Missionaries: Away From Home

By Paul, with PK

Yu Sheng, oranges, family reunions, hongbaos (red packets with money) and food around the table are traditions we hold during the Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year annually. It isn’t just the Chinese who celebrate it- it includes the Koreans (Seollal), Vietnamese (Tet), Taiwanese, Southeast Asians of similar ethnicities, and of course, us Singaporeans.


Source: Unsplash

With the current restrictions in place, this year, Lunar New Year would be a rather subtle, quiet one, even with all the decors around each neighbourhood and Chinatown. Some decide to travel overseas for a much-needed vacation, and others will make the effort to ensure that visitations still go on. But not all will be able to make it home for reunions. For many parents of missionaries back here, being home for the New Year means much to many of them. This year, many of our missionaries will be missed because of various circumstances.

“So how will you be spending Chinese New Year away from home this year?” I texted some of our missionaries in the field. Some of them had planned on returning to Singapore for a short time, but were unable to do so as Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) remain on hold.


Cherlyn and Thai Young Adults at a fellowship.

A few of them replied back; for Cherlyn and Michelle, our missionaries in Thailand, they plan to meet over the festive season with another common friend to celebrate the occasion. In their words, getting together to find something Chinese to eat and to appreciate their ‘Chinese-ness’. For Michael & Ruth, they will be spending Chinese New Year’s Eve with the Pearl Family Garden ministry, spending the first day with the Taiwanese church they collaborate with and the rest with visitations from locals and fellow Singaporeans.


A photoshot of Michael & Ruth celebrating CNY with the STO.

Still others like J, the Lunar New Year would be a rather quiet one as eating outside and visitations are discouraged. Instead, she will have a few quiet meals with some local friends. For H&A, and L, they will video call their families and relatives back home and take the time to rest. H, if she were on the field, she would be traveling for fellowship and be in the midst of places of worship to ‘absorb’ the festive atmosphere.

Turning our attention back to our missionaries’ families back home here, it was wonderful to be able to resume our visits to families of our missionaries again this year, masked. Some of our visits were together with members of the supporting churches. For the past 2 years, visits were suspended, so we called and mailed vouchers instead.

The parents were extremely delighted to receive our visits again. It was a time for parents to reminisce the past; a chance to talk about their children. The visit to Mr and Mrs Goh, Michelle’s parents, was extra special as they had gotten baptised at Glory Presbyterian Church the day before our visit. Members of GPC have been reaching out and ministering to the Gohs for the past years.


PK’s visit to Michelle’s parents who were baptised recently.

Michelle was unable to be present for her parents’ baptism, and can’t “lo-hei” with her parents, so our visit represented her; it is a token of care and an appreciation of her parents’ sacrifice. She wrote, “Even though my parents don’t say it, they appreciate these visits by OMF Singapore. It’s through these visits and interaction that they know that I’m supported and cared for, and hence makes that extra effort to show their concern to them too. This is important since as non-Christians, they’ve never really understood what I do as a missionary. It’s always nice to know, even if it’s from others how my parents miss me and are proud of me. I know it is through these visits that my parents get a glimpse of what I do, the God I serve, and the people I serve alongside.”

At your own time and in your own way, here are some tips that you can do to support our missionaries:

1) Pray for them: At most visits, parents welcomed our prayers for them. Pray for protection physically and spiritually, that the Lord will guard their health. Pray for salvation for family members who are yet believers. Pray for God’s blessings to be upon their households.

2) Visit them: If you have mutual connections with our missionaries’ family members, pay them a visit- we’re sure that they appreciate your care! But ring them up first before going and keep to the measures ya!

3) Set up a video call: As many missionaries are away from home, it would be great to set up a time with them over a video call for fellowship. If you happen to be at their families’ place, even better! You can even participate in their outreach sessions should your times meet!

Thank you for all your prayers for our missionaries and the support you send to them in every way you can! By praying and send your love to them, you are involved and supporting the mission God has given to them!

 

 

The writers:

Paul is a designer by profession, serving full-time in Communications with OMF Singapore. For him, words make beautiful stories come to life. When he is not at work, you would probably find him fixing up model planes or doing food experiments.

PK is a missionary in the East Asian field currently serving as an Assistant Member Care Coordinator in OMF Singapore. Her heart is very much for youths and Third Culture Kids. Work aside, she crafts very beautiful handicrafts and cards inspired by nature!

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