Leo is an 17 year old boy from China who has been staying with our family since the Fall of 2011. He is a foreign exchange student from China and he came to us a Buddhist.
We are Christians, but we made it clear to Leo that he did not need to be a Christian to live with us. He chose to go to a Christian high school on his own before we met him because he recognized a void in his culture. In China they are not allowed to have organized religion. When I took him to enroll at his high school, he asked if he was required to be a Christian to go there. I told him absolutely not, that he was free to believe what he wanted here in the U.S. He was visibly relieved to know this.
Here’s a photo of Leo and my boys this year.
Before Christmas, Leo was working on a paper for one of his classes. In it he had to describe his religion and what he believed. As I was helping him with the paper, he said, “I do not believe in Buddha and I don’t believe in Jesus. I only believe in myself.” He explained to me that he has prayed to Buddha before and Buddha has never helped him. I suggested that he try doing that with Jesus sometime. He told me, “If Jesus is real, He can speak to me in a dream. If he comes to me in a dream, I will know He is real. Until then, I just believe in myself.” I just nodded in agreement and thanked God for this kid who truly needed a miracle in his heart.
In December, we bought a live Christmas tree at the local corner lot. The day after we brought it home it started losing needles. The tree was in serious trouble the week before Christmas. My husband decided, kinda last minute, to drive up to the forest (with a permit of course) and cut down a fresh tree. The night before he went, I shot Leo an email (I knew he had gone to bed) and told him that Erik was going to cut down a tree in the morning, if he wanted to go. Well, little did I know that God would use that to speak to Leo.
The next morning Leo came bounding up the stairs saying, “I believe, I believe Jesus!” He was so excited! I had to wait until he came down a few levels of excitement to understand what he was saying. He said, “I had a dream last night where Jesus spoke to me! And he told me that when I woke up in the morning, we’d be going to get a Christmas tree!” When Leo woke up the following morning, he saw my email that said, “We’re going to get a Christmas tree!” God spoke to him in a dream and then confirmed it.
How cool is that?! And since then, Leo has found a Chinese church of about 300 believers (all Chinese!) who love God and who pray with him and teach him and he is growing and growing in his relationship with the Lord. They even prayed for him one Sunday that he was really sick and God chose to instantly heal Leo. That really put the clincher on Leo’s faith. Recently he asked me to take him to the store to buy a cross necklace. He wanted to put away the Buddha necklace he had come to America with and replace it with a cross.
Leo has told his parents about his decision to become a Christian and they have given him their blessing. I was a little concerned at first at what they might say, but they respect his decision.
God does not always speak through dreams, but sometimes He does. In the Old Testament, God spoke in various different ways. He has spoken in a storm, a bush, a small voice, a hand from nowhere, flame and smoke, and other strange and creative ways.
Today, God speaks to us through His Son Jesus. He’s done this so there will be no confusion. He wants to make it easy for us to “find Him.” Jesus is the clearest revelation of God. Jesus even says of himself, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9), and “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Leo was true to himself when he said that he didn’t believe in Jesus or in Buddha. But he also left a place open in his heart for Jesus to speak to him, ‘if he was real.’ How about you? Do you have a place in your heart for God, if He is real? Have you thought of it before? What would it take for you to believe in God? If you decide in your heart what it might take, open your eyes and ears. He just might speak.