Earlier this week I had lunch with my friend Daniel Su, the lead pastor at Katy Christian Community Church. Daniel came to the United States from Xiamen, China in 1986 to study at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. After receiving his undergraduate degree in English in 1991, Daniel spent the next fifteen years involved in a campus ministry to Chinese graduate students and their families before moving to Katy in 2006.
Our conversation at the lunch table revolved around how to impact the nations for Christ. Daniel and I agree that reaching the nations involves more than going, it also includes staying and embracing the opportunities to engage with the nations represented in our own community. There is no question about the fact that the nations are strongly represented among us. More than 90 languages are spoken throughout the Houston area and 92 countries have consular offices here, the third highest in the nation. The nations have come to us!
Daniel spoke to me specifically about his experiences in reaching out to Chinese students who come to the United States to study and then return to China. As with any young person traveling abroad, it can be a bit scary for a Chinese student to come to America. As I listened to Daniel I kept hearing a recurring theme. He said that when a Chinese student arrives in America, that student expects that other Chinese will help them with things like getting oriented or solving problems related to living in a new culture, among other things. However, when a Christ-follower who is not Chinese steps up to assist one of these students it has a greater impact.
Daniel gave me numerous examples of how small acts of kindness by Christ-followers in America have made a huge difference in the lives of Chinese students. He told me about one Chinese girl in particular who was frustrated and disoriented on her college campus. An African-American Christ-follower noticed her and offered to help and even took the time to show her around campus. Daniel said that the young Chinese student could not stop talking about the kindness of that young lady. It’s acts of kindness like these that help to make others receptive to the truth and open to investigating the worldview behind the action.
I told Daniel something that my friend Jamal had shared with me earlier this year in Jordan while we were visiting Syrian refugees. I really like the way in which Jamal framed the same thing that Daniel and I were discussing: “If you will allow people to listen to and enjoy the music of your life, then sooner or later they will want to know the words.” That is the kind of thing that can have a greater impact. Daniel and I also talked about guys like Pol Pot and Bin Laden and others like them who had studied abroad. It’s hard to say, but perhaps if someone had engaged them in such a way that caused them to take serious inventory of their respective toxic worldviews, history might be different. But apparently no one made a greater impact on them through their friendship, kindness, or conversation.
I came away from my time with Daniel more encouraged and determined to be sensitive to the nations in my own neighborhood and in our own community. We can make a difference among the nations if we will live like Christ and look for every opportunity to make a greater impact in His name by simply following His example.