At the start of my Sophomore year at the University of Illinois, I found myself meeting a very interesting young man named Moon Seop. Jesus had a very unique story to write in both of our lives through our friendship, and a part of that story has to do with me traveling to China.

Moon Seop was an international student who was from Korea, but had gone to high school in China. He had traveled to other countries such as India and the United States in order to attend school at the U of I. In the course of our friendship, he mentioned to me that his dad may be looking for English teachers to work at his international school in China over the summer. Since Jesus had placed the world and specifically the people of China upon my heart, I was instantly excited about the possibility of going to China for a summer. However, when I mentioned the prospect to my parents, my mother responded by saying that I would never have her blessing to go to China. In Revelation 3:7b, Jesus says the following to the church in Philadelphia regarding Himself: What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I remember wanting so badly to go to China that summer to teach English, but my mother had said that she was unwilling to have me go. Knowing that Jesus calls us to honor our parents and that honoring our parents serves as a witness to them of the work of God in our lives, I knew that Jesus was closing that door. I can remember the prayer that was on my heart as I turned down my friend’s offer: Jesus, if you want me to go to China, I trust that you will open a door for me to go there and that you will work in my parents’ hearts so that they would be willing to allow me to go that I may honor them as you command us to do in your Word.

After spending an amazing summer in the Champaign-Urbana area being a part of a Summer Training Program, I began my junior year at the U of I. This year, however, Moon Seop was not going to be a student because he had decided to serve the mandatory requirement for military service in Korea. Before he joined the service, he made a short visit to the U of I. It was a joy in itself simply to see him again. However, there was more joy to be shared. He came back with news that his dad would be willing to offer me the same position this upcoming summer in 2010. This of course was very exciting to me, but I remembered what my mother had told me the year before; that I would never have her permission to go. I brought the idea to my parents once again, and to my surprise, my mother told me that she would consider it if I got her certain information. Before too long, I was in communication with the English teacher that I would directly be working with and gathered a lot of the information that had been requested. At the end of Christmas vacation, my mother asked me a question before I left to go back to school: When would you leave and when would you come back? I went back to school and later found out that my parents were beginning to look for tickets for me to go to China. Around mid-March I got a call from my mother to let me know that she had found some cheap airfare, and, that if I couldn’t find anything cheaper that she would buy the one that she had found. Within that week, I had my tickets to China, and my mother was the one who had purchased them. Jesus had set before me an open door that He was inviting me to follow Him into!

During the sermon on the mount, Jesus instructs His disciples saying: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

I am constantly encouraged by the ways in which Jesus has answered so many prayers regarding this journey to China. It has been far less about my faith in Him as it has been about His faithfulness to His promises! Praise Jesus for His faithfulness! Matthew 7:7-8 is a promise of Jesus’ faithfulness to answer prayers. So often, He answers our prayers in ways that we don’t expect, but He always does immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. I certainly didn’t anticipate Jesus leading me to China and softening my parents’ hearts towards my going when I first became a Christ follower. I wouldn’t have anticipated the beautiful ways in which He has provided for this journey. That is one of the many joys of following Jesus! As we follow Him we have the priveledge of witnessing how He works in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We can witness His plentiful provision and the transformational effects of His love, grace, and truth. I encourage you to continue to ask, seek, and knock on doors as you follow Jesus trusting that He will open doors before you that no one can shut.