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Sunny Seng

Bolivia

Toni and Placido Mercado

I am a child, grandchild and great grandchild of missionaries. This gives me no genetic kudos. It does mean that, in the same way that my Irish ancestry receives blame for my good and bad points, hearing what grandpa and great grandpa did and my experiencing intercultural missions before I knew that I was me heavily influences my perspective of missions.

I LOVE missions. I love the purposing of one’s life to make Christ known. It’s like arriving in a concentration camp to set people free, or at least showing them the key. I think that’s one of the things that thrills me about Col 2:13-15. Christ made a laughing stock of the devil (that alone makes my soul cheer a pentecostal Hallelujah) and called us to freedom from rules and regulations into a relationship.

I officially invited Jesus into my life as an eight year old. Most likely I had invited Him before, but always felt doubtful of His arrival (because I felt no different). I re-invited Him frequently "just in case". In the month of March, 1983, I realized that I was doubting God Himself. In my sparse theological knowledge, I KNEW that God keeps His promises and that He wants and promises to receive into His family ANYONE who asks to be part of it. That didn´t depend on my emotions. SO, I made my last "joining God´s family" prayer. From then on, whenever I felt doubtful, I remembered that moment, though I soon forgot the specific date. I came to feel a peace about my position in terms of Christ. At that point, my purpose in being part of God´s family was to make sure I ended up in heaven. True spiritual growth began in high school, when God answered specific personal prayers of mine in specific, personal ways. I internalized that God saw me, knew me and loved me, not just others or humanity as a whole (although I never was able to shake the idea of Grandma´s personal hotline to God). Since then, I´ve really come to appreciate the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I love it when I´m doing well enough in my relationship with God that I can tell when He´s directing me in a certain way. I believe that the Holy Spirit has directed me into intercultural missions and that´s where I plan to stay.

The part of missions that quickens my heart (makes me get all emotional) is when I have a chance – a clearcut chance – to reflect Christ; when I have the privilege of being in a situation where I can put who God is into practice. Of course, you can do this anywhere, and I love doing this where I am now, in South America, which is one of my home continents. It’s what I hope to do for the rest of my life, wherever I am: to know Christ and make Him known.

How does this apply to where I am right now? First of all, I’m not very good at reflecting Christ. I mess up a lot, so I think God has taken me places where I practice: a gas station in Montana, Bible college in Canada, university in Bolivia, participating for the last 6 years with an ENT medical group in Pulcallpa, Peru, being a part of an eclectic group in Bolivia and in Bahia, Brazil and taking care of my mom while she was undergoing treatment for cancer. I barely passed that one, if at all. I’ll be practicing at reflecting Christ until I die. Right now, this path brings me to Bolivia. I am on the verge of possessing two medical licenses which will permit me to work in both Brazil and Bolivia. My idea would be to work on the border, in the rural areas, maybe along the rivers, using medicine as a door for making Christ known. There’s a possibility this could be done in a tent making fashion, but I need to find out how much freedom this would allow me and how much not being supported by voluntary givers is a question of pride. Meanwhile, I’m helping out with medical missions in Santa Cruz. I participate with Toni (my sister) and Placido Mercado and their team in whatever way they seem to need help. This includes going along with them on rural outreach and the daily coordinating and seeing of patients in Santa Cruz.

I believe that everyone who is a Jesus follower reflects Christ to those around them. We are obliged to draw people along with us as we follow The Way. This is what I hope to do, wherever I am, to the best of my ability, so help me God.

Toni and Placido Mercado
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