Bringing Jesus to their friends: high school students in Gabon make a difference
I wrote recently about the post-election crisis in Gabon. Since then I’ve been in touch with two high school student leaders who told me about their experience as members of GBG Gabon. Their exuberance, their perseverance and their boldness in the face of trials are a joy to share with you.
Boris’ story made me smile. Before he became a follower of Christ, he used to like to chat to girls a lot. One day he had an idea how he could use his skill with the girls to grow the student movement.
So he approached a female student and began to brag to her about the merits of a friend of his, a ‘nice man, helpful, who never lies, in whom she could have full confidence’. Intrigued, the girl wanted to know more. Boris set up a meeting with her so that she could meet his friend. When they met, he explained that his friend was Jesus, the best friend ever. His tactic worked: today, this young woman is a keen member of the GBG group!
You may not think Boris is a serious young man – but here is what he says about why he is part of the GBG. ‘I am motivated by the desire to break down denominational barriers, by the voluntary and zealous commitment of many Christian young people to share their faith in an environment which is hostile to the gospel and to Christians, and because I want to see students’ personal, spiritual, intellectual, social and cultural fulfilment.’
Abdiel is another student with great boldness in evangelism. As he shared the gospel with his fellow students regularly, one student always tried to make it difficult for him. But suddenly this student decided to attend a GBG meeting – and he prayed to become a Christian! His teachers were soon astonished at how the behaviour of this troublemaker changed.
When I recently asked how the former troublemaker was doing, Abdiel told me, ‘He is really fired up! This new school year he is planning to start a Bible study in a new school.’
I asked Abdiel what he likes best about being part of GBG. The answer was ‘many things’! He explained: ‘We have the grace of being together, of having a place where everyone can share their experiences, no matter what their background, tribe or race.’
Are there problems between ethnic groups in Gabon, I asked? ‘Yes, but in GBG, because of Christ, we are not hindered from meeting together, we have no problem integrating.’
Abdiel has personally experienced the problems that can arise because of ethnic differences. When he had to take an English exam, his teacher, from a tribe in the south, called students into his office, two by two. Abdiel went in with a female student. She greeted the teacher in their shared language, they chatted for a while, then the teacher dismissed the girl – without them speaking a word of English! Abdiel then had his English exam.
When the results were posted, Abdiel received 8 out of 20 and the young woman who had actually not taken any exam received 14 out of 20! Was Abdiel angry? ‘At times like this I can’t do much,’ he said. ‘I can’t resent it; I can just pray that God will change the country.
‘But as Christians, we can bring change by bringing the Word to our fellow students, to make them see that this is a kind of fraud, that cheating is a sin. We can encourage them to be true by bringing them the person of Jesus.’
Please pray for Abdiel, for Boris, and for other students in Gabon as they seek to bring the person of Jesus to others, through what they say and through their changed lives.