Misheels university students present Christmas
By Tianna Haas | Mongolia in East Asia
Sharing the gospel in a public university is daunting.
But when your pupils ask the focus of end-of-semester presentations to be “Christmas,” a golden opportunity to explain Jesus’ life and death lies ahead.
Misheel*, a mission worker and professor in Mongolia, experienced just such a scenario last Christmas.
Misheel started her journey into teaching overseas in 2004 but had to wait several years before she found the right placement. She said: “During those days, I kept on equipping myself for the task waiting for me in the country far away…”
Now she equips future teachers through training and lecturing. For one course, Misheel held a final group project where her pupils performed mock lessons. They would practice teaching a subject for primary school children, and she gave them the freedom to pick their topic.
Misheel said: “The meaning of Christmas had no special reason or significance for them.” Yet they had seen shops and restaurants with holiday decorations since the beginning of November, and many were curious about the celebration. So, the class decided Christmas would be a fitting choice.
Misheel observed as eight groups of three or four students delivered their research. Many thought Christmas and New Year celebrations were lumped together, while others asked whether “Christmas” and “X-mas” were different.
After each class period of presentations, a large group discussion took place in which Misheel was able to clarify some points about Christmas.
She said: “They mostly got the information from Google or from the oral tradition of their friends and elders in the society… It was just like a folk story for them.”
However, some wondered whether the story was real and considered if it could have occurred 2,000 years ago. This was Misheel’s moment to share what she believed about Jesus and the origin of Christmas.
This wasn’t the first time that Misheel has been able to discuss Christianity with her university students.
She said: “Many students in my context have heard the story of the gospel. As our relationships develop, the students trust me to ask questions knowing that I will listen and answer their questions honestly and without judgement. They often ask good questions, like why I came to Mongolia.”
As Misheel builds trust with her students, these relationships allow her to share with them about her desire to see them commit their lives to Christ. Many students have shown genuine interest about knowing Jesus, but the university setting does pose some complications.
Misheel said: “Many students are interested in pleasing their teacher to get the extra credit, thinking if they develop a closer relationship to the teacher, they will get a higher grade. Accordingly, they will ask to join Bible studies to please me. However, the Lord can work in different ways, and I am seeking faithfully to share the truth regardless of their intentions. The Lord can and often does move in their hearts.”
Misheel continues to boldly serve the Lord in and outside of the classroom, but this open forum to reveal the truth of Christ’s coming was a welcome Christmas gift.
• the students at Misheel’s university who have heard the gospel to repent and believe in Jesus.
• Misheel to remain courageous in her faith.
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