Stories of salvation from ‘closed’ campuses
At the opening of a new university in Amsterdam in 1880, Dutch politician Abraham Kupyer said:
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
There are still many countries across the world where sharing the gospel and converting to Christianity is illegal. We might well wonder what hope there is for students in those countries to ever hear of the sovereign Christ. Yet Jesus is Lord over every square inch of this earth, and is calling students to follow and proclaim him, even in the most unlikely of places. Read on to hear what’s been happening among students in a closed country in the Middle East.
Astonished by Jesus
Empty library rooms, crowded coffee shops, basketball tournaments, countryside hikes — conversations about the God of the Bible are happening everywhere on one campus. God has been providing opportunities to reach out to students from a Muslim-background who have never read the Bible before.
“One student, T, was adamant that he understood what the Christian faith was about and that there were many similarities between his faith and ours — he was astounded when he read about ‘what truly makes one defiled’ in a discussion from Mark 7: ‘So for the God of the Bible, our hearts are more important than what we do on the outside? If our hearts are the problem — who can change that?!’’
For security reasons it can be difficult to organise group Bible studies. But there have been many opportunities to meet up with students one-to-one: “Reading through Genesis, it has been so encouraging to see different students wrestle with the concept of a holy God and sinful man.” Christians here pray on for open doors to take these conversations further and introduce more students to the Sovereign Christ.
Deciding to follow Jesus is a risky move for students in this country. But amazingly, students have been making that decision over the past year. One student, B, first heard the gospel two years ago. Though initially enthusiastic, she suddenly dropped off the radar. After a year and half, she got back in contact and agreed to go along to a Christian conference. The theme of the conference was God’s grace. We pick up the story on day two of the conference during a breakfast conversation with a Christian:
“She suddenly burst out with the question, ‘How do I know God loves me? Recently I’ve been working two part-time jobs as well as studying so haven’t prayed or read my Bible much, so I don’t know if I’m good enough for God anymore.’’
After looking together at the reality and wonder of God’s grace in Romans 5:1–11, this student decided to commit her life to God. She explained her transformation:
“I always used to try and be a ‘good’ Christian so that God would be happy with me and give me the things I wanted. But I realise now it was always the things that I wanted, and not God himself. I didn’t truly love God for who he was. But now that I understand how much he loves me I feel like I love him so much and am hungry to read my Bible and grow to know him better.”
This young believer is the only known Christian in her city. She needs your prayers.
Valuable beyond all measure
The recent baptisms of six students, one from a Muslim-background, were a huge encouragement to those who have been faithfully praying and sowing seeds here for a number of years. It was also an amazing opportunity for the students’ non-Christian friends to witness their decisions to follow the sovereign Christ. One girl in particular was struck by the reality of her sin after listening to the testimony of one of the students.
“They asked us to pray for those who are new to Christ, that their faith would be strengthened and that they’d persevere to the end. And to pray for those considering the cost of following Jesus, that they would find him valuable beyond all measure.”
One step at a time
It has been encouraging to hear not only of new disciples on these campuses, but of new disciple-makers. As Christian students have graduated and left university, there’s been a need for new student leaders to take their places this semester. We praise God for the way he’s answered prayer:
“It’s been so encouraging to watch students take one step at a time. Over the last two months, five of our students had the opportunity to lead their first Bible studies. We are so thankful to see the growth and fruit so quickly.”
At another university, they were praying for a consistent group to gather weekly for Bible studies. God answered those prayers in the arrival of an enthusiastic fresher, who was instrumental in bringing others along last semester. They now have a group of eight students who come regularly to open the Bible.
The One who is Lord over every square inch of the world, is calling students to follow and proclaim him. Let’s keep praying that more would be added to this number in the year ahead, especially in these ‘closed’ universities, over which the sovereign Christ still cries, ‘Mine!’