Malaysia Anderson was surprised to see herself up on the big screen in front of 15,000 people on the final night of Urbana 09. Just five days earlier, Malaysia had been praying that God would reveal his will for her life as she arrived in St. Louis for Urbana with other students from her Chico State InterVarsity chapter. That final night, she watched herself say, “I feel like God is calling me to go to China.”
Every night of the missions conference, Malaysia had asked God where he wanted her to go. “And one night he said clear as day: China,” she remembers. “Everyone from Chico who went to Urbana has helped keep me accountable until I finally went.”
During the summer of 2011, while still in college, Malaysia went to China for six weeks to teach English at a day camp with English Language Institute China (ELIC). The next summer she went to Mongolia with the same organization.
Many Chinese students heard the name of Jesus for the first time during this day camp. It was also the first time these Chinese students had ever met a Christian. God has a plan for each of these students and Malaysia was glad to be a part of their spiritual journey. “I was able to share my faith with two of my students. They had lots of questions and a teammate and I sat with them at dinner and talked to them. The language barrier made it difficult, but the students were eager to get the information.”
For Malaysia, it was an amazing gift and opportunity to be able to go overseas before she even graduated from college to tell other college students from around the world about Jesus. And she credits her time in Chico State’s InterVarsity chapter, Urbana 09, and Urbana 12 as the primary reasons she was willing to go overseas in the first place.
Finding God and Sharing God
“Before InterVarsity, I wouldn’t consider myself a Christian,” Malaysia said. “I knew a lot about God and Jesus but I didn’t understand much. My first spring break in college, we went to Catalina Island and I got to manuscript the book of Mark. Never before had I seen Jesus in that light and he was so enticing. That week I chose to follow him. …I believed he was who he claimed to be.”
After that study, Malaysia got more involved in her InterVarsity chapter and eventually stepped up into leadership, serving as a Black Campus Ministries student leader, a servant team leader, and also served as the emcee for another spring break trip to Catalina.
Being the emcee was amazing, she recalls. “I got to see other people building a deeper relationship with Jesus. Every single day of that trip, I saw God revealed by way of him working in students’ lives. I saw him revealed in the altar call that I gave on the last night. It was such a beautiful thing to see students choose life with Jesus!”
Then, at Urbana 09, Malaysia heard God’s invitation to go and make disciples of all nations. “I remember God showing me the humanity of Jesus and how he came down and dwelled among us and lived life with us for 33 years. I remember God showing me that I could live out the Great Commission all the way in Asia, or on my campus. People everywhere need to know who he is and I could tell them.”
After attending Urbana 09 and her overseas trips in 2011 and 2012, Malaysia decided to go back to Urbana for a second time in 2012, inviting others to join her. One of her favorite experiences at Urbana is worshipping with many people from around the world in different languages. She would say, “If you want to get a little taste of heaven and see God’s heart for spreading the gospel, go to Urbana.”
Calisto Odede—the Bible expositor at Urbana 12—was one of her favorite speakers. During his exposition of Luke 4:14-30, he shared that every participant needs to decide whether they are willing to share the gospel with their family and friends and neighbors, not just going overseas and sharing the gospel with strangers. He said: “If it is not good enough for local consumption, it’s not good enough for export.”
Calisto Odede shared that every participant needs to decide whether they are willing to share the gospel with their family and friends and neighbors, not just going overseas and sharing the gospel with strangers. He said: “If it is not good enough for local consumption, it’s not good enough for export.”
“I looked forward to hearing him speak every morning,” Malaysia remembers. “I would write so many notes, then talk about the passage in Luke all day.”
During a seminar that focused on people of color in the mission field, Malaysia realized she was not the only person who was having trouble getting funded to go abroad. She remembers, “It was great to hear other people with the same issue share their story and ways that helped them.”
Growth through Service
Malaysia’s experiences overseas helped her grow spiritually. “God showed me that I once withheld love for people around me. I was afraid of making connections with people,” she says, “only to leave and never see them again. It was a coping mechanism that I had used all my life and God called me to surrender it to him.” By the time she headed back to the U.S., she had allowed herself to love. “I fell in love with each if the students that I taught. …And the goodbye was so hard, but I knew that I had loved each student with all that I had and God has used me to show those kids a fervent love.”
Having already gone on two short-term missions trips, at Urbana 12, Malaysia committed to go overseas for 1-2 years, a commitment she was able to start but not yet complete due to an injury. Also at Urbana, she committed to host a Luke and John Bible study with people interested in learning more about Jesus. That commitment has proven to be difficult as well. “I still haven’t got those Bible studies off the ground, but I have all the manuscripts and am looking for opportunities to study with people who are interested.”
Maybe you could help out? If you see Malaysia around, ask to join her Bible study.