I have been back in Australia since 25 January. I know it is only 3 weeks since I came back home but so much has happened in such a short period of time!
I have started my role with SIM as a mission mobiliser and after only 2 weeks on the job there is already so much I have learnt!
I still have to understand more about SIM, about mobilising people for missions, about working in a Christian organisation, about how God can use me in this role, and much more. But I am enjoying every bit of it!
For the last 5 years I have worked in a different type of office, with different priorities and goals. I miss the structure and the organised way of working like that. I am comfortable doing that, I like to control my environment, I like to be given a task and work on achieving it with a perfectionist approach.
But God did not call me to stay hiding in my comfort zone for too long. He has called me out of my comfort zone before when I had to leave my country, my culture, my family and friends, and step into something completely different and unknown to me.
I had a tough time when I first arrived in Australia but God kept me safe, under his wings, and sustained me through every step I took. I learnt how to trust him for everything I needed. He taught me that he is my refuge and my strength.
And recently he called me out of my comfort zone again to step into full time ministry, to stretch myself even further, to trust him even more. I am so happy that He has done that and that I obeyed him! I am really happy to serve him with my whole life. I am very excited to be a facilitator for people who are stepping into world missions. To see people taking up the call into mission and to help them to get there is such a joy and a privilege!
But all of this is still unknown to me and I feel like I need time to process all that has been happening to me and what God has planned for the future.
It was not long ago that I was in Brazil visiting my family and participating of local ministries. I have seen many things that God has been doing there through his faithful servants.
I actually did not expect to be surprised by the ministries because it is my own culture. But for my surprise I was really challenged and encouraged by it ! I think that living in Australia for the last 6 years opened my eyes to my own culture and made me see my own people with different eyes, more critical of the culture but also much more loving towards the people. I am still trying to process my emotions and how I have changed since.
Some of the stories I heard there changed the way I think about others, about suffering, about myself and about God. I loved the fact that I could relate to people, hear about real life stories, cry with them, laugh with them, share testimonies of how their lives have changed, and pray together.
Probably the most impacting ministry for me so far was the project called “Nova” (New) that brings the gospel of Jesus to girls who are working on the streets as prostitutes.
I have met a girl who is in the phase 1 of the project (meaning she just heard the good news about Jesus). She told me a little bit about her story:
(This is not the photo of the girl from the story but please do not reproduce this)
She started in the prostitution when she was only 9 years old. She became a drug and alcohol addict. She sold her body to pay for her addictions.
She became pregnant 3 times and her sons grew up being looked after by her colleagues in the brothel until 2 of the fathers took the kids from her and she was left with one son. The son who stayed with her also became a drug addict and a drug dealer by the age of 10.
All she ever knew was how to be a prostitute. She did not have a good self-image at all. She saw herself as rubbish, as an object, as someone who has to please others and is never satisfied. She always thought she was worth nothing. She has been infected with the HIV virus and she needs daily medication to keep herself healthy.
She is in her mid 30s now and she just heard about Jesus. She heard for the first time that she is worth a lot, that Jesus had died on the cross for her sins so she could be reconciled to God and not suffer punishment for her wrong doing. This was a “set free” message that touched her heart deeply.
She wanted to know more about this man who was God and gave his life to save her. So she started learning about Jesus and she left prostitution. She has been clean from drugs and alcohol for a few months now. She is still taking the medication for Aids.
I spoke to her before Christmas when she told me this amazing story of transformation she experienced in her life.
But her walk of faith is just at the beginning. She has ups and downs and life has been really hard for her.
She just realised the sins, the abuse, the lack of worth, the addictions and all the bad things that happened to her. She needs healing from all the wounds that she has in her body, in her soul, in her character.
She still does not know what else to do to earn her living. She has been baking cakes to sell in front of the church to pay for her rent. The project is providing workshops for her to learn a new profession so she can sustain herself.
During Christmas she had a tough time and she tried suicide. But God once more protected her and gave her inner peace to stop harming herself.
I met her again after New Year’s Eve and she told me about the struggle she went through and the pain that was all too hard for her to take.
She told me that as she tried to end her life she remembered Jesus and his suffering. Her own-self kept telling her how much she is worthless and she should end it all, but a small sweet voice told her that she is worthy and that there is a purpose for her life. So she decided to stop trying to end her life, listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and pray. She prayed for the next 4 hours without stopping asking God to take her away from that dangerous place she found herself in. And he did.
During our meeting, as she told me this story, both of us with tears in our eyes, started to pray together. We had the most beautiful moment of prayer and dependency on God to sustain us. We were praying for her to be able to be alive. There was nothing else we wanted more than one more day for her. As she prayed she asked God that she would have one more day not so she could live, but so she could share his love with at least one more person.
I thought this was beautiful. There we were, realising that we depend on God to be alive the next day. That without his provision of the next breath we die. And all we want to do is to have another day so someone else can hear us talking about Jesus.
I still keep thinking about her prayer and what it means to follow Jesus that way, to remember daily that I depend on God for a next day. That nothing really matters if we do not have a relationship with God. That the next day is not for myself so I can live, but for him and for the glory of his name. I did learn big lessons from the people over there who have nothing else left, but they have what matters the most: Jesus.
And I must say that I was not expecting this, but I experienced a confirmation from God that what I am doing at SIM is really something he chose for me to do right now. I thought that being in my country and involved with local missions would make me prefer to stay there and work in the field myself. But surprisingly, even though I did love everything about it, I know that it is my job now to mobilise people to go from anywhere to everywhere. There is so much need everywhere!
With God’s help I will be able to pass on to others my contagious excitement about missions and I will facilitate sending people out to the field to fulfill God’s mission to all nations.
I am very happy to be back home and re-united with my husband U-Don.
We are looking forward to seeing what God has prepared for us this year and we will be happy to share our journey with you.
May you also remember that you depend on God to live one more day.
And when he gives you the next day, may you use it for the glory of His name.