When the UCM went on a mission trip to Chicago last month, it was a different kind of trip. Rather than going to wear themselves out physically or serve as many needy people as possible, the main goal of this trip was to learn and be inspired. We went to learn first hand about world religions so that we would be better equipped to share the Gospel with all kinds of people. During our time in Chicago we visited places of worship and learned from local Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim and Bahai leaders. We listened a lot.
At the end of each day we had long conversations together about these religions. As we examined their claims about life and truth, we were forced to re-examine what we really knew and believed about our faith in Jesus. As our discussions progressed, we asked ourselves how to talk more effectively with people of other faiths. What was good about these religions? What was strange? How can we clearly present the Good News of Jesus to people like this? We exchanged lots of good ideas, but God kept bringing us back to one core, distinct truth: the historical reality of a man named Jesus who lived, died and came back to life.
Before we even left on our Chicago trip, UCM students were building relationships with international students on campus in Chattanooga. We wanted to share Jesus with them and we knew that we first had to show them genuine love and hospitality. We spent time together, watched movies and shared stories. And we listened a lot.
It’s amazing how God is using the lessons we learned on our mission trip to make us more effective workers back home.
God used these relationships and the lessons learned on our Chicago trip to open an exciting door. In the final month of the school year we were able to start our first Let’s Start Talking Friendspeak classes on campus. Using the same material that Clear Creek’s Sunday morning ESL classes use, we began teaching our international friends English using the Bible. We practiced grammar while discussing the birth of Jesus. We studied new vocabulary while talking about his miracles. And we stressed the truth that Jesus – a man, God, and our Savior – really lived in history.
The first international students to join these classes have been from Japan, Cambodia and Pakistan—countries where most of the population follows religions like Buddhism and Islam. It’s amazing how God is using the lessons we learned on our mission trip to make us more effective workers back home.