From the beginning, I thought SMI would be about me changing other people’s lives. Coming into Kensington, I’d imagined myself having the answers to the people’s spiritual questions, to teach the Scripture, and to share my testimony to convert the lost. In my own delusions, I dreamed that I had something to offer and that the locals needed me here. I thought “if only the people would hear about Jesus and connect them to local churches like The Rock, they would change their ways for the better.” I was so naive to think that I by my own strength could single-handedly confront the seemingly overwhelming flood of challenges that root themselves in this city. All along, God had sent me here not to make a city-changing impact, but instead to learn and listen to the cries of the people of this neighborhood.

I’ve been a fool thinking that I was strong or wise enough to change and control other people’s lives with mere words. God broke me to my knees to make me see how much I have been playing God.To my own shame, God has been using those whom I deemed as needing me, to humble and mold me. After hearing story after story of drugs, hunger, tears, loneliness, homelessness, death, abuse, and crime, my pride broke. I’ve finally felt small, powerless, and dependent on my Father in Heaven. Although I can’t say much on what I’ve done or whether if I’m changing people’s lives, but I do know how much SMI has changed my life to be faithful to what God places in my hands, not impactful.

Just to close with a motif that God has been reminding me in this season of my life, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

– Michael Vo