By Sarah Turner
If we’re open to noticing it, God loves to invite us into what He’s already doing in the lives of those around us. Anna, a college sophomore who attends PLC’s Cedar Falls Campus, knows exactly what that’s like. As her path repeatedly crossed with an international student from Saudi Arabia, she excitedly watched an unexpected friendship form. Unsure of exactly what God was up to in bringing a Christian and a Muslim together, Anna willingly engaged in conversation. As she asked her new friend questions to understand Islam, he began to respond with questions about Christianity. As trust and respect grew their friendship deeper, it became clear God was opening a door for a next step. With a little fear mixed into glad obedience, Anna extended an invitation to attend a service with her at Prairie Lakes Church. This student accepted and was overwhelmed with the kindness of those he met that Sunday morning.
Anna’s willingness to include this student in her life has led to immeasurably more than she could ask or imagine. When the two reunited at UNI after summer break, her friend shared with her how thankful he was to have learned all he had from the conversations and time spent with her. This student felt welcomed, valued, respected and loved by the people he met at Prairie Lakes, and most importantly, he understands the role Jesus plays in the lives of Anna and her friends.
The story hasn’t ended with a ribbon tied neatly around it. Anna knows there are still conversations to be had with this student and finds peace in knowing the journey is one God’s at the front of. Through it all, she’s been reminded of the gift we’re offered in including others in our lives and is excited to continue doing so. To be a friend is a bold but simple move that’s allowed a student to see Jesus in Anna at close range. To be a friend is an opportunity to include others so they can see Jesus reflected in us all.