A couple of weeks ago I flew to sunny Thailand for two reasons:
1) for some greatly needed rest and relaxation
2) to participate in a retreat organized by fellow CT workers designed to refocus us and cast vision for the future. It was a truly amazing time! I really heard the Lord speak a lot to me and it was a time of preparation physically, emotionally and spiritually for the months ahead.
The day after I returned from Thailand, I repacked my things and set out again, this time on an 8 hour bus ride to the mountains to visit an Asian friend for Spring Festival. Spring Festival is another name for Asian New Year and is a special time for all Asian people. It is a very family-oriented holiday in which nearly everyone travels to visit relatives and friends. I had the awesome experience of spending this time in a remote village that is nearly a 4 hour walk from the nearest town. It was certainly a very stretching experience and I most definitely learned some things about myself in the process and did things that I never thought I could do. There is too much that happened to ever be able to explain it in this e-mail, but there are some important truths that I want to share with you about what I learned during my time in the village.
The first truth is that life for most of my Asian friends away from university is very different than what I imagined. When you see students at school in the city, you assume that their home life is similar to your life in the city, but it really isn’t. While some of them do live in urban areas, most live in small towns and villages scattered all over the countryside. Although their university life is surrounded with modern technologies such as computers, cell phones, and public transportation, their normal life is often very traditional and they continue to live the same as their ancestors have lived for hundreds of years.
The second, and I believe most important truth I learned in the village is the most vital part of the mission. The goal of CT is to reach college students for Christ so that they in turn can spread the Gospel to their friends and family. The only way that Asia is going to be won is if we make disciples of our friends. There will never be enough of us to turn the tide if we rely only on ourselves. When I was in the village, I understood this reality for the first time. It doesn’t matter if I moved to the village, learned their language, and spent the rest of my life there, I would never be able to reach and connect with them the way my Asian friend can. The way we are going to finish the Great Commission is not by sending more and more foreign missionaries to Asia, instead, we must raise up people here who can spread the Gospel to places we could never reach.