Ever met someone who was just different?
It was a flurry of introductions when the 50 of us college students landed in Tel Aviv, grabbed our bags, and loaded onto a bus. I don’t remember the first moment I met John Chau, but as the 10-day trip through Israel continued, it became clear to me that he was set apart.
I’ll never forget near the end of our time when we had a free evening to either rest or explore Jerusalem. The group of us that chose to explore were gathered in the lobby and headed to a nearby market, talking about the day and what we were hoping to buy for souvenirs, see before we left, etc. I’ll never forget John saying, “I’m going to talk to people about Jesus.”
We’re in the Holy Land on a Covenant Journey, seeing the places we read about in the Bible, and he truly had his mind on things above. I’m sure there were others who would have done the same if the opportunity presented itself; John had the fire in his spirit to initiate, not just wait for something to happen. I remember being in a completely self-focused state, and yet my own soul was shaken by his comment. He had this pure intent on sharing the life-changing joy he had with anyone he met. Whenever I think on that memory, I see his sense of urgency as a messenger of the Good News. It always convicts me.
Although after parting ways from the Covenant Journey I didn’t see him in person again, we caught up via social media once or twice after that. I would read his blog and social media posts of where the Lord was sending him and the miracles He was working in and through John (one of which was healing from a deadly snake or spider bite that occurred while he was camping).
I was serving for a year in Nairobi, Kenya, and I was in my own state of questioning purpose, life, God, and allllll the things. Once again, I was in quite the self-centered headspace. The news came on November 18th that the day before, John had courageously paid for a boat to cross to an unreached, uncivilized people group called the Sentinelese, occupying a small island in the Bay of Bengal in India. The Spirit had led him to bring the Word of the Living God to this isolated people.
Most people’s reaction to this is to ask if it was worth it, why he threw his life away, etc. What was your first thought?
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and He can use this as a way to bring us deeper into the Kingdom. That is exactly where He wants to meet us, and yet when we ask “earthly”, temporal questions such as these, we give away that our eyes are on things below rather than on things above. Come to the Cross, enter the Throne Room so that the veil may be removed!
John Chau was obedient to the call of the Cross that the living Spirit inside led him in love to fulfill. I do not doubt that Truth.
The apostle Paul declared to the elders of a church on one of his missionary journeys that “…my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) Paul knew that prison and suffering and eventually physical death was ahead for him. John knew this as well, and yet when we keep our eyes on Jesus, who, “…because of the joy awaiting Him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame,” (Hebrews 12:2) we are filled with this same Spirit!
I am brought to tears every time I ponder John’s faith and life. I know God has called us each to something beautiful and meaningful as a part of the body of Christ. Who are we to question the missionary who gives his life for the Gospel or the single mom who raises her child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord or the businessman or woman representing Christ with integrity in the marketplace? As we abide in Christ and surrender our own will, we are used by Him in this emboldened partnership! His Kingdom is the pearl of great price, the treasure found that we would sell all else in order to attain!
John challenges and inspires me to this day. I am honored that God would allow me that 10-day trip to know John. I praise Jesus that his life and his death were not in vain. And I rejoice in the knowledge that I will see John again one day, beaming from ear to ear because he’s forever with his Best Friend.
in love & humility,
the tall girl