Every time we meet on this middle eastern university campus, we stop at the kiosk for three brimming paper cups of sweet mint tea.

Then we carefully make our way to a quieter, shady part of campus to talk.

As we sit in a tight triangle, my teammate Bre, our friend Eden (not her real name) and I open up the Bible app on our phones and Eden begins asking questions…

Why did Jesus have to die?

What does it mean to be a child of God?

Who is ‘the Helper’ that Jesus promised? The Holy Spirit?

Why does Jesus call himself the living bread?

If Jesus forgives you for everything, what motivates your good works?

Don’t you ever feel unworthy of that type of love?

Eden has been meeting with Bre and me for two months now.

Since our first meeting, Eden has read Matthew, Luke, John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Hebrews, Romans, and Ruth!

Let me go back to the beginning of our conversations with Eden….

Bre and I were ready to catch a cab home at the end of a long afternoon on campus. The campus was emptying out, but something nudged us to stay and meet one more student.

We met Eden on the lawn outside of the cafeteria and she invited us to sit down with her. When she shared that she loved animation, I asked if I could show her The Story Film, a beautiful six-minute animation of the Gospel story.

Eden was intrigued and said, “The message in this video is different from what I have been taught about Christianity.” She told us that Christianity was taught in the Islamic public schools merely as foolish blasphemy, derived from a corrupted book. She had tried reading the Bible for herself at one point, but her older sister scolded her and took it away. “Asking questions is shameful here. But I am convinced everyone is carrying around their doubts.”

I asked Eden if she would like to seek truth together with us, by downloading the Bible app on our phones and reading the Bible together.

To my surprise, she immediately agreed and named the time and place of our first meeting! We decided to start in the Gospel of John and I asked her to read chapter 1 before our next meeting. When we met again, Eden had read chapter 1 . . . and also the following 25 chapters — the entire Gospel of John!

Eden has been reading and discussing scripture with us for two months now, and we have seen so much growth in her.

She has begun to answer her own questions, simply because she understands the Gospel and is getting to know the person of Jesus. She loves the stories of Jesus interacting with the outcasts of society and women. She loves the safety and the assurance of the salvation He offers.

She loves the idea of being in God’s family.

But. When the idea of placing her faith in Jesus comes up, she always tells us of the same barrier: fear. In this country, your religious faith is part of your legal identity. And if Eden declares any faith other than the dominant religion of this country, her life could become very difficult.

Despite this fear, her hunger for the Word of God persists.

Her hunger has increased my own desire to meet God in his Word! Each morning, as I have spent time writing the words of Scripture on my heart, I have been strengthened and encouraged.

I am so grateful for Eden, and how she spurs me on in this journey together! 

It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4


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