Heart Lim will soon leave her home and family in the Philippines to share Christ’s love with the people of Japan. Modelling after her parents Philip and Levi, Heart decided to step into a life of missions at the age of 21.
Once in Japan, Heart will attend a three-month training with OM to help prepare and introduce her to Japanese culture. Heart’s commitment to missions did not begin with Japan. It began long before with her father and mother’s example and a simple prayer at her birth.
Philip’s call to mobilisation
Philip went into full-time ministry at the age of 19. After marrying Levi a few years later, they started a family and settled in Cebu City. There, they built a family business and Philip served as a pastor for the church nearby.
Just as things were beginning to thrive in Cebu City, Philip became aware of pastors and mission workers in remote areas of his country in need of someone to help disciple successors to lead the next generation of believers.
“We had a business and of course, a church in the front of our house,” Philip recalled. “So, ministry and business at the same time were doing great. We gave up all that.”
Heart explained that her parents specialised in training and discipleship and remembered them praying for the Lord to provide someone to train mission workers to go to the least-reached areas of the country. “And then, the funny thing is, the Lord called them,” Heart said.
When Heart was 14, her family moved from Cebu City to Palawan, an isolated area on a neighbouring island. Philip started a training centre specifically focussed on building up local workers to equip the next generation of pastors and church leaders.
Growing up as the daughter of missions workers
While her parents were passionate about mobilising across cultures, Heart said it was never something they forced on her or her siblings, though they did instil the importance of each person serving the Lord in their own way — even if that looked different than how the Lims lived out that value.
Philip and Levi wanted their children to have a heart for those who did not know Jesus and incorporated this passion into their lives daily. On Wednesdays, their family held prayer nights focussed on praying for countries around the world. One night, they learnt about Japan.
As her father read about the country, Heart was moved by what she heard.
“I have always been fascinated by Japan. I watch their movies. I listen to their music and explore their culture, all for entertainment. But then he went on to read that there's less than one per cent of Christians in their entire population, that caught my attention,” said Heart.
Because of that prayer night, Heart decided to be one of the people that God could use to share His love with the people of Japan.
“Growing up, I've seen that my parents have no problem saying yes to God and so that has inspired me to also say yes to whatever and wherever God calls me,” Heart said.
Heart believes that a large part of living a life centred on the gospel is the willingness to lay down her own desires as a sacrifice before God. She compared the idea to the story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his only son Issacc, when God asked him to.
“I think that would be the most important lesson that I learnt from my parents. In life, [we] have different Isaacs in different phases,” Heart said.
As Heart prepares for Japan, she is going in with an open mind for how God will use her. She explained that the Japanese culture is generally closed off to Christianity and she hopes to use her career to share the gospel with people who may not be open to talking to someone with a “missionary” label.
Inspired to mobilise
Heart looks to her parents for an example of what true commitment to the gospel looks like, but for Philip, the journey of fatherhood has not always been an easy road.
Philip did not have a father figure growing up and had “no reference” for what a godly father looked like. When he and his wife had Heart, he was filled with questions: “Do I really know what I'm going to be doing? What is fathering? Am I ready for this?”
He took to the Bible to find answers. As he read, it suddenly occurred to him: “’Wait a minute, I actually have a father. Only that I don't see Him as physical.’ My heavenly Father, that became my reference,” Philip explained.
Philip said he has always tried his best to shepherd his children by discipling them daily and bringing them with him on ministry trips. Levi reminded Philip how important it is for him to live out his faith as his children look up to him.
“When I first saw [Heart] and held her in my hands, I immediately said: ‘Well, I don't know what I'm going to do, but God, do whatever You want to do with this child. I'll try my best to help [Heart] grow up into someone You want her to be.’”
Now, God is answering that prayer for Heart as she sets out to share Christ’s love in Japan.
While Philip said it’s difficult to release his daughter to missions, he added: “if this is really God’s calling, then [she’s] in good hands… Better hands than mine.”
Philip finds a lot of encouragement in the fact that God, as his Heavenly Father, has protected him all this time and he knows the same will be true of his own children.
“We just commit her to the Lord, and we’re excited to see how God will use her.”
Please pray for Heart that “the fire in her heart would never burn out” and that God would use her to reach many people with the gospel.