Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a real pioneer in an unknown land, to go where no one had ever gone before? Stepping out in faith to tell others about God is one way to be a modern pioneer.
Renata Ramanauskaite, a regional campus leader with Agape Europe, recently led a team to Norway to pioneer a student movement on the campus of Oslo University. She shares about her latest ministry adventure in a daily diary.
“How can we start Agape student-led movements in the frozen North?”
I have been challenged with this question for the last few years by Agape Europe student ministry director John McNeill. Well, the time has come to face this challenge! In September, a team of 5 women student ministry leaders and interns from different countries joined me on a one-week trip to Oslo. Our goal was to prepare the ground for a team of Europeans to be sent in January 2016. This meant lots of meetings with Christian leaders in the Oslo area, and we also planned to do prayer walk and spend at least 25 hours engaging with Norwegian students in spiritual conversations on campus. If we are going to see an Agape student-led movement started in any new country it is only going to be through God working in a supernatural way.
Watch out! We're on campus! Prayer-walking and discovering campus and connecting with students. During our first hour on the Oslo campus we met Susan, a mature Christian who loves the Lord and His Word. She is very friendly and open to help us. We like to call these kinds of contacts “people of peace” – meaning that they are welcoming and supportive of our work on campus. Who knows, maybe she will also become a student leader?
We met a first-year Christian student named Inge, shared phone numbers with a couple more and had many meaningful spiritual conversations with students on campus. I (Renata) shared Gospel with a spiritually open student.
While others were on campus I met with a Norwegian pastor whose congregation includes many students. "You are very welcome," is what I heard from her.
As we talked, she told me that Norway needs people who will share Christ with Norwegians. I shared our plans to return with a team next year. She even offered to write to her congregation to ask if they could host EuroSTINT team members. Wow! The Lord keeps going ahead of us to prepare helpful people like this pastor.
Devotional and prayer on campus. (We held one every morning, reading about Paul’s missionary journey). I modelled personal evangelism for Susan who is a student we met yesterday. Shakira, a Muslim student, poured out her heart to the girls. As I was looking at her she seemed to be doing alright but she admitted that she struggles with trusting other people. One more opportunity to share the Gospel! She would like to believe in God we were talking about, but she still doesn't believe it’s the truth yet. First day of experiencing rejection as we were asked to leave the university canteen…
“If God is the one, like in the Bible, then He is not safe,” shared Howard, Norwegian student. He felt safe enough and interested to engage in an hour long spiritual conversation and was open to hear what we had to say.
What a joy it was to meet a former Norwegian Agape staff member Liv Berit! She shared great stories and her great heart for the Lord and her country. We even got some evangelistic literature in Norwegian. Becky and I were meeting with leaders of other prominent Christian organisations in Norway. It was a time of prayer and of blessing each other as we see a great need for various expressions of Gospel on campuses in Norway.
At the evening service for teenagers in the church, Judita shared her testimony of directing others to Jesus. After the service one teenager came to us saying, “I will be a student next year, how can I get involved with Agape on campus?"
Challenged Sarah to be an Agape student leader. Victoria Harkins met a Swedish girl today who is studying in Oslo. She said she was agnostic, but if heaven exists she wants to know that it's possible to go there. Victoria shared the Gospel with her and she said she is going to download the Bible on her phone and start reading John! She's open! Pray for her.
"You are very welcome here. We need you". This is what we heard today from another Norwegian church pastor named Hilde, who works as a chaplain at the Theological Faculty. This is the second time this week when we have heard this statement from a pastor. They see a high need for evangelism in the country and us as bringing a significant contribution in this area.
What a week!!! God really prepared everything for us – a place to stay, people to meet. It was a week of networking, exploring and sowing. We did what we came for and even got a bonus – challenging Sarah to be a student leader in Oslo. Thanks to everyone who prayed for us. Your prayers made difference for sure! Thanks to Becky, Victoria, Judita, Marta and Suzanne for working hard and having fun at the same time! Now, the next step is preparing and finding a right leader for the EuroSTINT team!
If you are interested in being a part of the next EuroSTINT mission, contact Renata for more information!
There was no day seven for girls 🙂 Only for me who stayed in Oslo to go to church :).
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