I first met Chenfei at one of our Saturday Supper events during his first semester at Duke. Every month he would come early to our dinner to help set up. He was so faithful in this task and even walked there from his apartment. Several of our volunteers befriended him, but he showed little spiritual interest at that time. At Christmastime, one of our Summit families was connected to Chenfei through our Holiday Hospitality outreach. They invited Chenfei to Christmas at DPAC and to a meal in their home. That couple, Andrew and Stacy Kleinberg, happened to be in my small group. They later invited Chenfei to our Super Bowl party and several other small group social events, where others from our group befriended Chenfei. In the last six months of his stay in Durham, a volunteer who attends the Downtown Durham campus, Joe Siler, started taking Chenfei to church, and the Kleinbergs continued to share friendship and spiritual things with him. Chenfei graduated with his master's degree in May 2016 and moved to Illinois to work on his Ph.D. at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. When he left, we all had planted seeds but had seen little growth.
In September, we received an email from Chenfei saying that he was ready to be baptized! He had joined a Bible study at UIUC and had been reading God's Word with new friends Michael, Richard, and Thomas for a year. He sent the following message:
"Hello all, I have a great news to share. After more than a year’s long journey, I decided to become a Christian. Revelation 3:20 says, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ Each one of you ... has been giving me support like a family during the time I spent in Durham, and more importantly ... bringing me closer to Jesus. I cannot [say] how grateful I am.
"I want to get baptized at The Summit Church, where I truly felt God's blessing for the first time, and it would be absolutely great if you all could come and witness."
We are delighted that the gospel seeds sown in Chenfei's heart were watered in Illinois and now God is bringing about the fruit of redemption. We are excited to celebrate baptism with Chenfei at Thanksgiving!
By Ginger Ehmann, Serve365 Team Leader
Photo: Summit members Andrew and Joe (left and right) and International Students, Inc. staff member Dan with Chenfei