Evie was raised in a Christian family and remembers being fascinated by missionary stories: “my favourite missionary story was Gladys Aylward’s. I remember watching the movie, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, as a little girl and turning round to my mum, and saying ‘Oh I want to do something like that’ I must have been about nine at the time!”
Today Evie works with Third Culture Kids (TCKs), the children of missionaries. They have grown up in two or more very different cultures. Their identity includes elements of all these cultures but is different from each, forming a third culture. They have particular requirements that need to be catered for. Evie helps meet these, developing a Bible and Discipleship teaching curriculum and programmes at training events for TCKs. Evie was in the OMF UK office a while ago and shared with us about her journey into mission.
Following the Servant King
Evie says she never thought she’d end up in Asia, but in her teens she was teaching Sunday School and had a passion for children’s ministry.
When she was 15 she went to a mission conference in Utrecht in Holland.
Evie reflects: ‘God really challenged me about ministry. Even though I didn’t quite know what to do with that, I went back to my pastor spoke to him about what I should do and I got involved in some summer missionary training, with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF).’
She went back a couple of years later to a similar conference where she felt called to do further training at Bible College. She prayed and spoke to her pastor at that time regarding which Bible College to apply too. The door opened for her to attend the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Evie’s children’s ministry continued during her time at Bible College and while involved in rural evangelism, but her burden and love for children brought further training with CEF and a full-time children’s ministry role for a time.
She first travelled to East Asia in 2001 with a church team to lead the TCK Programme at the OMF Japan Field conference. Serving the missionaries’ children ‘really struck a chord’ with Evie and she felt God might be calling her to longer-term service overseas. She explored some options and then threw herself into further study at Union Theological College in Belfast.
God’s Faithfulness – part one
In 2010 Evie was going into her final year at theological college and responded to an advertisement to serve TCKs and their families at a conference for OMF workers in the Mekong region when an unexpected problem came up.
Evie takes up the story: “I was all booked up to go on the team when the dates for my finals came through and it was unbelievable! My final exam was the 2 June and I was to be in Thailand on 28 May! So I spoke to the head of theology and he sent me to see the dean. I explained that I was asked to lead the 8-11 age group at this conference and said ‘I really know that God wants me to be there, I have such a peace that this is right, to be in Thailand. He sat for a moment and then said ‘this is unusual, but I see you’re passionate about what you’re going to do. I’ll let you sit your final paper in August along with the resits.’ I was waiting for him to say my mark would be capped at the resit level, but he didn’t penalise me. I was overwhelmed by how God worked it all out.”
“Stepping off that plane in Bangkok, I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of belonging. That this was where God wanted me to be’ Evie shares. Everything about the conference challenged her to get more involved and on the final morning she received a clear call to return: ‘I felt as if there was nobody else in the room that morning, even though it was packed with parents and other attendees. God was clearly speaking to me and reminded me of Revelation 7 that he saves people from every tribe and tongue and nation, including this ‘people group’ of Third Culture Kids. I remember two little girls embracing each other, one with very blond hair and the other one clearly Asian. Would I be willing to serve them?”
Evie shares “I was like ‘what do I do with this?’ there’s so much to take in and I knew that I had to go back for a second year to really test whether this was just my own thoughts or not.’ A fall that October virtually immobilised her for 5-6 months gave her “a lot of time to really pray and think through serving longer-term!”
The second trip confirmed Evie’s calling and gave her a deeper love for the TCKs. One missionary’s comment was especially helpful: “Don’t hold back on sharing the gospel with our kids. Don’t take it for granted that because they’re TCKs, they know the gospel. They have the head knowledge and know all the stories, but they may not actually have accepted Jesus in their lives. Those that do know him need encouragement as well.” Evie shares: “that really struck a chord with me, it was the assurance to me that I needed to do something about God’s call.”
Time to turn back? God’s faithfulness – part 2
So Evie began the application process with OMF. Then both her parents had serious health issues that had to be addressed.
She honestly prayed asking: “Lord, what are you doing, are you turning away now? Are you telling me not to go?”
So things were put on hold until everything looked to be sorted out. Flights were booked, arrangements made and Evie took her mum to a doctor’s appointment. Then they were told her mum needed a heart valve replacement and possibly a double bypass.
Evie shares: “I remember coming out of that meeting with her consultant and her and thinking, my ticket to Singapore is booked, what should I do?
But mum said, ‘it’s your time to go, this is so right for you to go.’ I really had a peace both her and dad were really very affirming that this was the right time for me to go to East Asia and be part of the TCK team.”
Evie’s first term planning and developing the TCK Bible/Discipleship curriculums for the training weeks & conferences hasn’t always been easy she says, but she’s been “assured of God’s call even through the kids and excited to see their growth.”