On Wednesday, June 2nd, I flew out of O’Hare airport to make a connection in Detroit before making the approximately 17 hour flight to Hong Kong. I arrived safely with all of my luggage, but soon realized that I didn’t know what the person I was looking for actually looked like, let alone where to find them. Fortunately, there were two men with a sign that read “Joshua Weakly” and I guess I was the person they were looking for. A train, a boat, a taxi, and a private bus/minivan later, I arrived at what would be my home for the next nearly 8 weeks.

I was told prior to my arrival that one of the most critical aspects of this trip was going to be flexibility and having a servant’s heart. As I prepared to leave for China, Jesus was preparing my heart for what lie ahead. Through a few of my dear brothers in the Lord, Jesus challenged me to think about what it means to serve another person on their page versus my own. First, it is impossible to serve another person unless we are following Jesus. Jesus makes that very clear when He says: Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26) It is Jesus who reveals to us the needs of another person, it is He who reveals to us how He is at work in their lives, and it is He that reveals to us how we can partner with Him in the work that He is already doing in their hearts! Our role is to look to Jesus and to follow Him. It’s amazing how every aspect of the Christian journey really comes down to following Jesus. Following Jesus also includes following the example that He set for us. So, what was Jesus’ example when it came to serving? It was sacrificial love, a self-denying, self-emptying sort of love that was ultimately expressed through His death on a cross. I John 3:16 tells us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” In order to love, in order to serve others, we must lay down our lives and get on the page of those whom we are seeking to serve. As we follow Jesus and the prompting of His Holy Spirit, connecting with others where they are at, men and women will be served meaningfully.

Throughout this past week, this lesson from Jesus has been crucial during my time here. I am in a new culture where hardly anyone speaks my native language. There is no way that I could serve another person while remaining on my page. Rather, I must seek and rely on Jesus to show me how He is at work and what it would mean to serve those whom He has brought around me. The way that I might say something back in the United States might not be understood here, so I have to try to contextualize it for the audience I am sharing with. The beautiful truth is that Jesus’ Word is not hampered by language or cultural barriers. His Word can touch the lives and hearts of any person anywhere. I praise Him that it is His Word and His Spirit that works in and through our lives to draw us to Himself and to transform us into His image and likeness. Such a joy is it to follow Jesus! I will be honest and admit that I don’t always lay down my life for those whom Jesus has placed around me. That I fail to put others before myself and to operate on their page as opposed to my own. Praise be to God, there is mercy at the cross and my Savior is always faithful even when I am not!

In the near future, I will hopefully be sharing some of the experiences that I’ve had while at the school. Jesus has already been opening doors and it has been a joyful experience to live amongst these students that He has brought me here to serve. I am so thankful for your prayers and encouragement. Jesus has been reminding me of the importance of fellowship with His Body. May His love and mercy rest upon your hearts.