In the short time that Gillian was serving in urban China, she befriended two local Chinese women whose lives were turned around as they came to accept Christ. Several others around her were awakened to an awareness of the gospel. While Gillian was blown away by what God had done, she had learnt an even greater lesson for herself.
Not According To Plan
The first two weeks of her trip were difficult. Many of Gillian’s team members were away, and several ministries were on break for the summer. With a lighter schedule, she had prepared herself to step outside her comfort zone and make friends. Yet opportunities seemed few and far between. As a beginner at the language, this was even more daunting – while saying hello was easy, it was difficult to sustain an extended conversation!
Finding God in the Silence
Gillian doubted coming. What would she write back to those who had been praying to her? What would she ask them to pray for?
This time of ‘silence’ forced her to seek God more intently. Gillian had been an active believer for some time, serving in multiple ways back home. Even more so here, she could not do things on her own strength. Gillian sensed that God wanted her to draw closer to him – and so she spent the time alone, just her and the Lord.
Abiding in the Vine
Before she did anything for the Lord, she had to be connected to Him.
As her relationship with the Lord flourished, the richness of that relationship took over her life. Encouraged by the promise that God would equip her for His work, she pushed aside her doubt and reached out to others.
While Gillian was thrilled to have walked alongside the new friends she made, she was even more thankful to have learnt that being connected to the Lord was vital to serving Him.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, ESV)