*** Due to the sensitivity & nature of the work, this missionary’s name, location, and other information have been left anonymous. ***
Share with us who you are and what you do.
I am an Asian-American New Yorker who had been living a totally normal life until I got called into missions 3 years ago. I had just started working as a Physician Assistant when God put on my heart to do a Discipleship Training School in Tanzania with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Since then, He’s continued to bring me strategically all around the world to 6 countries and 3 continents. I’m serving with YWAM full-time in Asia, discipling local believers, working with the underground house church, and doing ministry in my city. God is currently leading me in pioneering a healthcare training school here that will equip missionaries with basic healthcare and community development principles to be released into the nations.
How did you get that point, and what is it like?
To be honest, when I went schlepping off to Africa for my DTS almost 3 years ago, I had no clue what I was in for – maybe I would play with some kids, hold a couple of medical clinics, do a couple of dramas that talk about Jesus, you know. I wasn’t prepared for full-on spiritual warfare, demons and witch doctors, a near breakout of civil war, being immobilized by typhoid fever and malaria – as well as encountering the daily warfare of cross-cultural adjustment (“What do you mean you don’t know how to chop your own firewood, build a fire and cook dinner for 20?!”). I was not prepared for the way that God exposed my towering pride and terrible fears, and brought me to the uttermost edge of myself. And I wasn’t prepared for how, when I chose to jump off that edge and trust Him with everything, He satisfied my every longing and showed me, beyond a doubt, that the missions field was where I was created to be.
I had always thought that being a missionary was for super-Christians, pastors’ kids and the like, but actually, living the Gospel means that we all engage in reaching out to the world. As for “super-Christian” – yes, there is the amazing and miraculous happening all the time, with churches planted, people healed and delivered, and entire communities transformed – but that’s the Holy Spirit’s job, not mine. What I do is just to hear from God and obey Him, in the tiny, mundane decisions of daily life as well as the big path-altering decisions, and to be salt and light where I am simply by being who I am.
What are the joys of being in missions? Costs? Risks?
It is a joy to be in the center of God’s will. In the beginning, the excitement and adventure was a “high” for me – making my home in exotic places, trekking through dangerous territory, seeing people’s lives getting completely flip-turned upside-down by encountering Jesus. I definitely still love the adventure and challenge that being a full-time missionary brings, but it’s not the reason why I’m here. It is the closeness and intimacy with my Father, having no choice but to trust Him with everything, and needing to go deeper to hear His voice. It was only when I got away from my comfort zone at home that I learned to live by faith and found joy in living by God alone.
I find that the costs of being a missionary – the cost of being a Christian – is absolute surrender. Jesus said, if anyone would follow Him, he(/she) must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Him. Life as a Christian costs us our selves, and in a very personal way. My time, my family, my relationships, my finances, career, dreams, expectations… I’ve had to go through the struggle and pain of laying down every single one of those things, because God will be satisfied with nothing less than our everything. And yet in His love and wisdom He does also give them back in His own time, restored and redeemed, and infinitely better than what we could have managed for ourselves. So there is joy in surrender, too.
As for risks, well, there are obvious physical risks and dangers that come with being a Christian worker in a closed country. As little as a decade ago there were still people being tortured in prison for the Gospel, and while that doesn’t happen anymore, the precautions we take to avoid security issues still seem extreme to our Western friends. I believe persecution is a blessing responsible for the fire and hunger of believers here – my roommate says, “In this country we know that faith is not easy, so we don’t take it for granted.” And what is risk when you’re deep in the arms of an Almighty God?
What is revival, and what does revival look like in your context?
Revival starts with God revealing Himself to the aching, hungry, praying individual… it is a Holy Spirit realization of how completely wretched we are left on our own, and how incredibly victorious we are when we let Him in our lives. At its heart, it is repentance. When we repent and make a choice to turn away from the snares of world and self, when we really surrender… then God fills our own emptiness with who He is. He pours out Himself to overflow, and as we continue to surrender, He continues to pour, and the love of God spills over the top onto the people around us, and they too are invited and drawn into His love.
By numbers, the church in this country has been exploding with growth in recent years, and there’s no doubt that God is moving and shaking the nation. The point isn’t, however, to have enough people to fill a church pew or a living room or even a million living rooms – it’s to be Christ in our workplaces and within our families, in the ways that we live. I only have one little part of the picture of what God is doing in this country, but I really believe that something big is on the horizon as God uses the hunger and obedience of the church, and every day I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of it.
How can we pray and partner with you?
For this country –
-For discipleship for local believers as the church grows, and that they would live His kingdom here.
-For God to raise up leaders and missionaries from within the Asian church who will obey His call to go!
-For missionaries already in the country – His grace, empowerment, and will in our lives, and faith to persevere 🙂
You can pray for my family, who are not yet believers and struggle with their eldest child not having a career and a steady source of income 😛 Also that God would continue to lead me in His perfect will, and that I would be sensitive to hear and obey!
As I said before, the vision that God’s given me for this time is to start healthcare training schools that would empower local missionaries to go out into unreached places- there is currently no Christian health training here! To do that, I’ll be both staffing and participating as a student on the Introduction to Primary Healthcare, a 6-month school that runs in YWAM Perth in January, with the goal of leading this school here. It will cost about $10,000 for a 3-month lecture phase in Perth and a 3-month outreach assignment. This is my current pressing need, and I’m praying for the whole amount to be released. I would love it if you would pray with me as well!
If you would like to know more and partner with what God is doing in the nations, please talk to Sam (firstname.lastname@example.org) for my contact details. I’d love to chat!
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” – Philippians 3:7-8