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AsiaMember Care

Learning through a season of recovery

When preparing to move to the field, many of our workers have big dreams about what life and ministry will be like once they arrive. They spend hours telling churches, friends, and family about how they believe God will use them. This is what we in OC call the pre-field phase of being a mission worker. If asked, our people can recount many ways God used that time to prepare them for the reality of what living and doing ministry overseas really means. Elana’s experience is, in some ways, a typical experience and in other ways quite unique.

Elana moved to Southeast Asia less than two years ago and continues to be amazed at how God used her pre-field season to prepare her for an unexpected ministry. “(Pre-field) was really formational and a real training ground in terms of accepting my limits,” she says. “I look at that time as such necessary preparation and really a foundation for what I went through when I got to the field. I think it would have been so much harder had I not learned how to wait for him and just rest in him.”

el1_400x300Along with cultural differences, language acquisition, and learning her way around a new country, Elana started facing significant health challenges after her arrival. “I think (pre-field) really prepared me for ‘Ok, I can’t do anything for myself’ (situations). I was so grateful to the Lord for building in me a deeper sense of him, knowing my value before him,” Elana explains.

While Elana may have thought about what life in Asia would look like, she did not expect to be dealing with her health. Often in too much pain to leave her apartment, the past year and a half overseas has revolved around restoring her body instead of participating in ministry she had anticipated. “I feel like I haven’t even gotten a chance to do anything per se,” she explains.

However, God had other plans for Elana’s first year of ministry. He gave her the valuable opportunity to slow down and really listen to the people around her. “They have really opened up and have shared deeply. I’ve had lots of time to listen, because I’ve just laid there (recovering from illness) … I think it has been an open door for myself just to hear their stories … this time developed a deeper sensitivity in me … even though I haven’t done anything, the Holy Spirit has really impacted me through the experience,” she says.

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In addition to walking through hurts of others, Elana has had time to pray. “I feel like there are certain people that God calls to devote the majority of their ministry time to prayer, and I feel like I’m one of those people,” says Elana. This can mean not only devoting time to prayer, but also facilitating prayer and worship for others on her team and in her community. Her passion is to connect people with God through some form of prayer wherever they are and whatever they believe.

Recently, Elana has found more healing in her body and is anticipating having the ability to take on more prayer ministry. Although she did not expect to be faced with a season of slowing down and listening, she knows God’s hand brought her to that point in order to better equip her for what is next.

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