Ever since she was little, Kezia Soh had been exposed to missions through her parents. Her father would bring her and her brothers individually on mission trips, and they had previously explored moving as a family to the Philippines for missions.
However, looking back on that time, Kezia felt like her “faith was still a borrowed faith”.
“It wasn’t until university that I truly understood the Gospel, how wretched I am, and the grace of God in our lives and how He makes us righteous,” she shared.
“It was only when that happened, that God really started revealing things about missions to me.”
Surrender and do the next thing
After God gave Kezia her calling to missions work, she took the active step of reading up about missionaries such as Elisabeth Elliot and Betty Scott Stam.
Then on Kezia’s 27th birthday, her devotional reading titled “Your Eulogy” included the quote by Betty Scott Stam:
“Lord, I give up my own plans and purposes, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and I accept Thy will for my life. I give up myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all of my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me now and seal me with Thy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, for to me to live is Christ. Amen.”
Betty’s life of surrender and obedience to God that led her to be martyred at 28 inspired Kezia, who thereafter sought to live her life fully for Christ.
“Since then, it has been a journey of slowly surrendering to God,” said the 30-year-old, who has been living in Timor as a missionary for over two months now.
Elisabeth Elliot’s life story also greatly inspires Kezia, who calls Elliot her hero of faith.
“I get inspired the more I read about her, her heart, and how she takes one step at a time,” Kezia explained. “She’s so overwhelmed, but she just says to ‘do the next thing’.”
When Kezia encountered difficulties when she first moved to Timor, God used her fear and anxiety to reveal to her that she hadn’t yet fully trusted in and surrendered to Him.
God reminded her of Isaiah 41:10, a verse that promises His presence and power, from which Kezia found the strength to carry on.
“Like what Elizabeth Elliot says: just do the next thing,” she said with a smile.
Wrestling with an impure heart
Saying yes was only the beginning; now that she’s been on the ground in Timor for a few months, the new missionary hasn’t found things to be particularly smooth-sailing.
Kezia shared vulnerably, that she often finds herself wrestling internally with how impure and deceitful her heart can be.
I’m here to help. I’m here to bring His Gospel to the nations. I’m here to disciple others… but who am I to do this? Who am I to be here?
Some of Kezia’s struggles include having to wrestle with such thoughts about mediocrity, an occasional lack of enthusiasm and the tendency to compare herself to other missionaries around her.
Through wrestling with thoughts like these, however, Kezia believes God is moulding her heart and mind for missions.
And as that process happens, she finds comfort in her personal reminder to herself: “It’s all for God; nothing should be about me at all.”
“The journey of going is about God, not the goer”: Waiting to be sent after God called her to missions at 12
Aside from what’s been going on internally, in the external sense of things, being on the ground in Timor has exposed her to things like injustice and poverty.
“Who am I to live like that in Singapore when there’s so much need elsewhere?” was what Kezia often thought as she spent time on the ground.
Kezia’s time in Timor thus far has made her really consider the privilege of living in comfort and stability in Singapore.
She believes it is also breaking her heart further for the people of Timor, and shaping her own heart behind the mission work.
While that process is taking place, Kezia believes in grounding herself in the Word of God, which she reads every morning to begin her day.
“Being in His presence just makes everything different,” Kezia said. “He’s everywhere. He was here before any missionary even stepped foot in Timor.”
God doesn’t need anyone for He is the Creator of all things (Acts 17:25), Kezia affirmed, and yet He chooses to partner with us in spite of our weaknesses because of His love, grace and mercy.
“We are free to worship God in wherever He’s called us to, and we are called to be sent to tell people that they, too, are free to worship Him in His presence,” she said.
God used revelations like this to challenge Kezia’s thoughts, worries and pride, and gave her a bigger picture as to why she was even in Timor.
A new perspective of God
Long before Timor, however, God had already placed in Kezia’s heart hints that the life she had was not the life that He wanted her to live.
So as she figured out the bigger picture, Kezia sought to first be faithful wherever she was — whether that was in the workplace, in ministry or in her family.
As she obeyed God in these areas, He pruned her — much like how He cuts off branches that bear no fruit so as to allow more fruit to bear (John 15:1-11).
Being in Timor helped Kezia realise that God first wants to draw her closer and deepen her relationship with Him — far more than He wants her to do anything in Timor.
“He simply wants to meet me,” said Kezia.
“Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.” (Song of Songs 1:4)
Through the time that Kezia spent reading the Bible, God would shock Kezia with the knowledge of who He really is to her.
Song of Songs revealed God as a “lover-like person” to Kezia; meditating on this book, she understood a new facet of God’s love.
While Song of Songs is a collection of love poetry, it can be allegorised to represent the Church and Christ (Ephesians 5:25-33), Kezia explained. It reminds us that a godly marriage reflects God’s passionate love for His own people.
Many may view missions as performing some great deed for God. But in Kezia’s case, she came to see that this step of faith was simply what she needed to grow closer and deeper in her relationship with God — seeing Him in brand new ways.
No “heart” for missions?
“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.‘” (John 20:21)
“As Christians, we are already sent. We are called to go from everywhere to everywhere.” Kezia affirmed. “What is your ‘sent-ness’ in this season? Are we living out this sent-ness wisely?”
For Kezia, living out her sent-ness was about listening to God and taking it step by step, beginning with obeying Him in the small things.
These were little things like printing out and pasting the world map on her wall to pray for nations daily; even picking up the rubbish she saw on the ground to grow in servanthood.
As we are faithful in the small things, God reveals more of how He wants us to live out the sent-ness in our lives, said Kezia encouragingly.
Kezia’s hope is for believers to increasingly see and realise that beyond the borders of Singapore, there are over 7000 people groups unreached and about 3 billion people who do not know the Gospel at all.
She stressed that while there is great need in Singapore, there is also great need in the region for the Gospel.
“We have been sent as ambassadors of Christ to spread the Good News to everyone,” Kezia said. “Our mission to fulfil the Great Commission began when Jesus returned to Heaven.”
Drawing from her own experience, Kezia’s encouragement is that as we say yes to God in the little things, He will anoint and empower us to say “yes” when He calls us to even greater things.
“We just need to trust that as we obey, God is doing a wonderful work in and through our lives,” she affirmed.
Where do I start if I am interested in missions?
Kezia said that she took her first step simply by “finding out more”.
As mentioned, she read biographies of missionaries and also spoke to missionaries to deepen her knowledge of what missions was about.
For someone who is certain about their missions calling, Kezia advises such people to humbly learn as much as they can from places like YWAM’s DTS and Frontier Missions Centre.
There are also many missions events and conferences one can attend in Singapore.
Beyond simply gaining knowledge, making wise practical decisions is important too.
This looks like being prudent in your finances if you know that you will eventually become a missionary.
Even relationally, it’s about choosing a partner whose values align with yours (especially in light of your missions calling).
… it’s not about what we can do for God. Rather, it’s about what God wants to do in and through us, and how He wants to do it.
As you embark on missions, it is also crucial to guard your heart.
Kezia advises against comparing yourself with other missionaries or people in the same journey as you are.
Because at the core of it, she says, it’s not about what we can do for God.
Rather, it’s about what God wants to do in and through us, and how He wants to do it.
God can use anybody who is willing to obey Him and offer their lives to fulfil His purpose.
This means that our experiences, skills, weaknesses and flaws cannot stand in the way of God’s perfect power and plans at work.
Kezia brought up the story of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44, and shared that that is all God wants us to do — to give the little that we have to Him.
“Here I am, send me.” That’s the posture Kezia hopes she will keep, and one that more Christians will live out.
We’ve tasted God’s goodness for ourselves, and we have been sent to spread His goodness to those who don’t know it yet.
God is calling us to obey Him today — will you say yes to God?
- Meditate on Jesus’ words in the Great Commission.
- What areas of your life aren’t aligned to that? What needs to change?
- What are some obstacles, doubts or fears that are preventing you from saying yes to God?
- Give those to God, and seek to live missionally.