Ever wondered how a life of a lay missionary looks like, and what would move a young person to live a life completely devoted to being a living witness of Christ’s love? Beverley shares with us.
When did you first consider becoming a missionary?
The first ‘whisper’ came from one of my late grandmother’s last gift to me – a missionary rosary (every decade is in a different colour), something about it resonated within me, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then, I attended the inaugural School of Witness (SOW) here in Singapore back in 2009, and met some of the ICPE (Institute for World Evangelisation) missionaries. Their lives and lifestyle attracted me. The joy they had was infectious, the love they showed for God was desirable, and the trust and dependence on God was admirable. A lot of the things they said and did resonated with me, and I guess some part of me wanted to explore that for myself.
Was there a specific encounter that convicted you of this call?
I wouldn’t say it was just one specific encounter.
Being away in a foreign country for the School of Mission (SOM) for 5 months stirred in me an excitement whenever I had the opportunity to share about God. I stayed on in New Zealand because I was drawn to that Missionary Community life, a place where I knew would be challenging, yet also a focused environment that got me to examine my relationship with God and grow even deeper in love with Him. And the more I shared my testimonies at outreaches around the country, the more I realised the victories God had won in my life.
The period of time when I returned to Singapore to work also convicted me of this call. I joined an amazing company looking to make a social impact in the world. I enjoyed what I was doing there. But as I worked for very passionate women who were on fire for what they wanted, it made me look in the mirror and to ask myself what I was passionate about. It didn’t take long to realise my passion is with the mission; to work with God and for Him, to work with people and help them make connections. I saw that the mission could help me express that passion better.
So I went back to the mission to explore further and I guess what I can say is that the more I know and love God, the more I know and love myself, and become even more convicted of the call that God has placed in my heart.
“Beloved & Joyful”: Beverley showcasing her cardboard testimony
Were there any hesitations (your own or of those around you)? How did you move past these hesitations?
A significant one would be financial stability and future security; all ‘practical’ things. And the uncertainty of them was a cause for anxiety and hesitation; sometimes I wondered if the church really supports lay missionaries. I raised these concerns to people in the mission, especially those who had been serving for quite a while. And from their personal testimonies, I saw God’s providence.
I’ve also had the privilege of meeting and living with missionary families where I saw first-hand, the faithfulness and providential love of God. While the parents served in the mission, there were blessings coming in to provide for their children, and for some, all the way till university.
The beauty to those hesitations was that it also became part of my own journey to grow deeper with God. I realised that these hesitations and insecurities stemmed from a place where I didn’t trust God totally. I didn’t trust for Him to provide.
God is always inviting me to trust Him to be my provider. In response to His invitation, I recently offered up a fund-raising for a mission trip to the Philippines. And God, through His faithfulness, blessed us with enough resources that covered our entire 3-week-long trip for 7 people.
What are some of the joys & struggles of being a missionary?
Being a missionary requires of me to step out of my comfort zone. This has been both a struggle and a joy for me. As a missionary, I’m constantly stretched and challenged to move into something unfamiliar. It can be trying, as I am faced with my internal negative scripts and lies of inadequacy, unworthiness, insignificance, etc. Yet, I have also been blessed to encounter leaders and mentors in the mission who constantly encourage me to be better and to look into what was ‘holding me back’.
Every time I embrace the invitations to move beyond my comfort zone, I also always come to discover more about myself and experience a sense of freedom and joy. The discomfort and uncertainties have been platforms for me to experience growth in my life.
Beverley receiving birthday blessings from her community at St Gerard’s Church & Monastery, Wellington Diocese, NZ
It is a life where I am constantly bringing God into every facet of my life, eager for His bigger plans, surprises and movements.
How does the life of a young missionary look like?
When we serve the community at large, we reach out to parishes, schools and sometimes prisons. There are also opportunities for street outreach and even some door-knocking. We share our faith by various means of sessions, teaching, testimonies, worship, dance, mimes and skits.
But beyond that, each of us simply desire to nurture a deeper relationship with God and self, and to find meaning in what we do. There is a saying that implies that once one has come to experience the life of a missionary and has been immersed in living with a mission community, that ‘we are ruined to normality’.
Staying in a normal setting really doesn’t satisfy me anymore. Jobs that used to excite me now leave me restless. Even when I think about traveling to different countries, I now consider what communities I can visit and the kind of mission exposures I can have. There is a search for something more than what the world says it offers. It is a life where I am constantly bringing God into every facet of my life, eager for His bigger plans, surprises and movements.
What does it mean to be a missionary? How can we exercise this spirit in our daily living?
We are all called to be missionaries. Sometimes, we may be the only Gospel that an individual will ever read. And so if we look at how we live our daily lives, a question to ponder is “How am I being a witness to God’s love in my life?”
St Irenaeus said:
“The glory of God is man fully alive and to be alive consists of beholding God.”
To come alive I feel, is a great way to be a witness. We come alive when we are in love, so fall in love with God. We also come alive when we work at our passions, so take the time to discover those dreams and passions that God has placed in our hearts (When He put it there, that means it’s on His heart too), and work at them! When we are alive for what we do, we naturally exude love and joy. This is highly attractive and people are drawn to that! Others will ask you why you respond the way that you do.
I like how Pope Francis put it across in his message for World Mission Sunday 2019.
“People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving.”
Beverley on Park Mission Outreach in Baguio with the School of Mission, Sabah (2018-2019)
What would you say to a young person, to encourage him/her to ‘put out into the deep’ and follow him?
I would share this quote that resonated so deeply in me and stirred in me a desire to explore who God calls me to be.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the World.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As we let our own Light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson