I shared this story with some of you recently at Camp and apologize if this seems repetitive, but felt the need to share it again.
After having two months to reflect on some of my experiences that I had abroad, I have come to the realization of just how precious and thought provoking some of those experiences were. I feel that the Lord taught me so much during my time abroad. I would not have gone abroad in the first place had he not lead me there. I would like to share a few of my experiences with you in hopes of encouraging you.
The most daunting experience happened one day in class at the international school I attended while taking intensive French. Most of my classes were full of Chinese students there trying to get into the universities in France. On this particular day I was working on a project with three Chinese girls I’d gotten to know a little over the few weeks I’d been there. I was pulling out my small pocket French dictionary to aid in the exercise when one of the girls pointed out that it looked similar to a small Bible. I responded that it was just a dictionary but that I did have a Bible with me. She looked at me with a look of curiosity and asked if she could see the Bible. I shrugged and said sure while pulling it out of my backpack. All three of the Chinese girls looked at it with awe and one asked, “Can I hold it?” I handed it to her and she held it in her hands while caressing the leather cover like she knew it was something so precious and holy. “Can I open it?” she asked softly like a child begging for a piece of candy. I said that of course she could. She opened the Bible and started carefully turning the pages and caressing them. She and the other two girls started whispering in Chinese and then she asked me “Do you believe all of this?” pointing at the Bible. I said that yes, I did and she looked at it with even more wonder. The other two girls asked if they could hold it too and then were caressing it and holding it just as the previous girl. By this time, my prof was figuring out that something was going on over in our corner besides studying. As he started walking in our direction, the girls quickly handed me back my Bible and began again with our assignment. I was still in shock by what I had seen. After the prof left being satisfied that we had at least a few sentences written down, one of the Chinese girls turned to me and whispered, “Thank you for letting us touch it.”
I was so struck by this since I have what, three Bibles around my house? I don’t even think a thing about it! However, where these girls come from, one could lose his life if caught with a Bible in his possession. How much for granted we in this country take our freedom to read His Word and even have it in our possession! With how much respect and wonder they treated that which I daily hold in my hands and don’t even thank God for nearly as much as I should!
Yet, what truly made me stop and think after my three months in France was realizing what a hope we have in Christ that we so often also take for granted. So many of the young people that I met abroad were running around searching for something to fill the emptiness inside them. It’s like they were searching but that they didn’t even know what they were searching for. I had a young man ask me, “Stacey, why am I here? Science has proven that we are born dying. Am I only born to die? What purpose is there?” I answered him that he was here to serve and glorify God. He was completely blown away by that response. I hope that if it be the Lord’s will that maybe this young man might one day be shown the hope that is in Christ but that is in our Lord’s hands.
Stop today and just realize how much you have been blessed with. We who are God’s children have been blessed beyond measure even beyond what we can ever truly know! Don’t hide your light under a bushel, dear one!