A Long But Rewarding Journey
By the time Dave and Elsie got married, they were certain about their call to bi-vocational missions.
During Dave’s post-doc years, he underwent additional training in a related field to broaden his career options. His mentor connected him to an opportunity to consult for an international organization on their China projects. Dave and Elsie began to pray for an overseas assignment with this organization. They were headed in the right direction, but there were many bureaucratic obstacles.
Altogether they waited six years before the right job landed them overseas. But it was worth the wait. Dave was hired for the very kind of role they had been praying for. It offered him great opportunities to work in the area of his professional expertise.
With God’s amazing favor, he was able to raise many grants from around the world to fund projects vital for China’s development.
In almost 20 years, Dave’s work fully utilized his professional experience and networks. He was blessed with a rewarding career that enabled him to make very significant contributions in his field.
“God’s Servant Sent To China”
In recognition for his service, Dave received two highly prestigious awards from the Chinese government at the end of his tenure.
At the private celebratory dinner, Chinese officials who had become personal friends over the years thanked him as “God’s servant sent to China”. Beyond his professional excellence and career achievements, people recognized his faith and humility as a follower and servant of Christ. They saw that it is God whom he served, and that his God cares for China.
“I Can See God’s Glory In You”
Dave encountered many challenges during his time in China. His toughest challenge was not with his work or the Chinese bureaucracy. It came from a difficult and unfair boss over a 3- year period.
One by one, other senior colleagues left despite the coveted prestige and career prospects affiliated with the organization. Like others, Dave struggled with frustration and anger, but he never uttered a mean word. He tried his best to do the job even when his hands were tied. He encouraged others to uphold staff morale. He continued to honor God at work. Prayer and his family’s support kept him going.
Over lunch one day, a Chinese colleague told him that he had been reading the Bible. “You know why?” he said. “Because in the middle of all the office politics, I see God’s glory in you.” (He probably picked up the vocabulary from Christian friends.)
Soon afterwards, Dave started a weekly morning Bible study over coffee near the office. Many colleagues from the office checked it out. A good number of them accepted the Lord.
Given his position and the organization that he worked for, Dave could not be too vocal about his faith at work. But his deeds spoke louder than words. He was salt and light for his team in a toxic work environment, and the success of the projects he led brought significant improvement to the lives of many in China.
“Send Us More People Like Them”
In partnership with another GLS worker who had a vibrant campus ministry, Dave had the privilege of teaching small group Bible study methods to a network of student leaders, some of whom in turn trained others.
Dave and Elsie were also active in the local church. When small group leaders were over- worked and burning out, they devised a coach- ing system to train, support and care for them.
When the GLS pastoral care staff met Dave and Elsie’s pastor, he said, “Many people from overseas come and go to teach and train. But we also need people like Dave and Elsie, who are here to stay as mentors to our brothers and sisters. It’s most encouraging to see Christians, who are accomplished professionals, setting an example and serving humbly in our midst.
Please send us more people like them!”