… and there is so much to tell you. But I have no idea where to begin and I think it may take a while to get out all the stories and reflections that I have floating around in my head and heart. So, have patience as I process and stick around because great stories are coming!
For now I will say that my friends and I (8 of us) spent 10 days making friends and hanging out with them as much as possible. We wanted to learn about the culture and the people, and we did learn a lot! Over ten days we spent time with somewhere around 50 people and built some really strong friendships. We felt a great sense of urgency to share with each of them about the truth of the gospel of Jesus that has changed each of our lives and transcends all borders and cultures. Before we left 14 of them had weighed the cost and chosen to follow Jesus. It was incredible to see hearts and lives transformed. (And I need to add some emphasis here… it was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!) Many others are continuing to seek truth and I will pray and believe that they will choose to follow Jesus in the future!
If I had to boil down, in one short snippet, all that I learned and am learning from this experience I would say: I believe the gospel more today than I did two weeks ago. I am humbled by the grace God has poured out on me and I love to see that grace poured out on others. I am saddened by the many moments of my life that are driven by anything but the truth and beauty found in the person of Jesus Christ. I rejoice that despite my endless imperfections and well, let’s just call them what they are – sins! – the Creator of the universe has chosen me as His child and has sent me to be an instrument to water and plant seeds that He will bring a harvest from. I have a deeper longing to know God more and to make God known more – and along with that a deeper sense of my reliance on Him for all good things.
“So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:16
P.S. I often use the term “favorite” to mean simply… “I like it a lot!” and not necessarily to mean “I like it more than anything else!” I don’t know which I mean when I say that Asia is my favorite continent. I like home. I love home, really. But there is something about Asia that makes something about me come alive in a way that no where else does. That doesn’t mean that I love it more than home. I don’t know that I could love anywhere more than home. I guess it means simply that God has placed deep in my heart a desire to be a part of his work in that region of the world and when I’m there I know, “I was made for this!”