And Still You Know Me…

“Nothing is hidden from your sight
Wherever I go, you find me
You know every detail of my life
You are God, and you don’t miss a thing

– From Bethel Music’s “You Know Me

You know the bone-chilling moment you get when you realize how relevant the lyrics of a song are to your life (which, BTDubs – link included above)? Chills on par with the chills I got from watching Star Wars: Rogue One in theaters a while back??? (Albeit, an unusual comparison…)

To be frank with you, I don’t think I’ve felt this kind of sensation since my angsty teenage years in middle school (Throwback to Linkin Park’s Numb, anyone? Ha. Ha. Ha…… #cringe). To clarify, I’m not talking about the teenage angst (Does quarter-life angst even exist?), but rather the sensation of having a song speak so deeply into my heart (even #more #cringe when you realize how much I over-dramatized my middle school life… To be fair though… It was kind of a big deal to me back then… Who can blame said angsty teenage Jonathan?)

¿Por qué, Juan? ¿Que Paso!? 

(Roughly translated to NANI!?!?!? Which… well…. I think you get the point by now. Friendly reminder that I am the farthest thing from being a linguistics professional).

Well to start, our beloved 1.5 year OTR intern, Alice (see below), just finished her internship last Saturday and returned safely to California. Praise the Lord for her faithfulness to the ministry and for her safe return home!

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Thank you for everything, Alice! (: Good luck with everything in California!!!

But as she began her departure, I couldn’t help but start to feel unusually burdened…

“Welp, it looks like you have some pretty big shoes to fill, Jon…”

… A friendly reminder that I am perhaps, my own worst enemy. What on Earth are you talking about, Jon!? Nobody else is putting this expectation on me but myself. As an extension of my struggles aforementioned in my previous post, I am still having a terrible time subconsciously comparing myself to others. It makes sense, considering that this has actually been an insecurity that stems back to the good ol’ angsty teenage years (are you starting to notice a trend here?). But it has honestly been insane how much the devil has been striving to bring these insecurities back to the surface and drive so many other lies into my heart during my time here…

This is, undoubtedly, spiritual warfare.

It’s no lie that Alice has done an outstanding job in her time here as an intern… But isn’t it rather unfair for me to compare myself as a starting intern to someone who has spent a considerable amount of time here? Duh, Jon… It’s a no-brainer! 

Sin is very hard to defeat. It’s no wonder we needed God himself to intervene on our behalf to defeat sin… The victory has already been won by Jesus Christ, and the devil already knows this… But I’ve come to understand that the devil will do whatever it takes to cloud my judgment and steer me away from God…

And sometimes, I admit that it is very tempting to believe that God simply picked me up from San Diego with his almighty fingers and dropped me off in the 12-foot pool that is Cincinnati, Ohio. See you later, Jon! Sink or Swim, suckaaa!!!

People have reminded me however, that God had a very specific reason for bringing me here. It’s not in his nature to abandon His people. It may seem that way at times… but who’s to say that God always has to work visibly in the extraordinary moments? He is working in the ordinary moments too – orchestrating circumstances and opportunities for our own good and for His glory…

I’m not here to walk in Alice’s shoes… or anybody else’s shoes for that matter. I am here to walk in Jon’s shoes. I am here to be faithful to the portion of the “wall” that God has assigned me to build (as inspired by Nehemiah 3). No matter how big or small my role is here, we’re all working toward the same goal, for the same God.

In light of these particular struggles, Psalm 139 came to mind (in conjunction with the song above)

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

God didn’t just drop me off in Cincinnati to spite and humiliate me. There isn’t a single aspect of my life – past, present, or future – that is out of God’s sight. He knows my struggles… but doesn’t want to just leave me in darkness.

The darkness is being exposed to His light, and it’s an incredibly painful process…

But out of the furnace of the Refiner’s Fire, He is certainly making me anew.

Yeah, it’s incredibly difficult to be here. But you know what?

There’s no other place I’d rather be.


Other Updates:

 

Chinese Scholar’s Dinner

Once a month, OTR LWC hosts a dinner feast for visiting Chinese scholars at the University of Cincinnati. It was an awesome time getting to meet so many scholars from different regions of China! We had a fun time with food, icebreakers, hymns, and with Sister Grace sharing the gospel to close out the night. It was encouraging to see so many of the scholars being so receptive to the message. Whether or not they were convicted on that particular night, we are sure that God has started to stir up something in their hearts; that even in the midst of great academic endeavors, surely there must be something of greater value that extends beyond our careers and academia…

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I gained 5 pounds in just 1 month of being here. This is why… *__*”

 

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Chinese Scholar Dinner @ Vinehouse!

 

*Yeah… That’s it LOL. Will probably have more updates for UC, Kids Club, and Sunday School by the end of the month! Stay tuned~~*



Prayer Requests:

1. Brother Stone & Sister Sunhee Chung

The Chung family lived as my downstairs neighbor in the house that I’m currently staying in. As long-time natives of OTR longgg before I came here, the Chungs are beloved members of our OTR LWC network. They were here for about a month in order to renew their green card/visa to return to China for their missionary work. They were such a JOY (no pun intended… cause, well… one of twins is named Joy… Heh). They recently left on February 10th… I’m gonna miss being greeted by the twins’ every morning after devotions …. ): … But nonetheless, we’re thrilled that they will be resuming their missionary work in China. Please pray for their safe travels and that God may bring about many blessings in their ministry!

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The Chung Family! I… can’t tell which twin is which in this picture *__*”


2. Alice Na:

As mentioned above, Alice is now making her transition back home in California. As of now, she is currently searching for a nursing job (particularly in an inner city hospital). Please pray that God will provide her with a job soon, and that the rest of her transition may go smoothly! (:

3. Drama Ministry

OTR Living Water Church is starting up a “Drama Ministry” for the teenage boys & girls to participate in writing, acting, singing, and/or dancing for special skit performances throughout the year! The ministry will be led by Trixie and I (awkward *frozen* snapshot of our latest performance below yaaaay). The ministry is still in the beginning stages of planning logistics and signing people up, so please pray that God may provide us with discernment for proceeding forward with the ministry! We’re excited to see how God will use this ministry to build up disciples in the OTR community!

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“JONATHAN ISAAC MENDEZ – Y U NO CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM!? ):<” – Mama Trixie

4. UC Edgehouse Lunch

Last particular prayer request here – I am currently preparing a brief gospel presentation for our monthly Edgehouse Lunch at UC next Tuesday, 2/21. This is the first time that I’m doing something of this nature… so please pray that I may be able to receive God’s wisdom and guidance as I prepare a presentation on the topic of evil/suffering in the world!

 


 

Thanks again for tuning in, y’all! Until next time,

 

Juan (:

 

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One Response to And Still You Know Me…

  1. Ileana says:

    Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord . I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. As for you, O Lord , you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
    Psalms 40:7‭-‬11 ESV

    God is definitely molding and making you new. He is the potter and we are the clay. Total depence on our God requires rediscoveries of ourselves especially in those areas of weakness or our struggles with who we were, are and who we need to be in Christ. You are most definitely on the right path and God will get the glory! Love music by Bethel btw! Miss you and praying for you Juan♡

    Like

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