As I pen this message, we are only one week away from our return to home journey (13th July 2021), to embark on a a time with our family in Singapore, as well as to accomplish much needed administrative requirements that has been left undone due to our distance from Singapore.
Our question to our vocation as missionaries due to our extended time back home (between 6-12 months), brings easily into question evolution of our continued calling as missionaries.
Our 17 years in France (24 years for John in adding his term in Ghana and the Philippines) has shown us God grace and “enabling” in so many ways: facing culture shock, in language assimilation, in cultural integration as well as in multicultural ministry setting overseas. Our time home in Singapore will also be faced with reverse culture shock as returning workers (for the initial period). Our role during the time of our return back home will not be as “missionaries” in the mission field, but our vocation to serve God effectively in a new local “mission” from the Lord will begin.
What is our value as workers intended as “useful” in foreign land back home? Amidst some struggle with these questionings: “What is my value to the home “mission” world? Who am I back home ? This struggle is similar to the “dark night of the soul” of Saint John of the cross, a place place of re-questioning our self worth, value and usefulness for our Master.
This brings to mind the writings of Dietrich BONHOEFFER, in his poem “Who am I ?”, written before his execution by the Nazi authority during the second world war, who ends the work with a confirmation of his fundamental value in Christ saying : “Whoever I am, Thou Knowest, O God, I am thine.”
It brings great encouragement and confidence to know that at the end of all we can possibly dream and accomplish for the Lord, our infinite value is in the knowledge that “we are all, each and every one of us, children of God”, who are in His mission every second of our lives!
It is important for each and everyone of us to find our self value anchored in the Lord Jesus CHRIST, as it needs to be understood the importance of self-value and self-worth NOT in the “vocation we practice” (work), but rather in the “vocation we receive” (calling) from HIM.
In this day and and age where all communication is presented with a glow of “positivism”, where every intended photo, facebook or instagram update shows only the wonderful and the best, it is no wonder that depression and self-doubt has become one of the most serious problems in our societies, especially among the young generation, confronted by the need to compare oneself daily with false realities based on false values.
BONHOEFFER exemplifies the truth of our value in HIM, one which is not dependant on the values accorded by the society around us, but our value which is solely found and grounded in our being in communion and relation with HIM. Amen!
Thankful for ElimParis – a discipleship mission church
I am thankful for God grace and wisdom that has guided us to build a mission church in Paris. We believe that God wants to raise up disciples be pertinent in this génération, to reach and transform lives for His Kingdom, by her vision : Love God, Love the church of God and Serving others (the people around her). We have been truly privileged to pastor this work since 2004 and to see how God has reached and touched many lives in Paris.
Thankful for church team in Paris
I thank God for his peace granted to us for this time of return, for His provision of good workers to continue the work during our absence. We thank God for a good committed team of church members who will continue the activities. Besides the blessings of our home church in Singapore, we know that our return was made able, knowing fully that there is a strong team supporting and praying for us during our time here in Singapore too 🙂
From left: Adele, Ptr Rebecca, Sylviane, Sis Kathie, Patricia, Johanne, Xiangyu, Hugo Chaojing, Ptr John, Nicolas, Yann Yahui, Nathalie (and her children Nelan and Emma in front), Gladys, Michel.
Thankful for replacement Mission Worker (pastoral intern)
We thank Him for providing Kathie CHOI, a Chinese sister of French and Canadian nationality, originally from Macau, to be our pastoral intern during our time in Singapore, to care and visit members. She will be funded and supported by our church in Paris with God’s help. We thank God for the wonderful plan of God as Kathie speaks and ministers in English, Mandarin and French, and has graduated this year from Institut Théologique de Bordeaux in France, the AG Bible school in France.
She has visited Elim Paris in the past before the Covid19 period and she is herself is thankful for God opening a door for her to serve as an intern in the church, since the French church culture is still reticent regarding female leadership of churches. In her own words, Kathie is thankful to God for this opportunity and would desire to serve God till the end of her days.
We had prayed and asked God to send us a worker who spoke and ministered in 3 languages. How wonderful to see God organizing all things perfectly: the right person, the right time, the right place – in spite of Covid19. He has allowed all these things to fit into His perfect plan, in spite of difficulties and challenges around. God is good!
Thankful for committed members:
We are thankful for the family HO of Johanne, Nicolas, Phillip and David (not in photo), whom we have watched grow and develop in their lives in church. We are so thankful that they are now one of the families who continue to support and serve in the church. What a joy to see these children grow into young men who love the Lord!
Thankful for Post confinement proficiency:
His provision of the technological necessities to allow us to continue to guide our team and workers in Paris from Singapore. The entire shift of activities on line has taken a toll on church development, but at the same time has made our church members computer “proficient” :), Rebecca and myself will be able to continue to serve and encourage our leaders and workers in France even from far away, during our period planned in Singapore. In spite of all the challenges created by the COVID19 situation, I am just thankful that God has helped His churches to become proficient in computer systems, in social media and distance communications through ZOOM and Whatsapp applications.
Thankful for ministry friends:
I am so thankful for God allowing us to connect with Rev Steve BLACKAH, who has become a good and close friend. We are thankful that our collaboration has led to possibility of our exclusive usage of his available church hall for our Sunday services. He has also been an encourager and prayer partner over the years.
I thank God for Rev Thierry LAINEL (AG France) and Rev Stuart LUDBROOK (Baptist Federation France) who will be supporting and preaching for the church during our time in Singapore, together with Sis Kathie. We are thankful that key relationships established over these years has allowed us to partner and work with close friends in the ministry for the benefit of the work in Paris.
Thankful for the opportunity of becoming God’s light in the French hospitals
I thank God that through the help of our previous National Chaplain Rev Isabelle MEYKUCHEL and the present regional chaplain Rev Anne THONI, I was allowed to serve the patients in the french hospitals. It was indeed a privilege especially during the COVID19 period, with families not being able to reach their family members in intensive care and palliative care. It is truly a blessing and privilege to be able to reach out to these ones in need. I particularly want to thank God for sending Ptr Henintsoa, freshly graduated from “Institut Protestant de Théologie” with a master degree in in applied theology, who will take over my role in the hospital visiting ministry during my time in Singapore.
Thankful for spreading the good news by radio:
I am grateful for the trust and responsibility to be the in-charge of the “hospital chaplaincy” radio program today. Its a privilege to know that our programs of encouragement to isolated patients in their wards reach a potential hearer population of 100,000 persons a month. I am so thankful for this ministry that reaches those far away in the forgotten places, so that the message of Jesus can still bring comfort to hearers 🙂
We are looking forward serve God in a new way coming back during this period, which has in-famously been called the “worst of times” to start new things. By our trust in Him, we are believing it to become the “the best of times“, with another new chapter in this “tale of two cities”; Paris and Singapore!
Thankfulness for Spiritual Unity:
I am thankful for being able to guide a group of chinese churches in France in the forming of the very first denomination legally recognized by the French police prefecture for chinese churches in France, the Union of Christian churches in France (Union des Eglises Chrétiennes en France – UECF), with churches in Paris, Lille, Marseille et in other parts of the nation. It has taken many years of prayers and reconciliation to bring traditional, modern, Charismatic and non-Charismatic churches to come today for the final step. I am so grateful to be able to help to bring to fruition this project in France during my time here with God’s help.
Thankful for COVID19 ministry opportunities:
I was so thankful to be able to volunteer to become a COVID19 tester and counsellor to secondary and primary schools in the month of MAY 2021. I was blessed to be able to explain and counsel the young children on the risk and prevention of COVID19 in the national education system in Paris. I thank God for new ways to bring His comfort and light to them!
We are thankful that our multiculturalism as Singaporeans has given us an openness to serve God overseas during this time. We are looking forward to rediscover how we can continue to serve God in a local perspective during our time in Singapore ( in the very near future).
May God continue to bless and keep you all in the places you call HOME,
John and Rebecca LIM
Tel : +65 62608258
Whatsapp: (john) +33 665205271 (rebecca) +33 6 16 63 17 86
- God’s open doors for new ministry orientation during the time in Singapore for John and Rebecca LIM. Please pray for God’s help for adjustment back to Singapore context.
- God’s continued guidance and strength on the leadership and teams in Elim Paris during this period, for God’s continued hands of blessings on the church.
- God strength and encouragement on Sis Kathie CHOI, for her acclimatization and integration into the ElimParis church, as well as for God’s provision and blessings on her new ministry beginning as pastoral intern.
- God’s continued protection for churches in France, His guidance and direction for the French government for the progressive déconfinement policies.