When did you first catch the vision for missions?
Jeffery (J): I got the call at about 12 years old when Dr Andrew Ng came to Sunday School to share about his calling just before he went to Africa as a missionary. I was inspired when he said that he was called by God at about the same age I was then.
Serene (S): I first caught the vision for missions through my aunty who shared and told stories about her life as a missionary in India. I was totally mesmerised!
What happened/impacted you so much that you actually followed it through?
J: At that young age, I was rather awed by the thought that God had called me to be a missionary doctor, but I was not that good at studies then. But God began to bless me, and I got better at my studies from then on. I became more and more aware of the possibility that God had indeed called me, and I grew a lot in my faith in my teenage days, especially in the youth fellowship.
S: I rededicated my life to God at the age of 16 after falling away from God, and the seeds of missions that were planted in me as a child germinated and started to sprout. It was at this time that I also gave my entire life to serve God in missions.
What are some of the things that being involved in missions have cost you?
J: Well, the cost really hit home when I started to work and (began) to have a good and steady income. There [were] many things that I wanted with what I was earning. If God had not called me at an early age I probably would still be in Singapore. God knew that I was rather attracted and attached to worldly things. But since being in the missions field I learned to be [content] with what is given to me, as compared to the poor in Cambodia. I still appreciate worldly things but they do not have a hold on me.
S: I’ve not thought much about the “cost” it had on me because the decision to follow Jesus and serve Him in missions were the two best things I’ve ever done, and worldly pleasures were not an issue for me. Having said that, now that I am in the field, I do miss conveniences, good government, good transportation and easy amenities.
What has been the most difficult, and why?
J: I think that the most difficult thing for me is managing the demands of ministry and family. Many a time I tend to put the needs of the family behind that on the ministry. With Serene and myself both having almost full-time ministries, we need to be careful to not neglect the needs of our children. The other is finding suitable education for the children in Cambodia. There are many factors involved in choosing the best for them. It is not an easy decision and I need to trust God that He will take care of our children as we serve Him.
S: The heat. I get easily irritated and cannot sleep well, especially in the hot season.
Rewards of the vision
What have you seen God do through your involvement?
J: Health of some prisoners getting better, hearts of prisoners being open to the gospel, seeds of hope are sown and giving value and worth to the sick prisoners as they too are created in the image of God. As the team doctor of OMF Cambodia, caring for the health of the team members so that they can go on to serve God.
S: I am seeing God bringing people back to Cambodia so serve as career missionaries, and short term people going back to their owe countries to be more involved and engaged in missions in their own churches or campuses.
What can you see that God is in the process of doing?
J: Through Prison Fellowship Cambodia, we are showing the love of Christ to the prisoners through actions. They know that we are a Christian organization and what we do is because of Christ. Being a missionary is not just all about planting churches, but also about showing the love of Christ through [our actions].
S: God is stirring the hearts of the younger generation to blaze the path of missions with a renewed sense of passion and urgency for taking the gospel to the nations, especially in the UK, US and Australia.
Team behind the vision
How many other Christians are involved in keeping you in missions?
Bartley Christian Church; OMF International (Singapore); OMF International (Cambodia); OMF International; family members and relatives; working friends and colleagues; Prison Fellowship of Cambodia; supporters whom we have known as a result of our work and meeting of many people all around the world.
What do they do that helps you?
Member care, financial support, prayer support, visitation and gifts.
How much do you need them/ how important is what they do?
We really need them as we realized we cannot do what we do without the backbone of our supporters and carers. It is a partnership in the gospel, and countless times, be it known or unknown, their support as a tremendous impact in our lives and ministries. We must not forget that we are all part of the team that is building God’s Kingdom. We are not more important than you, and vice versa. Without each other we cannot build His Kingdom.
Adapted from “Are you willing to consider going?,” a JMM publication for Bartley Christian Church July Mission Month 2007.