Our Mobilisation Intern, Estelle, interviewed two young people (Pastor Anthony and Ambrose) about their vision and passion for mobilising the next generation for missions…
Est: How did you each of you come to partner with WEC?
Ps A: I heard of WEC quite some years ago before I really met up with anyone from WEC. I got into contact with WEC through my Pastor in 2012 as she introduced me to the mission organisation. I joined the short term mission trip training and got to know a bunch of fun-loving and God-loving people whom now I consider very much family. Since then, WEC has been very supportive both personally and in my ministry as a pastor. The staff and volunteers at WEC put in a lot of effort to keep us updated about the happenings in WEC and around the world. They also regularly meet up with me to find out how I am doing and has been in regular contact with my wife for years… WEC to me is a friend, family and partner in my spiritual journey of fulfilling my purpose in Christ. Oh ya… the people at WEC love to eat! So it kind of helps in the gelling process when we have the same hobby!
Am: I’m a volunteer with WEC. Whatever and whenever I am available and able to do if asked I don’t mind doing! Before getting to know about WEC I was quite interested and still am interested in exploring long term work in creative access Arabic-speaking nations. My friend learnt of a meeting with some visiting workers from the Middle East, made me aware of it and that was when I filled up a form and indicated things I was interested in with WEC; be it short term exposure trips in the Middle East, praying on campus for Unreached People Groups (UPGs) with other people who want to pray and yeah, that’s what I do! Last year I volunteered with WEC at a missions camp at Pastor Anthony’s church.
Est: Yes, our WEC staff mentioned this camp to me. They really appreciated the volunteers like you who came alongside to serve at this youth mission camp, Ambrose! Ps Anthony, could you share how this youth mission camp came about?
Ps A: Our pastoral team has put in quite a bit of effort in mission education to get the congregation up to speed in terms of understanding the purpose and need for missions. So we had to organise various activities meant for different age groups. For the youth, we decided that we would organise a mission camp for them instead of making them sit through seminars. I was thinking of a partner organisation to work this out together with me and WEC immediately came to my mind. In one of my meet ups with their Mobilisation Team Leader, I mentioned this to him and he was very enthusiastic about the possibility. After a week or so, he confirmed with the team on this partnership and we were set to go!
Mission education was made alive in the camp! The camp was filled with fun-filled activities that conveyed a missions message behind them and the youths enjoyed themselves greatly! I remember fondly about a few activities we did, one of them being the acting out the life of William Carey in groups. Each group had to act out a period of William Carey’s life and each period of his life taught of a quality or experience as a missionary. This activity touched the hearts of many of my youths. The other one was a mission simulation game where everyone simulated trying to be a missionary. It was led by our brother Ambrose. The mission simulation game was very fun to play and gave the youths a better idea of the process a missionary has to go through. We also had to go around our neighbourhood to talk with people and understand more about their culture. Through this short time of interaction with my neighbouring communities, I realised I spoke to people from more than seven cultures from five countries right in my neighbourhood! I never knew this for the 30 odd years moving around in this community. Another very interesting activity was going to different stations to understand more about the missions work in that particular country. I love hearing the life stories of missionaries; they are so inspiring! If not for the tight time constraint during the camp, the missionaries could have shared even more of what they experienced on the field with us!
Est: That sounds really wonderful! Sounds like your church youth had great exposure to missions. Ambrose, that’s such an interesting concept- a mission simulation game to understand the process that a missionary has to go through. Can you tell us more about your own involvement in missions and the process for you?
Am: I had never really thought of missions as I saw myself staying in Singapore for the rest of my life. The turning point came while I was doing my National Service. During that time, I was sent to Brunei and was stationed alone in the jungle for seven days. Being in the jungle in cold, rainy weather gave me time alone with God. It was then that God dealt with me regarding three issues. The first is my love for children. Was I able to give up having children of my own if that was God’s will for me? Secondly, I am a very charismatic and visible person. What if God brought me to a place so obscure that no one knows of, and what if it was a place I could not come out of? Thirdly, what if I was challenged to leave Singapore and spend my life in another place? I struggled in my heart as God spoke to me regarding these issues. When I finally surrendered these three areas of my life to the Lord, He put a vision in my heart for the Middle East. And so I have been intentional about equipping myself with a variety of skillsets that will prepare me for the time the Lord calls me to go. In Uni, I have been taking Cultural studies, Arabic Language, Mathematics and Linguistics and Educational Psychology, etc. (In church and in campus ministry with Cru, I have served in leadership in various areas of ministry.)
In 2014, I went for a Discovery Trip to the Middle East for six weeks facilitated by WEC. It was an amazing experience as I was able to meet locals from all walks of life and from different social classes. This included people from upper and middle classes, refugees and students. I was able to take the time to meet, talk with and get to know many locals. Forming sincere relationships with people is important and opens the door for further conversations about Christ. I was involved in church work, worship leading, refugee ministry, campus ministries, teaching English, children’s English curriculum planning, as well as encouraging the workers whom I had met. I met the team there, and while it was a challenge having to communicate with a multi-national team with members who spoke different languages, it was extremely insightful to hear them share their stories and experiences. They inspired me to be prepared for the long-haul and slow work there, in faith for the Kingdom, whether or not we could see fruit!
Est: Wow! Thanks, Ambrose, for sharing your journey thus far... Ps Anthony, what are some of the joys and challenges as you mobilise your church for missions?
Ps A: Our church stopped missions work for almost a decade because of internal issues and many of our church members don't know what missions is really about. As mentioned, the pastoral team spent quite a bit of effort in mission education to get the congregation up to speed. During this process of mission education, we had to pay special emphasis to conveying the correct mission mindset to the church leadership. We had to broaden the leadership's understanding of missions work and how missions work had evolved in recent years due to circumstances and situations in the mission field. I am glad that the leadership has been very supportive and understanding in the process of rebuilding missions work in our church.
Through mobilising the church for missions work, it is a great privilege and joy to partner with God and other fellow servants of God. It is also amazing to see how God touches the hearts of those you serve as they step out in faith to go for missions. Actually, I, together with two of the participants from our youth mission camp we talked about, went on a Discovery Trip this June to East Asia organised by WEC. God’s heartbeat is missions and when the whole church participates in missions together, God is pleased.
Est: Indeed… Ambrose, what about for you? What are some of the joys and challenges as you prepare to serve long term in missions?
Am: It always warms my heart when my own friends and family (and church family) ask me how I’m doing and what other plans I have in the future regarding such directions. Sometimes, because it’s still a while away until I go, it takes a bit out of me to remember that and not get too lost in everything happening now. But there’s also the joy in knowing, wherever I will go, whatever I will do, it’s already written and so planned in the hands of God.
Est: Lastly, Ps Anthony, can you share some ways in which you think churches and mission agencies can partner together effectively?
Ps. A: It is very difficult to keep abreast of the latest developments in mission work for churches. We will definitely need the partnership of mission agencies like WEC to keep us informed of the needs and opportunities. More than just participating in our mission conferences or setting up booths to educate the general congregation about the mission field, I truly believe that the partnership can go a step closer and deeper... through personal relationships and even representatives from missions agencies giving feedback and consultation to church mission committees to help us be aware of our blind spots in our mission work. I believe there must be synergy between the local church and the mission agencies for the good of God’s work in missions.
Est: Amen! Thank you so much, Ps Anthony and Ambrose, for sharing your journey in missions with us. What we’ve heard today from you is but a glimpse into two lives. There are so many more amazing stories of how God has been working in each of the lives of the people and churches we have relationships with. We are truly thankful for each of you, for your partnership in RPM (Reaching the unreached, Planting christian communities among them and Mobilising the global church for missions).