Intentional friendship leads to salvation of Taiwanese woman
While attending an event at the University of Texas at Arlington Baptist Student Ministry’s international night in fall 2014, Master of Theological Studies student Laura Bartlett* met Jenny, a Taiwanese student earning her master’s degree at UTA, who was on her team for a pumpkin carving competition.
The two were instant friends and exchanged phone numbers before leaving that evening. Throughout the next eight months, Bartlett and Jenny developed a friendship that led to numerous discussions about the Gospel. With each conversation, Jenny became more receptive to the Gospel and eventually gave her life to the Lord.
Because of Jenny’s deep curiosity about different cultures and the way other people live, she started asking Bartlett about her faith and what she believed. Before attending UTA, Jenny believed that most Americans were Christians. Confused by the contradicting lifestyles of Americans, Jenny began to ask more questions.
Eager to learn more, Jenny began attending church with Bartlett at Cana Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas. “When she first started coming to church, she primarily came for friendship and language practice,” Bartlett says. “It has been neat to see that progress to a deep hunger for a relationship with God.”
After a few months, Jenny began to read the Bible on her own, spending at least an hour each day reading and learning as much as she could. They continued to have conversations about the Gospel, and although they had many of the same conversations as they had months before, something started to change. “I think around March or April, things started clicking with her,” Bartlett says. “You could see barriers coming down.”
On June 28, Bartlett picked Jenny up for church like every other Sunday. On the drive to church, Bartlett asked Jenny if she was still reading her Bible, what she was reading, and if she had any questions. As they continued on their drive to church, Bartlett answered Jenny’s questions and then talked about what Jenny had been learning.
Normally, after parking, Jenny immediately gets out of the car to go into church. This time, however, she stayed. Turning to Bartlett, Jenny asked, “What if I don’t think I can always put God first? What if I mess up?”
“I could sense that another layer of resistance to surrendering her life to Christ was gone and that she might be ready to respond,” Bartlett recalls. After Bartlett explained that even she messes up sometimes, Jenny asked a few more questions before Bartlett asked if she was ready to trust God. She said she was, and Bartlett had Jenny articulate what it was she believed, ending with “How do I do it?” Then, about an hour after pulling into the church parking lot, Bartlett led Jenny in a prayer to receive Jesus as Lord of her life.
During lunch that day, Jenny reflected on the conversation she and Bartlett had in the car before church that morning. She said to Bartlett, “You told me all of this before, but I never understood it until today.”
*Name changed to protect mission work.