The STSM Student Report series will highlight current multi-timer STSM trainees sharing about their experiences of the training process. This week’s update is from Sara Kang from the Cambodia Team and Sarah Woo from the East Asia/Taiwan Team!
Sara Kang // UCSD // Senior // Cambodia Team
Hello! My name is Sara Kang and I am currently a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Psychology and minoring in Mathematics Education. I had the opportunity to go to Cambodia two summers ago and I’m excited to say I will be going back this summer.
I went into training with a prideful attitude, believing there wasn’t anything new I could take away. I caught myself thinking, “I already know about Christian Hedonism- do I really need to complete all the readings? I already have a heart for missions and have gone before- is there anything new I can take away from today’s sermon?” I say this in past tense but I still struggle with these thoughts. My pride blinds me from seeing what God is teaching me through trainings and disables me from reflecting on my understanding of the Gospel.
For roughly a year, I was in a spiritually difficult season where I caught myself worshipping my emotions rather than worshipping God. If the word of God didn’t tug at my heart or if I didn’t “feel” God’s presence in the midst of prayer, it became troublesome to keep up with my spiritual disciplines. I was feeding my hungry soul with temporary fillings of the world rather than the eternal fulfillment found in Christ. As a result, the Gospel boiled down to nothing more than a daily book I needed to read on my to-do list, leading me to become disenchanted with spirituality.
In the past month, God softened my heart by turning my gaze from my undesirable circumstances to His glorious character. He taught me that faith isn’t normal for us to have. The fallen nature of man means we are born as sinners wired to instinctively doubt and deny the truth. In Romans 8:7, Paul states, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” I’ve come to realize that many times in my walk, I will doubt and desire to live for this world. Yet, God gives me hope. He tells me when I fixate on His glory, there is no way I won’t respond in genuine praise.
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah observes Seraphim singing praises as they are in the presence of God. Rather than ruminating on how lonely I feel or how routine reading the word is, I have learned to fix my eyes on Our Savior because knowing more of Him will inevitably lead to an overflow of love that translates itself into an outward expression of His praise.
Last Sunday, Pastor Sungwon spoke on the sovereignty of God and how, although God is sovereign over all things, we have a responsibility as His disciples to share the gospel. Something he said that stuck with me is, “You confess outwardly because you believe inwardly.” Although we don’t have an innate desire to believe and share the truth, the truth will spur us to naturally want to share with others. If I don’t see the beauty of the Gospel and its transformative power, the people I share it to won’t see it either.
Allowing the Gospel to transform our hearts to hunger for His word requires a constant reminder through the daily reading of Scripture and prayer to submit and ask God for that desire. We shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back when we have faith, but lift our hands to God in full gratitude for gifting us with the desire and ability to believe (Tripp 2014). I am not just called to read the word but I simply need it in order to stay spiritually alive. Training serves as another avenue for God to speak truth into my life; who am I to say I don’t need it.
Getting to know my team and hearing about the types of ministry we will be doing has been exciting. With roughly two months of training left, please pray that I would have a posture of humility and soak in all that God is teaching me. Please also pray that my ultimate desire would be for His will to be done in and through my life.
Sarah Woo // UCI // Junior // East Asia & Taiwan Team
Hello, my name is Sarah Woo, and I am in my third year at UCI studying nursing! By His grace, I have the opportunity to go to East Asia and Taiwan in July. Previously, I went to Cambodia with KCM during the summer of 2017. Although it is my second time, I find myself being more excited and anxious for what’s to come in these next few months.
Going through the STSM process again has been a blessing. Even though the curriculum is pretty similar to the first time around, my heart needs constant reminders and redirection. Through the weekly sermons, devotionals, and prayer, the Lord has been growing and aligning my heart with His. I am so thankful for the STSM program because it provides an avenue for greater intimacy with God. Whenever I listen to the sermons and read for the homework assignments, I am encouraged by how much we get to learn about God and the gospel.
One of my greatest struggles with the training process is the time commitment and the tendency to make it about “doing”. During this season of life, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the commitments in my life, especially as a student. During these times, my heart is tempted to make missions and the whole training process about myself, where it’s defined by my own works, my adequacies/inadequacies, and comfort. When I’m feeling overwhelmed with other responsibilities, STSM can easily become another “thing” that I have to do. However, I am always humbled by the grace and mercy that I am met with and the reminder that it is not about me.
This past Sunday, Pastor Sungwon Jahng spoke on missions and the sovereignty of God. The sermon was aligned with the reading assignment we had by J. I. Packer and was premised by the truth that God is sovereign over salvation. It can be difficult to reconcile the sovereignty of God with our role in evangelism. The sovereignty of God does not mean that the Christian responsibility of sharing the gospel is excused. Rather, God’s sovereign grace over salvation should prompt us to share the gospel more and empower us to be bold in Christ.
Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The good news is that God has chosen us before we even chose Him. We are fully known and fully loved, and if we truly believe this, then it would be natural to have the desire to confess it outwardly. And, the good thing is that we don’t need to worry about our own inadequacies or qualifications for sharing the gospel. Missions is not about ourselves.
Sharing the gospel can be scary if salvation was dependent on us, because it is impossible for man to change the heart of man. Rather, we are mere messengers. Pastor Sungwon Jahng gave a good analogy for this: a mailman is not fearful of what is contained in the envelope that he is delivering because his job is to deliver the mail. Whether the receiving person will like the mail or not is not of his concern. We are not the writer of the letter; our mighty God is. Therefore, we should be bold in the gospel! We cannot fail our mission unless we don’t share. Every nation will be ransomed by the saving work of Christ, and God extends to us an invitation to be a part of His glorious work through evangelism.
In light of this, I hope that you and I can be bold for the gospel and be obedient in sharing the gospel till the coming of Christ. There is a great need for the gospel in our families, our schools, our communities, our workplaces, and the nations. So, please be prayerful over the salvation of those who have yet to accept Christ and for the further expansion of God’s Kingdom.
I’d also like to ask for your prayers over my team and East Asia/Taiwan! Here is how you can pray for us:
- Please pray for the people’s hearts to be open to the gospel; for the safety of the missionaries in both countries; for God’s provision, strength, and wisdom for the missionaries; and for the raising up of native leaders.
- Please pray for our team to be an encouragement to the missionaries and the people in East Asia and Taiwan and that we would be unified and set apart in the love that we show one another.
Thank for your prayers and for all the support! 🙂
Check back every week as we post new STSM Student Reports for Mission Mondays! #GO2K19