Morgan Vandever Story

I grew up in a Christian bubble. I’ve always pushed that idea away in my brain because I just don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Now, don’t hear me wrong- I am not complaining. Being in that bubble taught me the name of the Lord and the love He has for me since before I can remember. I was surrounded by people who truly and deeply desired for me to know God personally, and who prayed for me by name. Growing up it seemed to me that everyone I knew went to church, knew about the Lord, and lived a fairly similar life as I did. I took in what I heard at church, truly believed it, but thought “Okay, what do I do with this now? Everyone around me is hearing the same thing.” Hence the bubble: I never felt the need to learn to share what I believed and why I believed it because I was surrounded by others who looked and thought like me.
I had made a very nice, cozy comfort zone for myself that I chose to stay in even through college. Christian friends? Got ‘em. Involved in campus ministries? Yep. Going to church? Every week. Candidly talking about who God is and what He’s done in my life? …..not so much. That would mean stepping out of my previously mentioned nice, cozy comfort zone. I had been there for all my life and even in the moments that I wanted to break free from it, I wasn’t sure how.
Enter my friend Mahendra. We met in February when a string of conversations and new friendships led me through the front doors of Reading Circle, a program that serves refugee students in Dallas through developing literacy skills and cultivating mentor relationships in order to share the great love of Jesus. And while people sometimes say this as an exaggeration, it truly has changed my life.
At first glance, we are an extremely unlikely pair. Mahendra doesn’t look like me, and he doesn’t think like me. As an 8th grade boy, Mahendra enjoys video games and not laughing at my jokes. As his mentor, I enjoy asking him 1 million questions no matter how annoyed he pretends to be. We spend Wednesdaynights together working on reading fluency, and at the end of the night, we focus on one attribute of God. These are things that I’ve heard over and over throughout my life: God is holy, wise, almighty…  Remember that bubble I was talking about? Living in the bubble makes it easy for me to hear those things and just move on. I’ve never had to answer the kind of questions Mahendra asks me. I hear “God is wise” and I naturally accept it. But Mahendra asks me why God is wise, and why it matters.
I can find myself naturally drifting back to the comforts of my little bubble. But now, those comforts seem less and less appealing. A life spent floating aimlessly from thing to thing pales in comparison to the joy found in asking questions, sharing, and rejoicing in the work of the Father. So ultimately, I’ll never be able to go back to the bubble for good, and I’ll always have Mahendra to thank for that.

Alysa Marx