“Together, we sailed around the globe to 55 different places across five continents — what better way than to experience missions with your best friend?” William Ngoo, 39, says of some of the best years spent together with his wife Janice, 37, on board Logos Hope from 2015 to 2018.
Drawn to the prospect of serving with an international community, the couple from Singapore wanted to join the ship to bring help and hope to the nations. Since their younger days, both had individually gone on mission trips to Southeast Asia.
Still, Janice had to face a looming concern at home.
“My mum couldn’t understand why I was going away without a job. She expected me to take care of her and earn big bucks,” explained Janice. “Confucianist values like filial piety bind us.”
As the only child, Janice had not been in contact with her father since her parents divorced when she was just one.
“It was emotionally tough that I did not get my mum’s blessing — was I being unfilial? Was I a bad child?” Yet, the call to mission was strong, and Janice felt a sense of peace when she decided to pursue it.
“God, please take care of my mum,” Janice prayed.
Soon after, her prayers were answered when her relatives in Singapore rallied around her to lend a helping hand in caring for her mother.
William’s story was no different; his mother was a widow.
“As the eldest son in an Asian family … you are expected … to look after your parents,” said William.
“Going into the mission field is like abandoning them. I prayed, ‘God, if You were to really call me into missions, take care of my mum.’”
And so God did. William was thankful he was able to rent out his mother’s home, and his sister agreed to take care of her while he was away.
Seeing God at work
“Wherever God leads, we will follow,” William established.
Their journey began with Logos Hope from Keppel Bay in Singapore to numerous ports of call for the next three years.
Janice served as a Vision Trip coordinator, while William worked as a trainer in Logos Hope Intensive Training (LIT), a discipleship training programme.
One day, while on the way to a meal with his LIT team at Port Elizabeth, South Africa, William saw a homeless man approaching them but avoided him.
In that moment, he heard God saying, “William, you are leading people to follow Jesus. Yet when you see a need, you don’t behave like Him.”
That night, William had planned a feast with friends who were visiting, and he met yet another homeless man who had visited the ship. He asked William for alms and received a bag of rice.
God spoke to William again. “Why are you giving him a bag of rice when you are having a feast?”
Stricken by God this time, William quickly invited this man to join them. They feasted and shared personal testimonies. Well-versed in the Bible, the man spoke with much wisdom.
God impressed on William to ask if the man needed any more provisions. He wanted a Bible and some Christian books from the ship’s book fair, which William gave, along with a couple of sleeping bags.
Just then, William felt prompted to pull Janice along and ask the man to pray for them. He interceded aloud, “The Lord is pleased with what you are doing. He will take care of both your mothers.”
“We were in tears,” said William, amazed at the personal details of the prayer. “We asked ourselves, ‘Did we just serve Jesus? And if we did, is He pleased with us?’”
“When God poses an opportunity for us to serve, but we turn away, we become less of the person we are meant to become.
“But when we serve, we become more of the person God created us to be, and the person we are serving is Jesus ‘in disguise’,” William reflected, referring to Matthew 25:40 — “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (NIV).
Missions does not stop there
Back on Singapore soil, after their time on Logos Hope, the couple continues to be God’s ambassadors.
“We need a bigger view of mission,” William says, serving as a youth pastor at a local church. “It’s not just about preaching the gospel or passing out a Gospel tract. I see missions as a lifestyle. Missions is wherever we go, whomever we meet.”
Janice sees her mission field as the youth she works with at her church or the clients from schools and prisons she interacts with in her capacity as a counsellor.
“Step out when you can,” Janice says of going into cross-cultural missions. “God will see you through. He will pave the way when you obey Him.”