Paul: "I came to know Jesus in 1982. I was a sophomore in high school. I was an atheist at the time, but I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to upset my parents. I started going to youth group at our local church, and I saw people worshipping in a way that it was clear they really believed in God. I couldn’t explain it, because I thought the idea of God was ridiculous, but it caused me to pay closer attention. In a youth group Bible study we began to study Romans, and as I read it, I found it very compelling and exciting.
Jesus explained the world in a different way and different reality that I was really attracted to. And it was a better explanation than anything I had ever heard before. As I started to follow Him and study Him more, I realized that I was valued in a way that I had never understood. That made me want to follow Him more and do the things that He was doing.
My life is so entirely different than it would have been had I not met Jesus. My career, where I chose to live, and the way that I see myself has changed. I used to measure myself on a grid of how I did socially - how smart I was in school, how much I could succeed in - and this was how I measured my value and self-worth. God has freed me from those measurements. I look at myself in a different way."
Rebecca: "My Korean name means "purity; one who will become great." I grew up hearing from my parents that one day, I will be great. When Jesus won my heart over, my pursuit for greatness changed. Instead of pursuing the things that the world glorifies -- fame, self actualization, an amazing career, wealth, and success -- I've learned that the Kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom. Jesus said, “If you want to be great, you must be a servant and least of all.” I love that Jesus doesn't reprimand us for wanting to be great, but He showed us a path to greatness that is different from the world. Greatness in the Kingdom of God is through servanthood, loving other people, and becoming the least. He has been purifying what greatness means.
I want our kids to be great. All parents want that for their kids. But the path to greatness is through serving, and through caring for those who are the least.
For us, foster care is about that upside-down Kingdom of God. I asked myself, "Who are the 'least' in our community?" and "How can our kids experience the greatness of the Kingdom of God through serving?” Foster care is a great way. Our kids began to understand that there are children who have been neglected by their parents, abandoned, or abused, and who don’t have a home. We used to take our kids to homeless transition homes and intentionally go to parks to give out food to the homeless. But, I found myself feeling uneasy each time we would drive back to our comfortable home. I didn't want our kids to think that serving the least was us serving when it was convenient for us, but that it was about loving, inviting, welcoming, and inconveniencing ourselves a bit to love. I wanted us to "share our bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into our house." (Isaish 58:7)