Brian grew up in the church and could tell you all the right answers. But when confronted with another’s faith that was bigger than his own, he was challenged to walk his talk.
In summer of 2009 our OMF International Serve Asia team was prayer walking downtown Suphanburi, Thailand with a young guy named Mean. As prayers and conversation began to die down I asked Mean, “How can I pray for you?” Mean paused for a couple moments and then said, “Yes, brotha… Pray that God would use me to help make Suphanburi the first Christian city in Thailand.” I nearly stopped cold in my tracks. Having grown up in the church, I had heard many stories of amazing men and women being used by God, but for whatever reason this particular moment was different. Mean’s faith. Mean’s vision. Mean’s conviction and zeal hit me like a ton a bricks.
I honestly did not know exactly how to pray for that. I’d heard dozens of people pray for big things in my life, but their prayers seemed kind of distant and nice-to-have… someday. Not Mean. The moment he began to speak I knew exactly what he wanted.
Later that evening, I came across a piece of scripture that hit me in a fresh new way.
“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” John 1:35-38
I felt the Lord asking, Brian, what do you want? What is it that you want most in life? Because before you can follow me, I need you to not just think but articulate in words what it is that you want. And then how did the disciples respond? “Rabbi, where are you staying?” We want to be with you. What we want most is to be in your presence. We want you. That’s what we want.
The disciples wanted Jesus. Mean wanted his entire city to know Jesus. But in that moment, I could list a multitude of things I wanted other than Jesus. I began to ask myself, in my heart of hearts, if Jesus is what I truly want most, what does that mean? What decisions do I need to make? What changes need to happen? What do I need to let go? What do I need to pursue?
A few years later, God led me to serve as a youth pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church where I got to take the lessons I learned from Mean and so many other faithful brothers and sisters and impart them to kids and families. God gave me the space and opportunity to challenge our youth and ask, “What do you really want?”.
I have just moved to CO to serve as OMF International’s Follow-Up Coordinator where I will get to walk with people who have had incredible experiences on the field – meeting, interacting, and serving alongside of folks just like Mean.
To partner with Brian prayerfully or financially, please visit www.omf.org/us/partner.
Photo by Brian Lee