As Andrew (left) stood on stage, with the microphone in his hand, he began to cry. Tears began filling my own eyes as my mind was flooded with memories of this student who has become so dear to me over the past three years.
I have had the privilege of discipling (mentoring) Andrew since the beginning of his sophomore year at Ohio University. When I first met Andrew, two things were obvious to me: He is incredibly bright and very career-driven.
Andrew has long had dreams and aspirations of becoming a national broadcast journalist following his graduation. Last spring, he landed a very distinguished internship on The Today Show and spent several months working on the set in New York City. He absolutely loved the experience. As soon as he completed his internship, he immediately boarded a plane and joined us in Slovenia for the summer to share with Slovene students the good news about Jesus.
At our Fall Retreat this past weekend, Andrew stood on stage and recounted his experience in Slovenia in front of 250 of his peers in Cru. While he acknowledged the beauty of the country, he spent most of the time discussing the dry spiritual condition that exists in Slovenia as well as his own struggle to personally surrender his career and post-graduation plans to the Lord. “During the summer, I wanted to be able to say, ‘Lord, if you call me, I will follow you anywhere.’ But, I couldn’t do it. So I began to pray and ask the Lord to make me willing,” he explained.
God answered his prayer. Andrew described to his peers a conversation he had with a Slovene student one afternoon and a comment that shocked him. The student told Andrew, “In a hundred years, Christianity will probably not exist in Slovenia.” The comment shook Andrew to his core. “I couldn’t believe it,” he explained as his peers listened closely. It was at this moment that tears began filling Andrews eyes. “Someone needs to go and tell these people about Jesus,” he said.
“As of right now, following graduation, I have every intention of spending next year in Slovenia reaching students with the good news of Jesus. When the applications open, I will be the first in line to submit my name and I want to invite you to come with me,” he said through joyful tears.
It was a powerful and proud moment for me to see Andrew joyfully surrender his plans to the Lord and put his career aspirations on hold so that he can go proclaim Jesus to a people that do not know Him. Andrew’s love for Jesus truly inspires me.