Before embarking on my placement, I had just graduated from law school in Singapore. You might be thinking, “Wow, law school and then the mission field? How did that happen?” Looking back, it’s quite amazing how God was working in my life to bring me to where I am today.
My placement was three months long with a local host family in Northern Thailand. Before coming on my placement, I had gone on two short Serve Asia trips with OMF, both lasting three weeks. It was during my first trip in 2018 that God put mission on my heart. Since then, I have been learning more about mission work and what it means to be a missionary, and there was a lot to learn because mission was not on my radar at all prior to that trip. During my placement, I taught English at a Christian pre-school and partnered with a local church for sports ministry outreach.
Deciding to commit to my placement was not easy. There were many difficult questions that I had to grapple with, like, “What does it mean to be called as a missionary?” and “Am I only interested in this because I want to escape from becoming a lawyer?” These questions had no easy answers, but in the months leading up to my departure, God made things clear and opened doors for me to go.
I started my placement filled with optimism and anticipation. I was excited to learn more about mission in Thailand, and to serve the local people. My guiding verse during this time was Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself.” I was eager to serve, convinced that things would go smoothly, and that my time in Thailand would teach me so much.
However, some things didn’t turn out the way I had expected and at times I felt disappointed and isolated. For instance, coming from a big city like Singapore, to a remote village was a big challenge for me. My first week was especially hard. At the end of it I thought I would just have to do my best and count down the days until my departure. But God knew my struggles all along.
Over the next few months, God showed me his faithfulness in many ways. Through no seeking of my own, God introduced me to two Singaporean ladies who became my mentors and support during this time. Being able to talk to them about my cultural struggles was such a great comfort! God also blessed me with good friendships with two local teachers and a teacher from New Zealand at the preschool. Having these friendships really helped ease my loneliness and were a comfort in the struggles I was facing. I even had sleepovers at two of their houses! God also opened the way for me to get connected to an International church and English-speaking small group, through which I got to know many seasoned missionaries who were keen to share their experiences with me. I had given up on my expectations, but God met them in amazing ways, and did so much more.
I also realized that my view of God was so narrow, and I only looked at myself and my circumstances and felt defeated. Now I know that we cannot live life just focusing on what’s in front of us, instead we need to tune our eyes and ears to God above as the first step in dealing with any challenge or uncertainty. That is what it means to have faith, and we can have faith because God is faithful.
After my placement ended in December 2019, I attended OMF’s Launch course in February 2020. I had reservations about going back to Thailand, but the month-long course really helped me process my experience and realign myself with God. I was so blessed by the sessions and the people I met, and I would really recommend anyone who has plans to go on a Serve Asia placement to attend the Launch course beforehand. Since returning, I have been working in my church while waiting for God’s leading for the next step. It’s an exciting journey and this is only just the beginning, but whatever lies ahead, I know with assurance that God is with me every step of the way.
- Pray that the good news about Jesus will spread widely in Thailand
- Pray for the missionaries who are serving in Thailand, for God’s protection, provision and wisdom over their ministry
- Pray that God will give me clarity on what’s next, and that I will remember that my calling is to him, and not to a place.