I never would’ve thought that I would go on mission. It was never a part of my plan. I was comfortable at home, I wanted control over my life and do the things I wanted to do and moving overseas to spread the gospel was the last thing on my mind.
That all changed when I went on a two-week trip to South Thailand with my church in 2017. God changed my heart; he allowed me to see and meet people who had never heard about Jesus and the need for gospel workers and having more hands-on deck. It was a difficult decision to quit my job and leave, but six months later I was back in Thailand.
The first few months in Thailand were exciting, it was a whole new experience. I was a part of a great group with other Serve Asia volunteers in Chiang Mai for one month. When I arrived at my placement city I was able to find a house within the local community quite quickly. I started serving in kids and church planting ministry, was learning language with a local Thai and enjoying the local cuisine.
But the feeling of excitement in the coming months slowly turned into dread as language learning was slow and I couldn’t do basic things. I’m on the introverted side, so going into the markets and struggling to speak was daunting and a real challenge. I felt lost, I’m there as a ‘missionary’, but I can’t even tell people the gospel in their language. But over time God made my position clearer for me through no effort of my own. He created opportunities where I was able to connect with locals from different walks of life in different ways.
I was involved in various kinds of ministry including church planting, soccer ministry, university ministry, kids ministry and English ministry. They were quite different from each other, and they opened my eyes to see that mission isn’t just about church planting; there are so many roles needed. My skills as a graphic designer also came in handy when designing flyers and pamphlets for events.
Being in a place where I couldn’t speak the local language fluently I was reminded of this verse in Colossians 4:5-6: ‘Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone’. Sometimes when I didn’t have the words to say, I am always reminded that God is working through all the interactions and they can lead to gospel-centred conversations.
During my time in Thailand, I had made really good friends. My team became family, other Serve Asia’s became people of great encouragement and Thai friends became friends for life. Every goodbye was heart-breaking, I knew that if I return in the future things will be different. Even though we go our separate ways for now, my comfort was knowing that God keeps his promises and is working with or without me present there.
Now that my placement is over, I have a stronger trust in God. A trust knowing that God will always deliver and provide. Knowing that His plans are always better than mine. Just as I never knew that God would send me out, I also don’t know what his plans for me in the future hold. For now, I want to be preparing myself for when God calls me out again and I have a feeling it’s going to be when I least expect it.
Please pray with me for the local friends I’ve made, for the Christians to continue to look towards Jesus for hope.
Pray for the non-Christians, that they can find the love that only Jesus can provide.
Pray for that all Christians to make the most of every opportunity to make Jesus great!