Telling the Story That Matters

“Who is Jesus? I thought He was a corporation or a company.”

I had been interviewing a team of students serving in South Asia for the summer, and the students were telling me how, after sharing in a village, one man came up and asked them this question.

My Sunday School-going, Bible Belt-living self couldn’t wrap my mind around the thought that there were people who hadn’t heard of Jesus. But God had plucked me out of the United States that summer 3 years ago to show me the need of telling His story across the world.

Before I set foot on South Asian soil for my first experience overseas, I was a junior in college with a major I loved but unsure of what I’d do with it after graduation.

I loved telling stories. Sitting across from anyone with a pen in hand and open notebook full of questions brought me satisfaction. Journalism was my thing. It seemed as if it was the one thing in the world I was good at doing.

At the same time, I was wondering if the stories I was telling mattered. One night, I saw some copies of the student newspaper, with one of my stories in them, strewed across one of the lawns on campus and no one caring to pick them up. Another time, I saw someone using a yearbook, with my stories written on its pages, to stuff garbage into a compactor.

My love for journalism, my desire to tell a story that mattered, and my beliefs as a follower of Jesus were clashing. Enter my first trip to South Asia. It was a summer of culture shock, spicy food, and seeing God show up in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

I went to South Asia on a clear call from God to go but not knowing why He wanted me there. But God was faithful to let me in on the “why” while I was there. God revealed to me that the only story that truly matters is His. His is the story I must tell.

Three years later, only because of God’s faithfulness, I find myself in the same country I spent that first summer in, telling those who haven’t heard the story of a God Who is faithful to His people, even when we fail to be faithful to Him. It’s the only story truly worth telling.

Emily Todd* is a cross-cultural worker serving among the people of South Asia.

*Name changed.

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