They told me yesterday I’d made a difference in their lives.
I don’t know about you, but those words made my full cup overflow. I am amazed at what God did with my simple obedience twenty-one years ago.
Remember Amy, Joanne, and Masayo? I made mention of them in one of my first blog posts.
In 2001, I listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. No angels sang, and there were no flashes of light, and I didn’t hear a whisper. Just a nudge—the kind you can’t let slide—to befriend a local Chinese restaurant owner’s child and include him at our table while we ate and his mom worked. Kevin was five, and by some miracle, I started keeping him in our home one night a week in exchange for a meal.
Kevin tried his first ice cream at our house, which he didn’t like. I taught Amy to float in her neighborhood pool while our children splashed and played. She taught me how to make dumplings. I was her reference when she adopted a dog and her first call ten years later when Annabelle passed. She brought me unique vegetables from her garden, and I helped her study for her citizenship exam, which she passed.
Investing in her and being a part of her life was a privilege.
In 2011 Amy introduced me to her new neighbor, Joanne. Joanne and Amy are Chinese but don’t speak the same language, making English necessary. Joanne was a former biology teacher in Hong Kong at a Christian school but did not have a personal relationship with Christ. She desired to know more about Jesus, and I wanted Amy to hear the gospel. I’d spent years cultivating a friendship and prayed Amy would agree to join us.
The three of us started meeting weekly and going through an Asian-based Bible study. That first year, Joanne prayed, in Cantonese, to receive Christ while sitting at my kitchen table, and God understood every word. Excited in her new faith, Joanne invited a Japanese lady she met at the YMCA to our Bible study.
Masayo was a new Christ follower but struggled with understanding the Bible. Her English was good, but to help her more fully grasp scripture, my church purchased a side-by-side English and Japanese Bible. Masayo devoured the lessons and God’s word. Watching her grow in her faith was a gift.
It took over two years to complete that month-long study. I believe I learned at least as much as they did, if not more. My spiritual life grew because of sharing the love of my Lord with them. I’m not a Bible scholar, nor am I a Beth Moore. What I am is obedient.
That obedience started far before that first decision to act on God’s prodding and befriend Amy’s son. Had I not cultivated learning to listen to and expecting to hear God’s voice or gentle nudge, I may have missed that first opportunity.
Learning to be silent in His presence and recognizing how He speaks to you takes effort. Grammie, in “Desire of my Heart,” is an excellent example of how to do this.
I’m confident I’ve wasted many opportunities because the noise created by the busyness of life made it difficult for me to hear from God. I’m also certain there are times I ignored the nudge. I wonder what wonderful adventures I’ve missed?
One thing I know—I don’t want to miss any chance I have to show and share Christ Jesus with Amy, who has yet to invite Him into her heart. I’ll continue investing in her and pray I don’t miss moments to share God’s love and truth.
The difference Amy, Joanne, and Masayo say I made is something anyone can do. I offered friendship. The truth is, they’ve changed my life, and I’m forever thankful.
“And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:11, ESV
Heidi Gray McGill is the retired Founder and Director of an ESL ministry that was birthed out of her friendship with Amy, Joanne, and Masayo.
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy learning more about Heidi here.