When you think of East Asia, what do you see? What do you think of?
Super crowded streets and cities? Buildings on top of buildings? Pollution? Rice and noodles? Split pants? Scooters everywhere? Asian cartoon characters on everything? Chenglish? Poverty?
Millions of people, faces or souls who live without hope daily?
People who walk around living their day to day life looking for satisfaction, meaning and value in anything and all the wrong things because they don't know there is more?
I see people who laugh, cry, drink coffee, take selfies, play basketball, make pizzas, watch movies, have children, get married, work to support themselves and their families, and go to school and study just like we do.
I see people desperate for hope – for something to grab on to and believe in – for truth. People who have bought into lies and don't even know there is truth out there for them.
I see people hurting from things we hurt from. They have family issues, they have personal issues, they suffer from things, and they don't know there is something – someone – who can satisfy and fulfill every longing and need they have. One who can heal every hurt and mend everything that is broken.
I see people desperate for truth and something that is genuine and real. People who long to be loved and don't know where or how to find it.
I see other believers in the city – longing for these people to know truth. And national believers incredibly desperate and burdened for their people to know truth.
And I see me.
I see who I used to be, and how I searched for meaning and satisfaction in so many other things too – just like these people – and I see how the Lord graciously and amazingly sought me, showed me truth, saved me and became my hope, meaning, satisfaction and gave me value. I see how He has loved me.
I see the opportunity I have. The opportunity I have to live my life in a way that shows these people what His love looks like. What forgiveness, patience, grace, mercy and kindness look like. I see the chance I have to tell them what truth really is, what love really means, what our lives are really meant for.
I see the example Jesus laid out for us and the example I am to lay out for others.
I see what Jesus has done in my life and how He has transformed me and loved me freely and wholly.
I see that He longs to do the same for these people. And that He desires to use me, to use us all, to tell people that. To show them that. If I can live my life in such a way, love these people in such a way that causes them to ask what makes me so different or why I do the things I do, then I want to do that. I want to love like that. I want to live like that. Because I used to be just like them. Dead and blind to all things dealing with Christ. I walked around hopeless and searching for meaning and satisfaction.
But now I see. I see how He graciously opened my heart and eyes to His truth. And I cannot imagine my life without Him. Without hope, meaning, value or love. And I don't want anyone to have to live without hope or love.
It is my prayer and hope that the Lord will help me to walk and love in such a way that causes these people to ask why I am so different.
So I can tell them.
*Charlotte is a student from West Texas A&M University, and is currently serving as a Go Now Semester Missionary in East Asia.
*Name has been changed