And the year I spent in China was amazing. I saw what I read about in the book of Acts with mine own eyes. There was a moment when I moved to a smaller rural town that I felt God distinctly spoke to me about being a long term missionary. You see missions have its costs too. For a single woman, it was mostly loneliness and the lack of comfort of home. I lived on the 7th floor and there were no elevators. For half a year, I have lived alone and climbed up and down those steps carrying heaters, luggage, groceries, my tired body, and that simple place was what I called home. My last day there, as I moved out that evening and took a final look up those dimly lit steps again, I felt like God was assuring me all those times He was watching me. It was a very short moment, but I felt very loved. And I pictured all my life up till that point and it made total sense to me. I am to use what I have to reach the world.
Two months after that moment, God impressed upon me the need to fast and pray for my family. So I committed to fast every Thursday and was not going to give up. These fasts really gave me faith to make my next decision. My initial one year mission commitment ended, but I wanted to stay longer because I just knew my work was not finished. Then again came the pressure of my family. I was 25 years old and they were worried about my job situation and whether or not I was going to get married. I remember my dad threatened to disown me and never see me again. I did not know how to honor them without disobeying God. My team leader at the time challenged me to keep communicating my heart to my parents even though I was faced with discouragement. I felt God’s challenge to take honoring my parents seriously. In my heart, I have always seen them up to that point as sort of enemies to the gospel. They were simply in my way. But scripture is very clear in the command to honor them. I did not in my heart give much thought to my parents. With a changed attitude, I called my dad again and was able to really talk to him about staying longer. For all my life, he has seen me like a little kid, but that conversation he felt that I was sincere. He felt heard by me. He said to give him three days to decide and he will call me later. I thought for sure he was going to say no after three days. But I was comforted by the verse in proverbs that says “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, he directs it wherever he pleases.” I thought if the kings heart is in the Lord’s hands, surely my father’s heart is! I had peace about whatever decision for I knew through scripture the Lord was going to guide my dad. His call came three days later and granted me 9 more months in China.
And God used those additional 9 more months to have me pray and fast every week. After a year of fasting, I began to see changes in my family. First it started with my brother. I saw him when he came to visit me in China and gave him a Bible track to read. He emailed me a few days later and said, “Mia, tonight I read the Bible track, it was everything I have been searching for. I have become a Christian tonight.” Ever since that day, my brother has been growing leaps and bounds in his faith. God had gotten a hold of my brother’s life, and a year after I got back from China, my brother answered God’s call to him and spent a year as a missionary in China too. After coming back from that year, he is waiting now to return long term.
My brother was not the only exciting thing that happened since I have been back. The month of my return, my parents went to church with me for the first time! When we stood next to each other shoulder to shoulder in church that Sunday morning, I experienced God’s faithfulness. I could not even stand through one whole worship song without pinching myself to wake up from it all. Later that week, the pastor of the church visited my parents at home and shared with them the gospel. I remember my mom looked at my dad and said, “Well, I am ready, are you ready?” My dad said, “Me? I have been ready” And that night my entire family celebrated.
It’s been 5 years since I have been back from my time as a single person in China. Since then, God has provided for me a stable job in teaching and I have also gotten married to a wonderful man whom I actually met on the mission field. A year ago, God blessed us with a beautiful daughter, and I am now going through the stage of being a first time mom. My husband and I have not forgotten that sacred call God placed in our hearts. We are planning to return to China with our daughter sometime next year.
Of course, my parents are not thrilled about this. Missionary was not what they wanted me to become. I am still applying and learning what it means to honor them. I have learned that honoring our parents takes a lot of wisdom. It has looked different each time, but the bottom line is listening and solving their concerns, speaking truth in love, more listening, being gentle, proactive, and sometimes all these things at the same time, so it really requires me to be spiritually vigilant. I shall try and do everything possible to get their blessing for us to go. And if I have done everything possible and exhausted all the resources, then I will follow God.
My lifetime mentor told me that, God is not a useful God who we use as a means to our end, but he calls us to surrender to His sovereign care so we can be used by God. I encourage you who are considering going overseas to simply begin pursuing it daily in prayer, ask others who have gone what it may be like, actively search out answers to your questions. Brothers and sisters, let’s leave behind the things that entangle and hinder us. Jim Elliot says “God makes his ministers flames of fire.” He asked himself “am I ignitable?” I leave you and me with that same question “are you ignitable?”
It says in Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." Jesus is worth our possessions and securities. And Jesus will take care of his workers. I encourage you to seek and spend time with God. Ask him to bring revival to your heart. Die to him daily and bear up our crosses. Take the persecution, take the uncertainties, loneliness, build up long suffering for your family, and God will help you at the break of day.
Interested in serving in China or simply want to connect with Mia? Email her at email@example.com