Alumnus // Biola
Hello! I am a graduate from Biola University ‘18. I have the opportunity to share how God has shaped my heart for missions; I hope that it is an encouragement to you if in particular, you are thinking about going on missions this summer or are discovering what part of your life missions will play.
During my third year at Biola, one of my friends convinced me to go to Missions Rally Night. I hadn’t planned on going, but my friend convinced me and said, “If you win a missions voucher for STSM, you have to go.”
I didn’t win one.
What I did receive was a convicting message from God. After the sermon, we sang “What a Beautiful Name”, and as I was singing, God impressed onto my heart a question that challenged me, “Do you really believe that my name is beautiful and that it is powerful? Because if you do, you would put everything on the line for me.”
That same summer, I went to India for the first time with STSM and twice more after that. It was in India that I first experienced a different world and culture. It was in India that God helped me realize how vast this world is, that in the same moment we are sitting at the dinner table having dinner with our families, there are people halfway around the world swimming in the Ganges River believing that their sins are being purified. It was in India that God started to cultivate a heart for missions within me.
During my first trip, I experienced an incredible amount of culture shock, so I was determined to return a second time with a less romanticized and hyped view of missions. With this, I thought that I would be able to seek more clarity in what God was calling me to do with my life. As I spent the month there, the thought that God kept pressing upon my heart now was, “If you believe my name is beautiful and powerful, you cannot sit idly by while my people waste away towards Hell, you cannot sit idly by while my glory and worship is being given to another.” He was absolutely right, if I proclaimed to be a Christian, then my greatest aim is God’s glory. If worship to God is absent, then as a Christian, the rational conclusion is to be a part of bringing about that worship.
After my second trip to India, I had the opportunity to go to East Asia with my church for a week. It was during this trip that my newfound passion for missions and the practicality of my God-given gifts began to synthesize. God then gave me another opportunity to return to East Asia for a short three-month mission trip. The goal of which was to have a more realistic experience as a missionary in East Asia. All that I had to do was clear out two obstacles that were in my way and my prayer was that if God truly wanted me to go, that he would show the way. My employer allowed me to take a three-month vacation leave, which to me seems almost miraculous. My parents were approving and even supportive of me pursuing this opportunity and a possible future career in this, which as Asian Americans, seems almost impossible. While God also provided greatly in the financial department, personal sacrifices were made as well. I had to save enough money from my job to pay both my rent and loans for three months, which added up to about $2,400. When I returned back to America, I had to start from scratch. But after all of this smoke cleared, the pathway had been made and God showed me to East Asia. Here, God had paired the heart that he gave me with an opportunity to use gifts like language, technology, music, and young age in a practical setting. Within my passion for ministry, God gave me a confirmation call by saying, “I called, you answered, now here’s the chance to actually show me you meant that.”
That has been the recurring theme in my life, “Do you really mean it?” It has driven me to do things that I would not normally do. Though I constantly fail to live up to my own personal convictions, I believe that living with a deep conviction of our identity in Christ and a deeper conviction of what God calls us to do for him is of utmost importance. If I say these words with my mouth, but put in no work, then I am a fraud.
College students, we are so young, younger than you might believe. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We have so much time, and for us to believe that we have to immerse ourselves in our careers right away and pursue professional excellence might be one of the greatest lies of the 21st Century. We ought to take some time out of our lives to invest in the Kingdom of God overseas. You might be saying, “Oh, well someone else should do it, I’m not ready yet, I’m not fit for overseas work. But I love it and am passionate about it!” Is it not just a small sacrifice to take a year or two to really explore and discover if that is true? Should we not give a sacrifice to discern whether we are called to go or not? I don’t think we should be content with just checking our “STSM” box and saying we’ve done our part. Let’s do more for the Kingdom of God.
STSM is a door and it is an invitation. It was only three years ago that I went on my first mission trip, only three years. I’ve now devoted at least two years to East Asia and am determined to simply be obedient to wherever God calls, even if that is back to the States. I had no idea that three years ago, the trajectory of my life would change. But the question that God used to push me in this direction is the one I’ve been reiterating, “Do you believe in what you say you believe in, and do you really mean that?” Because if you do, then you should do something about it.
Currently in East Asia, everyone is on high alert because of the coronavirus. But if you really pay attention to the Christian movement in East Asia, you will see the beauty in all of this brokenness. The Christian movement in Wuhan has been extremely encouraging, people sharing the love of Christ with people all around them. This is something worth rejoicing about. This is the time for Christians in East Asia to be witnesses to the nations.
What will you do to be a witness in your nation? How will you participate in the work God is doing overseas? Whether you call yourself a Goer or Sender, are you doing that sacrificially? Are you really? And when you fail to do so, who do you look to for strength? Because at the end of the day, despite everything you do, if we do not give our glory to God, then we have not given any glory to God.
I know it’s a big idea, and it may seem really, really far in the future. But remember that while faith is often characterized as a “big leap”, it is also displayed in taking small steps of obedience as God beckons you towards what He wants you to do.
Let’s talk! I’m sure you’d find yourself incredibly similar to me and relatable. If you feel any inkling of interest, I would love to be a resource, albeit inexperienced; it would be a joy to talk with you.
-For Security Reasons, our brother’s name has been redacted from this post-