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“I felt like I was making the riskiest decision in my life.”

in Blog, Current events, Mission work, TESOL, Thailand
Get to know Eileen, a new Crossworld worker who’s starting her cross-cultural ministry in Thailand in the middle of a pandemic.

Eileen (pictured above) joined Crossworld in 2019 and was on her way to Thailand in January 2020, just as COVID-19 was about to become a global crisis. Hear her story in this Q&A.

Eileen, what sparked your interest in missions?

Crossworld worker in ThailandI didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but by God’s grace, I was surrounded by Christian influences my entire life. Growing up just a door away from the local church, my brother and I ran over on Sunday mornings on our own to listen to Bible stories.

In 2016, I joined a prayer group for global missions. God grew my heart for the global mission field, especially for unreached people groups. Then I took a class called Perspectives. I saw my life and my obedience to God as a thread in a much grander story, racing toward the day that Jesus will return and establish His kingdom. Preparing for His kingdom became more important to me, and the risks more worth taking, than the plans I previously had for my life.

Just one year after I started praying about where God would have me serve, I was on a plane to Thailand.

What have been some challenges in your transition, especially in the midst of a pandemic?

Transitioning is always hard — packing my life into a duffel bag, putting affairs in order, and saying goodbye to family and friends. During a pandemic, those challenges only increased.

Once I arrived in Thailand, I started language school but had to abruptly stop. I couldn’t attend classes in person or practice what I was learning in the markets with locals. Since furniture stores are closed, I’ve been setting up my house by ordering things online. Packages arrive almost daily, and each delivery causes a fresh wave of anxiety as I try to converse in broken Thai over the phone with the driver to set up a time for delivery.

Tell us a story of how you’ve seen God working through the difficulties.

I’ve never felt more physically in need than I have over the past month, but I’ve seen God so clearly at work in the midst of it.

Early on, the Thai government announced travel restriction between provinces, effective at midnight that night. We got the news in the morning and had to decide whether to stay in the city where we were doing language school or move to the city where we will start teaching English next month. We decided to move, got packed, and were on the road before dinner.

Despite the extremely fast change, God provided transportation, places to live in our new city, groceries from stores still open, and everything we needed.

How have you grown over the last few months?

I’m much more certain about God’s sovereignty. Before leaving for Thailand, I felt like I was making the riskiest decision in my life. I traded a comfortable and familiar life for so many unknowns, from not knowing what relationships would look like to not knowing where I would be in the next few years. However, I’ve learned to look to God for wisdom and to trust His voice instead of my own.

What advice would you give someone considering missions?

If you feel called to missions, just go. Pray first, of course, and seek counsel from a mentor. But when we start weighing pros and cons, it’s easy to let fears and practical considerations keep us from following God’s call. It’s worth the risk, and there’s nothing better than obedience to our Lord and being used by Him.

Ready to follow God’s call like Eileen? Start your own missions journey here.

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