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First Encounter With Emmanuel

First Encounter With Emmanuel

EAST ASIA — Crossworld worker Carrie met Maly at a clothing shop in their city, and they connected immediately. They began to message back and forth, meeting up a few times over coffee and quickly getting to know each other.

As Christmas neared, Carrie asked God for an opportunity to share the meaning of the holiday with her new friend.

Carrie heard about a Christmas event at a local church and invited Maly to attend. Maly eagerly accepted Carrie’s invitation.  

The Christmas event contained all the traditional celebrations — but everything was new to Maly. Joyous carols and Scripture readings about Jesus’ birth filled her ears. She heard of the unconditional love of the Creator God and his Son who came to live among his creation. And all of this in her own heart language!

When the service ended, Carrie gathered her things to go home.

“Let’s go out to dinner,” Maly said.

Carrie debated. It was already late, and she was mentally exhausted from translating languages in her mind. But she heard the Holy Spirit nudging her, “I will give you strength. Just show up.”

So Carrie agreed and the two friends found a restaurant for dinner.

From the moment they sat down at the table, Maly asked question after question about Jesus and the things she had heard that night.

“Tell me your story with Jesus,” Maly said to Carrie.

Carrie thought back to her prayer asking God for an opportunity just like this one. She thanked God and then began to share with Maly the story God has written in her life.

“He really is Emmanuel,” Carrie said. “Through every change of season in life, he has been with me. I’ve experienced his love over and over.”

Being new to her host country, Carrie usually needed time to find the right phrases and pronunciation in a conversation. But in this moment, the Holy Spirit covered the language gap for her. The friends conversed back and forth with words and grammar flowing effortlessly.

By God’s mercy, Maly got to hear the 2,000-year-old Christmas story and its relevance to Carrie’s life today. By his mercy, it may one day be Maly’s story, too.

The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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