In 2004, Paul* received a vision from the Lord with a very clear direction to go to Indonesia.
“Six years later, I obeyed this calling. I took my family and landed there on 30 June 2010. I was passionate about sharing the gospel publicly, starting a mission school with 10 students,” he said.
However, Paul also felt superior to the predominant community of the region, whose religion was different from his. He would try to impose the gospel upon them or change their culture and way of life.
“I never prayed to God about [how to reach out], I didn’t ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. I thought I was smart enough and could do it my way.” he explained.
But all of his efforts failed.
There can be no impact in ministry without humility
Dejected, Paul questioned if this was indeed his calling. He even remembers a season when he considered running away and starting afresh.
But God is good, and one morning, while he was praying, the Lord revealed the state of his heart.
“I realised I was too proud. I thought because I had studied in Singapore, I was superior to everyone. I thought because I had obtained my Master’s degree there, I could do it all,” he said.
Paul began to understand the importance of humility in ministry. He began to fast and pray, building an intimacy with God in prayer, worship and the Word.
“I asked God for a strategy to reach the unsaved and he gave me a visual: a Community Circle built with different elements,” he shared excitedly.
The elements were family, social, religion, business, media, government, education and politics. He started to see that God wanted him to be a part of the community.
“He wanted me not to bring light from the outside, but shine His influence from within,” he explained.
Connecting with the community through education
After a time of prayer, Paul chose education as his bridge to the community.
His team opened a tuition centre in a rented shop lot with two students. Within six months, 50 students enrolled.
“We then moved ahead to register our education centre with the local education ministry, and in one month we got our licence!”
In 2011, Paul launched a free tuition initiative in a rural community, most of whom were poor and lived in floating villages.
Through this program, his team was able to bring the gospel to the community and now runs several Bible-based activities for community members.
A firm believer in social impact as part of the Christian walk, Paul also began running social and community development projects including food distribution, education scholarships and pre-loved clothing distribution.
Growing from strength to strength
In 2013, God opened doors for him to replicate this model in another kampung and from 2015 to 2018, his team was allowed to engage with the students of a government school using his ministry’s education platform.
“Praise God, He has brought many people to know Him and some of them have even become workers in our ministry. We also provide personal development for our team members, upgrading them in terms of knowledge by supporting them through university education,” he said.
But it’s not always a bed of roses, the missionary admitted.
In the province Paul works in, Christians make up less than 10% of the population and challenges often come their way.
Their first and only response is to pray and seek God’s wisdom to overcome.
“God always provides very creative solutions which contribute to the strategic model [He has given] for us to do ministry,” he explained.
Hold tightly to the call
Having been in the mission field for over a decade, Paul urges young mission workers to hold firmly to the call or vision God has given them.
“Pray and listen to God’s voice. If there is no vision or calling, we will not be passionate about serving. But if we have loyalty to the vision and calling, we will always be passionate and stay in service to Christ.”
*Name changed to protect privacy
Paul is a co-mission partner supported by AsiaCMS, a trans-denominational missions organisation. To learn more about AsiaCMS and how you can support mission workers like Paul, click here.