Fresh from the cheer of Christmas and anticipating the New Year, my friends and I bundled up to attend the P2C PLUS conference in Toronto. We walked inside the Sheraton Hotel with high expectations for Molly Thomas, Kings Kaleidoscope, and Jaquelle Crowe. God wrote different stories in each of our hearts, and gave us different hopes for this conference.
God encouraged me to consider these questions at the beginning of the conference: does a season of suffering (experiencing rejection, confusion, or loss) define you? Does a season of growth or joy define you? In other words, God wanted me to recognize his story in my life.
Throughout my undergrad, it felt like the world and circumstances pressed into my life and caused me to ask: who am I? Maybe you know exactly who you are. It’s tempting to find our identity in what we do or will do after graduation. Our family, friends, and neighbours all talk to us about our future as if it defines us.
When I graduated highschool, I first planned to study biomedical physics. I wanted to be a radiologist. In university, my interests switched to English Literature and Journalism. So, I decided to be a writer. In my final year of university, I wondered who am I beyond what I’m studying? In university, we experience everything from frosh week, acing (or failing) a test, joining a club, catching the wrong bus, making friends, losing friends… Which of these things truly defines who we are? Are we the ones that failed an exam? Are we the ones who completed a marathon? Am I victim of abuse or assault? Am I a champion of human rights and social justice? Am I what my friends or family say?
What if our identity derived from a God-given purpose? A God-given invitation?
During the Saturday evening of P2C PLUS, my friends and I gathered into the ballroom for the main session. The theme of the conference was: SEEN, emphasizing the impact of God’s perception of us. Brooks Buser, founder of Radius International, took to the stage and shared about his university and their focus of training up students to translate the Bible and share the gospel to unreached people groups.
Brooks served as a missionary with New Tribes Missions and for 13 years lived among and invested in the YembiYembi tribe in Papua New Guinea. Many unreached tribes and peoples like the YembiYembi often ask for missionaries to come to their villages, yet because there’s a lack of long-term missionaries they are sometimes forced to wait ten years before someone can come.
One weekend in Papua New Guinea, Brooks and his friend travelled to another remote tribe for a weekend trip to scope out their need for a future missionary. The people welcomed Brooks and his friend with joy and good food, treating them like royalty. On the last night, the chief asked Brooks, “how many moons will pass before missionaries will come?” Brooks replied, “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.” The chief said, “No! I want to know how many moons will pass before missionaries come here.” Brooks answered, “Every person on this tribe that has grey hair will be dead before the missionaries come.”
In that moment sitting in the main session, one voice made every other voice fall silent. God’s voice said, “Will you join me? No matter where I send you, no matter who’s there? No matter who you think you are? Will you join me?”
God struck me with the reminder that when we get up every single morning we often care more about what others think about us. We feel lonely. We worry about who we are friends with or what we’re going to wear. Our lives are wrapped up in us trying to find our identity.
Yet there’s a world out there waiting to hear about Jesus.
Maybe today you woke up and feel heavy, from the weight of your worries or life circumstances. Guess what? In the middle of all of that God still extends his palm out to you and says, “Will you join me?” Our God who created life and gives sight to the blind, invites you to walk with him and share about him with others. His grace covers your weaknesses and brokenness and helps you extend grace to others.
Will you join him?
Explore our mission trip opportunities with Power to Change. Will God use you in Peru? Denmark? Desert Rain? Or on Create? Deadline to apply is January 31, 2018.