Monday, March 30, 2015

Hope for the Future

Yesterday afternoon I was invited by an English training center to speak to a group of 20 high school and college students who are hoping to study abroad. For my introduction I used these two pictures: My Family in 1995 and My Family in 2014.

My Family in 1995

My Family in 2014

After that, I asked them to pair up to interview each other and then to introduce their partners to the rest of the group. One of the questions I gave them to ask each other was “What is your biggest hope for the future?” Some of their responses included “be happy, be successful, become rich, and find the ideal job.”

After introductions, I gave them some practical advice for learning English: Don't be afraid to make mistakes, look for opportunities to practice speaking and listening, and ask questions to better understand.

I shared that another piece of advice I had for them was to read the Bible and learn more about Jesus. I said that as a Mother my biggest hope for my children was for each of them develop their own personal faith in God. 

I told them that I grew up going to church every Sunday and thought that I was a Christian; but when I got to college I realized I had no clue what it meant to have a personal relationship with God. In the midst of my loneliness at college, I finally understood that more friends and more accomplishments could never fill the deep emptiness inside me. 

Even though I looked like a good person on the outside, I knew that I had a jealous heart, and I hated that about myself. I desired to be truly happy when someone else succeeded and not feel like their success somehow made me less. But I knew that I couldn't change that ugly part of myself. So I prayed that if God was real, He would change my heart. And He did.

There is a lot for our family to reflect on in this season of transition as we prepare to leave China. Our future, after we spend a year back in the US, is unclear right now. As these two family pictures show, a lot has changed in our lives these past 20 years in China. One thing that we know for certain is that our God is a God of hope. And He is always faithful to His promises. Clinging to God in the dark times of waiting have been when some of the best growth has taken place in our lives. Charly and I have made Commitments on our journeys with God, but God's commitment to us is the everlasting kind.

And as Easter draws near, we want to fix our eyes on the cross where Jesus sacrificed His all for us.

And we want to remember that because the tomb is empty, we will always have hope for the future.

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