When I was 6 years old, my family moved to Bangladesh for a year. Among other things, this left a very young version of myself with an incurable restlessness that my wife would eventually learn to understand, and even share – on occasion.
Five years ago, we responded to a growing passion for missions by booking a trip to Asia. The intent had been to bring a team of students interested in missions… and then just one… and then even that didn’t work out. I’m not sure what to chalk that up to, but it was clearly not His timing for anyone else to go. Thankfully, He allowed Nicole and I to make the trip.
We stayed with new friends in Penang, Malaysia and learned from them, and lent our skills to the daily needs at their YWAM base. We went to Thailand, and learned about the efforts there to rebuild after a tsunami had wiped out thousands of homes and lives, and lent our strength for a few days building a house. We saw both the beauty and darkness of Kuala Lumpur. And we came home changed.
Then we moved to New York. The intent had been to learn about moving to another country, while growing my career and getting involved in serving. Like our trip to Asia, we learned a lot, and found we had a lot to learn – and still do.
But we’ve grown in the past 5 years, and it seems that maybe this time, God will allow us to bring someone along while we go, again, to learn about missions in Asia. Sunday we booked our tickets. We fly to Hong Kong on June 7, for a whirlwind tour of as many countries as we can manage – and this time, its not just our hopes and dreams that we are going to explore.
We discovered, not long after we met her, that our babysitter’s older sister has had a burden on her heart for Asia since 4th grade. Even as a 9-year old, Tatum took this challenge seriously, and began studying Cantonese and saving up her babysitting money, in the hopes that some day she could get to Hong Kong. She’s a young adult now, proficient in the language, a dozen connections cultivated on the continent, and money in the bank. All she needed to get her parent’s blessing was someone willing to take her.
With us itching to get back to Asia, and my parent’s living in Malaysia and connected in Cambodia, it doesn’t make sense for us not to accompany her.
The planned itinerary includes Beijing, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Hanoi (Vietnam) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Its an ambitious trip for only 2 weeks, but we’re looking forward to it. Asia is a beautiful continent, with so much to see, and so many people who need Hope. We go for the adventure, for sure, but more than that, we go out of obedience. The Word says to go into all the world and make disciples, and as 29-year olds, we take this challenge seriously.
Our own kids will be sitting out this trip – perhaps in another 5 years they’ll be old enough to come along and get something out of it. For Asia 2010, we could use prayer that all 3 of us are able to discern and follow His direction as our trip takes shape.