Out of the Comfort Zone Asia 2017 begins
Ellyn Schellenberg | Malaysia
“Let everyone here this week draw closer to God, grow deeper in relationship with others, and gain a fuller understanding of missions,” prayed an OM staff member on the night before Out of the Comfort Zone Asia 2017 (OCZ Asia) began.
The group of event organisers, the main speaker and several volunteers had gathered together to pray for the 79 participants, 10 conference only attendees, and 46 other volunteers and OM staffers. In a lull before the storm, before the busyness of any missions’ conference or event, the group quieted their hearts, reflecting on the challenge from the story of Mary and Martha to simply “be with God”, and prayed.
OCZ Asia aims to equip and mobilise people from around the world into missions, by providing four days of training, including cultural orientation, team development, and ministry skills, followed by a one- or two-week practical outreach in one of ten countries spread across Asia, ranging from Japan to Cambodia.
Participants from 19 different countries and ranging in age from 18-71, arrived at the venue throughout the day on July 8, 2017. Some stepping out from their countries for the first time, others repeat short-term missionaries, but all looking to engage with what God is doing in Asia.
“I’ve never been to Japan,” Jane, an Australian participant said with a laugh. “I’m guessing it’s really different than what I’m used to, so I’m really stepping out of my comfort zone.”
A small group from Laos that has been discipled by OM staff there, is venturing out on their first cross-cultural missions trip to the Philippines. “We want to see how other people serve God,” Aliani*, a 22-year-old Laotian on her first missions trip said. “And we want to know where God will lead us next.”
“From this event, we desire that every participant and volunteer will see beyond their own immediate comfort zone and catch a vision for the need for ministry among the least reached.” Elina, a Malaysian event organiser shared. “We hope that they will sense what God wants them to do next, especially those that are questioning, and that from here their relationship with God goes deeper.”
Please join us in praying for both participants and organisers of OCZ Asia, that they would stay healthy, engage deeply in both the teaching and the outreaches, and would be diligent about spending time listening and being with God.
Published: Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Credit: Ellyn Schellenberg