Arrivals

Peter & Renate Yonge

How long have you served with OMF?
We joined OMF in 1991, so it’s been a full 30 years.

What is your current ministry?
We have spent the last four years in a church planting team in Hanamaki, in the north-east of Japan. The work was begun by the Langhans from OMF Germany, so we built on their ministry while adding several new initiatives.

Can you share a highlight from the last four years?
That would be the dedication of our new church in September 2020. Worship and all other activities had been based in our home, but in April 2020 the Lord provided a large house in a good location, which we renovated to make a big worship space with some other meeting rooms. It enables us to offer a wider range of activities, and the place is much easier to find.

What have you missed most or what are you most looking forward to about being back in the UK?
Marmite…and well, it will be nice to just be an ordinary person in the street, not always standing out as the foreigner. And we do look forward to worshipping in a larger fellowship.

What can we pray for your future and where you serve?
Retirement is a new adventure for us, and we desire the Lord to show us how to use these years in a way which pleases him. However please keep praying for OMF (UK) workers Mark & Sarah Gelsthorpe, that they may lead the Hanamaki church forward with wisdom and courage.

John & Birita with Markus and Jonas Timothy

How long have you served with OMF?
Four years.

What is your current ministry?
We have been working in a church plant in a small Japanese city called Hirosaki in Aomori prefecture (about the size of Dundee or Milton Keynes). The church only has around 20 people attending Sunday services but has an active programme during the week, which many locals come to. Our roles have included Bible teaching, evangelism and teaching English.

Can you share a highlight from the last four years?
We were privileged to see the baptism of a young girl in our church in the summer. Also a local family we befriended started attending church. Seeing the growth taking place in their lives has been a special experience.

What’s the most unexpected thing you have seen?
The degree to which people get attacked by crows has been unexpected, but also quite entertaining to watch. If you’re eating something tasty in a park, always be prepared to enter mortal combat with a crow!

What have you missed most from the UK?
Having two children in Japan, with the pandemic creating a travel barrier, has made us miss our families most. That and a good bacon sandwich.

What have you learnt from East Asians?
That we need to listen carefully to local Christian advice on ministry and when making decisions. Their insights are more valuable than any book you’ll read before serving there.

How can we pray for your future and where you serve?
For our family as we spend home assignment in Northern Ireland and the Faroe Islands. Especially for our boys, Jonas (2.5) and Markus (1), for whom missing bacon sandwiches isn’t a thing, but missing rice will be.

Chris & Sarah with Rebekah, Miriam and Daniela Keiller

How long have you served with OMF?
For almost 11 years. We arrived in Thailand on the King’s birthday, 5 December 2010!

What is your current ministry?
We are part of the church planting team in Central Thailand; Chris’ focus is discipleship training and Bible teaching in the Central Thailand provinces. This involves leading training days, teaching good understanding of discipleship as the call on all Christians to follow Jesus and allow him to shape us, and to share the hope of the gospel with others in the community, inviting them to also become disciples of Jesus. We long to see everyday Christians seeing themselves as both followers of Jesus, maturing in their own faith, and also being his light to others in their own communities.

What’s the most unexpected thing you have seen?
We got to know a deaf lady in our community, and picked up some Thai sign language as she became a regular in our house who needed a friend, and was glad of any work we could give her. Our communication could only go so far, and we moved location after a year. As far as we know the gospel is still quite unknown to her, but we would love to be able to reconnect with her again, when we return to Thailand.

What are you most looking forward to about being back in the UK?
Seeing friends and feeling (more) normal! Also, being able to take time to reflect on what God has been doing in us, and his plans for us.

What have you learnt from East Asians?
We have seen the faithfulness of many Thai, and other Asian, Christians who continue to serve and reach out to their communities through the unique circumstances of the pandemic and the opportunities that have come through this very challenging time.

How can we pray for you?
For God’s leading throughout this home assignment season, and also for him to prepare us for future ministry within his will for our family.