A Bold and Beautiful Witness
by Philip Yu*
Many people want to hide the fact that they are Christians, but Laureta Lau, a university student who attends the English congregation of Seattle Chinese Alliance Church (SCAC), boldly makes it known—and God uses her! Think of the Seattle Space Needle which attracts tourists from all over the world. From its 16-story view, visitors observe the beauty of the various structural designs of the famous city and surrounding islands. Similarly, the witness of Laureta attracts fellow students on her university campus to the beauty of Christ through her distinctive Christian character. She demonstrates the genuine Christian beliefs and biblical ways of living of many American-born Chinese families.
Laureta has written much of her story:
When I began study at an American university in Seattle, Washington, my desire was that the beauty of Jesus would be seen in me. My school was small, a campus with only 2400 students. Growing up in a Christian family I had always gone to church, but at the prospect of entering college, I wanted to understand Christianity more and have a faith of my own, not that of my parents. With many other religions in the world, I wanted to know that Christianity was the right one for me, apart from my family upbringing. When I started university study, all my primary and high school friends were gone, and I had to start over making new friends. I wondered if, without their influence and that of my family, who would I be, really? Was I certain, as a Christian, I could be different from anyone else on campus?
So, I began reading God's Word and praying, desiring to know Him personally. And God responded in mercy. I began to feel His peace as I trusted Him day by day. I found a joy in reading His Word, a sense of His presence with me, a source of light so meaningful and abundant, overflowing into my spirit. I learned to turn to Him no matter what happened in my life, and He was always there. God responded to my yearning. He was real. And I knew, even in times of failure or frustration, that I could have inner joy and peace because He dwells within me. I could not go one day without the presence of Christ in my life, or anything I did would be vain and meaningless.
At the university, I chose to join a sorority—a sometimes controversial student organization—and live in a sorority residence. This decision was not to satisfy the whim of my vanity, but to glorify God by sharing my genuine Christian faith with other residents. Many of the girls living in the residence were addicted to alcohol and led a life without self-control or meaningful purpose. As a dedicated Christian, with God at the center of my life, I wanted to show my classmates that they could choose a different way to live.
The good part about being in a sorority was that I could make lots of friends my own age. The bad part was that many of them were non-believers whose values and daily activities were different from my own. One time I was playing Christian music on the guitar in the sorority residence and worshipping when my roommates asked why I always played unconventional Christian music rather than the popular music that most students on campus wanted to hear. Knowing that I was a Christian, they wanted to know what I thought of homosexuality. I knew many of their friends were gay and lesbian, and I didn't want their questions to shake my faith. So, I just asked God to give me the right words to respond. I told them what I believed, knowing that I could not change their minds.
It actually turned out that I made many very good friends in the sorority. Some shared with me their own struggles and asked me to pray with them. I saw hearts turn to seek God and desire to know Him. My role was to be a good friend to everybody in the sorority and to love each one of them out of God's love. There were many nights when girls would come back to the residence completely intoxicated. I was there, not to judge them, but to pray the very best for each one, desiring that they would truly know God. He had placed me in that culture to help others. Of that, I was sure!
As vice president of the Student Council and a member of the Honor Society, organizations that sponsored events and activities on campus, I was blessed to be able to interact with many more students than just at the sorority—and even with the teaching faculty. I always prayed that through my words and actions I would glorify God as I shared my genuine Christian faith.
When I decided to enter the Miss America Beauty Pageant, it was considered a daring thing to do because of my church upbringing and my Christian family. But I felt it presented a great opportunity for me. I wanted to show who God is—for His glory, not for my own self-interest. I knew I would be able to share my Christian beliefs with the judges, other contestants, and the viewers who watched the show on TV.
My sister and I had always enjoyed watching the Miss America Beauty Pageants together, and we would both respond to the questions and give our own answers with conviction. So, this year, I just applied—and was accepted as a contestant! At first, I hesitated, knowing it would take a lot of time and be quite stressful. But after much praying and talking with my family, I decided to proceed.
The judges looked at my resume and questioned me regarding some controversial issues and about my passion. I answered confidently and truthfully that it is all about "Jesus" and "Christianity"! They followed up and asked: "As a Christian, what do you think about 'abortion' and the words 'In God we trust' on the penny?" Before the interview, I had prayed hard, asking God to guide me. I didn't want to just meet the judges' expectations. I wanted to say what God wanted me to say, knowing that my answers might not be the standards by which the world measures. I responded that God loves every person and treasures babies in their mother's womb. I knew my words would not harm anyone, so I stated what I really believed. By the end of the interview, some of the judges didn't agree with me, but they respected my convictions. I wanted to make sure that every other girl competing with me knew that I was a Christian.
Every contestant in the beauty pageant was trying to get the crown. But, for me, the crown was not for myself. Though the pageant was challenging, I felt a strength to manifest my real faith. God was with me throughout the whole process. He sustained me with His Spirit, and by this, I was crowned with success. So, in the end, it was God who got the crown!
God is my entire life. My goal is to make as much of an impact as I can, doing what I can to help others, until the very last day before I go to Heaven.
What Others Say
What is it that makes Laureta's life so attractive? Her church pastors say it's her faith in Jesus Christ and her love of people. Her father says his daughter's joyous appearance "can only come from God, the Creator and Provider of all His children. She feels the reality of God, Who is her omnipotent, real, and ever-present Heavenly Father. God gives her more than anything I can give as her earthly father."
Two Caucasian roommates give their impressions of Laureta this way: Laureta behaves the same way in the sorority as she does on the university campus. She doesn't judge people but loves everyone. She's there for you, open to talk anytime. We see God directing her life tangibly, in every way. How trusting she is in God helps us look to God and see ourselves differently.
Praise the Lord for young people like Laureta! She is a leader among her generation, bringing others to know God by her witness. Other believers at her church look up to her as an example to follow. Her life, so beautifully lived out because of the presence of Jesus in her heart, is a shining light beaming out for others to follow.
"Even so, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16, WEB).