Learning among the Iu-Mien: from short- to long-term mission

Kei [1] shares his journey from short- to long-term mission, beginning with Serve Asia, OMF’s short-term mission programme:

‘I am a new OMF worker among Iu-Mien people in Northern Thailand. I arrived in 2021. I first visited them as a Serve Asia worker in 2015. The blessings of that trip went beyond my time in Thailand and continue in my ministry today.

Before

The first time I heard about the Iu-Mien people was when I met an OMF worker who serves among them. I started praying for the Iu-Mien people. Every time I heard updates from the worker when they came back for home assignment, my desire to visit increased. When I was in my last year of seminary, I had the opportunity to visit the Iu-Mien people in Northern Thailand.

During

Mainly I stayed at the Iu-Mien children’s hostel and visited several Iu-Mien villages. It was an exciting time to see with my own eyes the peoples, areas, and ministries I had been praying for.

Although the OMF worker who had first told me about the Iu-Mien wasn’t there, I could connect with Iu-Mien pastors and other Mekong workers. It helped me to get to know the people and what a ministry might look like. At this time, I had many opportunities to share my testimony with others. It reminded me how God had guided me into cross-cultural work. Throughout my Serve Asia placement, I was convinced that God was leading me to serve him long-term.

After

I could now pray for Iu-Mien and Mekong teams more specifically. However, I was still not clear about the country and people group I should go to. For a few years, I served in Japan, my home country, and asked my church and my prayer supporters to pray for guidance about my future. I also asked for advice from the Mekong workers I had met. I prayed for God’s guidance by comparing my prayers, experiences, and gifts with the current situation. The most helpful material was the prayer guides for the Mekong. Through prayer, God made clear he was calling me to work with the Iu-Mien people. Today As a long-term worker, I look forward to working with Iu-Mien to know God through reading the Bible translated into their language and serving God together. It is a blessing from God that through going out to serve him, both those going out and those sending out are given a new perspective and their prayers grow in faith and expectation.

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