Continuing our series around the members of Trinity that are reaching out to the wider world through various charities and organisations this time we chat with Phil and Rachel and their work with OMF.
Phil and Rachel, along with their young family, work for OMF International. Rachel has been involved with them since 2001 and Phil on and off since 2003. The history of the organisation dates back to the late 1800’s when Hudson Taylor set up a group called China Inland Mission. When the missionaries were kicked out of China in the early 1950’s, instead of going home, they moved into the surrounding countries of South East Asia, such as Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam. So the name changed to Overseas Missionary Fellowship and today is known as OMF.
So Rachel and Phil, when did you first know you wanted to do your current role?
At university Rachel was challenged that there were sooo many in the world who had no idea about Christ and knew God wanted her to move abroad. However, going to England to uni had been hard enough, so the thought of moving to another country was terrifying!! However, God very graciously showed her step by step over the next few years that it was not quite so awful and in fact would be a real privilege to be able to serve Him in this way.
Phil started reading missionary biographies at uni then had the chance to work in Pakistan for six months after he graduated. He then knew he wanted to go back to Asia in the future but had to wait for God’s timing and for God to show him which country he was to work in. It was clear that God wanted him to work with churches in a country where it’s difficult for churches to meet freely.
Give us a highlight from your time in current role
Working and sharing life with believers from all over the world.
What is a major challenge to you carrying out your work?
Learning the language to a good enough level.
Tell us about a funny moment that happened to you at work
There are many, especially due to language eg. when learning ‘NeeHao’ (hello) Rachel one day enthusiastically greeted a neighbour by saying, ‘NeeHi’! She just looked confused and walked away….
When have you witnessed a real impact that your work has had in someone else’s life ?
Simply being around people and trying to walk alongside folks in the ups and downs of daily life – that seems to have made the biggest impact due to comments we have had back a few months/ a few years down the line!
What is it that gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?
Continually coming back to what God has done for us and the need to tell other people.
Is there anything you would like to say to your supporting congregation at Trinity?
Thank you for your continued love and support in various ways over the years, especially as we have not been able to be a regular ‘physical’ part of your church family.
What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation just now ?
The country we have just left is going through another intense period of tightening, which makes the kind of work we would like to do there very tough. OMF is needing to rethink quickly how to engage with the peoples’ of that country in more effective ways, so that gospel work can continue. So watch this space as we work out how to engage pro-actively with the thousands that are in this country. If those people could return to that vast nation on-fire for God, wouldn’t that be a fantastic way to spread the Word there?
Have a look at https://omf.org/uk/ for much more info!