“How do you know whether you are called? When is the right time to go?” 29-year old Heidi Hoi Yin Cheng from Hong Kong had found herself grappling with a whole series of questions in the run up to Transform, OM's annual missions conference in the Mediterranean.
The 9th edition was held this year in Athens, Greece, and gathered close to 150 people from five continents and 30 countries under the theme 'Unleashed'. Several participants came to Transform and found God spoke to them in singular ways. Heidi was one of them. After the conference, she went to share the love of God in the Macedonian region of Greece.
Heidi works as a Prosthetist-Orthotist at a Hong Kong hospital, fitting prosthesis for patients after leg amputation. In her local church, she tutors teenagers and serves in the fellowship committee, organizing church events.
As a child, Heidi was used to worshipping different family idols. However, when she was unexpectedly allocated to a Christian secondary school, she learned about Jesus and became close friends with a Christian girl. “In the last year of secondary school, I was confused,” shared Heidi. “What about the future after graduation? Or, the meaning of life?” Her new friend told her that Jesus loved her and would accompany her into the future, regardless of success or failure. In Jesus, Heidi felt the love and peace she had not experienced from the idols of her childhood. In him, she found the true meaning of life and started to believe in Christ.
“During the Transform conference, it became clear that God calls everyone, and that I need to find my fit and stay in my own community until the right time, when God unleashes me to go,” shares Heidi. “As God’s daughter, it is important to fully participate where I am, see the people around me and share the gospel.”
A few years ago, Heidi had started to get involved in short-term mission trips in response to the Great Commission Jesus gives to all his followers. This year, while praying and deciding which missionary team to join, she went through a time of feeling very restricted with work and life at home. While browsing OM’s web site, she came across the theme of Transform 2019, 'Unleashed', and her decision was made.
“I really hope to be 'unleashed' in my current state,” explained Heidi before she left for the outreach in the Macedonian region of Greece. “I am eager for spiritual growth, and reading about Paul's missionary journey in the Bible, I was impressed and moved by his ‘vision of Macedonia’. Besides a willing heart, I know that being led by the Spirit is the most important key. I have asked God for my own 'Macedonian call' and I am excited to be going to an outreach at this very place.”
After coming back from Macedonia, Heidi wrote: “The outreach was awesome, and I experienced God more than I had expected.” She had come to understand more about Paul's life as a missionary, who, despite assault and unwelcomed, became instrumental in the gospel spreading far beyond his imaginings.
Heidi and her team also experienced their share of problems, and felt the spiritual warfare was for real. One day the glass in the car-window suddenly broke for no apparent reason; another day the whole team was kept in the police station for three hours. The pastor of the church they served with needed unexpected surgery and at times there were disagreements within the team. “However,” shares Heidi, “we learnt to pray first when facing challenges. God opened our eyes to see past the difficult situation to the need in people's hearts. It gave us opportunities to share the gospel with people we originally had not intended to meet.”
Among the many blessings, were invitations to homes of local believers. God’s love connected them through their mutual believe in Christ, despite their lack of a common language. “The fellowship with the brothers and sisters in the church was an encouragement to them, but also to me, and especially their interest in knowing more about Hong Kong, the protests and demonstrations, and that we could pray together for the situation here.”
The team stayed together as one big family, she remembered. “We cared for one another and were open to share our feelings and build relationships in the team. Doing God’s mission together in fellowship was a joyful experience and going together in the same direction was very encouraging.”
What she learnt from the outreach is that even in difficult situations, her focus should not be on the difficulty, but to first pray and see beyond the problem to the need in people’s heart. “God’s plan is always higher than our plan!” concluded Heidi.