When I first applied to go on a trip with Downline, East Asia was not at the top of my list. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t on the list at all. Since I’ve been to Asia before I figured “I’ve had this experience, let’s try something new and totally different”. Originally, my team was planning to go to the Holy Land, but contact after contact fell through and we decided to go to East Asia.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. When I described it to some of my friends they seemed to think I was going on some sort of secret agent undercover mission. I assured them I wouldn’t be introducing myself as “007” and jumping from building to building Jason Bourne style, but instead would be teaching.
The most amazing part about short term trips with Downline is that the purpose is to teach lessons that we have learned throughout the year. I know when I re-teach something to someone else it is also me re-teaching the truths to myself, studying, reading, and learning to apply. Hopefully, when others hear they learn with the intent of re-teaching too.
When we were in East Asia, we held a teaching event for a group of college students through a ministry we partnered with. What better topic to get college students to come out than to talk about dating? A girl on my team, who is preparing to get married this summer, was asked to give a dating talk to a group of college girls.
We met in a small apartment, maybe 25 Asian girls and 10 American girls. With big group events like these ice breakers are definitely part of the protocol. We had everyone say their name, what university they went to, and an interesting fact about themselves (raise your hand if you frantically try to pull out some interesting fact before your turn like I do). When it came to me I fleshed out my answers saying “My name is Jessica, I went to a university that probably none of you have ever heard of, the University of Arkansas…” Out of left field I hear a “Oh, go Razorbacks” from one of the Asian girls. My head snapped so fast you would have thought someone slapped me. I couldn’t believe what I just heard and knew I had to seek out this long distance Razorback fan after the meeting. We moved on with introducing ourselves and my teammate gave an amazing talk on biblical dating, while I vigorously took mental notes.
Afterwards, we were left to mingle and just have girl talk. I approached the girl who had cheered for my alma mater and favorite college team. She blew me away. Turns out Mihou (not her real name) studied abroad at the University of Arkansas and a girl I knew in college had shared the gospel and read scripture with her. I couldn’t believe it. I was overwhelmed with God’s sovereignty in the situation. It seemed impossible, and that was the coolest thing. I was so encouraged to see the fruit of my college peer’s obedience in sharing the gospel and the pursuit of Christ as Mihou moved back to her home country. To be placed in the same room with Mihou in a country of over a billion people, to be able to share a connection more than halfway around the world, what are the chances? It was such a sweet glimpse of God showing me what all nations truly looks like and how being obedient to His word glorifies Him. It really is a small world, but man do we have an incredibly big God.
Jessica Pfeil is a recent Emerging Leader Alum. When she’s not adventure seeking, she also enjoys breakfast foods, watching cat videos, and singing along to Billboard’s top 20.