Our Chinese student has been with us for one week and today he saw his first hot air balloon. Yesterday he saw his first deer, rolled down the car window and waved to it (he’s in Advanced Calculus and Chemistry yet waves at wildlife). Saturday I found out he didn’t know what dessert was (so Hannah made him a chocolate chip cookie). Cedric likes dessert.
I’ve been wondering if Cedric knows what faith is. He went to church with us, sees Bible verses all over our house and watches us pray before meals. If he doesn’t have a word for dessert for Pete’s sake (that is a pretty important word after all), how will he understand words I’m taking forty-two graduate credits to understand better?
And even though he’s only been with us for seven days and I have tried not to because he will leave in ten months (at the same time Hannah graduates from high school – insert tear emoji), I already love Cedric. When I say good-bye in June 2017 to my Chinese son I want to know I’ll see him again in heaven where he can not only see, but ride on hot air balloons every day if he wants (while eating dessert).
So I have been lamenting about what to do about all of this. How do I teach him dessert is good and Jesus even better? How do I overcome language, cultural and spiritual barriers? Although this young man is a human being and not my Jesus project, I’ll always remember what atheist Penn Gillette once said:
“If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
How can I share Jesus with Cedric?
My friend Kathy told me how to share Jesus when I asked her a few weeks ago how to pass a real and lasting faith to my own kids. She told me to just be who I am. I don’t need to change anything, learn Mandarin or introduce Cedric to someone Chinese who loves the Lord. I just need to be who I am: goofy, prayerful, passionate for Jesus, me.
En route to school Tuesday I hesitantly asked Cedric, Casey and Faithe what I’ve asked my kids every day since they started kindergarten: How I can I pray for you today? And right there in the car I prayed for what Cedric asked me to pray about – his AP Chemistry quiz. And that’s all I did because God loves my family and Cedric more than I do. Trusting that is not only freeing, it is the best hope I have that Cedric will come to know how much Jesus loves him.