A Very Good Friday

Today is known as Good Friday, but for me it was a VERY Good Friday! What made it such a great day? Well, this story actually begins on a Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening at George Washington University the ministry I work for, Campus Outreach, was hosting an evangelistic event called “Fact or Myth: Jesus Rose From the Dead?” We figured with the Easter weekend approaching it was a great time to do one last big evangelistic event on campus and I am so glad we did. It went so well!

We were trying our best to spread the word about the event like we normally do: hang posters around campus, put flyers in the mail, set up a table in a high traffic area and hand out flyers, etc… However, our best advertising happened on Wednesday morning in a New Testament class on campus.

One of the students in my weekly Bible study is currently taking a New Testament class this semester and knew that everyone in his class was currently working on a paper that discussed the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15. So he figured his classmates might be interested in coming to our evangelistic event. He sent me this message on Wednesday morning:

“So, I beat my fear of man (at least for a few minutes) and my professor let me announce the Campus Outreach event tonight in front of my New Testament class. She is even giving extra credit for people who go and write a short reflection on it. So we might get a few more people there hopefully from my class.”

And so we did get a few more people from his class and another class. Apparently the same professor gave the same offer of extra credit to another New Testament class who is working on the same assignment. How cool is that?… But it gets better!

One of the students who came for some extra credit was a freshman student from South Korea named Patrick. It was a few minutes before the event began and I saw Patrick walk in and go straight to our table of snacks and free books. He grabbed a free bible and a free copy of the book “What is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert. Then he sat down by himself and  I reached out to him.

I quickly found out that Patrick was a student who was there just to get some extra credit. I learned he was from South Korea and his parents were Christians, but that he was definitely not. He did not believe in anything and thought that the resurrection had to be a myth. Yet he came not just for the extra credit (he apparently was having a hard time in this class), but wanted to learn more about the resurrection so he could write a good paper on 1 Corinthians 15.

I quickly told him that I was a bible study leader with Campus Outreach and if there was anyway that I could help him with his paper I would be more than happy to help him understand 1 Corinthians 15. He got really excited, turned to me and asked:

“So are you like a tutor or something?”

I said, “Uhhh….YEAH! I am a tutor! I would love to tutor you in the New Testament.”

He said, “Great!!! I really need some help with my New Testament class.”

Just before the event started we set up a meeting for Friday afternoon so that we could work on his paper together. The event was excellent. Michael Lopes, one of my co-workers with Campus Outreach, did an excellent job of laying out a case for the resurrection. He took a look at the bible, he looked at historical facts outside of the Bible, and he did a great job at sharing the gospel.

I did not get a chance to talk to Patrick too much, but shortly after the event Patrick sent me this email:

Dear Phillip Howell

Hi this is Patrick, a student who you met today at the lecture. It was really nice to meet you since I was actually having a hard time with my new testament class and wanted a teacher who could give me advices, and it is very grateful for me to meet up with you today.

Also, the lecture was very inspiring and interesting. To be honest, my religion class, the new testament class, was just another writing class for me and did not encourage me to get exposed to Bible and Christianity, but I guess this lecture changed my mindset in Christianity a lot. I just want to say that I just had a great experience now.

Anyway, I will try my best to finish this essay and polish it and send it to you so that we could arrange a little meeting to talk about the text. Once again, thank you very much for your help and advice.

Patrick

This is a pretty big understatement, but I was pretty excited about how our evangelistic event went. I was also very eager to meet up with Patrick on Good Friday. On Thursday Patrick sent me a rough draft of his paper, I looked it over this morning, and we met up earlier today.

As you might imagine I sincerely wanted to help him with his paper, but I really wanted to help him see the glory of Jesus Christ in the gospel. By God’s grace, Patrick wanted more than just help with his paper too. Several times during our 3 hour long conversation this afternoon he would say…”Ok, I have a personal question about Christianity that is not necessarily related to the paper.”

We went back and forth the entire time. We would talk about his paper then we talked about putting his faith in Christ then back to his paper and back to the gospel. One of the coolest parts of our conversation was when he said:

“I feel like this whole week has been destiny. I have been struggling so much with this class. That is why I really wanted to go to that lecture on Wednesday, but if I would not have gone I would have never have met you and then we would not be having this conversation right now.”

I sarcastically responded, “Maybe it is all just a big coincidence?”

He said, “I do not think so. In fact, I told my mom and dad that I had been considering Christianity lately and she told me that they had been praying for me. They were praying that I would become a Christian and that I would meet someone at school who would share the gospel with me.”

Now, how cool is that? I just was so encouraged to know that I was right in the middle of something God was doing. I was one of the answers to his parents prayers all the way over in South Korea!!! Isn’t God good?

Well, we finished working through his paper and I asked him, “Patrick, do you want to be a Christian? Do you believe that Jesus is the son of God who took away your sins by dying on a cross and rising again from the dead?”

He said, “I do. This is all a lot for me to think about, but I do want to be a Christian. There are some barriers I need to work through, but I think I am very close to being a Christian.”

Can I say it any better than the final hymn I sang tonight at our Good Friday service?

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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4 Comments

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Campus Outreach, Evangelism, Prayer

4 responses to “A Very Good Friday

  1. Nice…God is good. Good job on being faithful. It is awesome to see the back story on this. I saw you all intently working today in Starbucks, good to see it was fruitful. I will be praying for Patrick, I will be praying. Hopefully he gets him some Easter service.

  2. growinggodlygenerations

    Phill, I’m sure there may be one’s closer but we have a Korean language church that meets at our facility in Severna Park. Give me a shout if you need additional contacts. Blessings in the harvest,

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