As the Lord continues to work in the hearts of students on Bison Hill, He continues to bring others to Himself in places far away and far different from Shawnee, Oklahoma. The thirteen OBU students who participated in the Global Outreach trip to Egypt last summer experienced just this. On this GO trip, the OBU students had the opportunity to volunteer as counselors at multiple summer camps throughout Cairo, Egypt, as well as meet locals, and show the love and story of Christ in other cities. The students had the opportunity to learn and absorb Egyptian and Muslim culture, grow together as a team and learn how to show the Gospel when the law restricts you from speaking it.
One of the students who joined the Egypt GO team was Alyse Middleton, a junior nursing major from Tulsa, OK. One of the things that impacted Alyse during her trip was the profound realization of the difference between the hope that many Egyptian Muslims have compared to the hope that she has in Christ.
In one particular instance, one of the OBU girls who was working with younger girl campers had a camper who started having a panic attack. As the OBU student went outside to sit with her as the camper caught her breath and calmed down, she realized it was against the law for her to verbally share with her camper that the true God is so close that He wants to hear about the stressors in her life, what made her feel insecure, and what worried her. However, this little girl had only been told her whole life that instead of being completely open and honest with her Creator, she instead needed to cover her face out of shame in the presence of her god. She had been taught that her god really didn’t care about the things she cared about in her life but only about prayers at a certain time and about keeping rules and laws. No flawed human could ever truly keep the unattainable standard.
This disparity in the character of the god that so many people around the world believe to be true is heartbreaking when compared to the true God that we know who loves us so much that he wants us to tell Him about what makes our day hard, or what our hopes and fears are for the future. This is something that Alyse brought back from Egypt: a greater love for and understanding of the nature of our God.
Another student who joined the OBU Egypt GO trip was senior social science education major Nick Walls from Wilburton, OK. He recognized a similar aspect to what Alyse learned on her trip: the impact of Islam on the lives of the kids that the team ministered to. As Nick counseled at the kid’s summer camp, sharing the gospel with the kids became a point of uncertainty due to Egyptian law restrictions. However, as the summer camp continued, it was evident that God was working in the hearts of the campers to open up about Christianity and ask questions of the GO team about God.
For Nick, this was so evidently God’s intervention in their ministry, since it wasn’t any of the counselors who provoked or brought up these questions. It seemed, instead, that these kids could tell that the counselors and OBU students were different from others that they had seen. They instinctively knew that it wasn’t just a difference of culture or nationality, but a difference in the God that they serve.
By Egyptian law, if someone asks about your Christian faith, you are allowed to share. So, by the Lord’s intervention in the hearts of these campers, the GO team members were able to share the hope they have in a different, loving and merciful God.
Nick brought back the conviction that it really isn’t the people on a GO trip that save others, but it really is the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts that bring them to the Lord. The responsibility of the follower of Christ is to be available and willing to share the truth with those that the Lord has made open to it.
As school continues to intensify and life goes on, don’t let the monotony of everyday life numb you to the great realities of following Christ. We are given a unique and integral responsibility of bringing God’s kingdom to this Earth, which entails listening to the word of the Lord and accepting the involvement that He desires in your life. Ask Him to show you where to go, what to do, and how to live, because He cares about all aspects of your life. He is a loving and merciful God, and He has great plans for bringing His kingdom, and all we need to do is be along for the ride.
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