Christina’s eyes filled with tears as the scene depicting Christ’s second coming unfolded before her. Families were reunited; faithful followers of Christ rose from the grave. Some gazed up at Jesus with loving anticipation while others cowered in agonizing fear.
The presentation touched Christina deeply and became a turning point in her life. I have friends who aren’t ready for Jesus to come, she thought. I can’t bear thinking about spending eternity without them!
Christina had tasted the excitement and hard work of personal ministries as she helped to plant a church a few years earlier. Now, after seeing the Second Coming so dramatically presented, Christina wanted to do more. I must find a way to share Jesus with my friends, she thought.
She asked God what He wanted her to do, and she felt impressed to present a series of meetings for young adults that focused on how to have a relationship with Christ. With the backing of her church and support of other Adventist young adults, Christina prepared her presentations.
On opening night Christina shared from her heart what Jesus means to her. She was nervous that first night and wondered whether anything she’d said had made an impact. But several friends told her how much they had needed to hear the message that she presented.
As the hour for the second meeting approached, Christina wondered whether anyone would come back. To her surprise and joy, her friends did come back, and several brought other friends with them.
Christina knew that several of her friends struggled spiritually. One was angry with God over the losses of a brother and a child to death. Another faced an abusive past. Others struggled with trials that they didn’t understand. Knowing about these things helped Christina focus her messages on practical applications her friends needed in order to form a relationship with Jesus and face the storms of life.
In order to keep up interest and help her friends relate to the messages she presented, she included a mix of music, media, and video clips in her talks. She frequently texted her friends, reminding them about upcoming meetings and discussion topics.
Christina couldn’t let the meetings end without telling her friends about Christ’s second coming and what it means to her. “I want you to know how much God wants us to be with Him throughout eternity,” Christina explained to the group.
After the meetings ended, Christina and the other young adults from church invited their friends to fellowship times that included games, food, and Bible study. Christina’s ministry ignited a desire in the young adults at church to become involved in their own ministries.
As a result of holding these meetings, Christina feels more at ease when she shares her faith with others. She has learned that a key to sharing God is in building friendships and trust. When others realize how relevant Jesus is to their lives, they want to know more. Christina is leading a Bible study for young women during which she is building new friendships and deepening older ones. One woman has faced personal trials, and Christina has been able to share with her how God is with us through everything we experience. “This young woman is making new friends with others in our group,” Christina said. “It’s exciting to watch what God is doing through us.”
“I’ve learned that we must not give up on people,” Christina said. “We have to show people that we care about them, or they won’t respond to what we tell them about Christ.”
“Maintaining meaningful relationships takes a lot of energy,” Christina says. “And we’re so busy that it’s easy to lose track of someone.” But young people today communicate via the Internet and text messages to stay in touch with one another during the week. Christina uses these modern communication methods to remind her friends of Bible studies and prayer requests. “Texting one another is so much a part of our daily lives that a reminder about a Bible study doesn’t feel like nagging,” she says.
Christina teaches in a public school, and her passion for Christ influences her teaching as well. “I can’t bear the thought of not seeing my students in heaven,” she says. While she can’t talk about Christ in the classroom, she prays for her students.
Christina knows from her own life what it feels like to struggle with failures and disappointments. But she has learned that God can use any of us if we let Him. ⎭
Christina Ivankina shares her faith in central Pennsylvania, in the United States.