A Card of Encouragement

I’ve been wanted to write another blog, but it is hard to gather my mind to know exactly what to share because so much has come through my mind lately.

But 2 weeks ago, I got a very lovely and encouraging card in the mail from a close friend. As I tried to reply to her, words just started flowing out of me, and I was able to spill out everything that was on my heart at that time. So I asked for her permission to let me post my letter to her in here. I appreciate her so much for reaching out to me.

My love for God and my desire to serve Him in whatever I can and anywhere He wants me to go have grown even stronger since I wrote this letter. It’s been quite a transformation in my heart and mind just in a week+ of time. I will share again where I’ve been since then at a later time. God has shown me so much this week. He is so good and faithful even when I am not. Here you go…

Dear Alison,

I received your card yesterday but just now had time to write you back. I haven’t received a personal note in the mail for a super long time, it was such a great surprise! I miss you and have missed being able to see you regularly. Thank you soooo much for thinking of me, praying for me and sending me such a special card. I got Jesus bumps as I was reading it and I couldn’t help tearing up after reading what you said. Thank you so much for loving me and following my journey, and how I try to live a submissive life to Christ. Yes, I have been in an emotional swirl these days. It is a mixture of so many things.

First of all, it was guilt. I never really realized how deep Jeff has felt called to foreign missions. I do remember clearly how I gave him a big fat NO soon after we got married. Now, thinking back, it saddens me to know I was the one who stopped him from fulfilling his dream of becoming who God wants him to be. Even 6 years ago, when Jeff felt like it was time to try again, I was still trying to resist and run away, when I was supposed to be his helper and encourager.

For some reason, I had a great fear of becoming a missionary. In my mind, missionaries are dirt poor and they will eventually get kidnapped, be tortured and murdered. I guess growing up, these were the type of missionary stories I heard. The horrible images from my imagination of how a missionary could get killed was a lot for a young heart/faith to take (I wasn’t even a teen yet.) Those imaginative images had stuck with me for years and even into adulthood because the truth is, America is one of the very few places on earth that you can go to church and talk about God freely without the chance of risking your life and comfort. I am still trying to conquer that fear because I know there is a certain danger of going to a foreign country to help the oppressed and sharing God’s Word. But, the bottom line is a missionary’s life is a sacrificial kind of life. I wasn’t willing to live a sacrificial life. I struggled with the passage in Luke 18 to the point that I was questioning the authenticity of my faith and how much did I really love God. When I realize I was the reflection of that rich young ruler, even though I wasn’t young or rich. I grieved over my own sin because of how superficial my faith was and how self-centered I had become.

Also, I really dreaded the idea to be on financial support. I was born in the Asian culture and was taught that we should be self-sufficient. But the truth is, I struggle with rejection. Remember, I used to sell Mary Kay? I quit talking to people about MK, at first, it was because whenever I met a new friend, I struggled with whether I should talk to that person about Jesus first or MK first. I realized there was no time for both when it came to making the first impression of who I was. I decided I wanted to be known as a representative of Christ, not Mary Kay.

Later, it was the sense of rejection that killed me. I was never a pushy salesperson, but sometimes, I felt like the people that knew I sold MK would avoid me because they were afraid I would try to talk to them about it. Even though I do believe in the MK products, eventually, I shied away because rejection really hurts and I was trying to avoid it. I felt the same way about being on support. I felt like people would avoid me because they were afraid I would talk to them about our mission and ask them for support. I wasn’t surprised to find out that many Christians who have a calling to be a missionary never answered the call because of this very same reason. It is extremely hard and takes a lot of faith to live solely on God’s provision!!

About 3 months ago (about the middle of June,) I finally felt like I could do this mission thing, even if I didn’t want to do it for God, I had to do it for Jeff. I couldn’t stand to see how miserable Jeff was anymore. I couldn’t say no to him again. Deep in my heart, I knew the time had come, our life was about to change. I knew in my heart, God would call Jeff out this time, WITH or WITHOUT me! That’s why when I found out I had an abnormal mammogram, I truly believe that was God’s final call for me and I made a promise to God that if He allowed me to continue to be cancer free, I would serve him with my whole life. I told God, “Just tell me where to go, and I will go.” I would much rather give my life to Christ and use it for His glory than wasting the rest of my life fighting cancer and my own demons. That was one of my turning points. For the first time, I said “YES” to God to the foreign mission field and genuinely wanted to do that for the sake of the gospel.

Since then, I have encountered God in ways that I would never have expected. I have become very hungry for God. I have about 1 1/2 hours drive back and forth to work every day. The past few weeks, I have used that time to listen to every sermon I could find on God’s Will, God’s plan and purpose for my life. How to hear God, How to be led by the Holy Spirit, How to love God more, How should we live as a Christian, The Great Commission, The Hidden Cost of a High calling, etc… I prayed my heart out and asked God to help me to understand His Will for us and to help me, not just listen to His Word, but to live it! I sincerely have to say, lately, my heart has changed drastically. I was so worried and afraid of leaving the comfort and security I have in America, but this week, I can’t wait to go!

The interesting thing is, Pastor Scott at our church has been teaching very similar things. It has nothing to do how to be a missionary. It is a series of messages of the topic called “Happy Redefined”, but all the components, foundation, and eternal perspective that we ought to have to be one, despite the fact that is how we should live as a Christ follower period. The true happiness of life, the suffering of Christ, to live is Christ and to die is gain, following God’s plan versus following our own plan, every one of us has a gift we can give, etc…

I found myself walking out of the services with tearful eyes every Sunday, and I actually broke down the Sunday Pastor Scott talked about following God’s plan. I have never cried so hard after hearing a sermon. I was so convicted by every word that Pastor Scott said. I couldn’t pinpoint what part of the sermon struck me, mostly because it was ALL of it. God’s Word was so sharp it cut to my heart, and it shined so brightly that I saw all the sin that I had tried to justify. Worse of all, I realized how rebellious and selfish I had been. I really felt like God had grabbed me and shook me violently, turned me upside down and inside out until all the “me” was gone, and there was nothing left, nothing in the way for Him to sit on the throne of my heart again. I made a commitment to God that Sunday that I would either quit calling myself a Christian or I must live out what I believe, surrender my life completely to Jesus and do what he commands me to do. God has been reaching out to me deeply. I have nailed Him back on the cross so many times in the past and I am determined that I can do that no more!!

So sorry, I didn’t mean to write you a book! Jeff asked me to write another blog for our God Said Go Facebook page/Website for a while, but I just couldn’t put it into words as what God has been showing me lately. But I think I just did!! If you don’t mind, I think I would like to share this with everyone that is praying for me. So everyone will know God has been answering yours and everyone’s prayer. God is doing a great work in me. I thank Him for not letting me go no matter how many times I have disappointed Him. However, I hope you do feel privileged that you get to read this first. LOL. Thank you though, it was your love that inspired me to start writing… thank you so much again, Alison. Thank you for reaching out to me!!! I love you, my sister in Christ. Esther

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