Usually I don’t use names (real ones, at least) in my writing, but Zoe is an exception. Zoe is not her real name; she’s an exchange student from China and has chosen Zoe as her English name.
Zoe is wonderful. She’s funny and thoughtful and so very Chinese. Sometime I joke that if I wasn’t dating the bf, I might date her.
I don’t really know how to describe her…but I know that I can’t get enough of her. I love taking her to Sprouts each week to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. I love sitting next to her in our Chinese Civilization class. I love praising Jesus alongside her. I love talking about China with her and feeling like I understand a bit of her world.
On Thursday we went to the store and she made me an authentic Chinese meal…just like those I ate last summer. We talked and laughed and even ate watermelon together afterwards, because everyone knows that watermelon absorbs fat so you should always eat it after a meal. Well, at least all good Chinese know that.
On Friday we had class together and as the bf and I drove her home, she talked to us about “the gays” and her opinions on them. She called me later in the evening to invite me to go out to a Chinese restaurant with her.
On Saturday the bf and I dropped by her apartment after going to his brother’s concert a block away. She fed us watermelon and strawberries. Us Americans have a lot of fat to be absorbed, you know. What was intended to be a ride to a going away party turned into us not only attending the party but also eating hot-pot, playing mahjong, and enjoying the company. Zoe drank beer, and was the only one doing so – kind of weird/funny/awkward all in one.
Yesterday she came to church with me. For the first time. It was so great. Bringing internationals to church with me is always an exciting, wonderful adventure. She spent a good portion of the service either falling asleep or whispering to me. Yet standing beside her and singing to the King makes any doubt that she’s just coming to church to make me happy fade away.
Today? She’s moving in with me. My roommate moved out a month ago, and has yet to find a new one. Thus, I have offered up the vacant room to her and she is coming. With her humor, with plans to join the Communist party, with her Chinese tea, with her Bible, with her habits, customs, and beliefs. She’s coming, and ready or not, I’m ecstatic.
A couple of nights ago, as I sat with the bf on the couch, he lifted my head and as he looked in my eyes, he noticed that I had been crying. He asked why, and I didn’t know quite what to say, other than, “Zoe’s coming to church with me tomorrow.” I was so excited.
I cry out of my deep love for her, out of my deep desire that she come to know Jesus and begin following Him. Jesus has burdened me so, and for that I am forever grateful. I had been praying that I would care, that I would have compassion.
Then Zoe came into my life.
I read cute little things on Pinterest that say things like “God doesn’t give you the people you want, He gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to love you and to make you the person you were meant to be.”
The thing is, I both want and need Zoe. God is good in giving me so many good and perfect things. Friendship, tears, laughter, good food, hope, passion, concern, and countless blessings. Things that I want and need, things that He’s giving me in Zoe.
May these next twelve days be full of grace and goodness as I live with this dear friend. May Jesus work in miraculous ways in both her heart and mine. Above all, may God be glorified and may His name be lifted high through his friendship.