I heard the story of a young man whose life has changed — all because he wanted to date a girl.
Here is the story: Julian was going to a university and working full time to obtain his college degree. In his words, his goal was “to get his MBA, manage his own business, make his first ten million and then sell out at 40 and retire.”
Classes began and during his first class meeting in biology, Julian was attracted to a girl who became part of his lab group. That group was to work together to research a certain topic for a class presentation. Consequently, the group had to meet outside of class time.
As the group got busy mapping out their project, meeting times were set. The group of five agreed to meet at the library. Julian just happened to get in the same group with the girl, Suzanne, who had caught his eye that first class meeting.
That night Julian got to know Suzanne a little better. The more he talked to Suzanne and visited with her, the more attracted he was to her.
After three meetings and three class meetings, Julian asked Suzanne on a date.
She accepted on one condition: Suzanne explained that she was involved in missions and she would go with Julian if he would go with her to that missions meeting. Julian agreed and on the night of their “date,” he found himself sitting in a lounge at the university talking to twenty or so students mapping out their next mission trip.
Julian was disappointed but endured because he was so attracted to Suzanne. Weeks went by. The two not only attended class and group meetings but Bible study and the missions group.
Then one night, the mission group announced details of their next mission trip to Bolivia. With a desire to be with the Suzanne, Julian committed to go. He told me that when he was child, his family had been in church and he could remember his parents praying. Yet, when he was out on his own and in college, he just didn’t have time for the religion thing.
In Bolivia, Julian and Suzanne were two of a group of 23 college students. The assignment for the group was to work in an orphanage in Bolivia. Immediately Julian and Suzanne were drawn to little Petao, a little boy in the orphanage who had spina bifida. His story touched them both.
Petao was orphaned and an aunt and uncle had agreed to take him in but the step parents became ashamed of Petao and resented him. They banished him to the dark and dank basement of the house where he lived for three years with only a cot and a toilet. There was no interaction, no love, and no help from anyone. His step parents would bring food down once daily.
Finally a neighbor reported Petao’s whereabouts to the local police and Petao was brought to the orphanage. In poor health, Petao’s ability to interact with others was nil.
But at the orphanage, Petao had blossomed. He was a bright, loving and a caring child. Julian was drawn to Petao and when it was time to leave, he felt he was leaving part of his heart with Petao.
What is the end of the story? Julian and Suzanne came home, graduated from college, married, and are now studying the language to go back to the place were Petao lives.
Julian told me: God led me through love to Suzanne and then through love to my future work in the orphanage in Bolivia and it all started with a date.