The Call Out of: Before Tung Ling
Help me to say “yes” to you, Lord.
That was my first thought when I felt God telling me to leave my job last June. It was a strong sense of being called out and yet not knowing what I was being called into. The only distinct impression I had then was to enroll myself into Tung Ling Bible School (TLBS) the following year even though I had never in my life thought of attending a Bible school.
I was at a personal retreat when I sensed the call. There was a huge labyrinth in the place that was made up of the grass and pavement and I had tried getting out to no avail. Just when I felt like giving up, it suddenly dawned on me that I might have gotten it all wrong. I had thought that the pavement was the road and the grass was the hedge but what if it was the reverse? Maybe the pavement was actually the wall and the grass was the path? It was a pure Eureka moment and as I attempted to walk on the grass, it worked!
Now, I had always thought that the word “labyrinth” was synonymous with “maze” but realized then that was not accurate. Google defined a maze as something one has to strategise to get out of whereas a labyrinth is layout that seems complicated but if you take it one step at a time, the path itself will lead you out. And thus began my “One step at a time” journey of faith.
I typed my resignation letter on 16 August intending to hand it in the next day. Imagine my surprise when I turned over a Christian calendar I had on the morning of 17 August. It was titled “Say Yes” and was about following God’s invitation. It was exactly what I needed.
My friends were shocked by the sudden move and even more so by my lack of plans as I have three children to take care of. Christians around me were saying things like, “You have great faith like Abraham” and frankly, I did not feel like Abraham at all. I simply felt like the donkey in Luke 19:31. The phrase, “God has use for me” was all I had. I knew that for God to lead me to where He wants to place me, I knew could not stay where I currently was.
It was after the move to resign that I felt the Lord deposit three distinct impressions in me – One: something global is going to happen this year; Two: I will know it in my time in Tung Ling; and Three: There is going to be a harvest and God is in need of workers. As I was going to Tung Ling, I thought it might be some Christian conference that I could volunteer at.
The Call - At TLBS
How wrong I was! When the Russia-Ukraine war began on 24 February, everything clicked. It was global and it happened during my time in Tung Ling. Suddenly it all made sense except for the third impression – God is in need of workers. I was in Singapore with no association whatsoever with Ukraine. What could I possibly do?
Due to Covid restrictions, some of our lecturers had to swap dates with each other and we ended with Joseph Chean taking the missions module in March. He asked if any of us would be keen to serve the Ukrainian refugees in Germany. When he mentioned it would be commitment of no less than a month, I knew that had God not prepared me enough with those three impressions alone. Leaving my children for a month was not something I would have even considered.
So, the next step was to get the blessings of my family. I remembered praying that God would provide me with a divine entry point into the conversation with my husband. So over Bak Chor Mee, I started sharing about what I have learnt, hoping to soften the ground before posing the question of me disappearing for a month. The first thing he said after I finished was that he had just finished a conversation with a China pastor who was trained theologically in Germany. I knew that was my entry point to bring up the subject as I had never heard of any Chinese pastor who was trained in Germany before that. My husband too saw it as God’s affirmation, the family gave their blessings and that was how I went to Germany.
A side story on how thorough God is in His call has to do with my shoes. When I was praying about going on the trip, I suddenly had a fresh revelation about my shoes which I had bought as Chinese New Year shoes during a “Last pair, last size” sale back in December. The shoes were the exact colour of the Ukraine flag and bore the words “Make History Now”. Truly, God had prepared even this small detail of my shoes way back in December before the war even started. I was reminded of Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.”
The call into: Post-TLBS
In the YWAM base in Germany, our work involved preparing apartments for families, running programs for the youths, women, and children, and ministering one-on-one. My main takeaway was that God is the one who moves and ministers. We were simply his hands and feet and this was most evident to me in the women-only worship soaking sessions where praise songs were played in the background and the women were invited to rest on mattresses laid on the floor. Many of the women wound up sobbing and sharing afterward that they felt the inexplicable peace of God washing over them and some of them even saw visions. In fact, the peace of God was so palpable that one hyperactive chihuahua present even joined in the soaking and quieted down within a few minutes!
It was also at Germany where I received a confirmation of a full-time calling to missions. Near the base was a mountain that I would occasionally trek up to in the mornings. On one such morning, as I was seeking God on what was next, there was a prompting to take out a compass and note the direction of where I was facing. Using my phone compass, it registered 180 degrees south. I had a second prompting to take out the compass later that day at a visit to a castle where Martin Luther translated the Bible. At the castle, I took out the compass and saw that 180 degrees south pointed towards the cross on top of the castle. More profoundly, it was the only castle I had ever come across where the gift shop happened to sell many donkey souvenirs. That was a very personal affirmation to me of the call to be a donkey that the Master can use.
In Germany, a group of us felt compelled to go one step further into Ukraine. In the week that we were there, many divine connections were made. In our second trip in August, we worked alongside partners and experienced the unity of believers coming together as one. The trips to Ukraine opened up my heart and my eyes to the realities of war. In response, our team started “Love on Ukraine”, a ministry that helps to provide housing and humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups.
In between my 2 trips to Ukraine, there was an opportunity to join a mission organisation. I gave the standard Christian reply of “I’ll pray about it”, but truth be told, I was already hesitant as it was a role that required raising my own financial support. I had never done that before in my life and my pridefulness was too strong. It was too humbling a thought for me to stomach.
However, when the Lord calls, He is clear. I was praying one day when the phrase, “Dive in and follow the waves” came to me clearly. I remembered texting my pastor about how it appeared to be a parable for me. After all, how does one even see waves underwater? When I met up with the National Director of the mission organisation, she actually used the phrase “Just dive in” without knowing the meaning it had for me. Because it was such a clear reference, I knew then that God had an assignment there for me. I am learning what it is to live by faith and seeing God as the ultimate Employer who provides.
I started this faith adventure a year ago and still, the journey continues like a wonderful treasure hunt, one step and one clue at a time.
Will you also say “Yes” to what He has called you - out of and into?
Agape Methodist Church