Our theme for this year is Asian American Mission. But what does this actually mean? In the first place, it implies that there is, in fact, a mission to be accomplished. If you are anything like me, I’m sure you’ve heard again and again that God wants to accomplish something in our world and that we get to participate in it. This is just true from Scripture. But here’s the problem: the world that we live in, here in the United States, is often a world that minimizes the Asian American experience. And this isn’t because our country is colorblind - race and culture are self-evidently baked into this country’s consciousness, politics, and cultural experiences. No, the issue is that the Asian American experience somehow does not count enough. So if our world minimizes the Asian American experience, does that mean our mission to this world has to minimize ourselves too?
Admittedly, this is often our temptation. To use that old buzzword, we assimilate to someone else’s mission: we join the mission of other peoples and cultures; we borrow the tools of mission that the dominant cultures uses; we hide our own gifts and experiences in mission. These tendencies aren’t necessarily bad; they just aren’t good enough. It reminds me of the story of David and Goliath. David was offered the armor of King Saul and tried to use it. The armor wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good enough. David was not only unable to move effectively; he was unable to use what he really needed to defeat Goliath.
So it is with us, friends. We not only need to know what the mission is (and we’ve all heard that a thousand times), but we need to know what our armor is. We need that qualifier “Asian American” in front of the word mission for that is who we are. To ignore this not only makes us weaker as the people of God; it ignores the specific things that God might be wanting to do through us - and only us. You see, it is only when each of us play our role in the way that God created us that we embody the “manifold wisdom” of God, which is to be displayed to the world. This is what brings glory to God. In the end, any mission accomplishes something for God; but Asian American mission brings glory to God.
So come join us in this exploration. We - Asian Americans - are a diverse people with a diversity of gifts to bring to the Lord, to each other, and to our campuses. So we need you to make this “manifold wisdom”, this Asian American mission, a reality in this world. To God be the glory. See you all soon!