Hi, my name is Frederick Barker and I serve as the Serve Asia Coordinator for the UK.
Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in Serve Asia as well as what your job looks like now.
I was fortunate enough to go to Thailand on a three month Serve Asia trip, in the summer of 2017. I taught English to children in schools, led football camps, helped with the urban poor, and used my photography skills to serve the Thai church. Little did I know the impact this would have on me. I witnessed the living God at work as I saw the transformative effect sharing the good news of Jesus had on people’s lives. When I returned to the UK, I wanted to continue to be engaged in sharing God’s love with East Asia peoples. The Serve Asia Coordinator role allowed me to help others from the UK experience God’s growing kingdom in East Asia.
How long have you been a coordinator for?
I have been a Serve Asia Coordinator since September 2019. Although it has been an unusual first year in the role, I feel extremely blessed to be part of such a caring and thoughtful community.
What does day-to-day ministry look like?
Our day-to-day ministry is focused around prayer. We depend on God for all that we do. It is God who chooses to work through us and only as he pours out his blessing are we are able to bless other people. I also spend much of my time supporting Serve Asia applicants and encouraging them on their journey. God calls each one of us to partake in his coming kingdom, so it is exciting to hear how he has acted in people’s lives. I am also involved in organising training for people hoping to serve in East Asia and helping them prepare for their placements with others in the international team.
What is the best part of your job and the most difficult part?
The best part of the role is listening to stories of people who have been transformed by God. It is so encouraging to hear the hope people have in Jesus and I’m often surprised how God uses the insignificant significantly. I also work on the Serve Asia Podcast, which is lots of fun! The most difficult part is not being able to send someone on a placement they really want to go on because it is unavailable for some reason. However, we have to trust that this is all part of God’s design and look for other ways they can be involved.
What lessons have you learnt while serving in this position?
I have learnt a lot whilst being in the role. The first two things that come to mind are: 1) how the West is no longer where the majority of Christians live and, therefore, as we seek to live faithfully for God, we need to be listening and learning from churches in other parts of the world, and 2) how God has uniquely blessed each one of us with our own skills and gifts to creatively serve him…
What encouragement would you give SAW’s?
Trust in God’s timing. In my experience, I have found that God’s timing is often different from our own. This is because he is in control, not us. Having to be patient may seem frustrating and difficult, but there is always a good reason for it. If you ever feel as though God’s timing is different than your own, turn to him and ask why. There may be an opportunity right in front of you. We can glorify God here and now. We should not look to overseas mission as the only way to love our neighbours.
How can we pray for you and the country you serve in?
The UK has had a difficult year and felt the effects of COVID-19 quite seriously. Please pray for God to comfort those struggling and for Christians to be lights in their communities, reaching out to those most in need. Pray also for people in leadership to be making wise decisions. It is not an easy time for them, they too need God’s support and grace. As for me, please pray that I conduct myself with humility in my work.
Serve Asia Coordinator (UK)