I was sitting on a river’s edge after riding a horse for an hour and a half through the green hills of the Mongolian countryside. I spent my time thinking, praying and admiring God’s beautiful creation. River rocks were under my toes, submerged in the brisk water, and just as I noticed a little heart shaped rock, our horse-trek guide, Azza, sat down next to me. I can’t quite remember how the conversation started, but it led to Azza asking me questions about Jesus and his love. This wasn’t the first time Azza had asked questions on our four day trek, but it was an intimate, purposeful meeting for the two of us.
Azza’s parents are Buddhist, but she attends a Christian university and has been exposed to the Bible, or the “Holy Bible” as she always refers to it. Azza described to me how it amazed her the love and kindness she saw from our whole group. She expressed, “I see you guys hugging and smiling and laughing all day starting in the morning.” She then went on to say, “I see this light around your group that I cannot completely explain.” What a perfect lead-in to sharing my testimony. This was the first time I had shared my testimony. Before the Around-the-World Semester began, I was nervous and felt unqualified to share my testimony. When the focus was taken off me and put on God, He worked in an incredible way. The moment was natural and beautiful.
Azza and I enjoyed the rest of the trek talking, laughing, and singing together. When it came time to say good-bye we exchanged emails and hugs. It took us a long time to part from each other and for the first time on the trip I got teary-eyed while saying farewell to someone. We have already begun emailing and staying in contact. I will always be grateful for the opportunity God gave me to get to know and share his love with such an incredible girl. She left me with a hug saying, “Ellie you are so kind and special and I will always remember you.” It is my hope that she remembers God’s love she felt through me and continues to seek and ask questions. As we left each other, I left with her the little heart shaped rock that I found underneath my toes the first time we talked.