Sarah Melbourne

How long have you served with OMF?
Four years.

What is your current ministry?
After full-time language and culture study, in February 2020 I moved to Taichung, Taiwan’s second-largest city. I served under a local pastor as a children’s worker while continuing part-time language study. This involved supporting Sunday School teachers and an after-school club, helping with homework before doing a Bible story and craft. Being in a working-class area, parents still had to go to work when the pandemic struck. The church took in some of the children. So we found ourselves looking after around ten 6-12 years olds from 7:30 am to 6 pm every weekday! *

Can you share a highlight from the last four years?
When I began to make local friends was a big highlight. My Taiwanese colleagues became good friends as well which was a real blessing.

What did you miss most from the UK?
Aside from obviously missing family and friends, I missed a good bookshop! While I could get English books in Taiwan, the selection was limited. So I looked forward to going to Waterstones and being able to pick out the book I wanted.

What have you learnt from East Asians?
We place a lot of value on independence in the UK, but in Taiwan there’s a lot of value on age, wisdom and experience. Also, in church meetings in Taiwan, there was more time at the start to chat and see how everyone was. Meetings were relationship orientated. You would get to the agenda after seeing how everyone was.

What can we pray for your future and where you serve?
Pray for the children I worked with and the families they are in, that God will speak to them through the work of the church and the activities. Pray for the church – it has a real vision for mission in Taiping and Taiwan. But we need more workers in the church. Pray for me to be able to balance my time between prayer meetings and church visits, alongside quality time with family. Pray for clarity for my next steps in ministry when I return to Taiwan.

Andy & Jenni Stevens with
Matt and Izzy

How long have you served with OMF?
Andy first served in East Asia from 1998. Jenni joined in 2011.

What is your current ministry?
Based in the UK, Andy is the New Horizons Strategy Coordinator for Europe and Africa: partnering to mobilise people and resources from those parts of Europe and Africa where OMF has no official representation. Jenni is the Serve Asia Coordinator for New Horizons. She manages the sending of short-term missionaries to East Asia (mostly) from all New Horizons contexts including Latin America and India.

Can you share a highlight from the last four years?
Sharing with churches in France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Faroe Islands and Hungary about OMF’s work has been wonderful. However, the highlight was my (Andy’s) three days of learning about the fantastic missionary movement from Ukraine in 2019.

Another encouraging development since I (Andy) began this role in 2016 is that OMF has opened up a way for marketplace workers to serve with us in places like Japan and Cambodia as they earn a wage doing secular work. This has enabled workers from Italy, Ghana and Kenya to serve in East Asia with minimal financial support from their home churches. It’s a very welcome development for missionaries from lower-income nations.

How can we pray for your future?
By the time you read this, we will be halfway through our home assignment. The Lord is faithful and we pray that we will see evidence of that. After we return to work (hopefully in January 2023), pray that the plans for mobilisation in Africa that were halted by the pandemic can be advanced rapidly.

Beverlea Parkhill

How long have you served with OMF?
I have served with OMF for almost 25 years. I began working in the UK National Office team in 1998 working in the Administration and Personnel departments in various roles. I joined OMF as a member in 2005 when I moved to the International Headquarters, as it was then, in Singapore as a HR Coordinator to support our teams in East Asia under the International Director for Evangelization.

What is your current ministry?
I have served as the UK Director for Member Care & HR since June 2012, ensuring that pastoral care for members is accessible, overseeing Third Culture Kids (TCK) care, retiree care as well as supporting our UK National Office Team. Thankfully I don’t do this alone and have a wonderful team to work alongside.

A highlight from your last term of service?
Being UK-based, it is always a delight to visit different countries in Asia. In 2017, I was able to visit the team in Japan and enjoyed the joys of the bullet train, the food and the cherry blossom season, as well as, of course, spending time with the team members there.

What can we pray for your future?
I will step down from my role by the end of September. I don’t yet know what the Lord is calling me to next, however it will be outside of OMF for now. Please pray that I will listen to his leading as I wait. Please pray for the right person to take on the revamped role of Director for People & Culture.