God had planted a question on our hearts … could we go long term?
After a half-hour bus ride past the stinking palm plantations, we walked a couple of kilometres to the local supermarket in the midday sun with the humidity soaring. As we walked around a deep dirty drain, I remember the exact spot where we asked each other, “could we do this long term?” We were serving for four months in Malaysia at a school for people with disabilities as part of our honeymoon. As newlyweds, God planted this seed and over the next four years He gave it life. He did this through his Word, through people He brought into our lives who had served in that part of the world, and through revealing to us the need to go to the unreached.
Sometimes we concentrate so much on asking, “why us?”, but maybe a different way of thinking is, “why not?” Why not go and serve alongside those who don’t live in a safe and materially blessed society as we do. We feel that God has given us 30 years of abundant blessings, so why not now use these blessings to bless others.
When we returned from serving short term, we were disheartened to hear it would be at least a two-year journey before we could depart to serve long term. However, we now see that this time of preparation is invaluable as He reveals His call and purpose, and will potentially save us from making many cultural blunders!
God has led us to West Asia. When we were in Melbourne for Partner orientation, we asked our host where she had served. We were amazed to hear that she had served in the country we were currently considering! We plan to spend the first year language learning and from there use our professional skills to serve refugees and children with disabilities.
Even before we arrive in the country we see fruit in the way God is shaping both us and our church family. We are seeing our local church engaged in kingdom work outside of Australia. People are now involved and excited to see the unreached have the opportunity to hear of His love.
God has also changed our hearts and is teaching us to put our faith into action as we move out of our home, pack up our belongings and rely on His provision. A wise Partner advised that during the challenging process of support raising, “keep your eyes fixed on West Asia and the support will come”. We have learnt to rest in Him.
Adam (IT/project management) and Penny* (special education) have just left Australia to serve the church in West Asia.
*Names have been changed.