Lauren recently joined one of our teams for a short-term trip. Below she shares how an encounter on a bus impacted her. 

“Your presence is all I need. It’s all I want and all I seek. And without it, without it there’s no meaning.” This song by Bethel describing a desire for God’s presence has been a special song for me, but I feel while in Central Eurasia is where I understood its true weight.

Arriving here, I didn’t know what to expect. This was my first missions trip, but I know I was excited to see God and have this devoted time to just become closer to Him and do a small part of what He has asked of His children.

One day, while packed in towards the front of a metro bus, two teenage girls started talking to us in English. Once they found we were American, their faces lit up and they overflowed with questions about who we were and our reason for being in their city. We shared their excitement and had our own questions, so we got to learn about them as well. Just in our brief conversation it felt as if there was a sense of camaraderie simply from the warmth and joy they conveyed. The conversation steered towards religion and they let us know that they were Muslim, but chose not to wear the hijab because they “had a choice whether to wear it or not. It is a personal decision.” They immediately asked if I was a follower of Islam as well and I told them no, that I was a Christian. Our shared stop came up, which only afforded a few more minutes together, but when we parted ways it’s like we had been old friends recently reunited after years of separation.

Watching them walk away, my heart broke. I knew I would probably never see them again and I only had been able to share just a little of the Truth that could set them free. They were so precious, but I knew they were walking down a path of death. All I had to comfort me was the knowledge that it is not by my power that these girls will ever be in a relationship with Jesus.

It is through God’s great love and power that the seeds planted in them will one day bloom into beautiful and sturdy branches on the Vine.

Being here and listening to stories of missionaries who have proclaimed His great name and stories of Muslims that have been saved has not only served as encouragement, but also opened my eyes to the great need that is present here and the work that it takes. The heart of God is breaking daily as He sees millions of Central Eurasians continue every day to walk down paths that will eventually lead to an eternity without Him. These people need the gospel and God needs laborers to come and plant seeds of His grace and presence in the people here.

I plan to pray for those two girls, and I pray that tomorrow and every single day for the rest of their lives that God will plant as many laborers as it takes to show them who He is and what He has done for them until they come to believe.

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