Shao Xiong & Levene are heading from Singapore to Japan for two years with OMF. We caught up with them to find out about their journey to this point.
Where did your interest in missions begin?
Levene: “All along, ever since I’ve been a Christian, I’ve seen missions is very important. but it was only more crystallized when I went to Australia to study. We were involved in OCF (Overseas Christian Fellowship) and from there, we met many people from different backgrounds, nationalities, languages, and we could see that many of them have never heard the gospel before in their lives in their home countries.
So to meet these people (we come from Singapore where the gospel is freely preached and I grew up in a Christian family) who have never heard the gospel before and to actually share it with them, and see it how like a light bulb in their eyes, it was really an enlightenment, and it sparked an interest (in me) for further discovery and exploration in missions.”
Shao Xiong: “It was back in 2013 that we heard the sharing about short-term mission work in the Northern part of Japan with the tsunami victims. At that point I was very moved by the sharing. I procrastinated for a year, (but) Levene eventually pushed me to sign up for the short-term trip. When we went, we saw that there was a great spiritual need in Japan. And it was not just the emotional or physical needs of the tsunami victims, but we’ve come realize the Church in Japan needed a lot of support, encouragement and prayers. They need long-term workers as well. So that made us think more seriously about long-term missions, possibly in Japan.”
Were there any barriers you encountered, had to work out and overcome before making decisions to missions?
Levene: “Our journey thus far has been very smooth, and there were not much obvious barriers, but, for sure, there were barriers that we needed to overcome within our own hearts. In Singapore, it seems that it is expected of you to study hard, get good grades, get a good job, climb the career ladder, get married, buy a house, have kids- that’s the route that everyone is ‘supposed’ to take as a young person in your 30s. To actually resign from your job- we just got married two years back, just got our home flat with a mortgage and thinking about children, we had to overcome these expectations, not just in our minds but in our hearts as well, and to really know that we can trust God to provide for all our needs in Singapore when everyone else is telling us to buy insurance, have more savings, what is your plan for the future and just entrust our children into God’s hands.”
Shao Xiong: “Because my parents aren’t Christians, we were afraid that they wouldn’t quite understand why we would be doing this. After all, they’ve raised us up for so long, sent us overseas for studies, and there were certain expectations of how we should take care of them in their old age. So this was something that weighed heavily on my heart. But I think that God must have guided this and when we spoke to them about it, my father was actually quite supportive of our decision, and we thank God that they have come to terms with us leaving and have given us their blessings as well.”
What are some things that we can pray with for, your families, and the Japanese people?
Shao Xiong: “I think we foresee that the Japanese language is a difficult language and we will need lots of prayer that we can master the language and learn it well. Pray that we will be able to adjust in the transitions, in terms of the culture and work well with the team in Japan. More importantly, it is to pray that even through our own limited effort that God can use what limited things that we’ve done or that we will be doing to further his kingdom.”
Levene: “Pray for us that we will love the Lord Jesus one more, because we will not be able to love the Japanese people if we do not have love for the Father, if we do not keep walking in step with him if our walk with God is distant. Only when our hearts are knit with Christ, then we can truly show his love and truly love others, not by our own strengths but through his strength. So that’s our big prayer point.”
Will you pray for Shao Xiong and Levene?