When I first met the woman who would later become my wife, her desire was to go to China as a missionary. Who would have thought that the Lord would bring China right here to Dubuque, Iowa?
As for me, technologically challenged with Luddite tendencies, who would have thought our inclusion in the network of students from Taiwan and China would be so well assisted by Facebook?
King Solomon had a big worldview: “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name –– for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm –– when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you” (1 Kings 8:41–43).
Jesus validated Solomon’s worldview: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-6).
Opening Our Home
For the past seven years, we’ve been involved in a host program through a local college. The program pairs up international students with host families. The students don’t live with us but we are encouraged to invite the students to our house. The students are normally very open to learning about our culture and traditions, which, in our case, includes our relationship with God. We usually have our students over before Christmas and we share the Christmas story. We use the Resurrection Eggs to share about Easter.
Some time ago, we had a baby shower for one couple from China. They wanted to bring some of their friends. So we invited some of our Christian friends. The result was more relationships being established between Christians and our international friends with lots of Facebook friend requests and tons of pictures being posted!
Trusting in God’s Timing
This same couple was out for a walk recently and stopped by our house just before our Bible study. We invited them in and invited them to stay for the Bible study and they stayed, with me scratching my head as to God’s timing and the subject of the study –– 1 Corinthians 14. They came the next week for a cookout and the following week they came again as we looked at 1 Corinthians 15 where the gospel is almost leaping off the page!
They joined us in attending Asbury Community Chapel (ACC) several times. Another couple from Taiwan attended ACC off and on with us and even invited some of their classmates. One such student, Amy (not her real name), told us she was searching for a belief system. While I wish we could say we’ve been strategic in what we are doing, we’ve mostly just watched as the Lord exposed them to His Word, to Christians, and to the local church.
God Gives the Increase
The school year ended and most of the students finished up and left town. Several, including Amy, moved to California to find jobs. Imagine our surprise and joy when Amy posted pictures on Facebook of her baptism and identification with Christ!
Who would have thought the Lord would greatly broaden our worldview to include those He brings to our very own backyard? And all we needed to do was welcome them and sow a few seeds (1 Corinthians 3:6).