By Sheree Shih
I grew up in Taiwan, thousands of miles from where I am now . . . both geographically and spiritually. After finishing college in Taiwan, I was accepted as a graduate student at the same school. As I was checking out the school Web site, I noticed an exchange student program with Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, U.S.A. I convinced my parents to let me take advantage of this golden opportunity by telling them it would be the most economical way of studying overseas.
ACQUAINTED WITH CHRISTIANS
The application process went well, and I came to the United States in August 2004. Since I was planning on staying only a year, I didn’t think it was worth buying a car. Still, I needed some sort of transportation and I heard about Don Smith, a campus minister with Campus Christians who maintains and loans out bicycles to international students.
I met with Don and got a pretty decent bike from him. His heart is so big toward people, especially international students. Soon, I was invited to join a variety of activities arranged by Campus Christians/Culture Crossing. I heard about the gospel at some of these events. The fun activities overwhelmed me, and I got acquainted with more Christians.
My home university insisted I return to Taiwan to finish my degree. I returned home but convinced my loving, understanding parents to allow me to drop out of the graduate school in Taiwan and return to Pittsburg State for graduate study.
OVERWHELMED BY GOD’S LOVE
God’s work continued as I moved into working life. My friends and colleagues talked about the Bible and attended church once in a while. I started to ponder some Scriptures and why Jesus had to die on the cross. As time went by, I had more questions that several different people answered.
I was still very concerned, however, about how my parents would respond to my interest in Christianity. I assured them this interest was not out of a desire to fit in with American culture, but was a result of spiritual hunger. I told them I would love them no matter what. My father said I should be afraid of the gods/goddesses I worshiped earlier in my life. He said they would punish me if I “betrayed” them.
I wasn’t sure what it meant to give my life to Jesus and to make him Lord and Savior of my life. But God kept leading me to him. I became friends with a Chinese lady, Haiqian, whom I met at the YMCA. I accepted her gracious invitation to attend church with her. After a couple of visits there, I felt I finally understood what it meant to become a Christian. I was baptized on Easter Sunday.
A few weeks before my baptism, God rescued me in a four-car collision. My car was totaled, but I was left with only a minor scratch on my left arm. God showed me he would take care of me.
Since my surrender to Jesus, I have been overwhelmed by God’s love even more. Today I live in Joplin, Missouri, where I am part of a newly formed Chinese Christian Fellowship. I am enjoying opportunities to attend fun and spiritual retreats. I have accepted the challenge of translating Christian material and Bible studies into Chinese.
Looking back, I realize God used all sorts of people and events to plant seeds in my life. Now he places me in situations where I can be useful. I have become even more joyful each day, seeing everything he has created and is continuing to do. I am free of fear because I know he is in control, humble because he gives me the talent and ability.
I am absolutely confident he will lead me one step at a time.
Sheree Shih lives and works in Joplin, Missouri, and attends College Heights Christian Church.