The day after July 4th, we had the opportunity to be at a wonderful church to present our burden for China. It doesn’t happen often, but the pastor of the church asked if Beth could give a testimony about anything that God has done in her life or taught her. Steal my thunder much? Just kidding. I love when she gets the opportunity to speak to others about the God we love and His work that we’ve jumped head first into. Gripping the microphone and opening her heart, she speaks of something so ironically profound that I’d like to take a minute and spring board off of.
As she tells the story of God moving in her heart to be a missionary, she mentions how her family had the opportunity to leave Ethiopia and come to the United States of America when she was 11. Two years later, she’d get saved and soon after surrender her life to become a missionary. She spoke of the shock and, dare I say, apprehension that her parents experienced when the news of her being a missionary broke. After all, her parents had just uprooted their family to plant themselves in this land, the land of opportunity. They were working to achieve citizenship to achieve all things American namely, the American Dream. What an opportunity God had given them to obtain residency in this country. What opportunities this country held for their young, beautiful, smart, talented daughter.
The profound irony came as my wife, the product of the opportunities and education this country has to offer, having spent the night before cheering alongside her children at the fireworks show, now standing surrounded by American flags and all things red, white, and blue- with a quiet joy, denounces, once again, that American Dream for the sake of the Name of Jesus. Having turned away from it as a 13 year old girl, she makes the same choice everyday to continue to serve Jesus and get to the mission field.
Both of us have a similar story. While I was born and raised here in America, my parents immigrated here from the Philippines. Both of our parents came to this beautiful country for us to enjoy it and make the most of our lives because of it. So we both, understandably, faced a degree of apprehension from them when she, at 13 and I, at 18 spoke from our mouths to their ears what God had been stirring in our hearts. Missionary. However, today, both our parents are our biggest supporters and cheerleaders. They have been involved in missions more than ever since then and have both expressed desires to go overseas as missionaries themselves.
So from the land of the free, we run. We run to a land of captives in sin to tell them of freedom in Christ Jesus. From the land of opportunity, we run to a land without the opportunity to know the Gospel. Instead of making the most of our lives, we will work to make the most of the cross. We gaze up at fireworks bursting in the night sky for the last time to go shine our light in the darkness. And surrounded by all things red, white, and blue, we denounce the American dream for the pursuit of the dream of our King that people of every tribe and tongue would shout of His salvation.
We are American. And we dream. Perhaps a vastly different dream than one might guess. But a vastly greater dream than that one could ever imagine.