Photo by Ian Tan
Written By S.A., Singapore
I remember distinctly the speaker’s call that Sunday: give one year of your life to missions. It was during the “missions month” in my church. I knew without a doubt that God was prompting me to make that commitment, but I did not have the courage to step forward in front of all my church members. With tears of surrender, I told God privately in my heart, “Lord, I want to give you one year in missions, here am I, send me.” It was 19 September 2010.
Fast forward to 2014. I was at the 4½-year mark in my job as a Social Service Planner in a Statutory Board. I was doing well in my career and had just gotten a promotion. Overall, life was comfortable and there were even times I felt like I didn’t need God in my life.
That was when the prayer I had made came back to me. I knew that if I wanted to “save” my faith, I had to “lose” and leave all that I had—my country, my home, my family, my job, and my life. So I clung to Matthew 16:25 and decided to fulfil my promise to God and experience Him anew.
In short, after praying, seeking godly counsel, reading up about the country as well as meeting with experienced missionaries, I decided to commit a year in Nepal.
At the missions conference I attended before heading to Nepal, there was talk about the risk of an earthquake. This worried me, and I didn’t have peace about going. But God assured me over and over again with the words from 2 Timothy 1:7-8 that He hadn’t given me a spirit of timidity, but of power. He reaffirmed my decision to go, and I became certain that He would be with me.
Eventually, I spent 1½ years in Nepal. Over that period, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I saw people living in remote villages where they had to cook with firewood and plant their own food for survival. I also experienced many things for the first time—most notably, the harrowing earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 and its regular aftershocks. It was an experience that strengthened my faith in God. I will never forget the sight I witnessed of the Nepali believers at church calling upon God’s name, while the building was swaying—none of them moved from their positions.
I also learned to speak Nepali, trek for hours up mountains to distribute Christian literature to remote villages, live in places without electricity and gas, sleep with rats, and endure hundreds of bed bug bites. On top of all that, there were also emotional challenges like grieving over the death of my grandfather.
To be honest, if I’d known what I was getting myself into at the start, I wouldn’t have dared to step out. It was truly God’s hand of protection that saw me through these challenges. He was with me and encouraged me through His Word.
Coming home after 1½ years, I struggled to reconcile the two worlds I had seen—Nepal and Singapore. Nepal wasn’t my home, but now, Singapore also didn’t feel like home either. But maybe that’s what it should be. As strangers and aliens in this world, we shouldn’t be feeling too at home or too comfortable where we are.
I would not exchange this experience for anything else, because it taught me to step out of my comfort zone, and that’s when I experienced what it meant to wholly depend on God.
It is when we have nothing, that we realize He is everything.