Hi, my name is Trish Bekker, and I am the Serve Asia Coordinator for Southern Africa. My husband and I worked with OMF in Asia for nine years, first in Thailand and then in Singapore. During this time we often hosted Serve Asia workers, both individuals and teams. We so valued and appreciated these trips. Even though they were hard work for us as hosts, we loved seeing how Serve Asia workers grew in their faith and often felt their calling to missions (or a particular career e.g. medicine) affirmed during their time with us.
We returned to South Africa almost six years ago to restart OMF Southern Africa. There was literally no one else to do the role of Serve Asia Coordinator, so I took it on along with the Candidate Coordinator and Personnel Manager roles.
My day-to-day work involves checking enquirers and responding to them, following up with those in the pipeline, praying about suitable placements for teams and individuals, and chatting with coordinators in East Asia as well. I have a number of churches that I am also in regular contact with. From time to time we do training, with groups, and also one-on-one. A lot of the work is done via email and Zoom as we serve the whole of Southern Africa.
It is such a joy when we find a good match between a person and a team and where the opportunity also fits the person, but often the team is even more significant. When I do the debrief once they get home again, I love hearing how they have grown, the challenges that they overcame, and how the Lord is leading them next. It’s definitely been a highlight that four Serve Asia workers we’ve sent are now working with OMF long-term.
The most difficult thing is when we can’t place people. The disappointment is very real – and that was the hardest thing at the beginning of this year when all the Serve Asia trips were cancelled.
Lessons learned? To trust God. It’s his work, his timing, his finances, his will, and so whenever I find myself feeling stressed or anxious, I know that I am trying too hard in my own strength and need to hand things over to God.
South Africa may not send many Serve Asia workers, but we have seen God work in amazing ways in the lives of those who have gone. Please pray for more workers to be sent. Pray for new motivation to mission- after a long quiet time during our lockdown, a lot of the momentum has been lost, the economy is faltering, many churches are still not meeting, and travel is uncertain, so going to Asia is a challenge.
Serve Asia Coordinator – Southern Africa