Stories of salvation in Serbia renew student’s passion for evangelism
Bachelor’s student Mercy Robinson has never shied away from sharing her faith. But after returning from a two-month mission trip to a Serbian college town, she says she is more passionate than ever about evangelism and discipleship. “I’m determined to use what I’ve learned over the summer,” she says. “I was convicted and realized that something needed to change.”
On her daily prayer-walks in the city, Robinson asked God to place people in her path with whom she could share the Gospel. God answered those prayers, leading her to meet numerous people who were receptive to the Gospel message. Quick friendships were formed with many of the young women Robinson encountered, and as they met for English classes or for meals, conversations inevitably turned to the Gospel.
In sharing the Gospel through her own testimony, three students made the decision to follow Christ. The first was Sandra, a girl who was fearful that her anti-religious father would be angered by her conversion but chose to surrender to Christ’s lordship anyway. The second, Lena, found freedom from deeply rooted sin and shame.
The third woman who became a believer was Maria. Like the majority of Serbians, she identified with the Eastern Orthodox Church, but she did not really know what she believed, nor did she have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Compelled by the message of the Gospel, she prayed to receive Christ and expressed a realization of her previous attitude toward religion. “I learned how to believe in Jesus the right way,” she told Robinson.
In the remaining time Robinson had with Maria, she tried to meet with her frequently for discipleship, urging Maria to share the Gospel with her mother. Although hesitant at first, Maria finally shared, and her mother responded to the Gospel message and gave her life to the Lord as well.
The following Sunday, Maria pleaded with the members of her church to be passionate about sharing the Gospel. “I shared with my mother, and she became a believer,” she said. “You have to go and share. You guys are underestimating the power of God.”
The entire experience, Robinson explains, reminded her of the importance of sharing with unbelievers, but also encouraging and challenging believers to do the same. “These are things I was taught,” Robinson says. “They were passed on to me, I passed them on to Maria, and now she is applying and passing on to other people.”
About a month before Robinson returned to the United States, she met Sofia, a quiet and reserved college student. Sofia also grew up in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, but when pressed about it, she said, “I honestly find it a bit pointless. You cannot understand anything the priest says, and it feels empty. I feel empty when I am there.”
Although skeptical, Sofia and her brother accepted Robinson’s invitation to attend a church service led by a local missionary. Sofia later expressed an interesting observation of the Christians she met that day: “You Christians love so well.”
The church members’ behavior was new and curious, nothing like she had ever witnessed before. Sofia later wrote in a letter, “What I have observed from you Christians is that you all love each other so well. It is obvious to me that it is not your love; it is God’s love. You are all unified by this love and this God.”
As missionaries follow up with Sofia and her brother, Robinson eagerly awaits the news of Sofia’s salvation and is confident that the Holy Spirit can work in even the most skeptical people. In a recent Bible study, Sofia said to the missionaries, “Pray for me. I am on my path to finding truth—I know you Christians have it.”
Returning to the United States and a normal routine for the fall semester, Robinson is reminded that whether in Serbia or in the communities of Fort Worth, there is always an opportunity to share. “My experience has challenged me to go deeper in my relationship with Christ so that I am better equipped and ready to share with others,” she explains. “I want to be intentional with every person I meet. People’s souls are on the line.”