Written by Matthias for Go Asia (Sep-Dec 2018)
Right after National Service ended, my friend Joseph and I found ourselves with this pocket of time before university started, to explore missions. While it was an opportune time to earn some pocket money, travel and go for internships, we were convicted that at this turning point in our lives, how much more important it was for us to discern God’s will for our lives. We knew that God calls all of us as believers to “make disciples of all nations”, but what did that really mean?
Having been on short-term mission trips and having a desire for a deeper understanding of missions and clarity of a missional calling, I felt that I would never know unless I threw myself into the mission field and experienced it firsthand. With that conviction and God’s divine appointment, Joseph and I spent one and a half months in Northern Thailand with Nellie.
Nellie’s ministry covered two main areas – the Miracle Children’s Hostel and the village of Santiphap. Through this experience, I developed a deeper understanding of what it means to be a missionary and a broader perspective of mission work. In hearing her story and assisting in her ministry, it became clear to me what she had sacrificed to be in Thailand as a missionary, and how God was using her among the Mien people. Initially, it baffled me how someone would make such a decision to leave everything behind, but I began to realise that at the heart of that decision was her obedience to God and desire to share His love with the unreached. After finding out about her journey in becoming a missionary, I began asking myself: How much was I willing to give up in obedience to God?
In addition, I saw how much of a difference it made to live among people and be immersed in their culture – as opposed to sharing their experiences or providing for their needs in a brief stay, as I had done in the past. Discipleship requires a much greater investment than just a few weeks of our time, and I saw firsthand just how Nellie’s discipleship over the years had deeply impacted the lives of the Mien people, in both the hostel and the village.
Prior to the trip, I was glad to be able to bless the Mien just as I was blessed abundantly. However, I began to see that not all material wealth can resolve all of life’s issues. In this, I see the greater need to share the Love of God; that only He alone can truly satisfy them in all their needs and resolve their problems.
During this trip, God convicted me that mission work begins with surrender and obedience. While mission work might be overwhelming, I want to continue surrendering to God’s will for me and live in obedience in the small things that He entrusts me with, He will prepare me to do greater things for His Kingdom. As I begin this new season of life, I am excited to see where God will lead me as I pursue a life of obedience.