Last spring, we heard how God radically changed Asuka’s life through others’ faithfulness to share the gospel with her. Now, Asuka is back at UNC and is continuing to see God change her own life through ministry at home and on campus.
When Asuka Nakamura came to faith in the spring of her junior year at UNC Chapel Hill, she knew she wanted to learn more about Jesus and take time to intentionally grow in discipleship. She decided to pursue God in these ways by applying to City Project, the Summit’s eight-week summer discipleship program for college students.
Asuka believes that “when we leverage a summer for God’s kingdom, He always rewards that somehow, and I saw that through my own growth.” Asuka reflects on her summer doing City Project, saying, “there were lots of days when I felt weary or insufficient, but I learned to see God through his Word and how his Word is a source of life that replenishes us.”
“There were lots of days when I felt weary or insufficient, but I learned to see God through his Word and how his Word is a source of life that replenishes us.”
Looking back on her application process for City Project, Asuka says, “I had never really reflected before interviewing for City Project how much God had done in my life. I realized that God is faithful and continues to be faithful.”
When Asuka came back to school after City Project, she was faced with several new challenges. On one hand, she felt called to move back in with her family so that she could intentionally share the gospel with the people she loves most in the world. On the other hand, she also wanted to be a student leader and invest in her fellow students at UNC.
“There were a lot of mixed feelings about living at home. I was nervous about personal space and I feared being left out from events on campus, but I felt like God was calling me to stay at home because it’s such a crucial place to do ministry,” she says.
Asuka Nakamura on Summit College Retreat
On campus at UNC, Asuka was faced with the new challenge of being a student leader. In this role, she continued to learn the challenges of walking with Jesus. “Ministry can be hard sometimes, but Jesus’ response to suffering and hostility was continuously to be a submissive servant to his father. Reflecting on that made me realize that that is the way I should be leading too.”
Leading in this way is not always easy though, and Asuka confesses that she has not been a perfect leader.
“A lot of times, I placed the pressure on myself to change the girls’ hearts rather than asking God to do that. Whenever I didn’t see the outcome I was expecting, it was discouraging, and I think that was a matter of me finding my identity in the wrong place.”
After her first full semester of ministry, Asuka reflects on her role. “I think the term leadership can be misleading sometimes, because even though we are given the power and authority to speak truth to the girls that we’re leading, we should also be humble leaders who are comfortable being placed in the lower position of learning what it looks like to learn from others, too.”
Through pursuing God in this difficult season, Asuka has also seen his faithfulness in her ministry at home. “I’ve gotten to share with my sister a lot. She’s been in Christian community in the past, so the first time I tried to explain the gospel to her, she said she already knew it because her friends had explained it to her. I’ve also tried to care for her soul and her entire life rather than force an agenda on her,” Asuka says.
“It’s always hard to share the gospel with the people you love the most, because it is offensive,” Asuka admits. “But for me, I learned while doing City Project that if I care about these people and I know that Jesus is the answer to everything, then why should I hesitate to share?”
“It’s always hard to share the gospel with the people you love the most, because it is offensive.”
“God doesn’t save just one person, he saves people to go reach out to other people,” Asuka states. When she realized that she came to faith through another person consistently sharing the gospel with her, Asuka began to understand the importance of being a disciple who makes disciples. “Now, my sister is my one.”
Through the various challenges that ministry has brought, Asuka says, “I’ve learned that I have to lay down my preferences, and I’m learning how that can be a reflection of who God is.” In the past year, God has certainly changed Asuka’s heart. “I’m no longer someone who belongs to myself or someone who takes pride in myself, but someone who is in submission to the Father. Everything I do should be for his glory.”
Written by Lauren Luke, Meredith College ‘20.
As we seek to create a movement of disciple-making disciples, we’re asking every member of the Summit to commit to praying for and sharing the gospel with at least one person, their One. Get evangelism and discipleship resources here.