Monday, June 23, 2014

Reaching the Unreached in South Asia

I thought it would be so interesting for us to have some in-real-life missionaries answer those "Good Questions to Ask Missionaries" that I posted here a while ago. That way, you can compare fields a little bit and understand what missions ministry looks like all over the world. What difficulties are specific to a certain continent or culture? Perhaps you can apply this information to pray for other missionaries in a similar field to the lady being interviewed.

Today, meet Charity Woon, a fun, thought-provoking contributor here at the BMW blog. She blogs about everything from adventures on the field to homeschooling tips to personal devotions at her personal blog Road Schooling...Our Life on the Road of Life. If you'd like a good gross-you-out story, you might enjoy reading Meat Shop Adventure; or if you'd like to have your heart stirred for evangelism, read her post about heroes of faith across the world, We Will Not Fight Back.

  1. How many children do you have? What ages?
We are a family of seven. My husband's name is Jason, and my name is Charity. We have three crazy, adventurous, fun children: Ben (15), Michaela (10), and Gabriel (7). Then there are our two dogs, Chief and MoMo. (Got to love the furry babies, too! They keep us safe from rats, snakes, and robbers.)

  1. Do you homeschool? Name your favorite curriculum that you use (whether just one subject, or an all-in-one):
We are very eclectic in our homeschooling style. We try to make the schooling experience fit each child the best we can. It is a little tougher on the field, though, so I have to say Landmark Freedom Baptist is my favorite "go-to" curriculum. Landmark Freedom Baptist Curriculum

  1. Country of service: Southern Asia
  1. How long have you been there? 19 months
  1. What do you do there?
We are church planters seeking a location for our first church, but in the mean time, I play the piano for a young church plant, and I practice Titus 2 any opportunity I get. Right now my role is more of hospitality, motherhood, and mentorship, doing my best to demonstrate Biblical marriage and motherhood to first generation Christians who are hungry to learn how to parent God's way. 

  1. Are you learning a language? How is it going? Are you discouraged?
Language? Um... It's coming slowly, but surely! I am not discouraged at all. Some days are better than others, but every day is one day closer to communicating clearly what God has put in my heart

  1. Success: Have you had any encouragement in ministry recently? Can you tell me two or three things that have encouraged you?
I... am... growing... strawberries! That may not be encouraging to you, but for the garden-challenged person like me, it is HUGE! Why? Our garden has opened up many opportunities to meet and talk to people. The more it succeeds, the more opportunities we have.

We recently went to visit my husband's language school instructor and his wife. We were there four hours and I was actually able to hold a pretty good conversation with them. Definitely encouraging!

It is a blessing to be forming deep friendships with nationals. God has also supplied a national man to work with my husband in planting a church.

  1. Challenges: What is your greatest challenge in ministry? What other difficulties wear you down?
On this field, there are plenty of things to potentially cause stress, but there is one thing that brings me literally to tears on occasion. Driving! The roads are very dangerous here. Even the most cautious drivers have accidents. The rule "look both ways before crossing" doesn't exist here for drivers, pedestrians, animals, and more. I thought maybe most third world countries were this bad, until a few very well-traveled people told us these roads were far beyond what they had experienced in other third world countries. Every time we arrive home safely it is a clear demonstration of the grace of God.  Driving my little scooter here with two young children in tow has improved my prayer life dramatically, though.

As far as general ministry challenges? Many fields struggle with some of the same issues we have. The people here do not know anything about Jesus or what a Bible is, so we have to start from the beginning... literally Genesis 1:1! It takes quite a while to share the Gospel clearly. Then when they do understand, they face the fear of real persecution (losing home, family, friends, job, etc.) Many women will not go against their husband's commands if he forbids her to become a Christian.

  1. How is your life similar to life in America?
Our schooling is very similar. Our bedding style is the same. At home, our eating is very similar though the preparation is much more involved. We still have family nights. Shopping? Totally different! Cleaning? Different. Entertainment? Different. Clothing? Sometimes similar. Housing? Different for the most part. There are many more differences than similarities.

  1. What are some special benefits you or your family experience from where you’re ministering? (or from being missionaries)
God has helped us all grow spiritually by putting us in a place where what is in our hearts is forced to come out. I truly believe God did not put us here because we have something special to offer. He put us here because this is where He can make us most like Christ. Thankfully, while we are here He is choosing to use us for His glory.

  1. What are some positives and negatives of your culture (that you’re ministering to)?
Positives: The women here work harder than my American mind can even comprehend. I have also seen people who were willing to become Christians even when they knew they would lose a home, family, and more. With the exception of driving, the people here live a less time-oriented life. The people here know how to survive on next to nothing.

Negatives: Much of their culture/government/education system is permeated with their religion. In much of the culture there is a lack of respect for the sanctity of human life. It is heartbreaking to see such intense child abuse or neglect and not be able to legally do anything about it. It is a "me first" culture, and yet they can be some of the most generous people. Lying and stealing are a part of their culture and is often seen as acceptable. The caste system exists here.

  1. What sins might a missionary be especially tempted with that another Christian in the U.S. might not?
Honestly, being here has revealed some ugly things in my heart that in the States I would have never realized were there. In the States, I never struggled with "road rage." I assumed it just wasn't a problem for me. God has put me in the right hot water situations here, and what's in the heart has come out! I am thankful for His patience with me! Another temptation I battle? Being critical of people in America who complain about power outages, three days of rain in a row, or having a long drive to church. Those problems are a way of life here. But being critical is no less of a sin than complaining.

  1. What books have you been reading? Do you have any book recommendations?
I am currently reading Don't Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale. Love it! Though he was a medical missionary, I can truly identify with so many things he faced. I just finished The Choice is Yours by Terrie Chappell. It was a great "refocusing" book. I treasure her other book, It's a Wonderful Life.

  1. How can we pray for your people or culture in a general way?
We desire that this country would continue to head in the direction of freedom. It has only been in recent years that it became legal for the people to become Christian, but it is still illegal to influence them in that direction. Christians are still persecuted. Also, the country needs political stability. The situation gets pretty ugly during elections.

  1. How can we pray for your family specifically?
We are about to enter a new phase of life. Our oldest child has two more years of school before he will go to Bible college in the States. I am not sure this Mommy will be ready for that, but I am trusting God's grace is sufficient. Just as He gives saving grace and dying grace, I am sure He will give "child-going-to-college-10,000-miles-away" grace. In the mean time, we desire prayers in our preparation for him to finish high school. We also desire God's direction in ministry as we prepare to plant a new church. Finally... visa renewal is due! We are hoping to get one-year visas this time. 

1 comment:

Lou Ann Keiser said...

Really interesting. Loving these get-to-know-you posts! On a personal note, I remember when my "baby" was going to be leaving in two years. I tried to use those two years to prepare him and to wrap my head around it all. It was all okay. :o) God is so wonderful to help us prepare for these changes and to accept them as part of our unique lives. :o)