There are various obstacles in the journey to long-term missions from raising financial support to saying goodbye to friends and family.
So we asked a few OMF workers about challenges they faced before heading to East Asia. Here is what they said…
Joao Pedro, Japan
On my journey to becoming a missionary in Japan, the biggest barrier I faced was losing my comfort. In my 7 years in the UK, I had developed a successful and meaningful ministry. I was also on my way to receiving British citizenship, so my life was very comfortable and stable. Eventually, the Lord spoke clearly to me in Hebrews 11:8 to take a step in faith and give it all up to be part of his amazing work here in Japan.
Darren Wall, Cambodia (now UK)
I was in the RAF at a point where serving for a further four years seemed to be financially beneficial for supporting our young family. At the same time we felt the Lord prompt us to start enquiring about serving God in mission overseas. Working through the application it became clear we should take the next step; joining OMF. After this it was beyond doubt that, regardless of the financial implications, leaving the RAF was right.
Nathaniel Jennings, Ireland
My passion was for Asia and to serve the Lord there. The Lord gave me peace that this was the direction I should travel to honour him. However, other idols came close to distracting me and derailing me from the wonderful adventure the Lord had for me. I shudder when I look back and consider that I was tempted to trade God’s best for me for ultimately empty worldly pursuits.
Charles Chalmers, Philippines (now UK)
Not having a wife! But God provided for me in the Philippines, a beautiful Welsh lady, with the same calling to the same work and organisation!
Helena Dykes, Thailand
My neighbour and my son said they did not think I would be any good at what I was going out to do! Looking back they were probably right, but God asked me and I knew he would take care of me and my family; the responsibility lay with him. I met wonderful people, loved church there, learned to speak some Thai, kept well, finished well.
Caroline Steer, Thailand
Me? A missionary? That was my staggered response to a challenge raised during a Serve Asia trip to Thailand. I didn’t think that my life would be spent away from all I knew in the UK.
When I suggested to my parents that perhaps I should return to Thailand long term, there was a stunned silence. Would they understand and accept this call for their only unmarried daughter? My parents met with some of the OMF Thailand team and in trust, released me to serve the gospel here.
Julia Birkett, Thailand
My feelings about the career path that family members would expect me to take, after getting a good education, could have stopped me getting to the mission field. Fortunately, God gave me the courage to trust him and to communicate with those dearest to me about my passion to serve God overseas.
Will you pray for those on the journey to long-term mission?
Give thanks for these OMF workers and how God walked with them through these obstacles so they could serve him.
Pray for those on the journey to long-term missions facing similar challenges: loss of comfort, financial questions, being led in a different direction to what they expected, relationships, questions from family and friends. Pray for God to lead them through these issues in his way and timing.