It was the year 1997 when I received God’s divine mandate to leave my job in the IT (Information Technology) industry and serve Him beyond the walls of the church.
I was serving in my local church then and when the Lord said to move beyond, although He did not tell me how, where and in what capacity, I said I would simply obey Him. And God began to set up divine appointments for me. I met a young tentmaker who uses his dentist capacity to serve the Lord in the migrant-worker community. When he finished the day at his dental clinic, he would attend to the migrant workers. I decided I would also join the local indigenous missions organisation founded by this dentist to serve the migrant communities in Little India.
Since that year, I had the privilege to witness how the Spirit of God unfolded His blueprint through this almost unknown indigenous organisation, now known as Jeevan Frontiers, in His amazing ways. There were tough times but by His grace, through Jeevan Frontiers, a church planting movement among seven different nations in Asia has started.
At the same time, my assignment from the Lord became clearer. I knew I was to pioneer work among a people group in one of the poorest countries in Asia. Looking back, I am full of gratitude to God for the 22 years of serving among this people group both locally and beyond the shores of Singapore.
Challenges remain very real. We were often confronted with limited and scarce resources for the work but the Lord always provided as He had promised. Serving in a third world nation was tough as the risks were plenty. In July 2017, there was an epidemic of viral fever called Chikungunya in D city and the rural districts. This was a mosquito-borne illness. Our key leader Brother E was affected. It was painful to see him suffering from muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. His joint pain was often debilitating and it varied in durations. The recovery process was long and drawn out. At that time, he had lost a considerable amount of weight. Wanting to be there to take over as the captain to steer the work in D city, I took the risk and flew there. Brother E, then very ill and bed ridden, was alone without his family, so I spent a week ministering to him. While Brother E was fighting the battle of illness, I was fighting mosquitoes everywhere especially during the night, taking caution against being bitten and infected. With much prayer, Brother E was on the road to a slow and painful recovery.
I returned home to Singapore but within a day or two, I also began to develop symptoms of Chikungunya. Suffering the same symptoms of excruciating pain in my joins, fever and loss of muscle mass, I was referred to the communicable centre for disease at the hospital and quarantined at home. No medication for this viral illness was available and one just had to carefully ride it out, hence it was also a long painful road to recovery for me. Praise God for my amazing family and team members who came around me and God restored me for the next challenge.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom,Habakkuk 3:17
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labour of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Joy is in the Lord, the God of my salvation, so every step of the way in this God-given assignment, I just kept on depending on my Jesus. Witnessing a people group from the most difficult religious background calling on the name of the Jesus Christ and holding on to that Name as their only hope also gave me much joy. They may face realities of rejection from their family and community yet they have the privilege of seeing Jesus appearing before them.
Today, I have the privilege to lead a small, willing and vibrant team of volunteers serving among the migrant workers in Singapore. Together with a dedicated sister-in-Christ, we will follow up with those who have come to Christ. I praise God that although this assignment God has given me comes with many challenges, it has also given me much joy. To God be the glory for all that He has done.
I hope you are encouraged by Mathews’ simple step of obedience to the Lord and how he then began to move on his kingdom assignments. Ps Henson writes in his book Alignment Check, “If you believe the Lord has given you an assignment, then just obey. Take the next step and see how He comes through for you. You can only experience something when you finally experience it.”
God desires to reveal His power through you. And that happens when you step out in obedience, when you begin to move on your kingdom assignment. What is holding you back from steeping forth in obedience? Commit every care and concern to Him. Trust and obey.
Mathews has been married to Elsie for 30 years and they have two children. As the head, Mathews strives to ignite in each member of his household, including their helper, a desire for God’s Word as well as to know His call in their lives. The family comes together for morning and evening devotions. As a youth leader for four years in his local church before, Mathews also challenged the youths to be devoted to God, serve Him faithfully and aspire to do the impossible in God. As a missionary and tentmaker for 22 years, he reaches out to people from different walks of life and loves sharing the good news of Jesus with them and pray for them. He is a quiet and unassuming leader who avails himself readily when called upon to help.