Knox is excited to host Your Work, God’s Way, a missions event taking place on October 17th. The following is a partial transcript from an interview done with Patrick Fung (One of the keynote speakers on October 17th) during Urbana 2009. Patrick Fung is the 10th director of OMF International, and is the first Chinese General Director of the organization.
Greg Jao (Urbana MC): You left a medical practice in order to move into vocational mission. Could you briefly tell us what led you from being a medical doctor to being a vocational missionary?
Patrick Fung: I came from a very traditional Chinese family. … I remember my mom told me to find a stable career, a stable job, and then find a stable wife. In 1977, when I became a Christian, that was my first year in medical school, that really changed my life. My inner world was changed upside down. When I studied the scripture I discovered that most, if not all, the servants of God in the bible, never had a stable life. … What Jesus promised his disciples is that he is with them. He is with them always. That really challenged me to think of my own life. The Lord challenged me in 1979 as a third year medical student. The Lord said “first give your life to me.” I still remember Proverbs 23: Give your heart to me. My son, give your heart to me. Then your talents and gift. That challenged me to think about missions.
Greg Jao: You’ve written a booklet that OMF has published called “Live to Be Forgotten.” … In North America we have a culture of celebrity and we talk about leaving a legacy, doing something so that you will be remembered. Why did you write a book called “Live to Be Forgotten?
Patrick Fung: I recognize that in this world today, particularly in the West, we talk about success and leadership, and we recognize leadership, but a number of years ago I was at a library in a university in London and I was led to this archive department. I entered this big room, huge like a warehouse, there were columns and columns of files. This chief archivist, who was not even a believer, she said to me something that I never forgot. She said “each file represents one life that gave themselves to God, and for the gospel, and for the Chinese people.” When I heard that I was totally speechless, and I began to cry. I thought “that was a hundred years ago where there were thousands of people who gave their lives to the Chinese people for the sake of the gospel. … Most of the names, they never make it into the History books. That really convinced me, some of the most important workers for the kingdom in the 21st century, I believe, are the nameless people. They make Christ visible, not themselves.
Greg Jao: North American Christians are notorious for self-publicity … what practical disciplines would you encourage these students, who live in a self-promotional age, to adopt, in order that they could live to be forgotten and Christ could be made know.
Patrick Fung: To love people, those who are far and near; to love and serve. I think people in this generation need to feel Christ’s love in tangible ways. Go and serve with your gifts, with your love, and with all the talents God has given us. God has tremendously blessed the church in North America with many gifts, many talents, many PhDs, and God is going to use them for his kingdom’s sake. We need to humble before God.
Greg Jao: What have been some of the ways you’ve had to embrace choosing to be forgotten rather than remembered?
Patrick Fung: God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.
More information about Your Work, God’s Way, can be found here.
The full interview with Patrick Fung at Urbana 2009 can be found on Vimeo here.