So I grew up in a Christian family and got to know God for myself at a very young age. As I grew older I also grew deeper in my faith and got to know God better and better. I always had a desire to live my life for God, to live in a way that made Him happy.
As I grew up further and started to think about a work, I always felt that I would like to work in a field that allowed me to serve God directly. But I also felt deeply conflicted about this - as I always felt very strongly that whatever you do, you are serving God and can glorify God through it, and I still very much believe that now too.
I also couldn't see what it was that I could do? I studied electronics at university because I had enjoyed it a school and subsequently got a job working in a hospital repairing and maintaining the machines that they use to treat cancer.
This was a remarkable time of growth for me, both in my technical capabilities, but also in my own self-confidence.
Called and equipped
In my five years at the hospital I hadn't really thought about "mission". It had come to my mind a couple of times and I made a few quick searches of what I might be able to do with my skills, but found nothing. I was very happy with my work in the hospital.
But in my fifth year there, I started to feel a little unsettled. It's hard to explain as I was still very happy at the hospital, but I started to feel that there was something else, something more that I should be doing with my life. I didn't really understand it, so I spent a lot of time praying about it.
'Being able to see just how faithfully God has provided for me is something I will always be able to hold on to no matter how hard it gets'
Over a period of time I began to feel God pointing things out to me about my work life. Things like, how I really enjoyed the technical side of my job, but that I really wanted to be more involved in people's lives. And how I really enjoyed teaching but didn't very often get the chance. The desire to serve God more directly also came back along with a few other things too. Filled with this new direction, I set about looking for something that fitted the bill, although I didn't really know what I was looking for.
After some time of searching and getting nowhere, I started to get disheartened and to give up. It turns out electronics and evangelism isn't a natural mix! I then did what I should have done in the first place, I turned to God and said; "firstly, and most reluctantly, if you want me to stay where I am, I will. Secondly, if you really do want me to do whatever this thing is, then you'd better find the job yourself because I can’t find it!"
Only two weeks after that my Mum called me to say that she had stumbled across a job with MAF for an electronic engineer in Papua New Guinea and that I should get in contact with MAF to find out more. So I did.
Made for MAF!
After a meeting in the MAF UK office, I was put in touch with guys I'd be working with in PNG. To be honest, at this point I didn't think I was the man for the job. It's not that I didn't like the sound of the job, it's just that if you're going to move to the other side of the world in God's name, you really have to be sure that it's what God wants, and I wasn't. Not even at all. Furthermore, I couldn't see what God could do to change my heart. But God had led me this far and it felt right to at least have the conversation, so I did.
I was expecting there to be a lot of conversation about the technical side of role, but there wasn't. In fact, they managed to cover it all in about thirty seconds. You see they were happy with my technical capabilities, but they want to see how I felt about the less usual parts of the role, the parts that more conventional engineers might not feel comfortable with. They started to give a comprehensive list of the other aspects of the job aside from installing, maintaining, and repairing electronics equipment. A list which just happened to match the list God had previously shown to me about the things that I had been missing. Exactly. A perfect match. Not one thing too many, and not one thing missing. It was in that moment, after searching tirelessly so long for something that even nearly matched and finding nothing, that I realised that this was exactly what God wanted me to be doing, and exactly where I was supposed to be.
After a couple more interviews MAF agreed, I left my job at the hospital and started working for MAF. The first thing I did was to visit the programme in PNG to see what I had let myself in for! It was an incredible experience and an encouragement to see what this list of things I had in my head looked like in the real world. The more I saw the more I felt certain that this was where God wanted me to be.
As soon as I arrived back in the UK it was time to start support-raising. I was given excellent training in how to go about this monumental task, how to invite people to join me on this journey in whatever way they felt they could and indeed wanted to, as well as how to share this journey with them. The amount of financial support that I needed to raise seemed impossible, which was both a source of worry and also strangely of peace. For whilst the weight of responsibility for something I knew that in human terms I could not achieve was upon me, I equally knew that God had called me to this, so I knew that He'd have to do what I couldn't! And so He did.
'I hadn't really thought about "mission"'
Support-raising was hard and often felt slow. I would be lying if I said that it hadn't more than once brought me to tears (and consequently back to God in prayer). It required a lot of organisational and communication skills that don't come naturally to me. But with this came huge unexpected blessings; kindness and generosity from places I did not expect and even from people I did not know, and being made to feel like family in countless people's homes. Blessed truly beyond anything I could have asked for or imagined.
At the end of the time which had been allotted for my support-raising I had still only raised 42% which was a concern as it meant that further support-raising would have to double up with time when I would be doing other tasks like arranging my VISA and the shipping my belongings. On top of that, I had already spoken to pretty much every one I could think of, so another 58% seemed quite impossible. But I was reassured because I knew that that is where God works best!
But before all that, I had a ten week biblical and cross-cultural training course, which was another huge blessing. I knew that I would learn a lot of very useful information and was looking forward to being able to take more time to listen to God. I learned far more than I had realised that I had to learn, and God showed me so much that He wanted to teach me personally if only I took the time to listen. On top of all that, I made some great friends and had an awful lot of fun!
Towards the end of my time at the college I received an e-mail from the MAF office with an up-date on my support raising - my support was now up to 82%! In the time I had been at college, not actively seeking support, God had almost doubled my support! Incredible!
This made the time leading up to my departure much easier. Although there was work for the support-raising to be done, this seemed to fit seamlessly with all the other tasks that I had to do, which were often challenges in themselves; I think I mentioned that paperwork doesn't come naturally to be and I had no idea (and probably still don't really) of how to get all my belongings to PNG!
'Support-raising was hard... but with this came huge unexpected blessings; kindness and generosity from places I did not expect and even from people I did not know'
But it all got done, and fitted perfectly into place (at this time, this is slight conjecture, but I'm confident that it will...) and all of my financial support was made, alongside even greater amounts of prayer and encouragement of which I am truly grateful. This is greatly encouraging to me and being able to see just how faithfully God has provided for me is something I will always be able to hold on to no matter how hard it gets.
Do you have technical, aviation or managerial skills? Perhaps God is calling you to serve with MAF overseas. Why not chat to our Recruitment Officer Tricia Holley on 01303 850950 or send her an email.