Living Hope – Mimi’s Story
From as far back as I can remember I have felt lost and unwanted.
I was born in Vietnam in 1991. My parents were not married and my father tried to convince my mother to have an abortion. My mother refused. She wanted to give me life. When I was nine months old my mother and I moved to Russia. When I was five my mother met my step-father and they decided to have a family together. At this time I was sent back to Vietnam to live with one of my aunts. My mother’s friends had convinced her that the only way to make a fresh start with her new husband was to not have any ‘baggage’ from her past. This is the first time that I experienced feelings of betrayal and rejection.
I was a sad and isolated child and when I was six years old I tried to run away from my aunt. She found me a few hours later and was so angry that she yelled at me and hit me across the face. I still have a big scar on my left cheek from where she hit me. A short time later my mother came back to Vietnam to collect me and took me back to Russia to live with her and her new family. I didn’t understand why my mother cared about me.
In my eyes, my life had no real purpose or value.
I lived in Russia until 2012 but in 2010 I joined a summer program called ‘Work & Travel, USA’. While I was in the USA I discovered that I has distant relatives who had been living in California for 27 years. It was such a surprise to meet them and they were very kind to me. They encouraged me to leave Russia and come and start a new life in the USA.
I kindly refused their help, but asked if they could help my half-sister to move there instead. They agreed to help and a year later in 2011, my sister moved to USA to go to, ‘NPAA – Christian Academy’. It was the only place that we could afford. My sister was only 14 years old so my mom was also granted a visa to come with her.
In 2012 after I graduated with my Bachelor Degree I moved to the USA to join an MBA program. It was a dream come true for me but also a very big adjustment. During my second year of living in the USA I struggled with depression. Having grown up with a Buddhist background I tried going to the local temple to pray, & hopefully find some peace. It didn’t help, in fact every time I went to the temple I felt more anxious and uneasy. It felt like there were wandering souls in the temple, looking for someone to cling to. I stopped going.
Growing up in Russia I had very little exposure to Christianity. The little bit that I did know about God and Jesus came from watching movies. Some friends invited me to attend a few different churches with them but although I enjoyed the messages it felt more like I was attending a seminar. One day I drove past the C3 San Diego church building and felt prompted to pull over there. I walked up to the church and heard a voice inside me say ‘This is going to be your church!’ I laughed out loud. I didn’t even consider myself a church person yet the following Sunday I decided to go to a service.
I loved it. Church became a regular part of my week but it was another eight months before I accepted Jesus. One Sunday a guest speaker named Sy Rogers shared some of his story. The way he talked about God’s love and grace captured my heart. After the service, I didn’t want to leave. I sat on the stairs, and just cried. I felt so much comfort and love. I felt that there was a intangible hand holding me. It was so overwhelming.
The story does not end there.
Once I learned about the love of God, I start looking for Him in every situation. I realised that He was everywhere, and was close to me all the time. I hadn’t been listening before, but now I was paying attention. The Bible helped me to get to know God’s character more and fall in love with Him. I found my true identity through Him. When I am with Him – I become like a little child – I can dream and hope again.
After I became a Christian I began to serve in kid’s church. It was during one of these services that God showed me a vision of a little girl sitting with a note book and writing down these words;
Why do you live on earth and why you have been placed where you are?
Why is my life is not like everyone else’s? Why do I even exist?
What is my purpose? What is the point of my suffering?
I should have been aborted, and my mom made a mistake. I do not bring happiness or value to anyone.
Nothing is meaningful, and if I die, no one will notice.
As I looked at the children that surrounded me I heard God say, ‘You lived because you are someone else’s hope. Your existence is proof of my love and my grace. I wanted you to be here, and I have appointed you to live a life of hope and share it to the younger generation. You are to prove that things always work out for the best, no matter what.’
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
I cannot tell you how much joy it is, to be someone else hope. A few month ago, I shared my story at our prayer group. I didn’t think too much about it but a few weeks later one of the ladies from the group shared just how much my testimony had impacted her. After hearing my story she made a decision to trust God with her ‘meth’ addiction, and wayward life. Now she is completely healed from that addiction! She is restored, and she and her four year old daughter are living a life of freedom. What if I hadn’t shared my testimony?
Freely you have received; freely give.
Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
I used to think that I had to do something, or achieve something to live a life of purpose. I thought that I had to work hard for acceptance and love. But once I encountered God, I learned the truth. I am loved, and living my life with God is my purpose. I am enough. I am God’s precious daughter and so are you.
You are loved. You are a child of God. You are the hope for someone else… don’t give up!