06 Jun 2011

Tim Hu missions update

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Dear family and friends,

I want to thank you all again for choosing to support me this summer on missions. I have already exceeded the amount necessary I needed to raise for this summer so praise the Lord! I hope that you can continue to pray for the team and myself throughout the summer.

A couple of logistical updates:

I just returned from a week at the Summer Training Program (STP) in San Diego and it was such a huge blessing to be there. If the 8 weeks on VSET is anything like the 1 week on STP, then this summer will be unbelievable.

I’m currently staying at my cousin’s place in San Francisco for 2 weeks between STP and a 2nd training program which starts the 12th of June. This will be a good time for me to rest, examine, apply, and pray through the last week at STP.

Unfortunately, I still don’t know where I’ll be going specifically over the summer since I’m not told until 3 days before we depart, but I have faith that God will put me wherever is best.

An overview of STP:

STP was extremely intense! We woke up every weekday at 5:15 to do a Psalm reading in our cabins, and then proceeded to run for 30 minutes. Afterwards, we would have an hour and a half to do devotional readings and sharing with our small groups. From 8 to 12, we would go and work for the retreat center, which helped to teach us disciple as well as cut down on training costs. Most days, I either cut weeds, mowed the lawn, or shoveled dirt, although some of the other groups did housecleaning, roofing, or gardening.

After lunch we had a Bible study session for about 4 hours on the book of Philippians, learning how to examine the purpose and applications of Paul’s letter. After dinner, we had miscellaneous activities, either a sermon, preparation for our faith day (which I’ll explain later), or having fun with team bonding. All of us were required to sleep by 10:30 ready to start the next day fresh. On Friday, we went out as a group to do evangelism on UC Irvine, and on Saturday, we had our faith day.

The Application:

Although I hate running, the running each morning was a blessing to me because it allowed me to remind myself to depend on God for strength and not to have any confidence in my own abilities. Even if I could run the distance without too much trouble I wanted to apply it to more than just the physical but the spiritual as well. We often ran in groups and teams, and it reminded me of the importance of encouraging others through prayer and Scripture, and that we ran as one body, so that we could go only as fast as our slowest member. Despite that however, it was a great blessing to see people who would never be able to run the 2 miles alone, run the 2 miles by relying on God and through the encouragement of brothers and sisters.

Despite the seemingly useless act of doing manual labor each day, we were encouraged to see the benefits of working. For one, it helped to pay for the cost of being at the retreat center, but another was that through it we could identify with Christ in His suffering. For me, the job of weeding was not as bad as having to spend 4 hours alone since for an extrovert like myself, 4 hours is a long time to be alone. Additionally, at first I didn’t know what was a weed and what was a plant, so it was extremely difficult to cut things.

We were encouraged to use observational learning by applying even the small chores we do to a more spiritual matter, so I saw the weeding as getting rid of sin. While it wasn’t identified, it took forever to get rid of the weeds if at all, but once I knew what the weeds looked like (and what sin looks like), then it becomes much easier to mow them down. I suppose finding out what the weeds or sin are will come only through asking God. Even in the small things, I tried to remind myself of what I was learning through the Bible studies.

Faith Day:

Throughout the week, we were preparing for an event on Saturday called faith day, in which we were sent out into the streets of LA with nothing but a guitar and some skit materials, and we would evangelize on the streets, singing praise songs, performing skits, and sharing testimonies, hoping to garner enough money to make it back to our church in downtown LA.

For our team, we felt pretty confident in our preparations when we went in to our assigned location thinking that it would be pretty easy to make the $10.50 required to get home. Unfortunately, after 3 hours of singing and skits and testimonies, not a single person dropped a dime. Not only that, our team leader had his iPhone stolen! Discouraged and tired, we decided to go for a change of activity and just did cold contact evangelism for an hour. During this time, my partner and I had some interesting conversations with a high school student, an entrepreneur, and also a Muslim man offering free water, but none of these compared to the experience our team leader had.

After losing his phone, and failing to start any conversations with people on the beach, he sat down exhausted to pray. A stranger came up to him and said that he felt the Lord wanted to give him this: 20 dollars!! This was more than enough to pay for the bus ride home, as well as a small lunch for the team, and give the rest away to the homeless on the streets! How God truly provided! What we learned was that when we finally humbled ourselves before the Lord, and had no more confidence in the flesh and our preparations, then God would reveal His grace to us and provide far more than we could imagine.

Hopefully that short story was able to give you a taste of the exciting things God has been doing this week. Please pray that I would be able to use these next 2 weeks of rest fruitfully and preparing my heart for the time in Asia. Thank you again for all your support,

In Christ alone,

Tim Hu

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