Following God’s call is rarely easy and is sometimes uncomfortable. That’s something Naomi has had to learn recently.
Naomi is a new friend I made on the Serve Asia Launch course earlier this year while preparing for my own Serve Asia placement. Naomi’s story of how she came to be interested in missionary work really stuck with me…
God’s initial prompting
After fourteen years as a journalist, Naomi had the skills she needed to become a freelance communications consultant. Her career was going well and she enjoyed working on a whole range of projects, including producing an animated film. All the same, she felt restless but wasn’t sure why.
She sought God in prayer, asking him for answers and for a sense of direction. She specifically asked him to speak to her while she read the Bible. The very next day when she began her time with God, she was reading Matthew 28 and especially focused on Jesus’ instructions to go and make disciples of all nations. He spoke so clearly to her that she began to feel hesitant about what he might say next. She actually avoided reading the Bible for the next three days. Even though she avoided her devotional times, God continued to remind her of the instructions in Matthew 28 about making disciples of all nations.
Her attempt to flee
In the course of those few days, Naomi’s friend had made arrangements to take a holiday and invited Naomi to come along. She was eager to escape these restless feelings and thought that perhaps she just needed to unplug, relax, and spend some time away. She began to research flights but right before booking the ticket, she felt the Holy Spirit tell her to go pick up her Bible and do her reading for the day. Although she was quite hesitant, she obeyed.
Immediately, the passage she came to was Jonah’s story where he runs away from God’s call. She thought to herself, ‘How did he know my plan [to take a vacation and run from his calling]?’ She felt convicted and realized that God’s calling was very clear and she felt restless because she was avoiding it!
Her journey towards missions
As she began to obey God, she ended up pursuing further education so that she would be prepared to teach God’s word and share the gospel. She has been studying at Sekolah Tinggi Teologia Amanat Agung in Jakarta, Indonesia and pursuing her Master of Divinity. As a part of her program, she needed to find a ministry placement. Typically, students in her program complete a local internship and she was the first one who sought out an international internship. She knew that if God was truly leading her in this, he would make it possible for her to serve in missions as a part of her program.
She was having difficulty finding an organization to serve with until a friend invited her to join an online webinar. During this webinar, she was connected to OMF International and heard about their short-term missions program Serve Asia. She completed a Serve Asia internship and during that time, she went on a vision trip and helped prepare Serve Asia workers for their placements.
Naomi now serves as one of the Serve Asia Coordinators for Indonesia. In her role, she focuses on equipping others to serve in missions, praying that God would bring more workers, and assisting workers in their transition when they return home. Although she believes God has called her to eventually serve full-time herself, she has grown in her cultural understanding through this experience.
Growing through Launch
At Launch, Naomi began to understand more of the challenges that come with serving on a cross-cultural team, particularly when it comes to communication. Back home in Indonesia, Naomi enjoys joking around with friends but she has realized that the humor in other cultures is vastly different and may not translate well in a new context. In her home culture, communication is usually indirect and she is learning that this type of communication has shortcomings.
Growing in her English communication skills has been challenging for her. She believes that through this experience, God is preparing her for what it will be like as a full-time missionary. She will understand more of how it feels to be in the minority and grow to accept that this is part of being a Christian and even more so part of being a missionary!
During the training at Launch, one session discussed the joys and challenges of serving in missions whether married or unmarried. Naomi had some insights to share about this as well.
In her current stage of life, Naomi finds that she has the freedom to make decisions by only consulting God and not a spouse. She appreciates that she also has an open schedule and can be more readily available to serve without as many responsibilities. Her connection to other Christians has brought her great encouragement and accountability as she seeks to serve God. The biggest challenge she faces as a single woman is that she notices how her friends are getting married and having kids. She then reminds herself that God sees her and he values her. If she is single at this time, he has a purpose for it and she can trust in him for that.
Saying ‘Yes’ to God
While Naomi does not know what is next in her story, she trusts that God will continue to direct her steps. She is excited to say yes to what he may have for her!
How has been God working in your life? What next steps is he asking you to take? There are many opportunities to serve God and you can explore more through OMF at opportunities.omf.org.