What truths or experiences capture a heart to burden it with the task of reaching a lost world? For me, it was a crowd of people in Taichung, Taiwan. In 2000, I served with Go Now Missions in Taiwan. I wasn’t the most active student in the BSM, and only heard about the trip because the lead singer of a band I was in wanted to go. I loved Jesus, but the task of reaching a lost world hadn't captured my heart. I simply wanted to play guitar for my band on the other side of the globe.
Although I had traveled globally, and even lived in the Middle East due to my father’s career, this trip was different. In Taiwan, our band played at various cafés and universities. Many of the college-aged students were excited to hear an American band, and wanted to practice their English skills with us after the concerts. We used every opportunity to tell these students about the love of Jesus, and the hope of eternal life that He offered.
As I rode on a Taiwanese bus, and looked out at the crowds on the streets, I remember countless motor scooters and innumerable pedestrians. Most had no hope beyond this life, yet I had hope. It reminded me that once, I also had lived with “no hope and [was] without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
These crowds needed eternal hope in Jesus. How could I continue to live as though these countless people without hope didn’t exist? I returned with a new passion for seeing the peoples of Asia come to find the eternal hope that only Jesus can provide.
A few years later—now married—my wife and I prayed passionately about where the Lord would place us in ministry. Serving with Go Now Missions had kindled a burden in my heart for sharing the Gospel in Asia, and it continued to fan a flame as we prayed. For seven years, we served in East and Southeast Asia with IMB sharing the hope of Jesus with those who would listen.
In Taiwan, I had learned to use a common thing like music to start conversations. In Asia, we used common things like barbecues, parenting groups, art and basketball to start conversations. My heart became burdened with different crowds of people, but their need remained the same. They needed eternal hope in Jesus. We had it. We needed to share it.
In 2013, my family returned to the States so that I could earn a degree that will enable more ministry opportunities in Asia. While here, I have served at Collin College in Plano as a BSM director.
The crowds are different than those in East and Southeast Asia. Most people here claim to know Jesus, at least nominally. In Asia, I shared about Jesus’s hope with people from Buddhist, Atheist, and Hindu backgrounds. At Collin College, I share with those from a nominal Christian, Muslim or generic spiritual background.
The lessons I learned through Go Now Missions of using music to start Gospel conversations have morphed into using a cup of coffee or donuts to begin a conversation. Although the crowds and the medium differ, the need remains the same. The crowds in Texas need eternal hope that can only come through Jesus. He has “caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). We have the hope that they need. Let’s share it.
Go Now Missions is celebrating 70 years of Texas Baptists student missions. Kyle’s story is just one of 10,000. Click here to share your story with us. Also, join us on Sunday, May 22, at 2 p.m. in the Patty & Bo Pilgrim Chapel on the Dallas Baptist University campus for a special celebration service and commissioning of 2016 summer missionaries.
Kyle Essary serves as a BSM Director at Collin College in Plano.