My name is Katherine and I am a final year university student. I went on a Serve Asia mission trip in my long uni summer between second and third year having met OMF at the Keswick Convention the summer before. I didn’t apply for anything too specific, and originally wanted to go to Cambodia! But God has a way of working things out so your plans change to his, and what I ended up doing was very different.
I spent two months in the Southern Philippines with an OMF ministry to an indigenous people group. I visited a number of the churches, met local Pastors, saw some of their medical mission and was briefly at a conference too. For the majority of my time I stayed in a dormitory which students live at while they attend high school. It was here where my heart was captured for mission, the Philippines, and especially the people group I was with.
I was able to teach the students English and Computer lessons, and run devotions and seminars, as well as share my testimony with them in their own language. They were so keen and so grateful to learn English and computer skills and I really felt God used my story and my experiences to be able to disciple the students at their teenage stage of life. However, I learnt more from my stay than I could have ever taught them. I will treasure the relationships I made with the students and the dorm parents for my whole life, and I will never forget how happy and loving they were. They are disciplined, unselfish and hard-working. Watching them worship was so moving; their faith and love for God is inspiring. They embraced me completely and adored having a visitor stay with them.
Seeing what God has done among this particular people group blew my mind. This is a people who OMF took the gospel to for the first time, and while they are still in the process of translating the bible, there are already 31 indigenous Churches, a Bible school for training new pastors, worship songs and a New Testament in their language. It inspired me to want to take the gospel to another indigenous people group and give God the opportunity to do the same thing again!
Experiencing life in another culture is something so valuable and I learnt so much that no textbook or lecture could ever teach me. I found a love for learning language I had never had before. My trip has widened my view of life so much and opened my eyes to possibilities I never knew existed. Being supported prayerfully and financially by my church has strengthened my relationship with them so much and made me realise the power of prayer. I learnt to rely on God for everything and just marvelled at the abundant way in which he provided.
Each day of this mission trip God just poured blessings out over me as I grew in faith and love for the people of the Philippines. Meeting other missionaries and faithful Christians from all over the world was such a joy, and I now feel like I have a much more real sense of what it means that one day we will worship together with brothers and sisters from every tribe and every nation and every tongue.
Since returning to the UK I have changed and matured a lot. I feel like I trust God more with the details of life and with my future, as I have a better idea now of how much he really is God of the whole earth. I complain less, and find it easier to find joy in everything. I also think I have become more hard working and more willing to do things I don’t want to do. I have returned to a very busy and stressful final year, but I feel able to do it all in God’s strength. I desperately hope to return to East Asia again to visit all the friends I made and serve God in that way again.
Written by Katherine – Serve Asia short term worker