Why do we do what we do at the Taiwan Love and Hope International Charity? Why do Anny and I even have to bother ourselves to reach out to strangers whom we really are not sure are even genuinely thankful for our efforts? Why do we need to be a part of an organization that does not even give us any salary in comparison to the time we have been investing in it?
Every morning for so many years now, I ask myself these questions upon getting out of bed. Answering them has not always been easy, especially in light of the many difficulties and hardships that we as a couple along with our children have faced. As head of the family, it pains me whenever I see any of them struggling and suffering. Honestly, I often blame myself for letting it happen.
In the past, we have been misled by people we trusted, threatened with arrest in a foreign land, and even betrayed by those whom we once called friends here in Taiwan. Not to mention, the financial burden of supporting the needs of our own family and in making sure that the organization has enough to support the salaries of staff members and the different projects that we are currently doing. So, why do we do what we do?
THE GREAT COMMISSION
In Matthew 28: 18-20:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus, with the weight of his authority in both heaven and earth, made it clear to make disciples of all nations. With this commission, it has always been my prayer that my wife and children take up their own crosses as disciples of Jesus Christ following everything that has been commanded of us to do. Likewise, it is my prayer and hope that staff members become disciples and that together we all share the same commission in making disciples of all nations. Often, students and non-Christians ask me but why follow someone who lived thousands of years ago, whom I never met, and am not even sure is real. Why follow Jesus?
As I get up in the morning and ask myself why do I do what I do? The answer always leads me to a realization of my own brokenness. I struggle with a lot of things from anger, bitterness, disappointments, frustration, etc. So why do I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Why do I want my wife and children and many others to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
In John 14:6, 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and in John 8:12, 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The knowledge and faith in the fact that I am LOVED gives me HOPE no matter how broken I am. It was with authority that Jesus commanded that we follow him and trust that he is the way, the truth, the life, and the light of the world.
It is through the power of Jesus alone that in spite of my brokenness, I am able to do what I do. I am able to be who God wants me to be for my wife, my children, my relatives here in Taiwan, my students and colleagues, and the people we are working with at the Taiwan Love and Hope International Charity. When one fully understands how defeating brokenness and desperation can be, holding onto something rather than nothing shows the big difference between life and death. Waking up in the morning gives me hope that the mission entrusted to me is not yet over. This hope keeps me going, to live each day according to God’s plan and purpose. It is so much like being in a dark tunnel and yet, seeing a light at the end of it. Rather than be stuck in the darkness, Jesus constantly challenges me to move towards the light.
I have also realized that part of my mission is to share and exemplify God’s powerful message regarding empathy. Jesus Christ’s life and death is a powerful mystery of how God chose to become human. It is a divine mystery that we Christians place our faith in, which in fact is contested by our Muslim brothers and sisters. Through empathy, ‘one’ attempts at understanding the ‘other’. An attempt is made to shift perspective and understand another person’s experiences.
Out of love, grace, and mercy, God understood the brokenness of human life through Jesus Christ. In John 3:16, 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Through God’s own powerful testimony of empathy do we see the radical love among those who believe and follow Jesus, giving them hope of a new and eternal life. Jesus showed us the healing and transformative power of empathy.
We live in a world wherein empathy is much needed. Why do Anny and I do what we do? As disciples of Christ, we want to exemplify that our own brokenness does not and should not stop or limit us from empathizing and helping out others. More so, although our resources are limited, we do the best that we can with the people and communities we are currently working with. Our hope is not only to speak about the Gospel but to try our best to live it so that others may be inspired to accept and follow Jesus Christ as their healer. It is our shared mission to make the world a better place.