By Joey Sanchez

One thing that was subconsciously taught to us kids back in the Philippines was that attaining a life in the Western world is one of the greater goals we could achieve. We were told that if we lived in the West, whether it be Canada or the USA, we would acquire better work opportunities, vast options for education, and a safer environment to live. I am confident that this mentality is also instilled in the minds of other East Asian peoples.

As an immigrant turned Canadian citizen, I can honestly say that I have greatly benefited from my migration. The Lord has blessed me not just with material items, but also opportunities that allowed me to pursue my dreams.

Pastor Lian and his wife Daisy have seen and experienced the same benefits that I received here in Canada, yet they chose a destiny that would confuse most Asians. They answered God's call to return home. They knew that their lives will be on the line if Pastor Lian started his ministry in a homeland ruled by the military. By becoming missionaries, they forfeited a life of comfort, a lifestyle the West could provide. Despite the advice of Lian's family to stay in Canada, they held fast and followed God's voice. Pastor Lian and Daisy chose obedience over their own comfort.

This faithful couple's decision reminded me of one of my favourite verses in the Bible: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8).

I could not even fathom making the decision to live again in the Philippines! Of course it is easy to say yes to God's call when it doesn't require me to discard the luxuries of life. It is easy for me to say yes to God's will when it doesn’t put our lives in danger. It is easy to forget that trials are characteristic of the Christian life when I live in a place that idolizes convenience.

This is why I am inspired by the testimony of Pastor Lian and Daisy. Despite the inconveniences and the danger, they did not refuse the call. Their homeward mission is a pure reflection of the early church and its workers. The road they are on is not an ordinary one. It's a road less traveled. Their testimony showcases God's power and grace. Because they said to yes to God and no to the world, countless East Asian indigenous people have come to know Christ. Because they said yes to God and no to their flesh, they were able to save nine children from the brink of human trafficking. Because they said yes to God and not to the Canadian dream, a missionary training school dedicated to the Gospel now stands. Through them God has displayed His magnificent Grace.

Their testimony has made me ponder what God wants me to do with my own life. How can I glorify God and expand the Kingdom of Heaven while I am here in Canada. What is my mission? He may not move me back to East Asia, but that doesn't mean that I cannot be actively engaged in the Great Commission.

My prayer is that when I hear the voice of the Lord, I would have same depth of faith that prompted Lian and Daisy to say, "Yes here I am, send me."

Pastor Lian & Daisy recently spent nearly four weeks connecting with churches and friends in Manitoba. They shared their vision and burden for the unreached in Asia, and the churches shared love and hospitality with them. The mutual love and encouragement which characterized their visit is an example of the relationships that AIM is seeking to establish between indigenous missions and churches in Canada.

posted on June 23, 2017
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2017