Thoughts on “Sent” From a Church Planter in South Asia

My first book (WHAT?!!), Sent: How One Ordinary Family Traded the American Dream for God’s Greater Purpose comes out in February. No big deal. (!!!!!!) My publisher, WaterBrook Press, has generously produced advanced reading copies which I have been passing out to friends over the last couple of months to generate interest in the book. (I have that old commercial “You tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on” running thru my head as I type this)..

Everyone has been very kind and generous with their praise, but one person’s feedback has really meant a lot to me. I honestly never set out to be a published author, though it is a super cool title to be able to claim. I simply believed I had a story to tell that could possibly be used to encourage others. I thought most people would read it and think, well, if Hilary can do it, then I definitely can too, because, well, that’s just true. I assumed that the people who would most enjoy it would be living in America, challenged and encouraged to ‘put their Yes on the table’ and follow Jesus whereever He called them to go, regardless of what that looked like. So when a seasoned church planter, a very mature and awesome young woman currently planted in South Asia, serving with her husband and raising her young children far away from the comfort and convenience in America, sent me the following, well, she made my day…

I enjoyed your book so much.  It really helped me to process a lot of what we have experienced in our time overseas.  It was encouraging to see how the Lord has called us and grown us and changed us.  And it showed me areas I really need to grow—in loving others, in embracing people and all their differences and what I perceive as weaknesses.  Here are a few themes that resonated with me—

Entrusting our children to the Lord, even allowing them to go through suffering, not being able to “fix” everything or give them a perfectly easy life, knowing that God uses difficulty for good, even in the lives of our children—this is a big lesson I am sure I’ll continue to learn as long as I’m a mom.

It reminded me of my story, of all the ways God has proven himself faithful to me, of all the ways he has been patient with me and led me step by step—makes me want to be more intentional to record all of those “spiritual markers” in my life.

It reminded me of what an amazing gift our team is to me, and the special fellowship we share.  (Yes indeed, I have met and worked alongside this team and they are awesome!) We are truly “partners in the Gospel”—and it’s a very special partnership and fellowship.  I take that for granted sometimes. 

You mentioned that Southeast Asians thought that Americans were too busy and always rushing….I just wonder how many South Asians see that in me—I need to learn to slow down and put my agenda to the side.  I have grown in this since we have come overseas, but there is still much growth to be done.

I enjoyed the stories of the people closest to you in SE Asia, your house helper, your language helper—and it makes me think about what people will say about me and my family when we leave here.  How will we have served them well?  How will we show them that Christ’s love is different?  It makes me want to be faithful to those God has very clearly put in my life. It was a good reminder that our love is different—very different than the world’s— especially the community in which we live and work.  I sometimes take that for granted, or don’t realize the impact that real love can have on people who have never experienced it before. 

And of course seeing our calling and our life here as a GIFT that should not be taken for granted.”

Amen, sister. Keep up the great work. And tell all your friends to read Sent 🙂

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