I am living my dream.
To be specific, I am living my cross-cultural dream.
It was around mid-2015 when I started thinking of my future after IGSL, my seminary. I was slated to graduate next year, and I needed a plan. I’ve always known that I wanted to minister cross-culturally. But where? And how? I’d expected that two years in seminary would’ve helped me come to a decision, but obviously, I hadn’t had any clear leading.
A DREAM PLANTED
Then the idea of having a cross-cultural exposure trip dropped in my head. If I really wanted to minister in a different culture long term, shouldn’t I at least try it out short term?
And by short term I meant slightly longer than the usual two to three week mission trips I’ve been a part of in the past. I was thinking around 6 months. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense! The idea kept growing.
Incidentally, I was enrolled in the classes of two wonderful professors, Dr. Ron Barber and Dr. Paul Lee, both of whom are missionaries and missiologists. Kuya Ron and Kuya Paul, as we fondly call them, have been missionaries for 20+ years, in Africa and Japan, respectively.
Inspired by kuya Ron and kuya Paul, my idea grew into a small dream. As I interacted with them, I knew I found heroes I could look up to – people who have devoted their lives to missions, and to influencing the larger Christian community through their teaching and research / publications.
My dream was growing. I too, wanted to influence the larger Christian community in a similar way. But, I knew I needed experience and mentoring.
MY THREE-PART PRAYER
And so I started praying for an opportunity to do research, and be exposed to cross-cultural ministry, and be mentored by missionaries as well.
The answer to the first part of my prayer came in the form of being allowed to write a thesis, and going to South Asia for research. (IGSL students are not required to write a thesis; I will be the first student to be allowed to do so… hopefully, they don’t take back the decision.)
Around January 2016, I contacted a couple with a ministry in South Asia, who are both IGSL alumni. I met them a few months earlier, when I had to write a story about them for a book IGSL was producing. It was a crazy idea, but I just suddenly asked if there was a possibility of joining them in India or Nepal or wherever they were, just for a few months, and let them “adopt” me, so to speak. And so the second and third part of my prayer was answered.
Thus, my South Asian adventures have begun.