Have you ever been so excited to just LIVE for God? Through her life story, Christine shares how God has given her purpose and motivation to live passionately while serving and loving those not only in her Bay Area community, but all over the world.
My name is Christine and my name means “follower of Christ”. It’s actually very ironic since I was born into a family whose history does not identify with that name whatsoever. My ancestors owned opium fields in China, were forced into arranged marriages, suffered through communist oppression, survived extreme poverty, practiced abortion, and worshiped spirits, ancestors, and idols.
I was the first one to put my faith in Jesus Christ in my immediate family. At some point when I was three or four, my aunt, who was the only Christian among my relatives at that time, told me about Jesus’ love, sacrifice and miraculous resurrection for humanity’s redemption. I had childlike faith and believed. I remember Jesus visiting me in a dream around that time. He was on this very bright, shiny, and golden ship (or something like that) and I was kneeling in front of him. I remember he asked me “What do you want?” In my dream, I asked for my family’s salvation and I woke up in tears.
During my early childhood, I remember watching a television show where I saw people dying. Immediately, the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly (I didn’t even know who the Holy Spirit was), but I was filled with conviction and power to tell my family about Jesus. At night, when I was brushing my teeth, I told my mom and grandma about how Jesus came to save us and how they must promise me that they will put their faith in him one day. My mom said jokingly “I’ll believe when I turn 40” and my grandma simply ignored me. Little did we know how this moment would be foretelling of their future – my mom became a follower of Christ at the age of 40 and my grandma put her faith in Jesus just this past year.
There were many remarkable things that God did in my life from my childhood to high school. From bringing me long-lasting friends and teaching me the wisdom of walking in righteousness to saving my grandpa and mom’s life when they were faced with perilous health issues, God was intently pouring out his blessing upon my life even though I wasn’t that aware of it.
When I went to college, I wasn’t interested in going to church. To be honest, I was much more fascinated by the idea of exploring without limits all that a university had to offer. One of my best friends from high school that also went to UCLA invited me to church so I went without expectation of returning. Nonetheless, I became so fascinated by how different other faith communities were that I ended up visiting around 10 churches. I also made a ton of friends, a majority of which didn’t share my faith and lived completely different lifestyles, because they were so fun and interesting. During those first few months in college, God not only spoke to me through people, events, and literature, but also to my spirit. He repeatedly gave me one message: Love others as yourself.
For the first two years of college, by the grace of God, I prayed for my friends and family at a minimum of an hour a day and for some days, several hours at once. I wept regularly because I just wanted so badly for them to meet God who is incredible without measure. I was beginning to understand the heart of God.
God opened up so many doors for me to share my faith with friends and strangers. I remember meeting an international traveler on the bus and we became friends during her stay in the area that week. One day, we just started a conversation about faith where I shared about my life with Jesus and she told me about her agnosticism. Years down the road, she emailed me to let me know that since that time we had spoken, she continued to explore who Jesus was and joined a Christian community. I had another friend who was opposed to Christianity and considered it a goody-two-shoe religion. I’m fine with that because 95% of my friends weren’t Christians anyways and I’m not looking to force my faith down people’s throat, especially since I value free will. One day when I was taking a nap, this same friend knocked on my door to wake me up just because she wanted me to pray for her mom. Soon after, she decided to join a Bible study on her own accord. Likewise, this happened with many of my friends. The Holy Spirit was moving and inviting me to shape the future with him.
During my second year in college, God showed me several things that would come to pass in the future. However, I didn’t actually know he was doing that until they actually happened. I just had an intense desire to pray for things that didn’t make any sense. For instance, I had a passionate longing for there to be a Mosaic church in the Bay Area because I loved the one in Los Angeles so I kept praying for God to plant a church just like Mosaic in Northern California. Also, my pastor had told us to make a list of things that we wanted to see happen in the next year, next five years, and next ten years of our lives and he encouraged us to pray for them consistently. One of the items on my list was for God to take me around the world so that I could volunteer for a minimum of six months to work with those in poverty or those that were suffering.
Near the end of my second year in college, I ended up falling for and possibly even loving one of my male friends who did not share the same faith as me. Although we were hanging out a lot, I felt too convicted in my heart that being in a dating relationship with him would not be God’s intention for my life. I felt no peace if I was going to keep going out with him. We parted ways and didn’t speak to each other for a long time because it was too difficult to remain friends. After that, I fell into a deep gloom and began to foster hatred towards God because I believed the lie that he was withholding something good from me. I was proud enough to believe that God was entitled to me for how I had served him faithfully. My spiritual and emotional life went on a downward spiral with first depression, anger, and hatred. I cursed God. Then, a lustful thought life, masturbation, and a controlling spirit consumed me and finally, worry, fear and paranoia plagued me. I wanted to have revenge on God. Outwardly, I was still volunteering actively in my church, but inwardly, I was broken, confused, deceived, and rebellious. I became stuck in sinfulness. I also began to have uncontrollable evil dreams as well as terrible nightmares. Those dreams were definitely not something I wanted or even tried to have, but at that time, I had given the devil a foothold in my life. I wanted out, but of course, this could never be done by my own power. Moreover, feeling the weight and pressure of guilt and condemnation, I could not confess my sinfulness to others and neither could I ask for help.
It took at least an entire year for me to realize how stupid I had been to turn away from God. I was still in bondage for several years after until God broke off those demons from my life one at a time. Each time was through a truth encounter and nearly every time, it happened instantaneously. There was no way to explain my permanent and absolutely complete freedom other than the love and power of God intervening in my life because I ran into failure after failure in my own attempts to change.
After graduating from college, I moved to the Bay Area to work in San Francisco. I soon discovered that a Mosaic church had been planted in Berkeley for a year now under the leadership of Mosaic Los Angeles. Moreover, my college pastor from my first year of college was leading that community! God increased my faith and showed me that my prayers from college had not been in vain.
After working at my job in student affairs for a year and a half, I developed a deep craving in my spirit to do more. I began to pray once again for God to use me to change the world. I was actively seeking opportunities to volunteer, but I didn’t feel any peace about them when I was presented with wonderful opportunities so I declined them. One evening, as I was greeting new visitors to Mosaic Berkeley, I spoke with a guest named Lynette Lee for five minutes. During that brief conversation, she shared with me about a program called the World Race. In my spirit, I just knew that this was exactly what God wanted me to do. That evening, I applied without any thought to potential physical dangers and never wondered how I was going to raise so much money to go (these things dawned on me later).
I left for the World Race in January of 2010 to serve in 11 countries in 11 months among the poor and to share the hope of Jesus. Although God opened my eyes to his incredible power to instantly heal the sick, to free people from demonic possession, and to set up divine appointments, I am most thankful to him for teaching me the value of community. Because I was living with, receiving feedback from, and investing in the same six people 24/7, I learned to trust without fear of judgment and love without jealousy or agenda.
I would have never believed that it was possible, but the work that God is doing now, in and through my life, has surpassed all that he has done before. In this year alone, he had led my grandma to salvation, disclosed to me and enabled me to pursue my destiny, continues to teach me to live in a state of worry-free surrender, and is simply doing more for me, to me, and through me than I deserve. I believe with great expectation that he will continue to exceed all that I could dream or imagine, not only transforming my life and others, but unveiling his remarkable power and mystery as the future unfolds. I’m so excited about living!
Christine can be found at the Ark Ministries which meets Saturday evenings at 2138 Cedar Street at 6:30 pm at Christ Church Berkeley. The Ark culture is simple and just like Christine’s passion for living: they want to meet God. Every meeting, their goal is to welcome His amazing presence and encounter the living God. Please join them for worship some time, they would love to host you!