In 1984, my parents went to Urbana, a large Christian missions conference. At the conference, the idea of adoption was planted into my parents’ hearts. Ten years later, I no longer was an orphan in China but welcomed into a new family – with a new name and a new life. When I think about my story, I find it beautiful how my beginning was part of a bigger picture. And because of my adoption, I better understand the simplicity and power of missional practice: the impact an individual has to radically love, serve, and understand others through Christ.
Growing up in Hong Kong and spending many of my summers, holidays, and weekends in various countries, I was exposed at a young age to extreme wealth and extreme poverty. To some, the word “missional” may evoke an image of an individual holding a cute, impoverished child with a rustic background. While the image itself is not inherently wrong, I learned quickly that all people have shared needs, desires, experiences, and stories. I am not so different from the Filipino boy who wants to be a police officer, the Indian girl who loves reading, or the Korean father who enjoys photography.
I also learned that being missional doesn’t require me to travel. While I appreciate how much living overseas has enriched my understanding of the Kingdom and of creation, I value how Hill City challenges me to be missional with where I am rooted as well. At Hill City, missional practice means being fully present to invest in your co-workers’ interests, to share a meal with your neighbor, and to leave the door open for others to enjoy the hope you have rooted in Christ.
In the Bible, Jesus provides the greatest instructions for missional living – to go and to love (Matthew 28; Matthew 22:36-40). Go and make disciples, and love your Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. When I combine going and loving, I begin to recognize how much of this charge to missional living is ingrained in my everyday living. I go to work and invite my colleagues to lunch and to Run Club. I go to Ultimate Frisbee and invest in intentional conversations on the sideline. I go to volunteer and learn more about the needs of my community. By simply being invitational and intentional, I’ve developed a beautiful web of relationships in all fields of my life.
A particular field that I’ve recently enjoyed playing on is Ultimate Frisbee. When I moved to Virginia a year ago, I was determined to find an Ultimate Frisbee community. Soon enough, I began to play pick up almost every day with a bunch of friendly people. But it was important for me to form deeper connections with players off the field. I started asking these strangers to lunch, to parties, to my pool, and other shared opportunities. Nine months after I started coming to the field, one particular conversation left me reaffirmed and reinvigorated to be invitational. My Frisbee friend said, “Corrie, your kindness is affectionate and I’m glad you’re here.” Her simple words reminded me that the impact we have to love others is radical.
I end full circle with when I attended Urbana in 2012. At the conference, author and pastor, David Platt said, “Spreading the gospel is the natural—or supernatural—overflow, not of a religion we adhere to called Christianity, but of a relationship we have with Christ.” I give all of who I am to Christ, who has given me the delight and desire to be relational, invitational, and missional. Go and love the people in every field of your life.
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