Destination: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Designation: Health and social care ministries
Sending Church: Chryston Parish Church
Departure date: July 2017
Ali & Cathy Hunt with Abigail and Kirstin
Over the years we have had a number of almost-departures, but God waited until we were in our mid-thirties with two daughters, to take us to Cambodia. We went in November 2012 for three years as associates with OMF. Now after our Bible college training, we will be returning long-term.
We knew almost nothing about Cambodia when we arrived in 2012. Yes, we had both read Killing Fields, Living Fields and done a little online research, but nothing could prepare us for the onslaught of motorbikes, dust and noise that awaited us. In our time there we gained an
interest in the country’s culture and history, but more significantly, our love for the people
grew as we learnt how much they had suffered and needed Christ.
I (Ali) have a passion to help develop the country’s healthcare services, specifically diabetic foot care. Many patients with diabetes have unnecessary lower limb amputations due to a lack of provision of good quality and timely treatment. I have an opportunity to work alongside a Cambodian Christian Doctor where we can be a witness for Christ in a Buddhist government hospital. So as well as addressing their physical needs, we are seeking to introduce Cambodians to Christ and to walk alongside them.
Cathy will be using her occupational therapy skills and will seek ministry opportunities after we are settled.
Destination: Southeast Asia
Designation: Serve Asia, administrative support for projects
Sending church: Frimley Baptist Church
Departure date: October 2017
David & Karen
Having recently retired we did not feel ready to put our feet up, drink coffee after a Sainsbury’s shopping trip and focus on our golf. Instead, we felt that God could still have something for us to contribute and so we started looking at different volunteering opportunities.
We recently lived in Southeast Asia for four years while David was working for a large global company. David’s background is in geophysics
but he finds people more interesting than rocks,
so within his work had moved into human resources management. Karen’s background is in maths and administration. Her love for the subject is such that she solves maths problems as ‘relaxation’. With our combined cross-cultural experience and skills, we applied to see if we could support a team in Southeast Asia.
Last year we took an assignment supporting a long-term project helping children learn to read. Karen focused on helping with databases and administration issues while David supported the project in developing its people management and strategic planning. There were lots of challenges, with ‘interesting’ food, stifling heat, humidity and chaotic traffic. But our overall experience was hugely positive and we are deeply grateful to our hosts, who made us feel so welcome and valued.
So we were pleased when the opportunity came up to return for a further two months from October. We will be fulfilling the same roles and look forward to using our skills to continue supporting the project ‘behind the scenes’.
Destination: East Asia
Designation: Serve Asia, English teaching
Sending Church: Mourne Presbyterian Church
Departure date: August 2017
After hearing the story of a missionary in a school assembly when I was 10 years old, I remember thinking ‘I would love to be a missionary’. The thought didn’t go much further then. But when I was converted at the age of 29, I began thinking about how I should serve the Lord. I started where I was, teaching at Sunday school, but I knew Jesus could call me to the end of the earth.
Some years ago, I took a trip to China. I fell in love with the people there and wondered how I could return to the region and seek to share the good news with them. One of the best ways to go was as an English teacher. I’m a building contractor by trade so I went back to college in 2008 and took the four A-levels I needed to go on to do the Teaching English as a Foreign Language course and get the necessary certificate. I have been teaching English to everyone from Somalians to Syrians here in Northern Ireland these last few years.
In my three-month trip to East Asia I hope to learn more about the people and understand their situation better. In the longer term I would like to be a full-time missionary or evangelist, but I am looking to God’s leading through this trip. I am happy to be in his will since there is no safer place to be.