Faith

“Don’t know where we’re going, but we know that You’re in control”: A couple’s journey from Europe to Asia

This story is part of a special series produced in collaboration with OM Singapore, which is celebrating 40 years of God’s faithfulness in missions this year.

by Gabriel Ong // November 19, 2021, 5:27 pm

OM sound engineering - Feat

All photos courtesy of Gregory, Suanne and Operation Mobilisation.

Ever since he was young, Gregory Low has always found himself thrust into different countries and cultures. 

Born in Singapore to a family who supported mission work, the 33-year-old remembers sharing many meals with visiting missionaries. 

His favourite part of those lunches? The incredible stories their friends from all around the world would tell. 

“Everything was down to ‘let’s trust God and just go, and pray’. I think we (Singaporeans) are a bit more safe in that sense!” he said with a laugh, recollecting how he was especially impressed with the remarkable adaptability and faith they showed.

It wouldn’t be long until Gregory did a little travelling of his own, as living in various places across the world would become a key theme of his growing-up years.

Fast forward to today, he would have never imagined that he, too, would be on a similar journey of faith as a young adult.

“WHAT IS HAPPENING?”

When he was three years old, Gregory moved to the US with his family, returning to Singapore only when he was eight years old for primary and secondary school.

After spending a few years in Canada for high school, Gregory then swapped maple leaves for army greens, returning to finish his National Service (NS) in Singapore.  

Fresh out of NS, the world lay at Gregory’s feet, as he spent time mulling over what he should do with his life. In doing so, Gregory stumbled into what became a key passion of his: audio engineering.

“It just seemed to be more interesting to me,” he recounted, explaining how he started off with a diploma in audio engineering and went on to do a degree.  

Around that time, Gregory also attended a mission conference. Though he didn’t expect much from it, Gregory felt like God was trying to tell him something when a passage from the Bible was preached.

Youths praying together at a TeenStreet conference in Germany. Photo by OM TeenStreet.

It was the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Moved by this special encounter, Gregory was surprised when Sunday after Sunday, God continued to speak to him about missions even though he had been attending different churches.

It prompted Gregory to ask: “God, what is happening?”

Believing that God had confirmed and clarified his next steps through these numerous signs, he began to explore opportunities in missions at the age of 22.

LOW GOES ON THE LOGOS HOPE

“My first long mission trip was for three months on the Logos Hope, and that was in 2009 to early 2010,” said Gregory, referring to the ship belonging to Operation Mobilisation (OM). 

Because of his unique skillset as an audio engineer, Gregory was able to offer professional expertise in audio-visual operations through a more specialised role, instead of serving in various capacities as is usually the case with short-term missionaries who had freshly come aboard.

And on the Logos Hope, Gregory ended up learning more than just audio-visuals. He began dabbling in lighting and production management, and he also got to see more of what the ship was doing as it docked at ports around the world.

The international crew on Logos Hope. Photo by OM Ships.

“I liked it, so I was trying to see if I could continue on,” Gregory said, sharing that the experience opened his eyes to the larger world and how the message of Jesus could be shared with different groups of people.

From a young man who started off feeling like he wasn’t good enough to be a missionary or couldn’t share the gospel, Gregory has come to realise one thing: When you depend on God, He can do so much more through you than you could ever imagine. 

Describing the constant need to rely on God while being in the mission field and out of your comfort zone, his prayers were often: “Okay God, I don’t know what to do. God, please help me.”

“That kind of builds a better relationship and trust with God,” observed Gregory, adding that his faith grew as he saw how God provided for his needs – finances being one of them.

But life lessons weren’t the only thing God blessed Gregory with through his time aboard the legendary ship – there would be a life partner as well.

Gregory and Suanne (far right) with their first child in 2016. Their work with the Global Village as part of OM’s TeenStreet ministry was their first taste of missions as a family.  

After his initial three-month stint on the Logos Hope, Gregory went back again from late 2010 to 2012, which was when he met his wife Suanne. After leaving the ship, they were married three years later.

“After a year of living together and working, we thought about going back in,” Gregory recounted.

Let’s do that again, was what the couple boldly decided in 2015, leaving their jobs to join OM.

That began a period of exploring opportunities all around Europe. From there came some of the couple’s fondest memories through their involvement with creating interactive mission simulation experiences.

A main hall session at a TeenStreet conference in Germany.

In that time, Gregory’s audio-visual skills were applied in the most exciting ways as creative and set designer for Global Village at OM’s TeenStreet conferences in Europe. The ministry has brought thousands of youths and adults on an interactive, simulated “mission trip”, travelling into the land of the blind, the poor, the persecuted or the oppressed.

That also meant doing discipleship and missions in groundbreaking ways, like creating escape room experiences aboard a riverboat that travelled around the canals of Europe!

Recalling how such experiences helped participants to discover more of God’s heart for people and challenged them to reflect Jesus in difficult places, Gregory said that one lady even went back to set up her own ministry for sex workers in Germany after being impacted by Global Village.

The couple became newly minted parents while serving with TeenStreet Germany.

“That was our start as missions as a couple and family,” said Gregory, sharing how they ended up settling down in Greece to contribute to the work there. By 2016, they also welcomed their first daughter, Kharis.

At OM Greece, Gregory stepped into a new role as “the IT guy”, which led to him taking on other roles such as HR manager, office manager and even one of the country leaders.

For over two years, he focused on building relationships with local churches and laying the ground work for future ministries that would come up, such as the outreach to refugees

FROM GREECE TO HONG KONG  

But just as it seemed that the family’s adventures were all set to unfold, the Lows would face a setback through some bad news. 

“We came back because my second daughter, Hara, had a heart defect,” Gregory revealed. Coupled with visa issues, the Lows made the decision to return to Hong Kong where Suanne is from, so that Hara could have access to better hospital care. 

Gregory described leaving Greece after the many meaningful relationships that were formed as well as the uncertainty of when he would go back as a “low moment”.

After Hara underwent a complex heart surgery to treat her heart defect right after birth, the months that followed would also prove to be challenging for the family.

After moving back to Hong Kong so that baby Hara could get the medical care she needed, Gregory started a new ministry role with an international church — still in the area of IT! 

“We moved everything back here, settled down, got everybody back to school,” said Gregory. “We had to do back-and-forth hospital visits because she was in intensive care and we had to deliver milk every day.

Yet, despite the difficult season Gregory and his family found themselves in, there wasn’t a word of complaint from the young missionary.

Currently serving in an IT role with an international church in Hong Kong, he sees this season as an interim period where his family can recover and rediscover what God has in store for them in the days ahead. 

“To be honest, it’s a step-by-step journey. We don’t know what’s next for us,” shared Gregory. “One of the core things in OM is prayer, and that’s what my wife and I try to do.

“We set aside some time to pray every week. It’s kind of like, ‘Okay, Lord, we don’t know where we’re going, but we know that You’re in control and we’ll just take a step when you let us know.

Living on a ship with 2 kids: The joy of serving together as a family

Gregory is able to summarise his experience with OM so far with just one word – unpredictable.

“It’s an unpredictable journey,” he said. “Sometimes you worry. Even now we’re not earning much, and the rent in Hong Kong is sky high. Basically we have no savings.

“But I mean, we’re happy. We don’t need more. We’re happy with just what we have.”

As someone who earlier on hadn’t found it easy to give up his job and have to raise financial support, Gregory shared he has learnt that the more important things for young people to seek out are God’s purpose for their lives and where He wants them.  

Gregory and Suanne with their daughters Kharis and Hara last Christmas. Photo by Stephen Low.

“Our aim in life is not to earn money and spend it all on our kids,” he said, reflecting on his own family’s experience. “I think there’s a different purpose.”

“It’s kind of like, ‘Okay, where are we at, where does God want us, and where can we fit into what He wants us to do?’”

In other words “His purpose”, Gregory said with a smile.

How can we fit our lives around God’s good purposes? Drop a note to [email protected] if you like to chat about mission opportunities or journey with a mission mentor. You can also explore opportunities by visiting the OM Singapore website or following them on Instagram and Facebook

To commemorate their 40th year, OM Singapore has also published a book, Unchanging: On Mission With a Faithful God, capturing 40 stories of Singaporeans who love God and His mission in many parts of the world. You can purchase the book here: www.sg.om.org/book

THINK + TALK 

  1. Is there any area of your life you need to depend on God more? 
  2. What are the passions and talents you have?
  3. How can you use them to partner with God in His work wherever you are?
About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.