When moving from Northern California, I lived in San Diego for about half year. Because our resident was not settled, I had some leisure time to participate the church and to go to the library to read some spiritual books, especially of the biographies of missionaries. I really admired their work and wished to have an opportunity to join short missionary.
After moving to Orange County, I was looking for a church with prayer for God’s leading but without any vision of the kingdom, and only seeking according to my need. After settling down I started to consider serving God. The original plan was to travel and join the short mission with my husband. But the sudden passing away of my late husband showed me the uncertainty of life. And I decided to serve God full time after moving to southern California. During the two years of worry, prayer and waiting, God also used environment to equip and to sculpture. I could see the step by step leading of God which was not according to my thinking but according to His wonderful plan and arrangement.
I never really had the assurance of salvation. One sister invited me to an inner life small group meeting which I started join in February 2016. One morning in May, during my devotion and prayer time, I felt the Holy Spirit entering into my heart. My heart was full of joy and I knew I was borne again and had obtained the assurance. Thank and praise the Lord! for the length, width, height and depth of His love. Every week I was longing for the meeting of the inner life small group. Because of the message and teaching of Pastor 江秀琴, I gradually understood many spiritual meaning of many stories in the Bible. The message every week allowed us to see our circumstances and problems. Through the sharing of sisters and prayers for each other we all experienced the wonderful change by God on us.
In 2017, God finally opened the door for my service, I recall later actually it was not God did not open the road, but because I was not ready. I learned a very important concept that an intimate relationship between a believer and God is much more important than her busy service. In April, through a sister I knew SOW Ministry had a short mission to Taiwan. I was very glad to put in the application form and provided the necessary information. In the first training I found I did not knew how to do anything and was worried. Before going to Taiwan, I tried my best to prepare but I was still not sure what to do. I then I asked myself I usually refuse to teach Sunday School in the church, how can I go to Taiwan to teach children? So I really tried to withdraw many times.
I am a person with strong will power, once a decision was made I seldom change it easily. Also, I was told that “God saw our hearts, as long as we had a heart to serve Him, He would add to us power. Our two weeks of short mission, our team spent one week in Miaoli and one week in Taichung. Because we did not learn how turn to God, every day we felt very terrible and tired. On the Thursday afternoon, I almost collapsed. And I cried to God alone in the hotel, I could no longer continue and if I had choice I wanted to return to the US right away. But there was one more week to go, what should I do? There was another problem in the next week. Although some progress has been made to my character, still very sensitive and could not get along with a sister A. I just felt her words were often thorny and not comfortable to hear and I was also uncomfortable with her. She was leaving earlier. When she was hugging everyone to say goodbye, I purposely avoided.
In 2018, I joined the SOW’s Taiwan short mission again. I met sister A again in a hotel in Miaoli. I was happy to greet her and gave her a hug. All the unhappy experiences seemed gone as a smoke and we spoke happily as sisters. This year, I met a sister B. We got along well, but she did something I thought was inappropriate. I am a person cannot hide feelings. She also sensed my uneasiness. This year my way of handling it is different from last year. I still tried my best to get along with her, ignored her when she said something thorny and treated her with the same attitude as with other co-workers. And now, I understand the problems of my psychology that I have both pride and inferiority and I have to ask God to overcome this bad character.
The above are just the short interludes. The purpose of our trip to Taiwan is to use English to preach gospel to children and their family. Our program was very rich including hymn worships, using English Children hymns to teach children to know the true God, Bible stories, discussions, vocabularies and using SOW DVD to play the the content of the Bible stories of that day. To further impress the children, we had outdoor art and crafts activities with contents related to the Bible stories of that day. When we found the children were concentrating on watching the DVD, our hearts were very comforted. Usually we had a calling on Thursday and Friday. When we saw the Holy Spirit working on these children and most of the children were willing to receive Jesus as their Savor, our hearts were full of thanksgiving to God. All we could do was to sow the seed and pray to God to continue them keep and lead these children that these seeds will blossom and bear fruits early.
Every trip I arrived 2-3 days earlier at my friends’ house in Taichung. When I took a taxis from the friend’s house to the railroad station, I had a chance to chat with the taxi driver. He asked me if this was a pleasure trip, I told him I was going to Miaoli to attend an English Bible study camp. He said his three children all attended similar Bible camps when they were young and they all are Christians now. My heart was very excited that at the beginning of this short mission, I could hear such a wonderful testimony. This made me feel we could become a member of the expansion of kingdom of God, this is really a special honor God gave to us. We should have a humble heart to work with God and knowing that we are just a vessel for God’s use. Although the driver himself did not believe in the Lord, I believe he will become son of God some day
The two short missions allowed me to see my weaknesses and short comings and to see the mercy and grace of God. What is us, He even allowed us to participate the great plan of His kingdom, transformed us a little by little, drilled us, gave us opportunities to practice, teaching us with patience and gave us space and time to grow. As said in Romans 8:28” We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose “. Praise the Lord! Amen!
——2018 Team member Anita Xu