or is it the other way around? AHHHH. Graduation approaching. My life is consumed with CPA studying. Not the best way to spend my last semester, but hey, still blessed and thankful. Going to miss this.
Urbana wasn’t something that I thought deeply about. I registered for the conference this time around because I knew that I’d be in a time of my life where everything I learned would be more impactful. In a season of transition, I was trying even more so to rely on God on my next steps. Little did I know when I first signed up for Urbana 12.
My time at Urbana is something that I’m going to remember forever. Urbana was not just a 6 day conference where I heard about Jesus and His mission. It was challenging, humbling, and life changing all at the same time. It was where I said yes to Jesus and His calling for global mission in my life.
I had the opportunity to room with Cheng Ma, Joseph Pao-wu, Joshua Ling, and Peter Kim. I’ll be honest and say I was a little nervous about the rooming assignment at first. Before we shared in our roommate huddles, I almost felt like I was intruding on something that was already established between the senior guys. As Cheng so eloquently put it on the bus ride to St Louis, “You’re the odd one out in the group.” And as much as I hate categorizing people into so called “groups”, I realized the truth in that statement. I wasn’t in their grade. I didn’t play ball. The relationship just wasn’t as connected as the rest of them… My anxieties and doubts of how rooming would turn out was quickly destroyed after our first roommate huddle. The sheer vulnerability and openness that I was able to experience with this group of brothers definitely made my Urbana experience the way it was. Rooming with them was a true blessing - I was surrounded by a group of men who genuinely cared, challenged, and loved on one another. This kind of community that I was able to be a part of was something that I realized was rare, but very special. So thanks guys for our nights together.
Aside from having awesome roommate huddles, I gained 4 things out of Urbana that I want to share:
1) I realized how much I had limited God and His existence in this world. I often times only thought about what God was doing at MY school, in MY life, with MY family, with MY friends, etc. Urbana opened up my eyes to see the God of this universe. At Urbana, I got a glimpse of how big God’s kingdom truly was. Worship this time around was something that I enjoyed and even appreciated. Worshipping with 16,000 other people and singing in different languages around the world made worship an incredible experience. (Urbana 09 was simply not for me. You can ask about that later)
2) God broke my heart for the things that He cared about. God opened my eyes to the rest of this world and grew my heart for social justice the night we made care packages to the caregivers in Swaziland. My heart ached while praying for the situation in Africa and I knew right then and there that I could no longer continue living the way I was back home. This was probably one of the few times in my life where I felt like I was doing something to help with God’s mission. This semester, I’m committing to World Vision Acts and Big Fish to continue to seek opportunities to help out with social justice issues.
3) I came to the conclusion that I still held on to my own comfort and success in this world. David Platt asked us, “What plan or dream will you give your life to that is more significant than this?” I was sad to admit that I still held onto to the American Dream – a life full of security, success, and comfort. I wanted to provide for my future family. I wanted to give back to my parents. I wanted to live a life that was simply… comfortable. Before attending Urbana 12, I had always just imagined myself to do “Business as Missions.” BAM! I never really thought about being the one who went out – just the one who sent others. My plans all along were to pursue my career and climb my way up to make money, so that I could GIVE BACK to the church and somehow be a part of God’s mission. After David Platt’s talk, I was devastated when I realized I had taken my own dreams and my own plans and manipulated those to “fit in” God’s plan for my life. I was always the business guy… I knew about recruiting strategies, I helped friends and peers with their job search, I even TA for underclassmen that just got into the business school. I thought I had it all planned out, but I was wrong. I was living a life for myself – a life full of comfort and other earthly riches. This leads me to my next point.
4) I came to the table and accepted God’s invitation of global mission. The night that we made commitments, I made a commitment to both short-term and mid-term missions. Again, I love being comfortable! But during Urbana, God asked me to sacrifice my comfort, and follow Him whole-heartedly. This summer, I committed to going on a Global Urban Trek, where I will actually be living incarnationally in the slums around the world. I’m really looking into India, but we’ll see where the Lord sends me. As for my mid-term commitment, in pursuing God’s call in my life, I am no longer looking at my career as a long-term goal. Instead of holding onto the things I once did, I am now realizing that God didn’t just want me to be a ‘sender’ but a goer as well. After a couple of years of experience in Chicago, I plan on leaving the firm, and going out into the mission field. I don’t know what that all looks like yet, but I do know one thing: God is faithful and He is good, and I am willing to give up all that I am for Him.
I really didn’t know what I had coming when I first signed up for Urbana, but I’m glad I went. God transformed my life and turned everything upside down during those 6 days in St. Louis. I’m blessed beyond reason and want to bless others with what I have been given.
“I will go, I will go I will go,
Lord send me To the world,
To the lost To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I’m clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me
Let me not be blind with privilege
Give me eyes to see the pain
Let the blessing You’ve poured out on me
Not be spent on me in vain
Let this life be used for change”