By Aaron Rinehart
In 2017, my spring break story was a little different than most. When I got home from school last March, my brother-in-law, Josh Meinders, asked if I would go witness with him at the Memorial Union (MU) on Iowa State’s campus. I told him I would, not knowing that chasing this opportunity would result in a permanent life change.
At this point, my walk with Christ was not authentic, I had decided to go with Josh just to boost my reputation as a “good Christian kid” something I could put on my snapchat story so everyone could see what I was doing. Yet, as we walked around the MU talking to people about the gospel and what Christ had done for us, I saw it truly impact people. One student we talked to from Dubai, Yosef, broke down crying saying he prayed to God for the first time the week before, asking that He would show him that he was loved by God. Yosef was so excited because he had never had a father. One of his friends, who was a member of Salt Company, told Yosef that God is our heavenly father and that He can show us true love – a perfect fatherly love for his children. Yosef’s prayers had been answered, Yosef’s life changed, and my life used by God was soon changed as well.
After my experience in the MU, I decided that I was going to rededicate my life to Christ and live a life that would follow in His footsteps. On top of that, I asked God to teach my how to listen, listening to God is just as important as praying is. When we talk to God we have to listen as well, this is something that I was challenged with because I enjoy talking, a lot.
This also meant I had to be still and focus on what God was telling me, focus on the opportunities that He had placed before me. However, I am not the type that enjoys being still, I would rather do something and cloud my mind with less important things. Yet, Christ humbled me, He taught me to listen by using my own father, who I would not listen to either. It wasn’t until all the poor choices I had made in the past caught up with me, my dad called me out, and I had no choice but to listen. This conversation with my dad also forced me to listen to what Christ was saying to me.
As I grew to listen to God, more and more opportunities to be a witness came forward every day. Sometimes, so many that it would be overwhelming. All I had to do was say hi to someone, or ask them to sit down with me and talk about their day. Sometimes, their week would be completely changed because the Holy Spirit was working in powerful ways through me. It is through the ordinary “hellos” and the intentionality that we bring to a friend that the Holy Spirit can work. By listening, I was able to become a witness for Christ, and the opportunities came that challenged me and helped me to draw closer to God.
God changed my life. He has changed others as well. So for me, why not let God continue to work in me the ways he has been? Why not let him continue to change my life the way he did with Yosef? There is no person the Holy Spirit cannot reach, including me; may I listen and understand so I may speak and be understood in the name of Jesus.