BY JESSICA DAHL
Miranda Miller, a Southern California native, had planned to go to OSU until she took a trip with her dad to visit Pullman. On campus she felt a sense of community that caused her to change her mind. When her neighbor in the dorms invited her to a Halloween party that October, not only did she discover community in an even truer sense, but Miranda’s journey from death to life quickly accelerated.
I met her that night, dressed as a leopard. She was wearing a cat outfit with no mask, and looked eager to know what made all these people dress up, dance, and love each other that night without alcohol.
Miranda’s neighbor in the dorms, Bailey, was a freshman at WSU whom I had come to love and disciple. She made sure to introduce Miranda to every person in Resonate at that party. I knew that Bailey and Miranda had not talked much before this night, and I prayed this new friend seeking answers would get connected to community and to Christ.
Bailey asked about her spiritual background and invited Miranda to check out Resonate Church with her. Miranda thought, “College is all about trying new things…why not?” Growing up, Miranda’s family had attended Catholic mass. Soon school and other things in life took precedence and she quit finding a reason to go.
The first time she came to Resonate, she told me this is what she had always pictured church should be like. Her heart was leaping, but still she didn’t really get it. She found herself coming week after week, crying in every service, but not sure why. She had never known that the bible stories and the God of those bible stories could be personal to her. In the weeks to come, Bailey would text me to pray for her conversations with Miranda about Jesus.
She heard the story of the Prodigal Son for the first time one Sunday, and it was then she knew she had to make a choice. She had heard the gospel in conversations with Bailey and with her Village leader, but this story made it so clear where she stood with God.
She said she felt like the prodigal son standing on the sidewalk, watching God stand on the porch with open arms, and knew that running to Him would require everything she currently knew. It would require surrender of school and her life direction, which had always come first. Figuratively speaking, she stood on that sidewalk for a long time, looking at God and trying to figure Him out.
It was Good Friday when she took her first steps toward the porch and the God waiting there with open arms. Bailey was out of town, and I was praying that Miranda would still choose to come by herself to Resonate’s Good Friday service. I knew she would hear a clear picture of her need for a Savior. And sure enough, she came.
That night she heard very clearly that Jesus on the cross took the wrath meant for her. Easter finally made sense. Church finally made sense. Why she cried all the time finally made sense. During a response time of worship, she felt her heart surrender. She told God for the first time, “I’m leaping, catch me if you want to.” She felt dazed the rest of the night.
She and her friends from Village came over to our house for dessert and discussion afterward, and she seemed uncharacteristically quiet. She answered ‘no’ when I asked her if she had any thoughts from the night, but I could tell her mind was processing. She said later that she didn’t know how to talk about it, because she didn’t quite know what had happened in there.
Bailey was the first person she told about her prayer, and Bailey helped her piece together what had happened - mainly that Miranda Miller had been dead apart from her Creator, but now she had a new heart and was alive in Him.
Since that night, Miranda has been growing in the knowledge of her new identity in Christ. She was baptized this December and serves faithfully every Sunday setting up our on-campus service. Miranda has weighed the cost of discipleship, and though she still struggles with choosing God over school, career, and family, she continues to walk by faith.
For me this story was incredible to witness from the outside, to pray and watch God use Bailey, a freshman in college, who decided to allow God to use her as a missionary on her campus. My role was minimal so I got to truly see that watching disciples making disciples brings more joy than getting to lead the prayer yourself.
Miranda came to this tiny Eastern Washington town looking to be a part of a community and to study biology, and a gracious God shook up her plans and gave her His own. He used her story to capture Bailey’s heart in being a missionary, and mine in being a faithful disciple-maker.