During their time in SBC, Gina and Daryl were the only two students in the one-year programme—they each wanted to “get it over and done with” before plunging back into the mission field.
Throughout that year, they bonded over a similar compassion and burden for the marginalised and neglected in society. Being in the same programme also meant they shared the same classes and project groups, and had a lot of time to get to know each other.
But while the call to missions was what brought them together, it was also where their plans diverged.
“We often share that our call to missions was the thing that kind of brought us together, but it was also the biggest obstacle in our relationship because at that point in time, we felt clearly called to two different countries. We were wondering if we should even go into this (relationship) because it would complicate a lot of things,” Gina said.
Daryl added: “At first, I was thinking about whether she will be willing to come to Thailand with me. But then I think God convicted me by asking, ‘Is this your plan or my plan? Do you really need to go back to Thailand in order to serve me or to feel like you are living out my calling?’ I felt that God was calling me to just be faithful where I am.”
Eventually, they decided to pursue a relationship and surrender their plans to God.
“If God leads us to China, or Thailand, so be it; if God leads us to another country altogether, so be it. Or if God calls us to stay in Singapore, so be it as well. That dying to self and surrendering was tough for both of us but it was also a relief, because it opened a door for us to get to know each other, and it also allowed us to trust God for the future,” Daryl said.
The couple got married amid the Covid-19 pandemic last year and have stayed put in Singapore since.
Gina said the journey in discerning God’s purpose for them as a couple taught her true obedience to the call to live missionally.
“I think we’re still in a season of seeking. Where we will be in a number of years is still a question mark . . . But (Daryl and I) know very clearly that deep down in our hearts, we still care a lot for the poor, the marginalised, the neglected in society. And this group of people literally exists everywhere.”
Although God has placed them in Singapore for now, they’ve continued to cross paths with the communities they feel burdened for. Gina, for instance, works with Chinese students, while Daryl has the opportunity to serve with Thai workers through the Operation Mobilisation ministry.
Gina said: “I think that is when we really know that God wants us here for this season. You can never really question God’s purpose even though we sometimes only make sense of it a few years down the road.”
There are no wasted years in God’s economy, she added.
Daryl also sees how God has placed him in children’s ministry to exhort the call to missions.
“Nurturing the missional heartbeat is a long-term effort. It is important for us to challenge the young ones to move outwards instead of growing up focused on themselves,” he said.
He stressed, again, that engaging in missions should not happen only thousands of miles away, but is often right at our doorstep.
“I think the calling to missions is first a lifestyle, before it is a place.”