I am John* and I was a game producer and designer before I quit my job and went on a Serve Asia trip this year.
The purpose of my Serve Asia trip was to improve my knowledge and experience about mission and the life of missionaries and also to identify God’s plan and calling for me. I attended the Launch program in Chiang Mai, Thailand in February and then the plan was to serve for 2 more months there helping out with media related ministries. However, I ended up having to go home one month earlier than planned due to COVID19.
However, the chaos and uncertainty of COVID19 and having to return home sooner than expected help me to learn more about God. There are never coincidences with God. I was supposed to help work on media-related things like video editing and attend a media conference. Unfortunately, the conference was cancelled, and I didn’t work on any video editing, instead, I worked on website development, attended Bible studies with Chinese students, and even taught English with the students. To be honest, I have no background and experience in teaching English, but because I had been listening to one of my mentors teaching how to use Bible stories to share the Gospel, it became the materials, and the only available materials, that I had and could use for teaching English. So we ended up learning English as well as Bible stories, which the students loved. They asked questions about it and discussed different characters and feelings in the stories. Praise God for the “coincidence”.
One of the major challenges for me as a non-English speaker was English and the English Bible, but throughout the trip, the English Bible (NLT and NIV) was more of a blessing to me than a challenge. The English Bible became so refreshing to me and the verses and words spoke to me. I used yellow sticky notes in my daily Bible study to write down the word or verse which appealed to me most, and I am keeping this practice back home.
There is one word and one verse that encouraged me a lot during my trip. During Launch, we had a retreat day, and we were reading Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV) about Jesus healing the two blind men. The word “Jesus stopped” (vs. 32) appealed to me and touched my heart because it reminded me that even though Jesus had His time and own plan (leaving Jericho (vs. 29), He will stop because of His mercy towards people (hearing the cry from the two blind men vs. 30)).
The other one is “I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness You have shown to me, your servant” in Genesis 32:10. I read this a few hours before I needed to leave for the airport. This verse reminded me of God’s love and faithfulness during my time in Thailand and serves as a good summary of my experience.
I am now back at home, quarantining myself in my room. I can continue my work remotely, but need to clean everything I touch or have contact with when I go out to the living room or bathroom. It’s a little bit boring alone in my the room, but good that I have more quiet time for myself. Please pray for this time and how I process all my experiences. Please pray too that God will lead my future journey in responding to His calling.
*Names have been changed for privacy.
Find out more about the Launch course: https://omf.org/opportunities/serveasia/launch/