A few years ago, I was up here sharing my testimony of how God used Gulf Coast to transform my life through your prayers and faithfulness in reaching USFSP through COMission. Now, we’ll be sharing our testimony of how God is using Gulf Coast to transform not only our lives but the lives of those in East Asia.
Back then, I was standing here alone. If you notice, there’s someone next to me this time, my fiance, ReLynn! We got engaged just before our trip to East Asia. It was such a wonderful thing to be on mission with my future wife.
The first day we arrived, before having done anything evangelistic or missional, we were walking on the streets and all of the sudden ReLynn grabs a hold of my arm with an ecstatic look on her face and asks “Can we move here?”
This is just one of the many questions we are strongly considering, and one that God has given us a clear response to. The answer is an obvious yes, we can. In fact, anyone of us can. The real question should be, “Is God telling us to move to East Asia?”
Although we do not know when and how, this is something that we want to do with our lives. Our God is on a global initiative to reach all nations with the gospel through the sending of disciples to make disciples. This can only happen if we go.
And because God brought us to East Asia, guys like Arno are beginning to see that their gods are puny, worthless, and false. On the last three days of my trip, God introduced me to Arno and blessed me with a significant amount of time with him. I could tell as I felt the Spirit leading me and speaking through me that this was a guy who was ready to hear the gospel and start on a path towards putting his trust in Jesus. For three days I shared story after story from the Bible and told him about the hope that we can have in Jesus. One night, a few weeks after I had arrived back in the States, Arno had a spiritual encounter with God. He told me he felt a hand touching him after he had prayed. He has prayed to Buddha and figurines, but he said that nothing like this has ever happened to him. I told him that God is real and does miraculous things to reveal himself to us. For example, Jesus. He plans to read the entire Bible over his summer break.
Another great example of how sometimes God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, brings non-believers to believers, is the story about Jenny. We were introduced to Jenny by the guys on the team, and when we hung out with her she truly opened up about all these anxieties and family pressures going on in her life. Danielle and I were able to share some truth with her and tell her who we put our trust in. Although we weren’t able to hang out too much after that, I was given the opportunity to share with her one last time one-on-one the night before we left. She asked me “who is Jesus? I’ve heard a little bit about him, but who is he?” This time I shared the whole gospel story, and at the end of our conversation that night she told me that she thinks she could believe in this story some day.
I think the biggest thing we are learning about God and ourselves moving forward into marriage is what our marriage should look like in light of God’s mission. We know that God has been preparing us individually and now together for something big. We are convinced that God wants to use us and our marriage to bring himself the glory he is due by the spreading of the gospel to all nations. This, after all, is every believer’s responsibility. It’s just now that we get to do that together.
In preparing for marriage, we have been reading a book together called You and me Forever by Lisa and Francis Chan. They give a few reasons to focus on the mission together with your marriage; 1. Jesus commanded it, 2. People are dying, 3. You were created for this mission, 4. It is the path to a happy marriage, 5. God’s mission is bigger than your marriage, 6. The return of Christ compels us. We want to remember these as we do life together.
At the moment, God is still using us on campus at USFSP and in our workplaces. One day we hope to be cross-cultural missionaries long term. Thank you Gulf Coast for supporting us on the mission of reaching the world.