The beginning of February marks the start of our very first Missions Month – a month dedicated to the mission that God has for each of us to actively participate in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. Some may do that abroad, while others may do that in their hometown. Wherever they are, they are responding to God’s call and working for His glory.
Throughout the entire month, we’ll bring you stories of Gracers “going beyond their world” to make an impact for the Kingdom. We’ll start with a testimony from our very own Beyond Pastor, Tae Pae:
I immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 with my parents and family just after turning 11 years old. I struggled adjusting to the new culture; out of desperation to belong, I found myself with the wrong crowd. Before I became 13 years old, I was already smoking marijuana on my way to school. After school, my friends and I would help carry bags at Giant, then have older guys buy us beer so we could get drunk and high in the woods.
Although I was highly involved in high school sports, I kept doing drugs. Smoking marijuana and taking acid on the weekends became a normal way of life. Soon, I started selling marijuana for drug dealers in my neighborhood. During my senior year in high school, I was expelled for smoking marijuana on school grounds. I can still picture my principal chasing me down the halls.
I began working at odd jobs in Baltimore City but continued to sell marijuana for the money. I also worked at various construction sites and was able to meet a man who would trust me with a large amount of cocaine to sell. I would sell cocaine, and we would share the profits. A few years later, I graduated from selling to making my own crack cocaine and became addicted. I should have died from doing drugs and the violence I was engaged in daily, but I kept living.
One day, in my late twenties, I found myself binging on cocaine for five days straight. As I was walking past a mirror, I saw a dead person. It was me. Right then and there, I realized I was facing death and thought there must be something more to life than what I had experienced so far. At the center of an open field, I looked towards heaven and cried out, “God, if you are there, then come and help me!”
The next day, I woke up on the field and decided to call home to see if my parents would allow me to return home. My mother, with tears in her voice, told me that she always had a bed ready for me. At the age of 27, I went back home. I had wasted 14 years of my life to drugs.
My mom encouraged me to attend church services, so to please her I began to attend their church on Sundays. One Sunday, the preacher said, “If you don’t have any determination to quit smoking or drinking, how could you ever glorify God.” His words pierced my heart, and the very next day I was convicted to stop smoking, drinking, and drugging. Miraculously, I had no cravings for drugs. That same night, in my bedroom, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me.
I immediately transformed into a new creature and stopped cursing and started to crave the Word of God. Henceforth, I starting attending a Bible college, taking only one course at a time to be a better Sunday school teacher for the youth students. I became addicted to the Word of God and became a full-time Bible college student.
During my college years, I started to go on short-term mission trips. In 1992, I went to Urbana with three other friends from the church. I was blown away to know that God was a missional God and He was calling people to go and live among the nations. That year, with my three friends, we made a commitment to become missionaries.
I was on fire for missions and continued to travel the world. Out of those three friends, one became a mission field worker in a Muslim nation and has served 18 years in that country, and one other became a mission field worker to a Buddhist country and has served for over 15 years and is still living on the field. The third friend began a business as missions by recruiting entrepreneurs. My friends all agreed that I would be best in mobilizing and sending out workers to the nations.
During my college years, I read a book titled, “The Lord of the Earth,” which told a story of mission field worker Andy Stanley Dale. He was on mission in Papua New Guinea and died with more than 50 poisonous arrows in his body. After his death, his son grew up and returned to serve in the village where his father was killed by forgiving the people. Because of his return, many villagers who were once cannibals got saved. After reading that book, I was on my knees for hours crying out to God wanting to die such a death spreading the gospel.
When I met my wife, she asked me, “What do you want to do with your life?” I told her that I wanted to go overseas and die with 50 arrows in my body. She thought I was a nut and had no plans of ever seeing me again. However, as she once described me to a previous congregation, I was like a piece of gum stuck to the sole of her shoe. I was tenacious in my pursuit and would not take “no” for an answer. After a year, she received the Lord’s gift of salvation, and I won her heart, finally, and we got married.
Since, I have served as a missions pastor and trained and challenged many people to serve the Lord among the nations. My life motto is “I exist to risk my life for the glory of God and for the joy of all people.” I live to fulfill that statement with all my heart, soul, and mind. I am fully satisfied in knowing Christ, my Lord and Savior, and will continue to challenge people to advance the Kingdom of God with fervor and passion.
I am thankful to my Lord for allowing me to serve at the awesome Grace Community Church. I will press on to proclaim Jesus to be known among all nations with boldness and fearlessness!