Christine Bae

Christine BaeThe moment that made the greatest impact for me in South Africa was when I was able to visit the homes of different women affected by HIV/AIDS. Through Zimele’s Home Care program, we were able to bring these women food as well as get a glimpse of their living situations. I was able to see how sickness impacted the overall atmosphere of the home and the family infrastructure, not only seeing the physical effects of the disease-stricken person, but also the emotional effects for those they were leaving behind.

I was able to pray for one woman in particular who despite her pain and paralysis, had bright eyes full of what looked like hope. Although I could not do anything to help this woman physically be heal or even take away an ounce of her discomfort or pain, I wanted her to experience healing mentally and emotionally. She had to know how precious she was in God’s eyes, how beautiful He created her to be, and how much He loved her. I remember squeezing her hand tightly and trying to pronounce the word “beautiful” in Zulu as best as I could. I repeated it over and over again, using different tones and pronouncing the syllables differently to make sure somehow she understood the message. I desired so badly for her to know how loved she was by our Father, and how He never once forgot about her, even as she was in bed unable to walk for the past seven years. My only thought leaving was that if she could understand the depth of God’s love for her, I would want nothing more out of the trip. Funnily enough, this was something I later realized that I myself had to know and have a thorough understanding of. The depth of His mercy, love and grace was something I myself didn’t fully explore; all I could think about was how to spread that love before I had accepted it myself.

This experience became more than just a memory, but really a catalyst to spark a passion in me that I believe came from God. Not only did I seek a deeper relationship with Him, but after further exploring my identity in Christ, (something I continue to work on as a woman in my 20s and will work on for the rest of my life), I accepted that I am imperfectly perfect in His eyes and that I was His creation that He created with a purpose for His kingdom. My reflection on my past experiences, my time in South Africa, along with other events that followed after my trip, made me see that helping others find healing through God’s mercy, love and grace was where I found purpose. I left my job in Advertising and am in pursuit of obtaining a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. I am so grateful and excited that He will shine light into my brokenness and weaknesses for His kingdom. I hope to be able to be a bridge in helping others find healing in every circumstance, recognizing the depth of His love and purpose for us that helps us to live out every day the best we can, resolving issues biblically, and overcoming challenges seeking God as our ultimate counselor.

I will never forget that face I saw in South Africa- along with many of the others, but through that woman in particular was where I felt the Holy Spirit move me out of my complacency. But the hope I saw in her was what I saw with all the Zulu people – despite their circumstances, they were joyful, gracious and loving people; and this is a prime example of how I hope to live my life as a believer. If they could be grateful and find joy because they know God and God has given them life, they are the prime example of how we all should strive to be.

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