Hello! We are Gabriel and Sarah and we were a part of Love-A-Village’s trip to Siem Reap in December 2019. Over the past few years, we have had the joy of sharing in the love of Christ together, supporting and spurring each other in our walk with Jesus. It’s always brought us great excitement to explore what it means to serve the Lord together (and we’re definitely still exploring!). As we grew more curious about cross-cultural missions, we began regularly attending our church’s sharing sessions where fellow brothers and sisters-in-Christ would share their missional journeys, and we would also pray for our missionaries in the field. Through hearing the many stories shared by teams who had travelled abroad to share the Good News, our passion for missions began growing.
It was at one of these sessions that we learnt more about Janice’s ministry with Love-A-Village. We were excited at the prospect of going on a mission trip together someday, but were also mindful of going with the right heart – if and when God called us to go. All through 2019, conversations between the two of us about missions arose time and time again. We asked God for wisdom and to show us how and where we could contribute to His work. One night, after one of these conversations, we decided to look into possible opportunities. That was when we first contacted Janice.
As we learnt more about the nature of the trip, the Lord touched the both of us individually, and we both felt compelled to embark on the trip. At this point in time, neither of us had much experience with cross-cultural missions. We also did not know anyone else on the team. Joining the trip involved entrusting ourselves to God and taking a leap of faith. Pushing aside our personal fears, we embraced this new experience with open hearts and open minds, and began working with the Love-A-Village team to prepare for the trip, excited to serve the Lord.
Our ministry in Siem Reap comprised Christmas outreach activities with the children, engaging the locals with some craft activities, as well as the training of teachers, and supporting our local friends in their teaching of English at the local school. We could go on and on about the activities we were a part of and the people we met, but ultimately, to us, this trip could be encapsulated with just one word – love.
We felt a deep sense of love and reverence for God in the local Christians we had the privilege to befriend. As we worked with our fellow brothers and sisters at New Living Hope Centre, we were touched by their love for others, as well as the warmth that they showed us. As we shared our stories, we realised that we had a lot more in common than we had thought – because we were all united in Christ. This sense of warm fellowship is what we will remember most about the trip. The opportunity to support and encourage fellow Christians in their labour for the gospel impacted both of us very much.
We also met many other inspiring Christians who continue to inspire us today. We vividly remember Teacher Yoo, a Korean missionary who founded the Thansure school 10 years ago and still heads it today. Even after all this time in Cambodia, she continues to clothe herself with protective UV sleeves and carries an umbrella (more for the sun than for the rain). With a laugh, she shared how she obeyed God’s call to go to Cambodia, even though she deeply despised the scorching heat. Another brother who made a huge impact on us was Samuel, a ministry volunteer by day and Tuk Tuk driver by night. After the Lord touched his life, he told us his goal in life was to share this love of God with everyone in Cambodia. He now conducts weekly bible study sessions in a few villages and even started a dormitory ministry for high school students, where he mentors and guides the students spiritually.
Above all, we felt God’s love for Siem Reap, and saw His hand at work in many aspects. From moving local Christians to serve those who had not heard the gospel, to growing village ministries both in numbers and in depth, we saw firsthand the work of an all-powerful, gracious and loving God. It brought us great joy to be just a small part of this big plan.
This trip reminded us of how missions really starts back home. Just as the local Cambodians were fervent for God, we should likewise be adopting the same passion and love for sharing the gospel here in Singapore.
For us, as we continue to explore and unravel God’s plan for us, we hope to continue on our mission here in Singapore as well. Ultimately, we are all gifted with different talents, and are called to different lines of work – some locally, others across borders.
Where is God calling you to go?