STSM HIGHLIGHTS (PART 2 of 7)
This is part two of our new seven-part series: “STSM Highlights”. We’ll be sharing the testimonies of every mission trainee sent out by KCM last year through our STSM program. Stay tuned as we post one country per week!
Featured below are the testimonies of two students from the East Asia team: Amy Cho and Joe Darky Chang. For the full collection of East Asia testimonies, click here. (To quickly search for a specific student on the Google Doc, click View > Show Document Outline)
AMY CHO // UCLA // SENIOR
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)
God can burn a fire in even the most apathetic Christian when you see that verse manifest. There are so many people in East Asia who do not know God, who have never heard any utterance of His name—and yet their hearts are so open and receptive to knowing Him. But on the other end are people like me, believers so overly saturated by the gospel that we have inadvertently forgotten how precious and urgent the good news is.
A common misconception about East Asia is in regards to the security; it is not impossible to share the gospel there. Evangelism is so personal that it generally creates a safe one-on-one space to share. That being said, the most difficult part about the trip was that we couldn’t explicitly talk about the gospel. But that challenged our team to walk the faith in a way that would cause people to notice something was different. As His witnesses, we are always evangelizing through our actions regardless of intentionality or where we are.
So although our team couldn’t openly share, we didn’t just beat around the bush—we tried every day to pound the gospel through our actions and love. Through this, I was reminded of how actions spur passion and if apostles are called by experiences, then all that’s required of us is to just do.
One such moment for me was campus EV when my teammate and I ate dinner with a local student. We made decent small talk but I became disappointed when it hit me that I could be doing the same thing in LA, somewhere I would much rather be if all I were to do was chat. After that low, I tried steering the conversation back to God and it was so hard and forced at first. But somehow, the tone shifted and everything became much more intentional.
The time we talked about the gospel was the only time she never asked for clarification or for me to repeat anything. There were absolutely no language barriers and by the end, she was teary and moved by stories of God’s love. The interception of the Holy Spirit was very real for me in that moment, because there had been so much miscommunication during our small talk. I saw the harvest and the work of God so clearly right then and there, because God is always working and moving even in my oblivion.
Once I finally brought up the gospel, He made His presence known and it became so apparent how He is already working and moving for the harvest in East Asia. In that moment, all He called me to do was to push myself outside of my comfort zone against very ordinary distractions (heat, fatigue, food) and cast down my net. The girl’s heart was ready and willing but I almost missed it because of my own temporary feelings of discomfort, fear and laziness.
In that way, East Asia revealed that so much of my disobedience stems from allowing myself to be my own greatest burden. But being missional polarizes that, as the gospel means caring about the sheep and laying down idols such as comfort and control. A joyless life is when all your burdens are about yourself and that becomes a life wasted when you show up to Heaven’s gates alone.
The harvest is so plentiful in East Asia—the nets are there, the boats are there and all God asks is that we drop the net. The gospel is so prevalent in East Asia but it still needs more leaders, trainings and structure. Back home, we are so readily equipped with these resources that we go church-hopping for reasons completely unrelated to Biblical teaching. There is so much provision here for us to learn and grow from, tools we could carry back to where they’re needed.
Before the mission trip, I used to correlate a life of obedience to a life of suffering, because I never trusted in God’s plans over mine. The missionaries in East Asia exemplified that there is much joy to follow a path of obedience. It was so apparent how much closer the missionaries were to God because of their obedience, so much so that I quickly became envious of that intimacy.
It made me ask, why is security so important to me that I would sacrifice my intimacy with God for a temporary home? If God can use ordinary people to do the extraordinary, then our small act of obedience could mean eternity for someone else.
JOE DARKY CHANG // BIOLA // SENIOR
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1)
God has called us to serve Him and bring His word to the lost and weary. Going into this trip, I had selfish intentions: my only concern was to learn more about myself and my walk with God. Although I did learn more about myself, I believe God wanted to show me what He was doing in East Asia and the need for Christians there. During my trip, I got to witness how big our God is.
During the second week of our trip, we got to partner with a KCM legend named B. We held a summer camp (VBS) for expat kids (international students). The camp was great and all the kids had a lot of fun, but something that really stuck out to me was how blessed the parents were. For a lot of these kids, they never had an opportunity to participate in a VBS, so the parents were really thankful and blessed.
After seeing the parents’ reaction, I was able to see how blessed we are to have had so many opportunities to participate in these things while growing up. We also got the opportunity to hold a youth rally for some of the older expat kids. We performed skits and had small groups with them. God really showed me the need for more young adult Christians in East Asia because a lot of these kids don’t have older role models to look up to. God used our mediocre skits and dances to touch a student’s heart who eventually gave her life to Him.
We also got to eat with different missionary families every night and this is was probably one of the biggest highlights for me. We got to hear their testimony and how God was using them in East Asia. I got the opportunity to speak with a missionary named T and I remember asking him how he knew God called him to be a missionary. I asked him this question because for me personally, I have always had a heart for missions, but just didn’t know if I was called to be a goer or a sender.
T told me that it wasn’t a crazy calling where God showed up and told him straight up, “you are called to go,” but it was just an act of obedience. God has called us all to be missionaries, whether that be in the States or overseas. T told me that I shouldn’t worry too much about my calling, but just to focus on my relationship with God and the calling will eventually come.
After T told me this, I felt like God was trying to show me that my relationship with Him has been put on hold because of my lack of faith and the fear of the unknown. God will use a simple act of obedience and faith to move mountains for His kingdom. As a Christian living in a secular world, it’s easy for us to get lost in the busyness of this world and forget the calling that God has placed on our lives, which is to spread His good news to people who don’t know Him.
God has called us all to be obedient and faithful, so as Christians we need to be willing to follow Him even if the destination is unknown. The need for more missionaries in East Asia is great, but God is also doing mighty things through the Christians who are also there. GO AND SEE THE MIGHTY THINGS GOD IS DOING IN EAST ASIA. BE A BLESSING AND GET BLESSED!!
STSM 2K18 applications are now live, and will be due on March 25th! #GO