Emily Giffen: Southeast Asia (SAV)

Over the summer I spent 6 weeks in Southeast Asia visiting a couple of mission projects. This was the first time I had gone so far East, and it was very eye-opening to see such a different part of the world. What I spent my time doing can largely be divided into three groups:

The first is time spent doing useful things. I helped out and ran English clubs in afternoons, evenings and helped run a couple of day events for people to come and practice English. These were already existing English clubs, one of which was in a university, another for all ages which ran in a café. Because of this they were established communities of people. We mainly designed lessons which would allow for them to practice speaking, listening and reading in English and through this taught about Scotland and formed friendships. Having another native English speaker present was helpful in drawing in new people. Through these English clubs relationships are developed by the missionaries with the local people, and due to security reasons these relationships are the main way in which they are able to share about Jesus. As well as helping with English clubs I also looked after children. Of the 6 weeks I was away 2 of the weeks I spent looking after the groups of children of missionary parents which allowed the missionary parents to get attend a conference. We had the children from 8.30 in the morning until 4.00 in the afternoon. It worked much like a holiday club with crafts, games, Bible teaching and sports. For both the children’s work and English clubs I was largely just left up to plan material for it, so there was also a fair about of time spent doing this prep work.

Secondly, I spent time speaking with a large number of missionaries, understanding their work and how missionaries’ organisations operate. It was very insightful to understand more about their struggles and joys. This is knowledge which I know will help me as a I seek to support missionaries and mission organisations from the UK in the coming years.

Thirdly, I spent time understanding the country and culture which I was in. This included language learning, attending a wedding, climbing hills, swimming in the sea and spending lots of time with local people. This was essential in terms of starting to understand the culture. The location which I spent most time in was in an unreached people group where the vast majority of the population were Muslim. Now living in a largely secular Scotland it was fascinating to be in a society which was so religious, where everyone’s lives revolve around their faith. It was also very interesting to see a culture which was so deeply rooted in Islam. I was really surprised by just how different it was! One thing which I really loved about the culture was the emphasis on respect. And of course as I travelled through the jungle paradise that is Southeast Asia I marvelled at God’s creation!

This trip has widened my perspective of the world enormously and I can’t wait to see how God uses this knowledge in the future. Thank you WfM for making this possible.

Women for Mission were pleased to be able to offer Emily some funding towards her trip to Southeast Asia via the Support A Volunteer Fund.

Could you or someone you know benefit from this fund? Find out more here.


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