The same beautiful threads

I write as a taxi whisks me to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport through a blissfully cool, rain-kissed evening. Before me lie 36 hours of travelling—behind, a trove of memories, adventures and truths I cannot afford to forget.  

Exactly eight weeks ago, I hopped out of a Boeing jet, wide-eyed with excitement over this two-month opportunity to intern with OM as a journalist. Since that day, I’ve bounced over dirt roads in rural Indonesia, lost my way in a mall in Malaysia, tossed a frisbee with university students in Singapore, celebrated a baptism in an inflatable kiddy pool in Laos and drifted down the Mekong River at sunset in Cambodia. I’ve laughed, cried and gobbled down far too much banana Roti than I should have.  

But, as much as I cherish these experiences, they form only a sliver of the story of these past two months; ultimately, it’s not the food or the adventure but the people who I will remember most fondly: ordinary individuals whose hearts bubble over with the love of Jesus.

People like a young woman who helps at an after-school tutoring centre for Muslim children in the slums. Or a top finance graduate who gave up a life of privilege to care for the hurting and broken in the red-light district. A couple who teach impoverished migrant children the priceless lessons of dignity. A woman returning to serve the village that threatened to murder her father. These stories will remain with me as I return to the U.S.—and not just in the crinkled pages of my yellow reporter’s notebook.  

Listening to their testimonies, I’ve begun to envision their stories as a collection of clues, a series of scenes revealing the fingerprints of something—or Someone—beyond our deepest imagination. The people I talked with hail from a variety of backgrounds—atheist German to Cambodian Buddhist—but the tapestries of their lives reveal the same beautiful threads, pointing unmistakably to a Designer.  

The ordinariness of these OM workers surprised me. Most of them do not come from the high echelons of society, and the ones who do don’t really seem to care about society’s qualifications. These people showed me that God invites each of us, no matter how unassuming our background or abilities, to join Him in His grand purpose of bringing the world back to Himself. Dare I say, He even delights to use ordinary people, because it’s through our weaknesses, foibles and rawness that He shows His strength.  

Their stories remind me of the people God involved in His redemptive plan throughout the Bible—timid Moses, bereft Naomi and shepherd-boy David. Even the Son of God chose to come into the world, not in a Roman palace or a devout Pharisee’s household, but in the grimy manger of an overcrowded inn.  

And, when He eventually assembled the people who would continue His mission, He didn’t settle on a hotshot team of lawyers, politicians and businessmen—the people of influence I would have picked. Instead, He worked through a band of misfits to change the world.  

Besides their ordinariness, the people I interviewed this summer shared a willingness to say ‘yes’ to God’s call, a call not fundamentally to do but to be, not to earn but to embrace, not to become better versions of the old but to be born by the Spirit into new creations. Captivated by the love of Jesus, they are compelled to share that love to anyone and everyone around them, and they do so far from the spotlight, without seeking thanks or praise in return.  

Big-hearted, costly, audacious—this is a love that demands a response from all who feel its touch, myself included. I resonate all too well with the lure of worldly success: to simply strive for popularity, a luxurious salary and a position of influence. I feel the urge to jam a pair of AirPods in my ears and always hold the brokenness of the world at arm’s length. But then I hear the voices and see the faces, beautiful faces, of those who have shared their vision with me this summer. They are, to borrow the words of the writer of Hebrews, a great cloud of witnesses encouraging me to continue running this race for Christ, a race that’s sacrificial, risky and foolishness to the world, but, at the end of the day, the only race truly worth running.  

As I return to the U.S. and begin four years of university, I know these voices will continue inspiring me to follow a pattern that grates against everything the world embodies—the pattern of Christ.

Lose your life to find it. Give of yourself in order to receive. Die so that you may truly live. Love in such a way that others will see and marvel, noting as the Pharisees did when they came away confounded by the apostles of old: “They had been with Jesus.”

Chris grew up in Asia as the son of American missionaries and now studies at Duke University in North Carolina. He loves climbing mountains, exploring new countries and diving into a good book. Writing helps him to see the beauty of God in the world and in the lives of other people.

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Training Officer South East Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSomeone to Mentor young people coming for 6-24 months
Full Details
STEP OUT 2020 – Myanmar South East Asia    Go & Visit    25 July 2020 - 3 August 2020STEP OUT is a short-term program that provides practical mission training and experience hands-on mission in Asia.
Full Details
Administrator South East Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAcross OM, we have a strong need for individuals gifted in administration to aid ministry taking place on the mission field. Those with administrative skills are needed in almost every facet of ministry to ensure that outreaches, meetings and programmes operate with efficiency, and that tasks, paperwork and coordination involved in organising people and events is accomplished with completeness and attention to detail. If this describes how God has wired you, consider here how you can use your administrative gifts to see more vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached.
Full Details
Area Leadership Communication Officer South East Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleCommunication support for the East Asia Area Leadership Team to the Leaders in the area.
Full Details
STEP OUT 2020 – Laos 2 backpackers South East Asia    Go & Visit    25 July 2020 - 8 August 2020STEP OUT is a short-term program that provides practical mission training and experience hands-on mission in Asia.
Full Details
STEP OUT 2020 – Laos 1 Children and Youth South East Asia    Go & Visit    25 July 2020 - 8 August 2020STEP OUT is a short-term program that provides practical mission training and experience hands-on mission in Asia.
Full Details
Team Members South East Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. Do you share our passion for these people to hear of His fame and renown? Come. Join one of our teams and be amazed at how God is working in lives and communities around the world, and be amazed at how He works in your life, as well. We are looking for you, and many more like you, to join us on this journey to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached all over the world.
Full Details
STEP OUT 2020- South East Asia South East Asia    Go & Visit    25 July 2020 - 3 August 2020A: Asia mission trips B: Bilingual mission conference C: Cross culture experience D: Discipleship training After the conference, you will travel with your teammates to an Island which is one hour away from Singapore. The team will be involve with children and youth work.
Full Details
Close Menu
×
×

Cart

X