Five years after the founding of Telios Law in 2012, the Telios Law Scholarships were established to encourage the next generation to live a whole or complete life. The Greek word telios means “complete, perfect, or whole.” All scholarship applicants were required to complete an essay in which they described what telios means to them, how they've demonstrated telios in their life, by drawing upon significant life experiences, academic learning, goals, motivation for achieving those goals, and/or the stories of admired heroes.
Both scholarships draw upon the experiences of Telios Law’s founder and owner, Theresa Sidebotham. Theresa grew up as a missionary kid in Indonesia and is a mother to four missionary kids, but also finished raising her sons, attended law school, and founded Telios Law in Colorado. Her personal experience attending a Christian college was formative and inspiring.
Telios Law is honored to present H. from Asia, the winner of our inaugural Telios Law Sojourner Scholarship! Please enjoy her winning essay below.
Telios Law Scholarship Essay
In Romans 12:2, Paul reminds us how we can test and approve God’s perfect, or telios, will. Through my experiences, and my desire to mature and be whole through Christ, I have found that His will is to tell others about His saving grace. I am a missionary kid in Asia, and I love this area dearly, but more importantly, I love the local people, and my nine-plus years of living here increases the urgency I feel to befriend them, love them, and present them with the best gift of all—the gift of being complete through Jesus.
Many of my Asian qualities come from my elementary education in a local government school, where I spent five years being treated as an equal to the other kids. The teacher certainly did not show pity on me when she ripped my notebook in half for having three mistakes, making me redo the hours of work. This harshness inspired me to work hard, but it also opened my eyes to the reality of the local school. Also, from a young age, children are taught to idolize atheistic and nationalist ideas; although I do not believe them, I can recite many of these platitudes. God was presented as a superstition, with the government leaders as the absolute authority. My experiences in the local school allow me to better sympathize with my friends who are still stuck in the cutthroat, godless schooling system.
In addition to graduating from a government elementary school here in Asia, I have continuously attended a local church. Although the local school taught me much of what I know about the native language and culture, church is a place in which I learn special vocabulary and evidence for my beliefs, and is where I can pursue my relationship with God alongside local believers, equipping me for spiritual battle, one of infinite importance. I met my best friend in local school, where our closeness helped bring about her and her parents’ conversion three years later. We still challenge each other in her native tongue concerning spiritual matters. Last July, we roomed together at a four-day camp hosted by my church, where I basked in my complete immersion with 70 local God-fearing youth. Yet, in my large city, I was saddened that there weren’t more people present. I am surrounded by people who have never even heard of Jesus, and the clock is ticking steadily against them as they slip closer to eternity.
Along with the ultimate importance of spiritual health, medical care is a huge need and provides an excellent platform from which to share the gospel. Last summer, I volunteered at an autism rehabilitation center for two weeks. I helped the children there with cognitive and motor tasks, thoroughly enjoying spending time with them who have become some more of the reasons I want to study medicine. I love those children and would give anything for them, their families, and others like them to know the joy that comes with the grace of God.
God’s perfect or “telios” love in 1 John 4:18 is evident to me through the life of one boy whom I worked with for a few weeks at an autism rehabilitation center last summer. Because this was at an autism rehab center, I do not think this boy was consciously showing love; it is just his nature. The first few days serving there were rough because I had trouble figuring out what the sounds he made meant. He was quite forgiving, however, and even planted a huge kiss on me on my second day. I expected to leave each day feeling drained, but rather I was invigorated by the unconditional love radiating off the children, even when I did not understand their needs. The children’s loving acceptance of me, in turn, gave me a greater patience in loving and caring for them. If a girl decides to dump the contents of her water bottle on the floor, I can clean it up cheerfully. If a boy successfully peels the wallpaper off the wall, I know not to get frustrated because God’s grace covers me over and over and over again; why should I not do the same for anyone in the world? After all, everyone is invaluable in God’s eyes, and through loving others, I feel unified through the gracious, enduring, patient love of Christ in His body and throughout the world.
Because my dad is a doctor here, I have access to some lesser-known parts of Asia. Our family would go on village trips, where we visited people in their houses, many without running water or even an outhouse, and give them check-ups. Some patients were easily treatable, but others had to be referred to a hospital due to their often long-neglected medical conditions. I had the privilege of going to the operating room with such patients on several occasions, and have seen people with large-scale, deforming burns, cleft lips, grotesque tumors larger than I, and many other maladies, causing them much unnecessary suffering due to their poverty. Although I do not know what specialty I want to pursue, I do know I want to become a doctor and help fill the gap in alleviating people’s physical discomforts.
My heart aches not only for the people here, but for everyone who has yet to hear about Jesus. It is my responsibility to share the Good News to the ends of the earth, for only then can Matthew 24:14 become a reality. My nine years of continual learning in Asia gives me a perspective I would not trade for anything. I see and understand the physical suffering here, but that is incomparable to the spiritual turmoil. For my life specifically, I expect to fulfill the role of a physician that points people to the only One who can heal us eternally, the greatest Physician of all, thereby helping bring eventual completeness to God’s creation.