One of my favorite things is to hear a testimony from someone who said “Yes!” to God’s calling on their life. In elementary school, I was in a group called GA’s (Girls in Action), a church program for girls to learn about, pray for, give to, and get involved in missions. It was exciting for me anytime a missionary would come and speak to us about what their life was like on their mission field. Little did I know that one day God would call me to a foreign mission field.
I distinctly remember the day I knew that my husband and I would be moving overseas. My husband was a high school pastor and had recently returned from leading his second mission trip to China. I came home from work one Monday and it was clear he had been deeply burdened about China and sensed God leading us there. Through much prayer and fasting, we felt certain God was calling us to China. And to the shock of my husband, without hesitation, I said yes! I had traveled abroad to seven different countries, but had never been to China. The Lord had been preparing my heart and mind for this well before this day. God has a way of confirming His will through other people, through His Word, and through the alignment of circumstances that cannot be coincidence. I couldn’t see what the whole picture looked like, but He showed me what step to take at that time. That was my role in all of this – to take that step. It required faith and trust in a God who knows what He’s doing and who has it all figured out even when I don’t. This is how I can partner with Him in making an impact for His kingdom! He leads and I follow with complete trust in the God who sees the end from the beginning. Beautiful submission!
As excited as I was to get to China, it was quite a daunting task to prepare to move our entire lives to a foreign country. There were less than five months from the time we were sure of God’s calling to China until we actually landed there. God had opened a door for us to teach English, but we didn’t know what ministry would look like. Even though God didn’t show us a blueprint of His plans before we got there, He went before us each step of the way. Moving to China was a big step of obedience, but it was only the first step. Being submersed into a new culture drove us to complete dependence and obedience for every part of our journey. We’ve been back in America for a few years now, and I love reflecting on our four years in China. I could never have imagined all God had planned for us there. When we arrived, we felt unqualified and unprepared in many ways. However, looking back, I can see how God had prepared us for ministry in China well before we moved there. And while in China, God was preparing us for church planting in the Chinese populated city of Bellevue, Washington, where we currently serve.
M. David Sills, in his book The Missionary Call, shares one of the best quotes I’ve heard about God’s calling. He writes, “His call is for life, but the ways and places where we fulfill it and live it out will change throughout our lives as He guides.” It is vital that we understand that as believers and followers of Jesus, we are all called to live our lives on mission. Sharing Jesus with the world is not reserved only for those with seminary degrees or years of ministry training. The Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20 is for all believers. While God did call us specifically to a foreign mission field for a season, we are called to live our lives on mission wherever we are. Every believer is called to leverage their life for the spread of the Gospel. This means that your home, school, work, social media, with your friends, at a coffee shop, are your mission field. God may never call you to a foreign land, but know that He has called you, as follower of Christ, to join Him in His mission every day of your life.
Obeying God’s call on your life is the best and wisest decision you can make. It brings blessing because God honors those who honor Him. Obedience to God’s calling also involves submission to His authority and plans over your own. Remember that when you submit to God, you are submitting to One who is good, loving, and never changing. He is all-powerful. He makes possible the impossible. Obeying God demonstrates trust in His goodness and control over all things.
Is there something you have sensed the Lord calling you to do? Whatever that looks like for you, becourageous! You don’t have to see the entire picture to be obedient. Be obedient in taking the first step. It can happen right now. He who called you is faithful.
We desire a movement of God. Period. We came to the Northwest with this desire but didn’t assume that we would be the catalyst for such movement. A movement of God is the work of God. Therefore it cannot be planned, but it can be prepared for.
With that understanding, we stay on our face before God pleading with Him to draw the hearts of our city to Him. In our context, we feel certain that constructing a building and opening the doors with the expectation of people showing up will make little to no impact on the Kingdom of God. The work that God has called us to is purely relational. One relationship at a time. One disciple of Jesus…making another disciple of Jesus… that makes other disciples of Jesus…and so on. This means that we must be willing to meet people where they are, invest in and develop healthy relationships, and be willing to walk alongside them as they discover who Jesus is.
I’ve discovered something that you probably already know. It’s easy for me to meet people when I spend time out and about in my city…looking for people! But it’s easier for me to live my life for myself and my family with no concern or care for those around me. God continues to open my eyes to see more of how he sees the world…with a genuine love and concern for the hearts of all people.
A few weeks ago, we began an ESL ministry with a group of Chinese adults looking for
community and conversational English practice. In our opening remarks, I shared about our love for China and Chinese people which sparked some credibility and curiosity. When it came time for questions, we were asked, “Why would you leave America to move to China?” This question coming from a group that worked as hard as they could to get to America. “Thanks for the softball,” I thought to myself! This opened the door for me to share about my relationship with Jesus and my desire to share the life-changing gospel with the people of China. As I finished with my response, many were smiling and they began clapping. What a response! Most of them are not believers, but were moved by our sacrifice, willingness, and our love for their people and nation. Relationships have begun to grow with several of the participants over the past few weeks since the beginning of our Talk Time class.
In my last post, I mentioned meeting a woman named Coco. In our third conversation, she mentioned that someone had given her a Bible. She opened it for the first time and closed it almost immediately feeling overwhelmed. I asked her if she would like to read it together. Her eyes lit up as she responded, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask me that.” Two weeks ago we began reading the book of John together. Please join me in praying for Coco, her husband Jack, and her 2 children as we help them discover Jesus.
Each week we are meeting new people and deepening relationships with the people that we have already met (I keep a running spreadsheet to keep them organized and pray for on a regular basis). Additionally, God continues to open new doors for us in our city. Serving in Evan’s elementary school, multiple opportunities for conversational English classes, YMCA partnerships, and other opportunities are bringing new people into our lives. We need your prayers as we continue tilling the ground and sowing seeds. Another current need is for 40 Chinese English Bibles ESV/Union 中英对照圣经. We would like to give them as gifts to our Talk Time students for Christmas this year. If you are able, please help us bless our new friends with their first Bible. They can be sent directly to:
Awakening Church, 15225 SE 49th St, Bellevue, WA 98006
This past week I attended the North American Mission Board Church Planter Basic Training. It was a great and challenging week as we unpacked many thought provoking topics that helped to both confirm and refine the vision that God has given us. Additionally, beginning this week, I will be a part of a NAMB church planting cohort with four other planters. We will meet monthly for the next five months as we discuss leadership competencies including calling & character, vision, missional engagement, and multiplication. I’m thankful for this great opportunity.
Even with our desire for a movement of God, ONLY God can create one. It requires His divine and sovereign work. But, based on observations of history and things taking place around the world, there are patterns relating to movements (Lifeway research). Here are 3 of them…
Unreasonable people. The comfortable do not create movements. Instead, they originate with those who are desperate, demanding something different. When people allow their faith to be tamed by the world, they end up with a “nice religion” uninterested in the big issues like global evangelization, world poverty, and injustice. Christianity needs unreasonable people who are uncomfortable with the status quo and unwilling to be content with the current mode of life and church.
Churches that are willing to sacrifice. Seeing the Kingdom as more important than an individual church will take sacrifice, but that’s what a movement is about. For so many churches that are simply trying to survive. A movement takes churches that so believe in their mission and cause that they are willing to sacrifice for it— financially, individually, and corporately. They are willing to give and go. Everyone loves a movement, as long as it looks great but costs them little. A true movement will have a steep price, but those who are a part of it will recognize the immeasurable value.
Multiplying disciples. That’s so basic it is easy to miss, but it cannot be more essential. The fact is, no one will be willing to be unreasonable and no churches are willing to sacrifice unless deeply committed disciples are involved. Making disciple-making disciples is the basic building block of anything Jesus calls us to do, which is why it is central to the mission of God. In the Great Commission, Jesus indicated you are not making real disciples if they are not disciple makers.
As you journey with us in this endeavor, we urge you to be unreasonable…willing to sacrifice…and be personally challenged to multiply disciples in your context. I pray that our passion for the lost will create a sense of urgency and relentless pursuit of storing up our treasures in heaven. Glory to God.
Please join us in praying for:
- Partnering churches and individuals to help support this work.
- Developing relationships that open doors to gospel conversations.
- Our planning and mentee opportunities in the coming months.