What About China?
For those of you who knew about my internship in China last summer, you can probably recall the extent to which I loved my time there. It was a lot. It seemed inevitable that, whatever I ended up doing after graduation, I would be in China. Probably teaching English. So, for those who think that Singapore is in China, my choice in residence for the next two years probably doesn’t strike you as odd. But, you cartographers out there may be thinking, “What madness! Why Singapore? What about China?”
Valid questions. I have grappled with those very thoughts and have come up with two explanations, neither of which provided a satisfactory answer at the time I came up with them, but does greatly so now.
My good buddy, Oswald Chambers, wisely once said,
“What we call the process [and] what men call training and preparation, God calls the end.”
Although I do believe that God equips us through our experiences for what He calls us to do (as evident in the paragraphs below), I also believe that it is imprudent to view our lives in the manner of what is happening to me now is for something in the future. Perhaps my time in Xiamen was for a season, and has ended. Maybe, during my time there, my joy and excitement for China overflowed into the assumption that I was meant to do more than I already have there. It can be very possible that the fulfillment and enthusiasm I had experienced was intended only to provide me the strength to give my best for that summer, and no further. It saddens me to think that I may never return, yet thrills me to imagine that God has something greater in mind.
Or, I really am supposed to return to China. Just not right now.
Having just returned from a two-week “Pre-Field Orientation” in Memphis, I am excited and confident. These past two weeks have been filled with numerous moments of affirmation. Between the month after graduation in May and the days leading up to PFO, I frequently doubted my decision to go to ICS Singapore as a non-teacher. Even after the first day of PFO, I felt that I was in the wrong place headed to do the wrong job in the wrong country. I struggled to comprehend whether these feelings of uncertainty were normal, or a sign of a mistaken decision, or were Satan’s lies to make me dwell in the insecurity of my inadequacies and worries. Whatever the case may have been, there certainly was no mistake. My time at PFO affirmed that I am indeed in the right position (that will be personally fulfilling and appropriate to my strengths, skills, and personality) and in the right school and country (where, due to various experiences in my life, I can relate very well with Third Culture Kids and, hopefully, will be able to minister to them).
Also, PFO succeeded in meeting the only expectation I had coming into this training. I desired to gain “a deeper understanding and broader exposure in learning to love the body of Christ, especially those called into foreign countries”. Accordingly, the lectures and activities were a good reminder of how the mission field is exactly like the church – full of sinners redeemed by grace who are still in the process of sanctification. PFO has reminded me to become further conscious of the sensitivity involved in communicating and dealing with different people and different cultures. I have become further aware of my strengths to be developed, and my weaknesses to be reformed. And I have been encouraged to become further reliant on prayer and the Scriptures in order to love.
I’d call that an end in itself.