This is Marisa’s story — a friend and senior at Texas A&M. I like the reminder that God still works, even though when we feel weak or incomplete. Though she was had the opportunity to cross borders and to touch many lives,God did amazing things in her own life.
In the summer of 2012, after my sophomore year of college, I spent six weeks in East Asia on a summer mission project with Cru. Thirteen of us headed across the world to experience a new culture and language, and to share Christ’s love and forgiveness with students we would meet there.
The first few weeks, we spent time meeting students on a local campus and getting to know them and their personal backgrounds. We had opportunities to share parts of our lives and beliefs with them, hoping doors would be open to talk more deeply about spiritual life.
The last week to week and a half, we had opportunities to share the gospel in most conversations. It was really exciting to share the good news of Jesus with students who had maybe never even heard his name before, but it was also discouraging to see many of their responses. Over and over again, the students we were sharing with rejected Christ’s love and forgiveness. These girls whom I had spent time getting to know, girls who had become my friends, were choosing not to believe the most important news they could ever hear.
My heart broke for these people, and I quickly became discouraged. In my frustration, I broke down in tears. My teammate and I were spiritually and physically drained. It was the end of our trip and we only had a few days left in our city, but it was hard to find the motivation to press forward. Each of our East Asian friends we had shared the gospel with had chosen to trust in themselves, believing they didn’t need to trust in God.
My teammate and I talked and cried through our frustrations and got to pray with two of the other girls on our team. They encouraged us through scripture and committed to pray for us as we went to meet with the next girl we had plans with. As we walked across the campus to meet with our East Asian friend “Amanda”, we prayed that God would allow us to be joyful in planting the seeds of the gospel, even if we would not witness the fruits of our labor.
Our time with Amanda went much better than expected. Even at our weakest, God’s power was made perfect. We shared the gospel with her and she understood her need perfectly. Language barriers didn’t even seem to be much of a problem at all. She was just reading God’s word and understanding it. God took complete control, and my teammate and I had to do very little explaining or clarifying. In fact, Amanda explained the gospel right back to us with perfect understanding. Amanda chose to place her faith in Jesus that day, and became our new sister in Christ. At my weakest point, with the least amount of work on my part, God showed me how powerful he is, and how his plans are better than mine.
Even though I had been sharing the gospel all week, I hadn’t been listening to the gospel myself. I wasn’t believing that I could trust God and give him control; I only wanted to trust in myself. I wasn’t believing that his plans were always better. I wasn’t believing that success in making Christ known meant stepping out in faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, and trusting God with the results. I believed these things with my head, but not my heart. And on that day, God showed me I could truly trust and believe him with all my heart.
Three of my East Asian friends trusted Christ that summer. Their lives were radically changed, but so was mine. I learned that God is worthy of my trust. He wants good for me. His plans are far better than mine. His power is made perfect in my weakness. He is in control. And when we finally learn to surrender full control of our lives and plans to Him, that’s when he is most glorified.
Hi! My name is Marisa Matthews and I am a senior Finance major at Texas A&M University. I’m originally from Sugar Land, Texas and grew up in an Aggie family, so coming to Texas A&M was an easy choice. I’m also a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and have had the opportunity to lead bible studies in Pi Phi for the past two years. This summer, I will be going back to East Asia for six weeks! I’m excited to see what God will teach me as I continue to trust Him and take new steps of faith. In September, I will begin a job with a consulting firm in Houston and hope to be a light for Christ in the business world.