It was apparent throughout my summer that God was going to work in His own way and on His own timetable, not mine.
Prior to my summer project in Kyoto, Japan, I created this romanticized, preconceived notion that I “would not be the same person coming out of summer project as I was going in.” The spiritual highs I thought I was going to have daily, the “new leaf” I thought I was going to turn over, all the “cool stories” of conversions and miracles, and the idea that my trip would help me get over my breakup just a few months prior to my calling were all self-important, over-dramatic agendas that never came true, or at least instantaneously like a bolt of lightning. No, sometimes – most times – God doesn’t work that way. It was apparent throughout my summer that God was going to work in His own way and on His own timetable, not mine. Even though things didn’t go as I planned, what God revealed in subtleties, actions, and moments of clarity was worth it all. He was, and is, never in a rush.
God revealed to me were three specific things during my summer.
First was the virtue of humility. I prayed relentlessly (some nights until 5am) throughout the emotionally-draining support raising process and questioned myself over and over again my capability of meeting the financial goal of basically $6000, considering I did not have a home church. I also prayed that I would have the faith to depend on Him alone to overcome the language barrier, guide me, and keep me safe in a foreign country without my parents for the first time in my life. It was before Japan that I realized full well how limited I am, and how limitless He is!
The second thing God revealed to me was (and continues to reveal is) His amazing timing and response to my emotional needs. By the grace of God, he brought me and all the girls on my team together, and it was by the grace of God that my three particular teammates were going through eerily similar situations as me and therefore could fully empathize, support, and comfort me in my personal breakup. They pointed me closer to Christ when I subconsciously felt that “running away” (to Japan) and suppressing my emotions were the solution – something I often do.
Last but not least, my preconceived ideas and definitions of what it meant to be a true Christian were completely revamped this summer. After reading a comment that a family friend posted on my Facebook wall one day during project, (jokingly) asking me: “Are you on missions or are you on vacation?”, I was initially caught off guard followed by immediate feelings of anger, bitterness, and resentment. However, his comment forced me to ask myself what living missionally truly is. After venting and processing the comment with my project director, I came to the conclusion that ministry is here and now. It’s my neighbor, it’s my family, and it’s my friends.
Missions doesn’t necessarily equate to traveling overseas to third-world countries to aid poverty or build houses. I realize that boldly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ where you are right now is equally as significant. It is an honor and a privilege that God would use me in the midst of my season of weakness to proclaim His name to others in foreign country that is radically deprived of Gospel love. Sadly, even though I wasn’t able to witness any one of my Japanese friends come to know and accept the Lord during my short five-week trip, I pray that the Lord will take care of them and use another disciple to build and foster a Christ-centered relationship with my friends in the future.
Summer project wasn’t about me doing God’s will – that was only half of it. The other half was God doing His will in me… growing and empowering me to trust His love, wait patiently on Him, and look for His goodness whether it’s at Cal State Fullerton or in Kyoto, Japan. His goodness is everywhere, His love is everywhere.
Kimberly Chan, Cal State Fullerton