different.

2) for many people, exposure to missions is through short-term missions trips. i must admit that before i questioned the effectiveness of short-term trips. now, i know that much fruit comes from such trips..if done strategically. it saddens me to see trips that is more harmful than helpful..especially to the host missionaries and their target people group. ah, i digress…

more often than not, short-term trips serve as one’s understanding of missions. oh, but how different they are. 

short-term trips (stt) are just that: short. in addition, they are sweet…short and sweet. 

generally speaking, stt’s have a very specific focus and mission that are carried in a very precise way by the visiting team. though they can be immensely helpful in further carrying out the mission of the long-term workers living there…it must be understood that the stt’s are seeing just the “fruit” of the host missionary’s labor. for ex: visiting an unreached village and doing evangelism. this was set up by the host missionary…it took much time, trust, and toil to build relationships to even gain access into the unreached village. it took hours and hours of language study to finally be able to communicate with village leaders. it took much prayer and even fasting to seek God’s counsel in executing mission, both on a small and large-scale. and these are just the “bigger” things. the littler things would be more of the logistical such as admin preparation, pre-shopping, meetings, etc. 

in addition, just as the stt was set-up by the long-term missionary (ltm), to some degree…the ltm will have to be responsible for continual follow-up.

many stt’s are outreach-focused as evangelism is of incredible importance. evangelism has its many challenges. but on so many levels, discipleship is harder. and i would argue that for many missionaries, though discipleship is a deep desire…it’s slow, so very slow. to put it simply, stt’s are generally more quick-revealing in fruit (through evangelism), but ltm are quite slow-revealing in fruit. and for many missionaries, they never see the fruit they long to. 

yes, short-term and long-term missions is different. 

and yes, both are worth it. 

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the cost.

my experience here is quite limited, especially compared to the other workers who have been on the field for years and decades. but from my time here, i’m so convicted to see the Church renew its commitment in not only sending missionaries…but how to send them, how to support them. may the Church’s commitment be renewed…for the effectiveness of missions, for the longevity of missionaries, and for the full glory of our Missionary King.

missions is hard.

ever since i knew that i wanted to live on the mission field full-time, i was super engaged with the “missions world”. i went to conferences, followed blogs, talked to missionaries, read biographies, went on many short-term trips, etc. i was well-informed about missions. just as in many other circumstances of life…being informed and being immersed can portray such different reflections.

what i didn’t know is the painful reality of missions…something that can’t be fully articulated at conferences, shared during church presentations, written in biographies, updated on blogs. it’s something that can only be learned while on the mission field. and the painful reality is: costliness. it costs a lot. and though i can try my best to describe what it’s like..i won’t…because to describe it would simply minimize it to mere words. when costs…are so much more than words. but what i would like to convey is that there is much…so much. carrying the cross into an unreached nation and dwelling with the people there…it’s costly. on a personal note, all the more i love my King…that He came to this earth…i celebrate it even more and i thank Him even more. i’ve gotten just a tiny taste of His cross-cultural move…but it’s a taste that forever and permanently marks me with marvel for my Humble King.

most of the time, missions is shared in a light that glamorizes it. truth be told, missions is glamorous…it really is…just like anything else that seeks to bring full glory to the King. but, many times, missions is seen as something that’s hard..but it’s mistaken as a “fun” hard. for example, on short-term trips…it’s hard. but it’s a fun hard…because we know it’s going to be worth it.

to be honest, the difficulties of life on the mission field…sometimes, many times…compel missionaries to question, “is it worth it? is it really worth it?” this isn’t a once-in-awhile question but a very frequent question that’s wrestled through. both single and married missionaries, more often than not, bring these questions before the Lord in tears.

may the Church respond in compassion and gentleness to its co-laborers on the field.

yes, missions is hard.

and yes, it’s worth it.

a year.

today marks 1 year since i moved to thailand.

in many ways, it feels both longer and shorter than a year. so many things can describe this year:  trials, pain, aloneness, isolation, tears, discovery, faith, surrender, prayer, blessing. but there’s just 1 word that can completely, entirely, and so truthfully pinpoint this past year: grace.  

i had some expectations prior to moving here, but i didn’t anticipate the difficulties that would mark this year. likewise, i didn’t anticipate the hidden blessings. and in addition, little did i know of the countless times of surrender that i’d come to the Lord…broken, desperate, and just like a child. 

all grace. so much grace. 

thank You.

 

counted joy.

i’ve learned so much this past year. suffering, in particular…james 1:2-4 has been a good teacher to me many times. joyful suffering. this was uncharted territory for me. i still have much to learn. but i can say that with God’s grace…i know just a little bit more about this. i know a little bit more about suffering and a little bit more about joy. my understanding of both was a misunderstanding. thanks be to Jesus…He carries me through the highest mountains and the lowest valleys. and the seasons in the valleys are not wasted. thanks be to Jesus…His joy is my strength in all seasons of life. hallelujah. 

hope.

this evening, i had a heart-to-heart talk with 2 of my favorite thai friends. they are in love with Jesus, in love with their family, and in love with their nation. such a beautiful couple. usually, we are so busy doing ministry in the slums. but tonight, we were able to just talk and share. it was both heart-breaking and inspiring. i am so deeply encouraged by their faithfulness. the way they pour into the kids and families in the slums…simply put, they are the hands and feet of Jesus. we shared about the challenges of working in the slums, the brokenness of the very families we love there, and the overwhelming mountains of poverty/statelessness/alcoholism/drug addiction/and so much more. in response to this, we cried out “Maranatha. Jesus, come.” and likewise, in response to this, we professed how there’s still so many people who don’t know Jesus and how many are yet to be reached.

it was a sweet time of fellowship. sharing the pains and difficulties of loving our neighbors, calling out upon Jesus, and recommitting our lives to Gospel lives.

more often than not, i encounter much hopelessness. whether it’d be people i see on the streets, the stories i read, the cases i hear, hopelessness seems to be everywhere.

but just like how tonight i’m so encouraged by these 2 faithful friends, i remember the hope of the world: the Church.

it’s small but growing. just like a mustard seed. the Kingdom of Heaven is here and is coming.

 

partnership.

i’ve learned so much this year. and one of the biggest discoveries has been partnership. why i need it, why He wants to give it. there’s such beauty in it.

i’m so grateful for OEM. it was such a full and rich time with them. with the team here, i saw it more tangibly and better understood the partnership that Paul refers to. i see the design, importance, blessings, and fruit of partnership. thank You.

when my church sent me, i saw it. when the few but so precious people committed to financially support me monthly, i saw it. when people sent an encouraging message, i saw it. when the team came, i saw it. when people asked how they could be praying, i saw it. when people responded, i saw it.

a few things i’ve learned of partnership: it is responsive. it is together. it is unity.

thank You for partnership.

and above all, thank You for allowing me to partner with You.

what an honor to be partners with the King.