Karen and I firmly believe that empowering local churches to reach students can do far more than what we missionaries alone can do. I asked Pastor Wilson to tell me about some of the impact his church has had on students’ lives. He told me this story about Phil…
Instead of introducing himself, he asked me if we had any new Christians that he could disciple and that he was a part of [a popular cult name] on our campus. I was preparing my proverbial shotgun when God said, “Hold on. Hear his story.” Phil told me he came from a Buddhist background, joined this cult on campus, and got excited to hear about Jesus and share about him.
We invited Phil to hang out with us [at Epic, Cru’s ministry for Asian American students]. We were going to the beach that week and invited him to come. At the beach, we told him we believed he was a part of a cult and said, “You’re welcome to stay with us but you can’t invite anyone to your cult.”
He was very confused. It took about maybe four or five months for him to fully pull out of his cult because they take over your social life. He became Christian, we baptized him, and he became a leader as well as our greatest evangelist! Over the next four years, Phil brought close to 20 people into the movement. He paid for people to go to retreats with us and, just yesterday, he told me of another one of his friends he led to Christ (and this is now three years after he’s graduated).
One of the friends Phil reached out to, Carl, was going through depression and thought about taking his own life. Phil called him every day, really became a support to him. Carl started coming to church, went to a retreat, to Epic, and eventually I got to baptize him.
If it hadn’t been for God, I just imagine Phil being fully engrossed in the cult and those 20 people going to that cult with him. I think about the faithfulness of the Lord. Phil’s a strong believer now, a small group leader, and just a great part of my church as well.
Karen and I are excited to follow God toward “each student on every campus” by teaching pastors, like Pastor Wilson, and volunteers how to get on campus to meet students like Phil, and we couldn’t do it without you!