After completing my full time university education in Architecture, the UK was in the middle of a recession and there was very little work for architects. So, I decided to go to South America with a Latin Link STEP team. During a conversation with the missionary who was supervising us I said that I felt God might lead me do mission overseas in the future, but not immediately. On my return I continued to apply for work and subsequently secured a job in London.
Sixteen years later I realised that I had never followed the call to do mission overseas and decided to put that right. The obvious place to start was to consider going back to Brazil with Latin Link. However, God had other ideas. Slowly I began to realise that God was placing another country on my heart – Thailand. My first visit to Thailand was to help look after the children of missionaries at a conference. I felt drawn to Thailand and also enjoyed spending a week with a Thai friend in Bangkok doing ‘local’ things and not famous tourist attractions. Early one morning we went to observe the giving of alms to Buddhist monks at the local temple. This had a real impact on me as I saw how deep-seated Buddhism is in the culture.
The following year, in February 2015, I returned to Thailand with the desire to share the gospel with those who have little, if any, chance to hear. However, for the first 3 years I had the amazing opportunity to help with the design of the new language and culture training centre for missionaries using my skills as an architect. During that time I was also able to study Thai, attend a Thai church, and make friends with local people. Following this, I felt that God was leading me to join a church planting team in Central Thailand. In February 2018 I moved to LaatYao to be part of a team which includes several Thai people. There are so many isolated Christians living too far away from the nearest church to be able to attend regularly. So, the vision is for cell groups in each of these locations, reaching out to their relatives and neighbours.
My first experience of Thailand, and OMF, was to help look after children during a conference. This is a great way to serve the mission community and have the opportunity to talk to people about their experiences of living in another culture long term. I would thoroughly recommend this as a way to explore the possibility of becoming involved.