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26 July 2017

Journeying into Long(er) Term Missions

Taiwan team meet together

Rixin joined us as a Serve Asia worker to Taiwan many years ago. Her missions journey did not start from Taiwan, and she did a lot of exploratory and preparatory work in finding her place in missions. Usually, an average person needs about 7 years to know where and how God calls them to serve long-term. Rixin is currently attending orientation course, with the support in place to send her to the Taiwan field as an associate member of OMF, whose term is between 1 to 3 years.

The starting steps

Its been more than 10 years since I went for on my first exposure mission trip. That one week trip as a teenager to a village in the hills of Northern Thailand may be said to be my first step into this journey of God’s mission. It was up in the mountains amidst the beauty of His creation, seeing children and villagers smiling and singing worship songs to Him in gusto, and it felt like I tasted Revelation 7:9, sparking off a desire to see His glory spread across all the earth so that indeed, “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages [will be] standing before the throne and before the lamb” (ESV) to give Him all the glory that He deserves. It was from then that I started going to more missions related conferences and training, listening to sharing from missionaries, and also going for more short mission exposure trips.

The journey continues

While my heart desired to serve Him and see His glory in all the world, God did not call me to the field immediately. Instead the missions training and exposure further grew my heart for Him and His mission, and also taught me the importance of serving and training in different areas.

I also served in church in a variety of roles and ministries. These included worship ministry, youth ministry, teaching Sunday school, leading cell group, discipleship and the missions committee. These were useful in honing not just skills, but also my personal spiritual life and attitude. It even taught me how to work with people and how church leadership and committees function.

Psychological work and work with people with special needs grew my heart for marginalised people, and how only through Jesus and in the kingdom of God can salvation and hope be found. God was bringing me along in His own time and ways in this journey of missions.

The difference that Serve Asia made

As I continued to grow in Him and to serve and learn in different areas, I also continued to go for short term mission trips. Yet, these trips that I went on quite regularly were typically week-long mission exposure trips and programme based. Often, it felt like these programmes done on exposure trips were giving the hosts additional work and at the same time, took them away from their usual day to day work and ministry. While I believe that these programmes and the relationships built during these trips are also used by God, it is still different from being with the people, living with and serving them on a long-term day to day basis. I wanted to experience that reality of ministry that went beyond exposure trips. In 2014, nearly 10 years after my first missions trip, God prepared my heart and opened the way for going on a four month Serve Asia trip to Taiwan.

While on the Serve Asia mission trip, I caught a good glimpse and short experience of what it was like to really live and serve in missions. I was not just doing a programme, but I got to live with missionaries and shared a taste of what daily reality was really like. The past 10 years was when God grew in me a love for Taiwan and its people, put a heart and joy in me in working with the marginalised, trained and gave me experiences in so many different areas, taught me to work with people and empathise with them, and also further fanned my heart for Him, His kingdom and His mission.

During the Serve Asia time, I was able to work with youths, help in worship, empathise and not lose help when serving the women on the streets, learn to share bible stories and testimonies and even be a part of a camp with boys in a reformatory home, all because of what I’ve learnt and experienced in the past 10 years.

Even the stress and busyness I once felt burdened by at some points were helpful in reminding me of focus and priorities. I also felt convinced after my Serve Asia time to further my studies in a professional skill that could serve people was also part of moving forward on this journey in His mission.

From Serve Asia to long(er) term

Through Serve Asia in Taiwan and a glimpse of what reality on the field may be, God had showed me that long-term missions was not a closed door but a possibility. No doubt, Serve Asia was just a taste, and long-term missions will be different still, but the Serve Asia experience definitely helped me to propel into taking that step into longer-term missions.

And now, in 2017, I will be going to the field for a longer term of 2 years as an associate member of OMF. As much as it took more than 10 years to get from the first flame to this step, everything I’ve been through has led me here. I believe the journey does not stop here. There will likely be more training, theological studies, learning and experiences to come during and after these 2 years that will continue to bring me on in this journey of mission. And it will all be in His ways and time. It is definitely exciting and I look forward to walking on, with Him leading and opening the way.

Are you on your own journey in His mission? It may be a long road ahead, but, keep walking. Each step will be in His hands and will not be in vain.

Rixin, OMF Associate

Learn

Information on Serve Asia, OMF’s short-term mission discipleship programme.

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Resources and information to help you pray for the global missions movement.

Go

Search for mission trip opportunities in East Asia and apply online.

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