We were simply talking and somehow we connected. Maybe because we shared the same name, maybe because I was an American in Asia, or maybe because God was moving. We talked for awhile about all sorts of things, then the opportunity arose for me to share the gospel.
“Do you believe in Jesus?”
Once I finished, she had an interesting question for me: “Do you believe in Jesus?” Of course, I believed in the one I was talking about, and God used this question to open the door for me to share my testimony. I told her about all that God has done for me…how much he loves me and how he is always here for me.
Emily hesitated. She feared disrespecting God because she felt unready to go deep with him. As she shared this, I remembered how I was when I first gave my life to the Lord. I didn’t have a very deep or even close relationship with him; there were so many things I did not know. Even to this day, I struggle with following him. Despite this being the fact, he still loves me the same! I knew this was true for Emily as well. We all make mistakes, but God is bigger than the mistakes we make.
Her heart stirred when hearing this truth. I prayed and she said she would join me. She gave her life to the Lord during this prayer time together! This was so exciting, but the excitement didn’t end there. Awhile back, someone told us to teach new believers how to hear from God. He wants a relationship with us and and a part of that is him talking to us and us talking to him.
Emily wasn’t so sure about this idea. God could speak to her and he actually wanted to do this? She was so afraid of disappointing God or anyone for that matter. She desperately hated to let me down. I told her I wouldn’t be disappointed; that God was going to speak to her. On the outside, I was a picture of confidence, while on the inside I was very nervous! I knew God could do it, but I admit, I was still afraid. I encouraged her and put my trust in God, despite my nerves.
“I am his daughter and he forgives me.”
A few moments passed and God spoke to her! “I am his daughter and he forgives me,” she said. Not only did the Lord speak to her, but he spoke to me as well. I saw a picture of a lily. As it turns out, she loves lilies! This was so exciting, but she was still somewhat unsure about this experience. How was she to know God spoke to her and that these words were not somehow her own? She was desperate for clarity and she just needed some type of other proof that this was really God speaking.
God gave me an idea to have her ask him about me. She barely knew me, as I barely knew her, but God knows both of us best. So, I told her the idea and she agreed to pray again. This time she received definite confirmation that God was the one speaking. “You are pretty and independent, but still need love.” My friend, Emily, sure did hear from the Lord! I am a very independent person, one who likes to be able to do things for myself. These words were not merely words she could have made up, but her Heavenly Father was in fact speaking to her. And I guarantee, he will continue to do so!
Soon afterwards, I had to leave. Despite the geographic distance that is now between me and Emily, I have gained a family member– I now have a new Sister in Christ! And to think it all started with “Hi, my name is Emily…”
Emily Ricker was a student in our winter Discipleship Training School. For her missions trip she went to East Asia where she met the Emily from her story.