I cannot tell you the number of times in the past year that I’ve said, “I have no heart for the nations.” I was the former ex-pat kid who grew up on airplanes, but had a hardened heart to God’s people outside of the United States. That is a large part of why I ended up on project in Chicago and not East Asia, or Germany. I was honest about my apathy, but I never asked God to change my heart. I think I was scared of what a change of heart looked like. However, God knew that He could do big work in this heart of mine less than 5 hours from my home. I didn’t need to get on an airplane, go through customs or leave the Midwest to develop a heart for the world.
My first day of University of Illinois Chicago’s campus, I received the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ in Spanish to a Mexican girl. Last week, I attended our newly created English Club and talked with a Korean and a Japanese girl for an hour and half. This week, I prayed that God would increase the number of students at English Club from 16 to 20. Today, 35 students showed up. God shattered my expectations, not only in increasing the number of students who came, but also in my capacity to serve these students. In my discussion group today, I talked to two girls from Saudi Arabia, one girl from Thailand, one boy from Korea and my new friend Ayana from Osaka, Japan – a city less than 30 minutes from where I spent 5 years of my childhood. Even after 2 weeks, English Club has become the highlight of my week.
I knew this summer would bring change in my life. I figured it would look like more humility, more comfort in sharing my faith, and the ability to love others better in Christian community. I never expected it would look like a heart broken for the nations. I’m good at talking, my spiritual gift is encouragement, but I never thought that the act of simply speaking could serve someone else. English Club is a huge blessing for me – I long to serve and love others. Through speaking to international students, they get to practice their conversational English and make new friends, I get to use my ability to speak to make new friends, and begin to understand what their lives look like. Please pray that I be able to glorify God with this blessing; that I continue to seek Him. My prayer is that through building relationships with these students that I may be able to share Christ’s love with them, that they may receive love that they’ve never experienced before. And my prayer for you is that you be able to let God into the places of your heart that you thought were too hardened for even Him to redeem. Maybe you’ll realize that God wants to break your heart for His people and give you the chance to love them in ways that of Him, and not yourself.