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Hope Unseen

August 21, 2018

The #MyWheaton blog shares first-person stories from Wheaton students and alumni.

Youth Hostel Ministry: Hope Unseen

Jonathan Mullins ’20 is a philosophy major with a certificate in human needs and global resources, and he is from Fort Collins, Colorado. In this MyWheaton post, Jonathan reflects on his experience on a Youth Hostel Ministry trip to Amsterdam this summer.

Jonathan Mullins - Amsterdam

Youth Hostel Ministry is founded almost entirely upon hope. My earnest hope for this summer was that people would come to Christ. But most often we do not see this happen in front of our eyes. Conversations end with truth proclaimed, with Bibles given, with testimonies laid bare, but not often with a confession of faith.

The temptation, at least for me, is to feel like a failure. To feel as though God is not at work. But fruitfulness is not measured by the successes we see in front of our eyes; fruitfulness is measured by our faithfulness in the work that Jesus has set before us to do. We can have faith that God is at work, even when we will not always see the fruit.

I cannot see God’s finished work in German, a Mexican Catholic man who was amazed that I was a young college student who wasn’t interested in drinking or smoking weed. He took a Spanish New Testament—I hope that reading it for the first time will draw him into a faith that he has only touched the surface of.

I cannot see God’s finished work in Michael, a man I met on a pier while he was filming a time lapse of the fog steadily rolling over the evening water. I asked him, my elder by 15 or so years, for life advice, and we talked about finding happiness. He had not found it in his work, and wished that he had traveled more when he was younger. We exchanged book recommendations—he suggested Three Men in a Boat and I the Gospel of John. He promised he would download it as soon as he reached his apartment, just a few minutes’ walk from where we parted ways.

I cannot see God’s finished work in Olivia, a student from Colorado with whom I was able to share the Gospel with out of 1 John 4:19—we love because He first loved us.

I cannot see God’s finished work in Logan, a Canadian atheist to whom I recommended Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.

I cannot see God’s finished work in Jennifer, a German who has tasted the goodness of Christian community abroad, but is struggling to find Christian community where she lives now.

I cannot see God’s finished work in Sophia, a young Australian just beginning a year of travel, who now knows that the Bible isn’t just oppressive and not all Christians are bigoted hypocrites.

I cannot see God’s finished work in Jon, a Canadian who now knows that I only have hope that sustainability will happen and poverty will end because I believe that Jesus is at work now and is coming back to restore creation.

I do not know whether German or Michael or Logan will read what I gave them.
I do not know whether Olivia or Jon will think twice about the love or justice that Christ proclaims.
I do not know whether Sophia’s heart will be softened toward Christ-followers, or whether Jennifer will find Christians to surround her.

But I do know that hope that is seen is not hope. For in this hope we were saved, and with patience let us wait for Jesus to save others.

 Jonathan Mullins - Amsterdam