LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Evangelists call them “divine appointments.” God sovereignly works through a chance meeting of a Christian and a non-Christian so that the latter receives what the former presents — the gospel.
Of course, with hundreds of budding ministers milling about, a seminary campus would be the last place one would expect to have such an evangelistic encounter. Right?
After a providential crossing of paths with a seminary visitor in late August, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary student Deyi Wei holds a different opinion.
“Sometimes you work so hard, and you have to be patient and wait,” Wei said. “But sometimes God just sends people your way and asks you to be ready.”
Wei’s August divine appointment occurred in front of the Boyce Centennial Library at the Louisville, Ky., seminary. It was with a woman named Jill (whose name has been changed for this article).
Something about Jill made Wei want to speak with her. Perhaps the reason was that she, like Wei, is Chinese. Perhaps she looked like she needed to talk. Wei attributes his desire to approach Jill to the providence of God.
Wei was leaving the library when he saw Jill walking towards him. A moment’s hesitation was soon followed by a greeting by Wei in Chinese.
He discovered Jill — who is married and has a daughter — had come to the seminary for some moments of study because of the quaint and quiet campus. And after a few pleasantries, Jill asked Wei what he was doing at Southern.
“That gave me a chance to talk about myself, my study and ministry,” he recalled. “And then I began to share with her about Christ.”
The move to spiritual topics spurred Jill to share her search for truth. Even though her family had economic stability, Jill said she had not found fulfillment.
“She was struggling with a kind of void, a meaninglessness,” Wei said.
The conversation continued, moving to apologetics issues.
“I told her just about anything that came to mind to help her to see that there is a God, and that God is the Creator, and that God gives the meaning to life, and that God takes care of us and will lead us to know him,” Wei said.
After about an hour and a half, Wei prayed with Jill for her and her family. He also invited her to church — a Chinese church in Louisville where Wei occasionally preaches.
Three weeks later, she and her daughter came to hear him.
That afternoon in September, she phoned him, asking if she and her daughter could meet him. For two hours, they chatted on the seminary lawn.
“She told me she had a lot of questions that she wanted to ask me,” Wei said. “She told me she was really excited and grateful because that was only the first or second time she had come to the library. … She thought God brought me to her.”
Jill informed Wei that she had once prayed to receive Christ, but she had not understood at the time what she was doing. This time, though, she was not impelled by her emotions, but by a God-wrought and careful consideration of the truth, Wei said.
“I asked her, ‘Do you want to pray with me again to receive Christ?'” Wei recounted. “She said, ‘Yes.'”
She had received salvation. And Wei had reinforced his evangelistic conviction: “Always be ready to share, and the Lord will give you the language.”
This divine appointment was not the first for Wei since coming to the United States in 1999 to study at Southern. In fact, a master’s degree in English has provided him many opportunities to reach a diverse and growing international community — one for which Wei has a specific evangelistic burden.
Wei acts on this commitment regularly in a ministry at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. In addition to his service at the Louisville Chinese church, Wei makes three four-hour weekend treks a month to Marshall, where he leads a cell-group Bible study and preaches in a Chinese fellowship.
“There is still a lot of need there,” Wei said. “There are a lot of ethnic Chinese groups who have no [gospel witness] at all.”
But both there and in Louisville, Wei is answering God’s call to witness. And Wei knows God is calling to himself more people like Jill — especially among the international community. Christians just need to be ready for their divine appointments — even on a seminary campus, he said.
“It’s a joy to bring people to Christ — those people who are coming here to seek wealth, to seek position, to seek security,” Wei said. “They find out money, power, houses [and] cars really don’t mean much. The real thing is the knowledge and love of Christ. To be able to share that joy and spiritual heritage prompts me to study and learn.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: DIVINE APPOINTMENT.