I have a few hobbies and one of them is photography – which is the talent that God has blessed me with. While on the Mission Internship, Training & Exposure (MITE) programme in Nepal from 4 Sep to 2 Oct 2015, I learnt the following from God through photography.
If you have friends well-versed in photography, you would have heard them speak about getting the right settings for exposure. Speaking of exposure, I did not have any prior exposure to missions until I decided to commit one month to searching for God’s calling for my life. Becoming a missionary or full-time ministry worker had never crossed my mind as an acceptable option, especially coming from a non-Christian family. But things changed when I was exposed to Christianity.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’ s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
I believe God has transformed my thinking in the process. At the time of writing, I am considering what career I should build, and what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for me is. The future is unknown, but I am convinced to take a step of faith to find out more.
What is the difference between two photographers? Each will take pictures of different composition. Who is better? That will be a tough question to answer. More importantly, with missions in view, what is God’s perspective?
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ ” (Matthew 9:37-38)
This Bible verse tells me that few people want to go into missions. Perhaps because it is tough, or maybe it seems reserved for the chosen ones. Who wants to suffer instead of enjoying your life? But what if I am chosen, would I not be someone able to answer the calling? Would God call me to mindless suffering?
You might laugh but I was prepared for the worst – physically and emotionally. I knew that God was with me spiritually and had prepared the place ahead of me; at least, that had been ingrained in my head-knowledge of God. But nothing can compare to the experience of the true power of God; His tender love was so real, so warm, so loving. It all came rushing over me when I settled down in the missionary’s house.
Photography is about capturing the perfect moment, being present at the right time with the right equipment. God wants you to capture Him above all else. The right time is when you are ready to be obedient to His leading. Equipment? Do not worry – He will equip you along the way – because God provides!
Obeying God is allowing Him to work in us, mould us, shape us, and train us into what He wants us to be. I believe everyone has a call to missions. Whether it is for the ministries in your church, cross-cultural missions or even in your family, God has a greater purpose for you.
I believe answering this call to explore the mission field has equipped me with a lens to see His ministries with His perspective. My encouragement to all is to go – go and discover how God is good in all times and places, even in developing countries. If you are afraid, fear not because God is always with you (Matthew 28:19-20).
Javan (back of photo, wearing yellow) with fellow workers and local children in Nepal. Photo courtesy of the Methodist Missions Society
Javan Ng – is a member of Fairfield Methodist Church (Preaching Point) and was a participant in the Methodist Missions Society’s Mission Internship, Training & Exposure (MITE) programme in 2015.