A few weeks ago I sent out text messages to two student friends, inviting them to join us for Bible study at the local house church. As it was sensitive information to be sent over text message, the words I sent were slightly cryptic, yet I thought my friends would be able to understand my meaning without too much difficulty. But when they both responded more enthusiastically than I had expected that they wanted to come, I began to doubt if they misinterpreted what I had invited them to.
Well, they had previously been exposed to the Christian faith at our outreach parties, but this time it was going to be a step up, a more “serious” Bible study with Christians and seekers. One friend, Sally–although she expressed interest in coming–couldn’t make it the first two times because she was away on a basketball tournament. I began to wonder if her enthusiastic responses (but inability to come) were just a show of politeness. (Sometimes in China people say yes to invitations to be polite, but then something comes up so that they are excused from actually showing up.) Yet when I invited Sally the third time, not only did she say she would come, but she asked if she could bring a friend. I felt a bit guarded, because her friend had never come to our events before. I began to suspect that Sally thought our Bible study was just a fun party. In the end, I of course said that her friend could join, and just hoped that Sally had explained clearly that it would be a church thing.
That evening a group of us were meeting at the front gate of campus to go for dinner before the Bible study. Sally and her friend arrived. As we waited for others to show up, one of Sally’s classmates came over and greeted her. Sally instantly introduced her classmate to me and asked her if she also wanted to come to the church with us. Sally went on to talk about how great our activities always are. Her classmate seemed interested, but wasn’t able to join us, as she had other plans. At the church we studied Genesis 3, which was about Adam and Eve disobeying God and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When the time came for everyone to share a question they had from reading the passage, it was Sally who asked: “Why did Eve trust the serpent over God? Why didn’t she trust God more?” My teammates and I were impressed. At that moment, I no longer doubted that she was really, truly interested in God.