Welp, now what.
I just finished my first week of classes in my domestic exchange program at Arizona State University and came to the harsh reality that I don’t know a single person, I am across the country from everyone in my comfort zone, and I began to second-guess my choice of being here for the next four months…
My small-town mentality had me look around the hallway one last time thinking maybe just maybeeee I would spot a familiar face in the hundreds of students … I began to head out of the building when I spotted someone also by herself near the water fountain.
I heard a soft whisper in my heart, “Go talk to her”.
Immediately, I rationalized every reason in my mind as to why I could not and tuned down the prompt.
The next thing I know, I am standing right next to the water fountain girl...
I croaked a hello and couldn't think of anything else to say. HOW AWKWARD!
Smiling, she said hello back in broken English. Through our awkward conversation, I found out her name was Sunny and she came to ASU all the way from Korea to do a study abroad opportunity. She also knew nobody.
What are the odds... I thought.
After a painful conversation, of trying to communicate, while I speak zero Korean, making a fool of myself....we managed to schedule getting coffee together the next day to get to know one another.
Thus our weekly coffee dates together were born.
During coffee, we sat in each other's company and allowed smiles to fill the silence when we did not know what to say, as we began to have a deeper understanding of one another. Over time, we transitioned to less formal interactions and began to go shopping or study together. I learned about authentic Korean culture and Sunny was able to come home to Minnesota with me to celebrate Easter with my family on the farm. It was her first holiday with American traditions! She is still confused about the Easter bunny and hiding eggs but honestly, I am too.
Now you may be thinking… what do the gifts of the Holy Spirit have to do with any of this?
My answer: The gift of fortitude.
The gift of fortitude gives us the strength to follow through on the actions prompted by the Holy Spirit.
Looking back and reflecting, I can see it was the Holy Spirit prompting me during my first encounters with Sunny. The Holy Spirit pushed and encouraged me to befriend this girl. He knew we both needed a companion and a friend to become the person to lean on while our families were so far away. She became someone to laugh with and we brought joy to one another's life.
No part of me wanted to approach Sunny in the busy hallway after class. It made me feel
uncomfortable, vulnerable, and out of control. But, the Holy Spirit showed up as the gift He is, and that one small prompting from Him allowed space for Sunny to transform my experience in Arizona- and ultimately my heart.
Most often, the gift of fortitude is in context with martyrs and saints who are killed for their faith and have the grace to do so. Sometimes, fortitude is referred to as courage...
It takes courage to approach people who are physically different, intellectually different, or spiritually different. It takes fortitude to approach them and make them feel loved and noticed by Jesus. It takes courage to spread the gospel and the Good News of Jesus when you know you are the odd one out because of your beliefs. This is something we cannot do on our own but with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Think about it in your own life. How often in doing daily tasks we feel this prompting of “I should help her", or “I should talk to her”, or “I should pray for him” etc… chances are… that's the holy spirit.
How amazing and comforting is it to have the Holy Spirit as our companion when we are pushed out of our comfort zone!
I encourage you all to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for His promptings of who you should pray for, reach out to, or maybe invite with you to church next Sunday. The Holy Spirit is
always working and it is up to us to make space for Him to do so.
Your friend in Christ,