Coming to Know Christ Through Conversation
By Cynthia Mitchell
Rod and Rita Jolly are labourers from our Melbourne Navigator Community. They have been ministering faithfully for many years with International Students.
The festive cheer was alive and active as Rod and Rita opened their home for 18 English Conversation Class students and their families to celebrate Christmas. People from diverse cultures gathered around Rita’s table to share in delicious food and pleasant conversation.
Rita took this opportunity to share about the meaning of Christmas by retelling the story of Jesus’ birth and his life on Earth as God’s son. Another lady who had recently become a Christian only a month prior testified how coming to know Jesus had changed her life significantly.
This intrigued many in the room that day, and encouraged those to consider being a part of the Navigator Bible Study Rod and Rita are running next year.
Rod and Rita started English Conversation classes back in 2004, however took a break for about 10 years as Rod worked elsewhere. They restarted back in 2015 where they have been doing it every year since. They largely draw interest from local TAFE students who want to improve their English skills and enjoy the social interaction and tutoring.
This past year, they had 25 students enrol. Each week they split into five to six people per group where Rod and Rita asked questions to encourage discussion and conversation. Often, they probed with spiritual questions to engage students to think deeper about life and its meaning.
“Last April, we invited our English Conversation Class to come to an Easter presentation at Crossway. Three students attended and were quite moved by the testimonies shared there. They hoped to learn more so we invited them over to our house afterwards to chat. This ignited the beginning of our Bible study sessions every Tuesday morning,” shared Rod.
Since beginning the Bible study, others heard what was happening and were invited to attend by other participants.
“In the beginning we started at Genesis 1 – viewing God as our Creator. Then we looked at Psalm 139 to help them understand – God created you. This left quite an impact on them. We then started going through Mark’s Gospel to understand Jesus and to learn more about him. As we got going, we adapted the topics to suit participants’ spiritual questions – remaining flexible to answering questions as they arise.”
“In the last few months, we’ve been doing the Chinese Alpha course. This course is run by Chinese hosts and so helps the Chinese participants understand in their own cultural context. They have really enjoyed it,” explains Rod.
Since this time, three women have given themselves to the Lord. These women were eager to serve Rita as she set up for their Christmas party and helped decorate the garden. Rita also meets with them individually to disciple them, while Rod meets up with other male students.
This year we are grateful to see God at work in the lives of many in our local communities. We are thankful to Him for our faithful disciple-makers Rod and Rita who are serving Him diligently each week and sharing His love and His story. What a blessing to have more sisters entering the Kingdom of Heaven. We pray that God will continue to work in the hearts of these students and that next year many will come to know Him as their Lord and Saviour.