Each year, hundreds of short-term missionaries serve in East Asia via OMF’s Serve Asia program. This month, we are highlighting a few of these workers and their experiences of serving the Lord Jesus.
Amy, 33, is a three-time Serve Asia worker, having completed Serve Asia trips to East Asia in each of the past three years. Each time, she went with a team from her church.
- What was the purpose or goal of your Serve Asia trip?
The goal was to share Jesus Christ with an ethnic minority group in East Asia using Christmas-themed culture exchange programs. Through the various programs, we bring Christ’s love, joy, peace and hope to them.
- Why did you decide to go on your Serve Asia trip?
My first year, I really didn’t know why, except that God’s hand was at work to lead me to join. The six months of training led by our pastor before heading out really helped to equip us for the spiritual battles. And a few days out in the field really opened my eyes and changed my mindset about the needs out there and about missions work. For such a short period of time, just six months, I saw a transformation in myself that I never thought possible. My faith in God and my relationship with him are much closer as well. For the consequent years, I continued to serve by joining Serve Asia trips because I knew God had more in store for me—to train me and to mold me to become the person he made me to be. He does not disappoint; I’m a different person from three and a half years ago. From a different perspective, I wanted to see the children we had served again, and to celebrate Christmas with them. Also, we had good relationships with the field missionaries, and we wanted to go back to visit and to encourage them as well.
- What did God teach you through your Serve Asia experience?
God really taught me to love, to care for the less fortunate, and most importantly to pray. I also learned that when I submit myself to God, step out of my comfort zone and allow him to mold me, my faith strengthened. God not only exposed some of my weaknesses and flaws, he transformed them to be my strengths so that I may become a blessing to others. It was really unbelievable and amazing!
- Share a “God-at-work” story (or two) from your trip that really impacted you.
The people we served live in a mountainous region, so every time we went we spent long hours riding buses up and down the mountain. Many times we traveled on dangerous snow-covered mountain roads. In 2014, we were on our way to a village school in a van, and we stopped right before a tight corner turn on an uphill road. It was very narrow and would only allow one car to pass through. We waited for the oncoming car to go by us before we headed into the turn. But, when the car came over the corner it began to slide on the icy road toward us. Everyone was fearful of the pending impact. If it hit us, a stationary van on an uphill, slippery icy road—and on the edge of a mountain road—we would tumble off the edge of the mountain and die. But the car never touched us. Instead, it stopped inches from us! We knew God was watching over us, and his mighty hand stopped the sliding car and protected us. Praise God for his mercy!
- What were some of the challenges you faced on your trip?
We faced many challenges. Pre-trip, we faced health issues in the team and with our families. We also faced some family relationship issues, legal issues, visa application challenges, and other troublesome and time-consuming problems. On the field, we faced unpredictable weather making our travel dangerous and impacting programs, including blocked roads. We faced programs suddenly being canceled, high altitude symptoms, no heat, no hot water, no electricity, sickness and diarrhea, disagreement in the team and spiritual attacks every day, but the Lord sustained us and the Lord was with us. When we reflected, we saw how precious those experiences were and our God turned those challenges into blessings.
- Did your Serve Asia experience continue impacting your life after you returned home? How so?
Yes, I began to see things differently. For example, how wasteful we are with food and with our resources. I was made aware of the needs out there. I saw a multitude of people needing God’s comfort but not knowing about him. I prayed more about the people and prayed for the missionaries as well. I began to get involved with gospel outreach in my church. The experiences of the past three and a half years have changed my mentality and my values, and strengthened my faith in Christ.
For more information about OMF’s Serve Asia program, including upcoming opportunities to go to East Asia, please check out our Serve Asia Opportunities.