Poland had been eagerly asking questions during the study. Now her voice is quiet, slow.
“I feel… that Jesus is real.”
No one moves. I feel my heart pounding. My breathing sounds loud in the heavy silence.
“I don’t know why,” Andrea continues, as if she can’t believe it herself. “But right now, I feel that Jesus is real and He’s alive.”
After the study ends, Andrea seeks out one of the American college students to talk more. And that night Andrea makes the decision to give her life to Jesus.
When next week’s study comes around, Andrea excitedly flies around giving out the paperback New Testaments, drawing in people who are hanging around outside. Her excitement is contagious. “You need to come to this study! You need to read the Bible and learn about Jesus!”
No one has to ask Andrea to tell others what she’s experienced. She’s met Jesus, the One who shows compassion, the One who heals and transforms. And she wants to tell everyone about Him!
“Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10:8, NIV