There’s this feeling I’ve had a hard time shaking off. A stirring up. A tension. A sense of longing. Since coming back from Asia last month, a part of me was shifted. Or if I could put it this way, a part of me was awakened.
Let me explain. For as long as I could remember I thought I was supposed to become more and more American. To pursue the American Dream. Speak English without an embarrassing accent. Distance myself from *those* Asians. Fight for Hollywood representation. Rebuke those who said anything even questionably racist. Take offense at anyone who suggested we didn’t belong.
And then… something changed. The catalyst? Encounters. Unexpected, inexplicable, undeserved encounters, throughout this faith journey. It was the princess warrior from Singapore. The fiery American preacher in Cambodia. The pioneering youth church in Singapore. The broken teenager in Korea. The fierce faith of the Vietnamese translator. The relentless passion of the missionaries in Thailand. The lioness arising in Myanmar. The myriad of faces. Of desperation, and hope, and belonging.
The buried parts of my being began to surface when I saw my reflection in their eyes. The same burden of timidity and fear. The weight of inferiority. The shame of standing out. The generational baggage that have long been passed down. The longing for something more. The stubborn hope for greater things to come.
Strangely enough, I felt closer to these strangers than I could even imagine. They empathized with the groaning within. The pain and brokenness. There was a shared sense of struggle. And with it came a shared sense of responsibility– the whisper of a calling.
Could it be that the very parts of me I tried to ignore were the very parts that God has woven into my soul? Could it be that He knit our struggles and identity together for a greater mission? That I would find His face in those areas buried deep within? Could it be? I can’t help but shake off the feeling that these encounters were not an accident. And as I sense this part of my soul and responsibility become awakened, I’m starting to hear His cry: “These aren’t *those* Asians. They are mine.”