"What a fantastic privilege to be working together for the King."
How did you get into missions?
My parents have always been supportive of missionaries and I was inspired by stories of missionaries from a young age. I went on short-term outreaches, where I saw that real and lasting change would come to lives and communities only through long term investment and commitment.
While at university, I heard missionaries speak and challenge students with the task of taking the good news to places where is is most needed. I decided then that it shouldn’t just an aim for one day, but that I needed to do something about it immediately. I befriended a few missionaries, most of them with OM, and then joined OM after completing my studies.
What is your mission experience?
I want on short-term outreaches while at high school and at university, and then joined OM in 2012. After the 6-month training programme, I first joined the OM office team where I worked in IT and joined missions presentation teams. During this time, I got married to a lovely young German lady that I had met on the training programme. After this, we spent a year on the OM training base, gaining more experience in practical discipleship and teaching, before leaving for Japan, where we have been serving on a church-planting team since the start of 2016.
How do you deal with cross-culture?
Living and working in another culture is difficult, but growing up in South Africa with its variety of cultures helped me learn to appreciate other cultures, even though it isn’t always easy to understand. It is tempting to think of another culture as wrong, and of my own culture as right. My aim is to be quick to apologise and willing to learn, remembering that I will never completely understand the culture that I am a guest in.
Please share one story from ministry/ mission field that influenced you most.
I was on 2-week outreach in a village in South Africa, where most of the people didn’t speak any English. The local church asked 3 teenagers from the youth group to translate for us as we went to visit local people. We went to many houses in the community, speaking to people about Jesus as the only way to God. This stands in sharp contrast with most villagers there approaching God through their ancestors. At the end of the outreach, one of the translators remarked that they sometimes translated our words in a less offensive way. When we asked what he meant, he replied that things such as “Jesus is the only way” would be offensive to the people of that culture. I was shocked by this, wondering if our time there had had any real effect.
What is one thing you will always remember from this experience?
The reply from our translator made me really consider my own commitment. Was I willing to go to a place, settle there, and spend years to learn the language and culture, in order to effectively share the offensive (Galatians 5) but life-giving truth about Jesus?
If someone wants to join OM, what words of advice do you have for them?
It is a fantastic privilege to be working together for the King, especially in places where there are no or very few believers. Not many are willing to go, and even fewer are willing to stay for a long time. In order not to burn out in the long run, it is important to understand and use your own gifting. I discovered that I am not an evangelist, but a teacher (see Ephesians 4:11). I don't use that as an excuse not to evangelise, but I know where I am used most fruitfully and lastingly.