Encountering God’s Grace in Asia

Liz Hartwell

Lance Wang* grew up in a remote village in the mountains in Asia. People in his village grew oranges, blueberries, watermelon and grapefruit. His grandfather had a garden with three types of fruit. Men left the town for jobs in distant towns. Lance waited at the entrance of the village each day for older children to come back from school.

Yet Lance’s family was unlike the others. They were the only believers in their tribe and walked nearly two hours on mountain roads to church every Sunday.  Lance went along. He listened to the songs. He wished he had other kids to play with at church.

Lance’s grandparents became Christians decades earlier after God healed their eldest child. At that time, Christianity was looked down on. The other villagers worshiped other gods. Lance’s peers nicknamed him, “Grandson of the religious one.”

One day, when he was in third grade, the family moved from the mountains to a crowded city. Once again, he was an outsider, one of few kids from a minority background in his school. But Lance began to grow in his faith and started praying on his own. He became actively involved in Bible groups.

Eventually, Lance left for a larger city to study automation at a prestigious university. There, he joined a campus fellowship (Cru). He longed to experience the abundant life that Jesus described in John 10.

“I always felt torn, desiring an abundant life, and I tried to make it happen but I couldn’t. It was depressing,” said Lance.

During college, Lance participated in mission trips and became a leader of the student fellowship. He helped other students get involved and study the Bible, but felt like his own walk with God never improved. Lance describes those years as “agony,” as he felt torn between the expectations he had for his own spirituality and the struggles he was experiencing to live a moral life.

One night, he called an older mentor for guidance. The mentor explained to him, “No matter how good you are, it is nothing in God’s eyes.” The mentor helped him see that his value to God wasn't based on his work.

“I finally understood was grace is!” said Lance “I didn’t need to keep walking on eggshells.”

A week later, a local LeaderImpact staff member invited Lance to join a Stage Two group for graduates wanting to honor God in the workplace.  He joined the group and began deepening his relationship with the Lord.

He learned the story of God’s kingdom, from creation to fall, redemption to consummation. “What totally changed my point of view is why God created work. He created work before we fell,” said Lance. While many people think work is cursed, Lance began to see that he could have a significant impact for God through his work.

Now he leads a Stage Two group. He helps other recent graduates have a deeper understanding of the gospel.

In his own work, doing product testing, Lance looks for opportunities to encourage others.  

“When I go to my company, the environment pushes me to behave just like them, not what Jesus wants,” said Lance. So he started a group to share struggles and pray together.

Over the past few years, Lance also began asking his mother questions about his family’s story and discovered more about the heritage of his grandmother and grandfather.  He learned about his grandfather’s transformation from a harsh man who was addicted to gambling to a kinder father who served in the church.

From a young boy who went along with his family to church, Lance has become a young man who follows God and points others to His grace in a major modern city.

Question: How are you experiencing God’s grace in your life?

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*Name changed for security reasons

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