Josh j Smith

May 30, 2008, 1:33 pm
Filed under: religion


It just occurred to me as I was sitting listening to my friend John Song, that story brings us together. This epiphany started last night when I sat down for a chocolate chip cookie and a mocha latte in a coffee house called common grounds.  I was quick to open my laptop to get online and my friends demanded my attention because the manager at the shop had visited Washington D.C.  I guess the conversation started because two out of four of us are noticeably white and we all spoke english in. 


This small conversation led us to talk about the coffee shop and its desire to be a positive influence in Cambodia.  Minutes later we were talking with the misionaries who started the coffee shop and learned about the english classes, computer classes, orphanage, tutuoring, and the fact they employ 21 Cambodians at the shop.    


The irony of this occurrence is that it is exactly what my friend John Song is trying to do in Cambodia.  It is called business as mission.    


John Song’s story starts three years ago for me.  I met him and thought that he was extremely angry.  Three years later, now, I realized I am not angry enough.  


John moved to the Philly area to go seminary at Biblical with the hopes of moving back to Utah to plant a church with some people he met from Seminary. It did not take long for him to realize that God had started to shape our stories in the opposite direction of Utah.  In the course of those years our seminary cohort experienced a lot changes.  For John and his family, they realized God was calling him to Cambodia and not Utah.  


Tonight we all sat on the roof top of our hotel sweating and leaning in to hear John’s voice over top the hundreds of motor scooters crawling through streets below us.  John told us about the corruption, the unjust history, and the need for Cambodian people to experience redemption.  Redemption not just through a “saving knowledge” but through the gospel of Jesus that reaches out to heal people.  Redemption that touches the sick, carries the cripple, feeds the hungry, empowers the powerless.  Redemption that provides jobs at fair wages, eliminates corruption, and educates people so that selling a child into prostitution is not an option.  


That is when it occurred to me.  My story is not mine.  It is John’s, yours, and everyone else’s.  I thought about the story of common grounds, John’s journey to seminary for the hope of making a couple friends, and the fact that all 39 of us were sitting there listening to his story, which is my story… our story. 



1 Comment so far
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I love this reflection. I wish my students wrote as well as you. Story is powerful and that is why I too love stories and agree that they are what connect us. But I never thought about it as “listening t his story, which is my story… our story.” Powerful! Love you!

Comment by Jessica Smith

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