Rewriting Life Stories for 30 Years
Rewriting someone else’s life story? What an audacious thought! What mere mortal could hope to do such a thing? Yet, we’ve experienced it in our own lives. We were 23 years old, living in Pennsylvania with our newborn baby, when the phone rang. It was my mentor from grad school.
“I’ve got a one year opportunity for you and Sherry, a missions exposure assignment.” Up to that moment we had never entertained the thought of serving in missions work full-time. That was over thirty years ago. Most of our lives have been spent in Asia, all because one man inserted himself in our story and intentionally initiated a change.
Some life stories are quite happy. Others seem outright tragic from the start. The reason Sherry and I never went home after our first year abroad was that we walked through sewage in squatters’ areas and met children who seemed born for a life of disease and exploitation. We met hundreds of young people who longed for an adult to take an interest in them. They asked if they could call us “Mom and Dad.” Our hearts were captured. We said “Yes!” and our life’s calling became clear.
We learned that we really could, in fact, change the story of another life, especially if we engaged them while they were young when the ink on the pages of their story wasn’t yet dry. What’s more, we came to the conviction that God’s people are actually called, anointed, authorized and empowered to bring life change. Jesus is changing lives all over the world. He calls us to take up “the pen” in his name and write new, hope-filled life stories for those whose present lives are defined by poverty, hopelessness and defeat.
The heart of the Gospel is the promise of change! When we bring this powerful message and people receive it, supernatural power begins to flow. Alcohol, violence, abuse, neglect, illiteracy, mental slavery—all of it yields to the presence of Jesus and a new storyline is written. This is what Emerge is all about, rewriting the stories of Asian children, youth and their families by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We Need You
The work of rewriting life stories has grown beyond all our early dreams. It now spreads from Manila to Myanmar to Northern Thailand and beyond.
The foundation of this work rests upon Asian ministry associates and our amazing family of western world supporters who volunteer their money, skills and time to expand the scope of what we can do in Asia.
We are doing all we can with the people and resources we have. Perhaps God sent you to this site so you can join in the work and help us enter new campuses, slums and villages.
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Here are two examples of how your actions can rewrite a life’s story:
Joann Luciano summoned up her courage one day and walked directly into one of the roughest barrios in Metro Manila. She met three boys and told them to call their friends. She had some stories to tell them. They returned as a group of 17 kids and heard the gospel for the first time. Joann promised to return a few days later and tell them more. It’s been 12 years and Joann keeps showing up, but now she has developed 100 of the older kids into leaders. Together, they reach 10,000 children each weekend. Thousands of life stories have been rewritten because Joann inserted herself into three young lives.
Ministry Associate, Jan and Ellen Smit saw a photo of children being raised inside adult prisons in Asia and decided to insert themselves into the story. They came to Asia, visited the prison and got approval to establish a girl’s home to remove girls from spending their childhood in prison, malnourished, without education and open to abuse by other inmates. One hundred life stories have been rewritten so far at the Baan Zion Children’s Prison rescue home because Jan and Ellen inserted themselves in the story and because faithful donors stand behind them monthly to provide food, shelter and clothing to these rescued girls.