The STSM Updates series will highlight current STSM trainees sharing about their experiences of the training process. First up is Austin Kim from the North India team!
Hello! My name is Austin Kim, and I am currently a junior studying Economics/Administrative Studies at UCR. This summer, I have been blessed with the amazing opportunity to go back to North India through the KCM STSM program to further God’s kingdom there. Ever since I came back from India after my freshman year, my heart for India has continually grown, thus leading me to sign up for STSM a second time.
Having gone through the STSM training process once already, there are certain aspects of training that I expected to go through again, such as fundraising, quizzes, and the weekly seminars. What I didn’t expect, however, was a renewed hunger and desire to learn more about the gospel and how to spread it to the nations.
The most recent teaching we received was from Pastor Isaiah Cho. He covered three keys to sharing the gospel with anyone: 1. Display (with your life); 2. Discern (with your listening); 3. Declare (with your lips). There has always been extensive teaching on what the gospel is during every missions training, but I feel like these three keys really enlightened me on how to share the gospel.
I was especially convicted about my display of the gospel after hearing him share this quote: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable” (Brennan Manning). This was a sobering reminder and it made me think about what Paul said to the church in Philippi: “Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil 1:27).
Because God is the gospel, and because we have received the free gift of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, our daily lives should be a display and expression of joy and praise to God for being so great and loving towards us. The training seminars these past few weeks have convicted me of reminders like these and truly shown me a different side and perspective to the gospel that I previously had not seen, despite having grown up in the church.
This year’s STSM training, although it is generally a repeat of what I had done my freshman year, is very refreshing and humbling because God is revealing His new mercies to me daily, whether it’s through my daily 20 minutes of prayer or daily devotionals. As much as there are these requirements for weekly homework assignments in STSM, they are beginning to feel less like assignments and much more like my daily bread and sustenance for the day.
Through this training, my faith is sometimes tested by the fact that I am so powerless and inadequate at times, but I’m reminded that God still chooses to love us and He expressed that love through the sacrifice of His own son. I pray that I will be able to carry on this message of the gospel to the people in India and even to people on my campus and in my friend groups. I believe that as much as missions can be on a global scale, we are still able to be missionaries in our campuses and workplaces.
So, whether you are going on missions this summer or choosing to send people, remember that God can use you no matter where you go, near or far! God’s redemptive love for us should move us to outwardly show how we have been changed or transformed, not for our own glory, but ultimately for the glory of God. If you outwardly display with your lives the goodness of God’s grace and declare with your lips how God loves us so much, then you are already one step closer to preaching the Gospel no matter where we go.
As I prepare to go to India for this short-term mission trip, please pray for me and my team (North India!) that we would continue to work together in unity for the glory of God’s kingdom, both in India and the U.S. Also, please pray that we would all have a heart for the nations and a desire for all people groups and the unreached to hear the gospel. Lastly, if you are not going on missions this summer, I encourage you to support those going on missions because God calls us all to be either goers or senders. Thank you, and God bless!
Austin Kim is a junior at UCR and an STSM trainee on the North India team.