Encounters & Life Change: Sarah Lovinger

As we’ve been working through the Gospel According to Mark, we’ve discussed the power that a single encounter with another person can have in our lives. We asked some of our members to share what this has practically looked like in their own lives.

It was by no coincidence that I became a Christian just four days after meeting Taylor Dame.

Taylor is one of the first people that I met after landing in Florence, Italy for a semester abroad. We sat next to each other on the taxi from the airport to our separate apartments and when I waved goodbye I had no reason to think that I would ever see her again.

But, thankfully, I did see Taylor again. We ran into each other the very next night and were inseparable from that point forward. On our first Saturday night in Florence Taylor asked me if I would go to church with her the following day. My first thought? Absolutely not.  But the funny thing is, when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t know anyone, you’re not really in the position to turn away friends. So I agreed to go.

That first Sunday that I went to church with Taylor I gave my life to Christ. In short, it was a miracle, and it all started with a simple invitation to join a stranger in going to church.

Taylor taught me countless things about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. But most importantly what I learned from her is how God desires to work in us and through us to make Himself known and to change lives. He wants to meet us exactly where we are at and use us there for His glory. He takes our small prayers, our mundane conversations, and simple invitations and makes them extraordinary.

When Taylor invited me to go to church with her she didn’t do anything extravagant. She didn’t speak really beautiful words about God or try really hard to convince me to go with her. On top of that she didn’t care that I was a stranger in a strange place or that she didn’t even know where the church that she was inviting me to was, she just asked.

God calls us to go into the world proclaiming His name and to make disciples of all nations. Sometimes, if not most of the time, doing that doesn’t mean doing extraordinary things. It means being obedient to His calling and placing Him at the center of every interaction, trusting that He is going to bless our words and actions and use them in ways so much greater than what we could intend or imagine.  We can do so little but He does so much through us.

I praise God for Taylor and for the way that she impacted my life. I praise Him for the way that He desires to use every single one of us in similar ways.  It is my prayer that we, like Taylor, might step out in faith and invite strangers in strange places into our churches and homes, into relationship with us and into relationship with our Heavenly Father. I pray that we do all of this in the confidence that He will do infinitely more in and through us than we could ever hope or plan for.