It is an honor and privilege to have our spiritual daughter Trang share with you some of her stories of her journey into a relationship with Jesus and His Kingdom, and how she is experiencing the joy of inviting some of her friends to meet Jesus and discipling them in the Jesus Way of living. I hope these stories encourage you that inviting and apprenticing our friends into the Kingdom is not just for the ‘super Christians’, the ‘jedi mentors’, those that have been Jesus followers for umpteen years. or those who are the ‘elite or wild, crazy evangelist types’, but the wonderful privilege and call of every Jesus follower.
As you will hear in Trang’s story, the journey of obeying God through intentional relationships is the slow way to disciple, but we believe is the most lasting and fruitful way! It is attainable for all if we simply listen to what Jesus is saying and obey. The Trinity is passionate about relationship, and placed this longing to belong, and a heart cry for community in the hearts of people of every tribe, stripe, and type. It may take a little re-organizing of our lives and priorities to simply be present where we work, play, live, and study! If you and I so choose, we will trip into some awesome adventures in seeing our friends where we live, work, study, and play trip into the Kingdom! We will by accident, yet on purpose, end up planting simple Jesus communities all over.
I hope to visit Trang and her simple Jesus community, and posse of friends who are on a journey to know Jesus and His Kingdom in the next year. Any of you out there want to join me? Let me know. You would be more than welcome to go see and learn together how Jesus is forming His Mosaic around the world.
As a daughter and a sister in Christ, I’d love to share with you my journey with Jesus, Tim & Esther (my spiritual parents), and my movable church. There are two parts to my story. The first one is how my discipleship journey began, and how God has trained me for the last ten years to be ready for His kingdom. The second part is the how the harvest is happening in Sydney after ten hard years of training.
I will start with my background first. I wasn’t born and raised in a Christian home in Vietnam, but I believe that God has known me from the beginning. He “created my inmost being”, and He “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalms 139: 13). He has given me an earthly family along with a love for cooking food, culture, and business. My search for the meaning of life started when I was 18. but it was not until I turned 19 that I got to know Jesus personally by living with Tim, Esther and through the Faith Vineyard community in Calgary, Canada
For ten years, Tim and Esther have been faithfully and gracefully coaching me, and walking with me through the process of how to create and build healthy community. For the first four years of living with them, I watched, copied, and asked questions about Jesus, the Kingdom, and how to form a Jesus community with my friends. Then I practiced by inviting my international non-Christian friends at school to come to our house for dinner and talk about Jesus and His Kingdom on Friday nights; as well as hanging out and having fellowship with them in their community. Some of my friends entered the Kingdom during this time in Calgary.
Then I went back to Asia working in different business projects in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It was a desert time with no Christian community around me, but I learned to get closer and closer to God because He was the only Christian community that I had. Getting on the phone and praying with Tim and Esther was not the same as praying face to face with them, but I survived and got through the desert. I started simple communities around me with non-believer friends wherever I was in Asia. Through that time God gave me confirmations about my gift: the gift of connecting with people regardless of their culture, ethnicity, education, language and social status. He also blessed me with the skills and knowledge in business in different industries.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to do a Masters of Marketing in Sydney with the intention of connecting with the business network here to advance in my career, as well as partnering with Jesus in His Kingdom work. I did not know where my journey with God would lead me this year, but I knew that we would have a fun adventure together working and connecting with the people He placed in my life here in Australia.
Here is a picture of where I was in February of this year to set the stage for the rest of my story. I knew nobody in Sydney. It took me two weeks to see around 30 houses to find a place to live. I was the only international in the marketing post-graduate program. I had no friends except some connections that Tim gave me in the Cabramatta Vineyard who live on the other end of the city. I had no business contacts or connections, but I had God with me and that gave me so much confidence to start my adventure “… surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Now I want to paint a picture of what is happening in my life right presently. I have many friends who come from different backgrounds, countries, ethnic groups, age groups, social statuses, and languages in all the situations that God has plugged me into. I have gained a good reputation among the professors at school as well as in some of the business communities in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. There are at least three simple churches (of two or three) that I am involved in every week. Yet I know that I am not the most successful person or on top of the world, but I have to say that by responding to God and working closely with Him everyday, I do mean everyday, God has given me a part of His harvest here to work on.
Here are some of the stories of how God has given me opportunities and how I have responded to Him. There are four places that I am in at the moment: studying (the university), working (business community), having fun (what I do for pleasure), and living (where I physically live in 2 places): my house and my neighbourhood).
Let me start with where I live first. This is a story about Susan and her friends. Susan and I first met when she came to rent out my room in my old place. We had our first conversations about the challenges of living as a foreigner in this country, and also chatted about cooking and baking. I was looking for friends as well, so I thought we could encourage each other and be friends. We started our friendship around a baking and cooking lesson. Susan was amazed how easy it was to bake. As well we would sometimes go out for supper together. After the first few weeks of hanging out, she asked me if I could be her older sister here. I was thrilled. Then one day God told me to talk to Susan about Jesus. I was excited and a bit reluctant at the same time, but God had a plan. Susan had heard about God from Morman, and she had been confused for a year about God, her culture, her previous beliefs, but she could not deny that Jesus was real. This is what Susan said when I asked her if we could start our discussion about God every Friday night: “Trang, I knew that God would take care of me. Whenever I have questions He would send someone to me and you are that person now. Thank you.” I cried that night. I cried because God had done everything, and all I had to do was to obey by becoming a friend with Susan, listening to her story, and asking her questions. Our friendship has been growing since that point. Susan has taught me about her culture, her country’s history, Chinese ancient poems, and shared her passion to reach out to and care for other Chinese girls. Susan is still searching, but I believe she is already in the Kingdom and starting to work in the harvest without realizing it yet.
Before I send this story out to you, there is another amazing story about Susan that I cannot wait to share. On her own initiative she has invited other girls that she knows to come cook and find out about Jesus. Yesterday I met Charlie for the first time. Can you imagine how many people Susan could reach out too? That’s all happened by just a simple act of being Susan’s friend.
I have more stories of what God is doing in Sydney to share with you in the next blog.
Trang – part of our Mosaic family in Sydney, Australia