Catching the screen door before it could slam behind me, I stepped into my friend Tess’s living room clueless as to how my life was about to change. As a sophomore, I sunk into a spot on her couch for my first college Bible study next to the women who would become some of my best friends over the next few years. By my senior year, I was greeting girls coming through my apartment door as I began to lead my own Bible study. Now, two years after college, I’m still welcoming soul after soul into my home for Bible studies every week.
As a full-time missionary, Bible studies are the most central aspect of my job, but this semester has especially reminded me that exploring scripture in community is a central aspect of my entire life, regardless of my job title. In my encounter with His Word, the Lord has revealed both Himself and myself to me, given me a depth of human friendship I didn’t know existed and taught me how to invite others to know Him. To put these themes a little more succinctly, FOCUS refers to them as divine intimacy, authentic friendship and the little way of evangelization. (Maybe that last one wasn’t so succinct, but you get the picture.)
The Apostle John describes knowing Jesus as the path to eternal life (John 17:3); the “know” he uses here describes not just a factual knowledge but a deep, relational knowledge, akin to the way Adam “knew” his wife Eve and, thus, she conceived a child. Diving into scripture cultivates our relationship with Jesus as a person, which begins to conceive new life within us as His disciples.
As we open ourselves to a relationship with God, the Lord also teaches us how to enter more fully into human relationships. We begin to share not only the Gospel with those around us, but our very selves as well (1 Thess. 2:8). The friendships formed through Bible study hold us accountable in our faith, offer us a refuge in times of trouble (Sirach 6:14), and go beyond themselves as beacons of evangelization.
Like the woman at the well leaves her water jar and runs to tell her neighbors of the Messiah (John 4:28-30), so too does our encounter with Jesus through His Word spur us to share this good news with others. I see this “little way of evangelization” put into effect as my students begin leading their own Bible studies, bring their friends with them to my 7am study, and start teaching their peers how to pray and launch their own studies as well. Little did I know that joining a Bible study my sophomore year of college would be the start of something I would desire to do for the rest of my life, full-time missionary or not. Like drops of water make their way from spring to sea, we make our way home to heaven together.
If you feel a tug to start your own Bible study or begin reading scripture more, I’d love to connect you with the resources to do so. Find my contact info on the about page! For more frequent updates about Bible studies and mission at Angelo State, follow my Instagram @fromspringtosea, like my From Spring to Sea Facebook page, or continue to find more in-depth updates and stories here.