Every heart is different, and the path that leads each heart to the gospel is different.

Only God knows the path that will set captive hearts free and release the treasure within. Despite all of our planning, we must always be listening to God’s guiding whisper.

Even during our fall retreat in the southernmost city of this country, God was inviting me into his great treasure hunt. After several months of learning to live in a Middle Eastern city and share Jesus with university students, we had arrived at the sea for some much needed rest.

I had woken up early to enjoy the soft morning warmth before the heat of the day. I was sitting on the dock by the sea, enjoying the salty breeze and journaling, when a young woman shyly approached me and sat next to me. Her name was Shelly, and her family was there vacationing from the far opposite side of the country. Shelly was inquisitive and bright, with curious eyes and a blue hijab that matched the waves. Almost immediately, she asked me what I thought of her faith in Islam. Though Shelly wanted to talk more about God, I was running late to meet a teammate. We traded numbers and parted ways. I prayed that I would get the opportunity to finish our conversation somehow

For weeks, I thought about Shelly, living over an hour away from my city, with no way to see her again. It was a chasm too big for me to cross, but God provided a bridge. One day, I discovered that a visiting group was planning to go up to Shelly’s campus. Little did I know, God had prepared an incredible sequel to our conversation.

She was waiting for me at the university gate when I arrived. The sand-colored buildings rose before me, and the university’s mosque sounded for the afternoon prayer. Shelly led me right through the heavily secured gates to a quad filled with hundreds of Arab students. We weaved through lunch tables to her waiting friends.

The four of us walked together to escape the crowds. As our conversation veered towards spirituality, Shelly and her two friends were enraptured. I shared the whole gospel to three pairs of attentive ears. They wanted to learn more so I showed them an artistic gospel-focused video called “Falling Plates.” While watching, the three were thrilled to be able to point out the different parts of the gospel message in the video.

We talked about the gospel for over an hour until they realized they were late for an exam.

“Please don’t forget about us up here in the north. Come back up and visit us soon,” Shelly’s friend said to me.

Who could have known the glimmers of a spiritual movement on Shelly’s campus would start on the opposite side of the country?

Only God could align our time in the south perfectly with Shelly and her family.

Only God could have directed us onto the same dock.

He has invited each of us into His treasure hunt.

And just like Shelly’s friends, there are hearts waiting to be set free, saying…

Please don’t forget us.

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