Why Winnie Reaches Out to the Young
A friendly face and warm welcome to join a group eventually led a student to Christ, and changed her life.
Winnie Chia, who came to know Jesus as a student, now reaches out to students as a volunteer with a Christian outreach organisation.
When the stranger came up to Winnie Chia outside her junior college and began sharing about Jesus Christ, she didn’t know how to respond.
Though she had studied in a mission school in her primary and secondary years, Winnie knew little of the Christian faith, and wasn’t ready to accept God at the time. “I didn’t really understand the gospel much and had not given much thoughts about it though I studied in a mission school previously,” she recalls.
But the woman, who was from a Christian outreach organisation, was persistent, and invited Winnie to join a Christian group. “It’s okay even if you don’t believe,” she told Winnie, “come and join us anyway.”
Won over by her friendliness, Winnie agreed. At the group meetings, she learnt more about Christianity, and discovered an unexpected feeling growing in her heart. “I had the urge to want to believe in this God who is so good,” she says.
Having been brought up to follow traditional beliefs, she had always been a little frightened by some of the depictions of deities she was taught to worship, but in Christianity she found the comforting presence of a God of love and peace.
“Knowing that God would give me peace and joy,” she says, “finally, I accepted Christ.”
These encounters with God through various Christians who persistently shared Christ led her not only to accept Christ, but also to eventually serve with an outreach group and start reaching out to young people herself. Having seen God introduce himself to her when she was young, Winnie now seeks to share what she has received, and to tell His story to other young people, and help them to grow in their walk with Him.
Investigating Life, Exploring God
Winnie will always remember how she was helped by a group of older believers who had patiently addressed her questions about Christianity and taken care not to dismiss her arguments or opinions against the faith. They also took time to read the Bible with her and do devotions together.
It is an approach that she takes care to keep as she follows up with young people who want to know more about Jesus.
One challenge, she says, is addressing the many different world views and ideas that people have about religion and God. Unlike their counterparts from the past, students today are conversant in deep topics like nihilism and stoicism, she notes.
“Students these days are more well read and curious,” she observes. “They would rather believe in rationalism through science or even choose to believe that there is no meaning in life, than choosing God.”
But, as she persists in reaching out to students, Winnie remembers Jesus’ own attitude to His listeners. “One truth that I learnt is to love and have compassion for the lost like how Jesus was,” she says. “No matter how tired He was, He saw the crowd and had compassion for them.”
Seeing Lives Change
One thing that helps Winnie reach out to students are biblical resources that engage them through issues that are timely and relevant to their lives, while sharing about God in a non-threatening way. “Students these days have very short attention span,” she notes, so succinct resources that get straight to the point are useful.
For example, when the organisation that she now serves with organised a talk on God and mental health, Winnie shared booklets from Our Daily Bread Ministries that talked about stress and anxiety. When the Covid-19 restrictions made it harder to pass the booklets to the students directly, Winnie and her team sent them the materials with “snack packs” that they could tuck into during the online sessions.
One Discovery Series booklet by Our Daily Bread Ministries, 10 Reasons to Believe In The Existence of God, proved especially helpful in starting conversations about whether God is real, says Winnie.
During these conversations, Winnie takes special care to engage them and get them to share their thoughts and doubts—and to respect their decision, whatever it might be. “If after going through the tracts, though he is agreeable to the points, the student still believes in his worldview, that’s okay,” she says.
She also makes an effort to understand their concerns and obstacles that might prevent them from wanting to accept Christ, such as parental objections. “I’ll use illustrations to help them to see that God is powerful to do things that are impossible, and to see that if they want their parents to come to believe in the God that they believe, they have to come to know the Lord first,” she adds.
Over the years, Winnie has seen God reaching out and turning hearts to Him. She has also witnessed Him working in the lives of new believers, helping them grow in their knowledge and understanding of His Word and ways. Like her, after doing Bible studies and coming to know the Lord, the students went on to join Christian groups and began attending church.
Some of the students whom she and fellow Christians reached out to have even joined them to reach out to others. “We are thankful that we are able to reap the harvest,” she says.