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The Strength to Speak

Sitting at an English corner in East Asia, a place where constant conversation is expected, it was very easy for me to feel overwhelmed, tired, or prefer to just blend into the background.

26774371234_7ca9d2ac2f_kIt was Saturday evening, after having worked all day playing games with children and engaging elementary and middle school kids in conversation.  This was the last push of the night–just three more hours and I could go back to the comfy escape of my hotel room. My plan of attack as an exhausted introvert was to join a group, play a game, and have somebody else do all the talking, throwing in enough words to make myself feel like I was doing just enough.

As I was doing my best to blend in, drink my coffee, laugh at jokes and nod my head, I was asked to start my own group–to be the main conversation initiator and to pay attention to each person. As I joined a table with two ladies and a first grader, I was grabbed and eagerly asked to teach them English. I then spent the next three hours teaching these ladies basic English words, playing with the little girl, and engaging in conversation that seemed not to matter at all. Conversations that I didn’t have the strength for, apart from what I knew the Lord was giving me.

Throughout the course of the night, the mother, Winter, and her close friend Spring, would mention in passing how I was the best English teacher they had ever had.

What was I doing that was so special? What was I doing that mattered at all but teaching them how to say ‘elevator’?

At the end of the night, Winter grabbed my arm, made direct eye contact with me, and from the bottom of her heart, thanked me. She told me that she had never seen her daughter laugh that much, and that they themselves had never had so much fun.

It was then that it hit me. These three daughters of God had never been invested in. Nobody had ever taken the time to sit with them in a crowded room, invest in them, and take great delight and joy in that simple opportunity. These daughters of the King had lost their worth and their value along the rails of life, and were blown away that anyone would take time to invest in them.

Just three hours before, all I had wanted to do, all I had really had the strength for, was to sit in the background. God took these incapable moments and made my biggest inabilities His greatest strengths. Because the Lord was working through me that night, giving me the energy, words and joy that I had lacked on my own, I was able to show three beautiful ladies the love and joy that flows directly from God through seemingly simple and pointless acts.

Why would I not want to live my life in a way that allows God to work in mighty ways through my inabilities?


13334263_10209623123124748_1260922315_oLily is one of the students from our Winter 2016 DTS. She did her outreach in East Asia. Through much humility and pursuit of the Lord, Lily has grown a lot in her relationship with Jesus while in DTS and on outreach. She plans to be back for our secondary school, School of Ministry Development, in the fall. 

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