Although life as a missionary can be difficult at times, there are also many joys that come with serving God across cultures! CMS worker J, (serving with D and their two sons) shares 10 reasons why they love serving in South East Asia:
1. You must rely on God
What happens when you are constantly out of your comfort zone, in a vastly different culture, using language you will never fully understand? You can despair, crash and give up, OR you can be driven to depend on God! We have found that our faith has been strengthened and we have to rely on God.
2. You get to talk about faith
Most people have some sort of faith so it’s generally an easy thing to talk about faith issues. The difficult thing is getting below the surface to try and share something about Jesus and his gift of grace.
3. You’re reminded that you are an alien in the world
Although we regard our ‘host’ country in South East Asia as home, we know we will never really fit in – even with improving language and cultural understanding. This is a good reminder that our citizenship is with God.
4. It’s humbling
In your home country you take it for granted that you know how to communicate and do things ‘normally’. But when you struggle to do simple everyday things like shopping, getting around and talking with people, it is a humbling experience!
5. Learning from the ministry of others
In this area of the world there are workers from many different countries doing many different things, all with the same purpose of building God's church. It's exciting and a great blessing to see God's ministry in action.
6. You have a new appreciation of your ‘heart language’
If you have been fellowshipping with others in a foreign language for a few years, it is very moving to then hear God's word read and taught, and also sing his praises in your heart language.
7. Your family can bond
It is often difficult to get on well with people from different cultural backgrounds (Indonesian, Korean and American). So we have to spend time together, and in this way we have been blessed that our family unit has grown stronger!
8. It’s an adventure!
Exploring in a new country will probably take different forms than what you are used to. For us, we have found ourselves driving our car through an open range zoo with tigers in it, visiting active volcanoes and driving three hours for a two-hour long church picnic, just to name a few!
9. Simple joys become special treats.
With a humble allowance comes frugal living. This also means that small things can become special treats – such as good coffee, a milkshake, seeing a movie, visiting a playground with the kids, and nice cereal.
10. A slower pace of life
We love the slower pace of life in South East Asia, compared to the West.
J says, “God has given us many blessings as workers in South East Asia. Now might be a good time for you to consider if God wants you to serve long-term with CMS – perhaps here in one of Australia’s near neighbours?” Visit cms.org.au/go to find out more.