Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Philippians 2:13

This is going to be a long one, bear with me. I'll begin with a post from my old blog that was written on April 9th, 2008, almost 3 years ago...

"So, I'm just going to throw this out there for sake of prayers. I've been struggling...

Hong Kong, a city of 7 million people...most (meaning an extremely large percentage of the population) do not know Christ. Prior to my departure for Hong Kong I began praying that God would help me to adjust into a culture that is predominantly non-Christian. Now that this place has more or less become home, I feel as though I've become accustomed to the fact that these people are lost, and for some reason I wasn't bothered by it anymore.

When did my heart become so comfortable with the fact that these people are living their day to day life without knowing Him? I'll tell you how..

Recently, I have been looking at some friends' pictures from mission trips they have taken. Always to poverty stricken lands. Children with no shoes, no parents, no homes. Families living with no clean water. My heart breaks every time. I find myself wiping away tears for countries I have never even been a part of, but what about the country I live in?? I live in one of the richest areas of Hong Kong. Hong Kong in itself is an extremely wealthy region. It appears that very little do without. Outwardly they appear as if they have it all together. It would be easy for me to take off to some African country or to some South American village and be broken every day...but just because the majority of Hong Kong isn't physically wasting away doesn't justify their need for The Truth.

God has called me to minister to these people for the time being and I pray that God will break my heart for the people of Hong Kong. I pray that I wouldn't walk past all the skyscrapers and Gucci stores without being drawn to show and tell of His love and mercy. Because who am I to decide the eternal fate of these people?

Fast forward to today, I've finished my year of study abroad in HK, gone back to the US for a year and now I've been back in Hong Kong for a year and three months now. I wish I could say I believed and lived the words that I wrote then, but not much has changed. Another year in Hong Kong has gone by and I can say that I've done little (if nothing) to further the Kingdom of Christ...and to be honest it's me that's wasting away spiritually. It all goes back to 2008.

During my first semester abroad in Hong Kong I was given an incredible experience to serve on staff at a local church as the youth ministry assistant over the summer full-time and stay an extra semester at school and serve part-time. Amazing, right? Well, that's what I thought.

However, soon after I began working things starting to go downhill. To make a lloooonnnggg story short, I was caught in the middle (on both sides) of difficult situation within the church. After months of an emotional and spiritual battle between friends, coworkers and loved ones...I was pretty much working full-time and going to school full-time (and not doing a good job at either.) Thankfully, everything has since been resolved but friendships were inevitably damaged and some lost. Because I was only "caught-in-the-middle", no one seemed to wonder how everything effected me and to some extent I never processed my feelings, sadness or stress properly. I just swore I would never work at a church again.

After that last semester, I returned to the United States and ETBU only to experience a difficult case of reverse culture-shock. And for the next year I would find myself spiritually exhausted, emotionally empty and out-of-place... so much, to the point that for the entire year I didn't attend church.

You read that correctly, I didn't attend church for a year. I somehow justified my need for congregational worship with the excuse that I went to a Christian school and I talked about Jesus in my classes. Somehow through it all, God continued to guide me through a healthy relationship with Ellison and at the end of that year we were married and I moved back to Hong Kong.

So it's 2010 and I began attending church again (more or less because I had to) and regardless of my attendance I had lost what it meant to be a true disciple of Christ. For the most part, I wasn't truly engaged in Sunday school or any other form of bible study for most of 2010. (If members of my church are reading this they are probably thinking, "I had no idea." But that's because most of us don't really know each other.) My heart was hard. I wasn't feeding myself and I wasn't being fed. Something needed to change..

Since the beginning of this new year I could feel something stir inside of me. I was longing, but I didn't know what for. Like I said, I had forgotten what it meant to be a true-disciple. I began by reading a short devotion everyday. One verse and one little passage. Then I began reading parts of a book or two and praying. Ellison needed a girl's SS teacher so I decided to step up only to realize that it would throw me even deeper into God's word. In the end it's exactly what I needed. I'm on a come back to Christ, however this time it's different. I can't settle on a mediocre Christian lifestyle.

Since becoming a Christ follower in High School, I've always had a desire for a deeper sense of Christianity than what conventional church in the US was offering and HK church isn't really different. I've always desired to read the word for what it is, nothing watered down, just a pure hunger for truth, but I've settled for a COMFORTABLE version of Jesus and the "lifestyle" that comes with believing. But that's not what the Bible calls for at all...through his word, I am beginning to see clearly what Jesus says about being his disciple and that's not what my life looks like at all. Does yours? Because it's pretty RADICAL.

Now you're thinking, "Oh okay, she's read the book..." Yes. I have. And I'm sold. Platt's book Radical has put into words and made sense of these desires that God has laid on my heart and it came at just the right time. After diving into God's word and praying for a change in my heart it's finally come and I can't just set back and do nothing about it anymore. Christ gave all and he asks all.

I'm praying and longing for a community of believers who will step out of their comfort zones and join me as I discover more about true-discipleship and what it means to live missionally.

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome, Brittney! I do find that God gives us the lows, where we search and reflect and wonder and question, and He gives us the highs, where we are once again zealous and excited and ready to serve. Both periods are valuable, though you wouldn't feel that way when you're in it. I'm so happy you are moving forward and being challenged by God's word!