Hi, I’m Sushi, and I wanted to be a superhero. My parents do not share this dream of mine. As a first-generation American, I was expected to go to college, find a job, and make money to support my parents. So I did. It was during my first semester of college that I learned about a Jesus different than the one I grew up with. This newfound Jesus was a radical advocate for the marginalized. WHAT! Who is this man that cared about injustice? And why didn’t I learn about Him Sunday school as a child? I wanted to know more! I wanted to drop everything, including university, to go and love the poor, the widows, the orphans. I wanted to be a missionary.
But first things first: college. I chose to study social work because it was the closest to hands-on advocacy work. As I continued with school, I began to lose sight of why I was doing this. I saw my faith and my superhero-in-training as 2 separate parts of my life, never mixing. I spent countless nights crying myself to sleep, feeling hopeless and helpless. I didn’t want to live in this world anymore.
One component was missing from my pursuit of social justice. God. How could I loose the chains of injustice without the One who showed me how first? How could I do the impossible without the One who makes the impossible possible? Social work was tiring and burdensome without Jesus. I could not and was not able to be a superhero. I accepted the fact that I cannot change the world.God can.
But I didn’t have a close relationship with God. Shortly after I declared I wanted to be a missionary, my actions did not reflect a “good” Christian, and I felt God would not forgive me. I didn’t see God as a loving and forgiving father. He seemed more like my parents – I had to work to earn love and praise from them. Grace wasn’t for me, but I believed it was for others. I hated myself and couldn’t forgive myself, so I thought God wouldn’t either. I spent the next 8 years trying to find my joy and my worth through my accomplishments and my relationships. God was a fleeting thought, but I couldn’t fully give myself to Him. Multiple times I’ve felt Him nudging, but I wasn’t ready. I could not and would not forgive myself. I didn’t want to face my past.
It was in 2015 when I was hiking in Yosemite National Park, a valley in California, that I was reminded of who I am. It was there that I heard a gentle voice telling me, “You are My child, forgiven, healed, and embraced by My love, and that is enough. I am enough for you. Do not fear. Do not worry. I am with you.”
Often times, I cry out to God, “Where are You in the suffering?”
He would answer me, “I am here.”
Then, I ask in anger, “Then, why don’t You do something?”
He would gently answer, “Because you are here.”
As I look back, I can see God moving in my life, through the tears and the joys. I can see His hand guide me every step of the way even when I refused His love. I stand before you today not because I want to be a superhero, but because I have chosen to say yes to the One who has already saved us.
I am, first and foremost, a child of a loving, amazing God, and today, I am answering His call for me to go and make disciples. I will be leaving for Hong Kong as a Global Mission Fellow in a few weeks to work and live in community with migrant workers, anxiously excited for what God has in store for me.
I invite you to join me spiritually and financially as I embark on this new adventure, but I also invite you to answer God’s call for you. We all have a special note in God’s orchestra to play, and no one else can play that note but you. Will you join me, as God has created you in His mission to love others and bring justice to our world?