Dear Ministry Partners
This is from the Lumens newsletter last month, I thought it would be nice to share.
LOVE IS CONTAGIOUS
More than five years ago, a mysterious Chinese guy joined one of our English Corners. He was different from the other students. He had a lot of secrets up his sleeve. He wouldn’t tell us anything about himself – not his hometown, his family, his age or his birthday. The only thing he told us about himself was his English name.
For the sake of this post, let’s call him Harry.
I’ll be honest. It was really difficult to deal with Harry. He was obnoxious, arrogant, mean, impolite, and so many other things that I would rather not mention. There were multiple times when I found myself complaining to my wife about him, telling her that I wanted to give up on him – mainly because other students were being affected by his behavior.
Truth be told, life was a lot more peaceful with him out of the picture.
But then God made me realize that I was just like Harry before. My pastor back home used to tell me that there were only two people in his entire life who made him cry. One of them was me. A lot of the people at church didn’t like me, because I was hard to handle. But God never gave up on me. And so I really had to pray to God for strength and patience, so that I would not give up on Harry. I prayed that God would give me the grace to show kindness and that His love would flow through me to this person.
Five years later, Harry has become one of the most active and loyal members of the various activities that we do here on a daily basis. In all that time, we still had no clue about anything regarding his personal life, but in a weird way, our friendship became deeper. A mutual trust was established. Both foreigners and locals began to get closer to him. Changes have occurred in his character, and he has become quite popular in our ministry.
To this day, Harry is still not a Christian, but so much has changed in him that I began to ask God why. He gave me this answer: “Love is contagious.” Little by little, love was changing Harry, affecting him in ways even he isn’t fully aware of.
I was glad to see the changes, but something was bothering me. I realized that because of how secretive he was – to everyone – over the five years that we’ve known him, we never once celebrated his birthday. How could we?! He wouldn’t tell us when it was!
I proposed to the team that we throw him a birthday party. Everyone was eager to help to make the event happen. We picked a Saturday and decided that as long as he keeps his real birthday secret, that day was going to be his official birthday.
It was a week-long preparation trying to get things organized, but it was easy, because a lot of us were excited to contribute. When the day for the party came, people had prepared different types of food that they knew was his favorite. Others brought decorations. Others baked. Harry loves cake, so he ended up with four birthday cakes to munch on!
We got in touch with his best friend, who – just like us – knew next to nothing about Harry, except he knew where two of Harry’s cousins who lived in the city. He invited them to the party, and sure enough, they were able to come.
You should’ve seen the look on Harry’s face when he realized that the Saturday dinner’s birthday party was meant for him. He had no clue! By the time we swung the front door open and escorted his cousins in, he was in shock. His face grew as white as a sheet. He was so nervous. Shaking, he joked around asking if someone had a pill he could swallow to slow down his heartbeat.
Words of appreciation for all the times he became a willing helping hand to our team, and we did what we are all called to do – even to people we don’t fully understand. We loved on him.
By the end of the night, Harry posted pictures on local social media. The following is what he wrote. (It might be a little hard for you to understand some part of it, but I want to share his exact words.)
“I was so flattered and so nervous tonight, my old friends prepared a quite special theme party for me. BIRTHDAY PARTY! I always thought it was uncalled for, apparently I was wrong, despite I was just petrified in that breath taking moment since the range of nervousness had over run the surprise.
Frankly to say, there was flaw to be out of my expectation, however, it definitely didn’t affect the big picture. That being said, I really appreciate for being fate or someone whose name is JESUS like you said had arranged the meeting four years ago.
If I didn’t have these friends, life would be dreary. Especially I want to tell Bam, ever since I met you, you turned my world around, you’re my truly important friend in my life.
Now, I could not have imagined how gorgeous my life would change from the moment that I met all of you.”
I read what he wrote, not really aware of the impact I had on him or that he considered me his “truly important friend”. I wasn’t really doing anything out of the ordinary to reach out to him. I was just there. Loving him like I try to do to every person I meet here.
To me, Harry is proof that our lives are like an open book. People around us read and see every move we make, whether good or bad, encouraging or discouraging. They look at the choices we make. Do we choose to love? Or do we choose to reject? Harry, despite giving me a lot of headaches, taught me not to give up on people, no matter how difficult they are, because God loves them the same way He loves me.
Harry still hasn’t accepted Christ as his Savior, but it doesn’t really matter how many birthday parties we have to throw him, we’re not giving up on him. We will love Him as Christ loved us.
“and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
- Please pray about partnering with us financially so that we can continue building relationships with the unreached people groups of Southeast Asia.
- We have been invited to Nagaland, India and Nepal in late November and December to speak to local missionaries and leaders as well as visit some orphanages in a very poor area- Please pray that I would have the guidance and direction needed.
- We would like to see more of the locals rise up and begin to lead areas of ministry in the local churches, outreach centers, life groups and English corners.
- We are beginning to really see an outpouring of grace and a hunger in the lives of the students here and are in need of more laborers.
- We desperately need to grasp the language and are doing much, much better.
- Please, please feel free to leave some comments or even send an e-mail- it is so nice to hear from people back home and to know that we are not forgotten, especially during those times of Hiddenness.