Sometimes Ken and I wonder about the importance, influence and impact of our calling. We believe God has asked us to make major sacrifices to reach out to students on the campus: serving, encouraging, loving and journeying with them. We tell ourselves that they are the future leaders of our culture and if their lives change then our culture can change. But it’s not just about the changing the world. It’s actually about life and death.
I had the privilege of meeting Manisha about 9 to 10 years ago through a leadership club we ran at Deakin University. We caught up regularly on campus and eventually with some other girls from church, exploring spirituality and tackling the big questions of life. She visited church once or twice that year and then I didn’t see her for a long time. One night at church we were praying for friends and singing over them “Manisha, Manisha, come back home. Come back Manisha, to your God.” That song has echoed through my mind many times over the years.
As with many other students I’ve met through campus and who I continue to pray for, Manisha moved in and out of our lives in different seasons, usually around significant times for me. When I had each of my babies she would organise a catch up so she could pass us presents. She was a regular reader of my blog posts and would comment at different times. I would check in with her every now and again to see if she was up for a coffee or dinner.
One of those times was about a year ago and it happened to coincide with a heavy season in her life. She decided to join our lifegroup for some extra support, then began attending church. On April 23rd 2017, Manisha decided that she wanted to follow Jesus completely and was baptised in our backyard. 7 weeks later she passed away in her sleep.
Sometimes it’s difficult for us to see what impact we are having in this world. We have met and discipled hundreds and hundreds of students over the years – sometimes they return overseas, sometimes they plug into other churches and ministries and some of them are still on the journey to find Jesus. It was such a privilege that God brought Manisha back into our world just before she died. We witnessed the communities she had impacted (the deaf community, the autistic community, to name a just a couple) and we were there when she asked Jesus to be her Lord.
When you connect with someone and choose to invest in your relationship with them, you don’t know what the outcome will be. If we measured our lives’ activities on outcomes we would have given up ministry years ago, but when you reach into a pool and baptise someone you’ve been praying over for years, you know there’s nothing you’d rather do more. And sometimes it can mean the difference between eternal life and death.
- Pray for God’s provision regarding our partnership development as we haven’t increased our team for over 10 years, we’re losing government income support and our kids are getting more expensive to educate 🙂
- Pray for continued open doors to serve the community at Victoria University through Ken’s role as chaplain.
- Please pray for Manisha’s mother and two sisters in their time of bereavement.