Daryl and Gina:
A Couple Called to Two Different Countries
Written by Kelly Ng
She spent a year befriending women in the red light district of a Chinese city, hoping to be a bearer of God’s eternal light; while he served on the fringes of Thailand for four years at a shelter for needy children.
Separately, Gina Chan and Daryl Tay had returned to Singapore in 2018, for an “involuntary break” from overseas missions, expecting to jump back into the field they each felt called to after a year at the Singapore Bible College (SBC).
But God had other plans.
In that one year, he had them meet and resonate with each other’s heart for the marginalised, while wrestling with being called to serve in different countries. And yet, He led them to get married, put on hold their enthusiasm for overseas missions and remain in Singapore for this season.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make for the couple who had always envisioned their Graduate Diploma course in Intercultural Studies at SBC as but a pitstop.
Daryl’s home church, which supported his mission stint in Thailand, had wanted him to be theologically equipped for work in the field; while Gina had returned for a short break after her one-year stint in China was up. But both had planned to jump back into the field as soon as they finished their studies.
“I think initially we both struggled with staying in Singapore. We were both living one foot in Singapore, and the other foot out. I was still living on a contractless phone plan. I didn’t try to do anything that will cost me to stay or commit to anything long-term, so everything was very half-hearted in my one year,” said Gina, who is currently an associate Christian ministry staff member at St Francis Methodist School.
“But when we started dating and thinking about getting married, we sensed clearly that God was asking us to root ourselves in Singapore (for this season). We saw His plans for us here,” said the 31-year-old.
Daryl, who serves as pastoral staff in the children’s ministry at Wesley Methodist Church, said that God has reshaped his perspective of “missions” over the last few years in Singapore.
“Initially, we saw missions as something that we need to go overseas to do, but I think God has been showing us that within Singapore, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, missions exist right at our doorsteps,” he said.
St Francis, for instance, has proven to be a huge mission field because the majority of its students are from the Chinese diaspora. The couple also reaches out to the community in Singapore’s red light district with Operation Mobilisation, a Christian non-profit organisation.
“Sometimes, we become so fixated with our secondary calling that we forget our primary calling to live out the gospel. It was a reminder for us that even as we came back to Singapore, we can live out the gospel here as well. And God really has a purpose for every season,” said Daryl, 32.
The couple refers to the respective countries they feel called to as their “secondary callings”. The recent years in Singapore and their earlier years abroad have taught them that the missional heartbeat can, and should, be lived out everywhere.
Gina said: “I have always told others that you don’t need to buy an air ticket to live missionally, and I felt that God was challenging me precisely with this.”