John came to the UK about 10 years ago to study science at a local university. He enjoyed meeting local Christians who opened up their homes and offered loving hospitality to international students, but he had no real curiosity about Christianity. He was invited to church, but only went a handful of times.
The years went by and there was hardly any apparent spiritual interest or progress. But the Christian family he met and their church were praying for him and others like him, and God was working in his life. Eventually, when the family invited him to an Alpha course he went along. At first, he viewed it as a chance to learn about Western or Christian culture, but he was encouraged to really listen to the message about God. He took this seriously and tried very hard to listen well, but it was a struggle. Everything was so different, even directly contrary to the atheistic worldview that he was brought up with and the prevailing secular culture of his scientific discipline.
However, through further reading, with the support of the group, he began to see that belief in God was a radically different, but nonetheless coherent and compelling, worldview and outlook on life. The barriers to belief began to come down one by one. By this stage, he was going to church every week and even listening to sermons in his own time. One of these talks featured Paul’s statement, ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:21). The pastor turned it into a question and challenged everyone to think what ‘to me, to live’ is. This was when it hit home for John. Even though previously he had little spiritual interest, now, as he considered his life and future, the usual things that this world lives for – family, career, wealth or leisure – none of these came close to the strange glory and eternal worth of Christ. He realised he would need to make a decision. Soon after, following a Christian Union meeting, as he read the second half of John’s Gospel, he became convicted and fully convinced of the truth concerning Jesus Christ. John trusted in the Lord, knowing that he had died to save him from his sins and by faith he has found the life that is in Christ alone.
Will you pray for John as he follows Jesus now? Could you join us in welcoming international students in your area?