‘I came to faith in Jesus at the kitchen sink’
Christine’s story | In the ordinariness of drinking tea and washing dishes
“I came to faith in Jesus at the kitchen sink. My parents were OMF missionaries in Taiwan and I lived in Asia till I was 17. When I was five, I went to boarding school in Malaysia and I did all of primary school there. Then I went to high school in the Philippines.
After every four months in Malaysia, I would come home to my parents in Taiwan. I would be angelically good for the first two weeks because I wanted to please them. Then my behaviour would slowly deteriorate. One night back in Taiwan (during the deteriorating phase), I was doing the dishes with Mum.
She said, ‘Does your heart sometimes feel a bit like this dirty plate?’
I nodded miserably and said yes. Then she put the plate in the water and she washed it clean. She pulled it out of the water and she said, ‘You know, Jesus can make your heart clean.’
I literally became a Christian right there, at the kitchen sink. I was seven years old. I was young, but it was the moment God used. For me, it was the concept of forgiveness. Prior to that, I had begun to wonder at school, perhaps due to an excellent teacher who loved us and taught the Bible well. A few years later, at age 11, I fully acknowledged Jesus as Lord.
But my testimony always felt ordinary. As a teenager, I’d hear glamorous testimonies of other people coming to faith … and I’d feel mine wasn’t very dramatic. It was so ordinary, I was almost embarrassed.
But also, from a very young age, I wanted to be a missionary. I was surrounded by missionaries – staff at the school, parents, kids. Perhaps I didn’t know there was anything else you could be. So I pushed myself to do things that were hard – praying out loud or doing a Bible reading. I knew it would help me prepare. And I’ve seen that as you strengthen your obedience muscle, God enables. He helps you to serve him.
I never imagined, though, as a teenager, where God would lead me. I ended up serving with OMF in southern Taiwan for 22 years. I was a church planter, but it was also very ordinary, not glamorous at all. I lived in a small town, in the south, no one had ever heard of. It wasn’t an important place. I spent a lot of time simply going out to the market, talking to people … the vegetable sellers and the small business owners. For all those years, I drank tea with people, chatted with them. I sought to care for them in their daily struggles. And all the time, I told them Bible stories. It was very ordinary. In 22 years, we saw very little fruit. Maybe two people came to faith in Jesus each year. But I have to trust in God’s timing. He’s the one who opens their hearts. And he allows you to be there at the right time, sharing about Jesus.
It took me a long time, but I’m grateful now for my ordinary testimony. I’ve realised that it’s been a long, steady process of getting to know Jesus better. And I’ve learned, more and more, that it’s not about me, it’s about who God is. I’m back in Australia now, which is a challenge after 22 years in Taiwan. It was such a big part of my identity. But it’s the same here in Australia. I have to trust that God has me here. God is still at work here, and the people still need to hear about Jesus. So, I’m getting involved in all the ordinary things again. I’ve recently joined a bird-watching club and I’m meeting people on the streets of Sydney, and I’m looking for opportunities to tell the greatest story of them all.
One of my life verses is from 1 Corinthians 1:27-29: ‘But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.’”
Christine’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.