Short-Term Mission and COVID-19
We’re Eric and Kelly Farrow from Los Angeles, CA. Right around Christmas of 2019, we heard of an unexpected opportunity to serve for six months at OMF’s International Center (IC) in Singapore. With little time to prepare, we decided to go, making some difficult decisions (such as to leave Kelly’s job) and with mixed feelings. God provided a renter for our home, which was an answer to prayer.
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While in Singapore, Eric served on the IT support team, while Kelly served in Kidzone and the guest home. After less than two months on the field, the U.S. issued a level-4 travel advisory and urged all citizens traveling overseas to return. With much prayer and wise counsel from people on staff at the IC as well as from Serve Asia staff, we were led to respond to that warning and return home immediately.
Regret and Dissappointment
This decision came with much regret and disappointment at leaving commitments unfulfilled. Eric ended up leaving the IT team understaffed and would have preferred to stay out our tourist visa. Kelly felt that the more cautious route was called for. Finally, we fully agreed that COVID-19 brought extenuating circumstances that no one could have foreseen except our great God, and we purchased tickets to return home.
On the home side, because of the renters in our house, we were unable to truly return home and instead had to take up temporary residence. Instead of viewing this situation negatively, we’ve been blessed to see it as a ministry. The missionary family staying in our home have had their lives majorly disrupted by COVID-19 as well. We’re pleased that our home can be a haven for them.
Recalibrate and Reevaluate
We currently have fewer responsibilities and commitments, since we hadn’t planned to be in the U.S. at this time. With that additional time has come sweet times in the Word. We were reminded by Acts 19:21 and Romans 15:22-24 that even Paul himself didn’t see all of his missionary plans come to fruition.
He was prevented by the Holy Spirit from going to certain places where he really wanted to go, where I’m sure he thought his gifts and talents could be well used, and where he thought he could serve God and the church.
If this could happen to Paul, we shouldn’t be at all surprised or upset that it happened to us. Look what God did through Paul despite the “ruining” of Paul’s plans!
While this hasn’t been an easy time for us, we see God using the virus to recalibrate many of our affections and reevaluate many of our plans. We are excited to see what He will bring from this situation in us, in Singapore, and all over the world.
Eric Farrow was born and raised in Los Angeles, while Kelly is originally from Chicago, IL. They lived in Okinawa, Japan from 2013-2014 when Kelly was on the JET Programme and gained a greater vision for proclaiming the Gospel in Japan. They are currently in the applications process to serve in Japan as associates.