“It always seemed like it was reserved for people who are very noble or people who are very passionate. I thought one needed to have a certain skillset first to be able to go on missions.”

Though Teh Yee Ray had been exposed to mission trips since he was nine with his family and Sunday School, this was what he thought of missions.

But when Yee Ray turned 17, he received a call from God to go to the nations. “Just go,” said God.

That was when the perceptions he once had of missions began to give way to real faith and conviction. 

Missions is for all

“If all Christians are called to missions, there is no need for a personal call,” said Yee Ray, who believes following God means simple obedience.

At a church conference in 2022, Yee Ray learned that missions is not a specific calling but a command given by God to all believers.

And as Yee Ray grew curious about where God was calling him to and what missions were all about, God broke his heart for the nations and spoke two words clearly.

Just go.

However, Yee Ray wasn’t sure where or what he should do. And as he was only 17, he felt inadequate, clueless and small. 

“I didn’t know where God wanted me to go. I didn’t know where God wanted to place me… I was left with nothing much except the voice of God that told me to just go,” he recounted.

Eventually, Yee Ray sought counsel from his leaders and prayed through his missional convictions. Through spending time with God, he also became convinced of Singapore’s Antioch calling.

Yee Ray thus decided that he would steward his privileges and opportunities as a youth to glorify God and be a part of building His kingdom.

“Yes” isn’t always easy

Though Yee Ray had decided to go on missions, roadblocks still came his way like his parents’ objections as well as fellow friends who pulled out of the mission trips they had planned. 

Despite the many uncertainties, however, Yee Ray decided to fix his eyes on where God was leading him, remembering that God delights in an obedient heart and would make a way.

And God did! At the age of 17, Yee Ray was eventually able to go for his first mission trip by himself with full support from his parents.

On that first mission trip, Yee Ray struggled with feeling inadequate because of his age as well as the roles he took on which he wasn’t skilled in.

For instance, he had to conduct an evangelistic cell group, play the guitar, manage a social media account and plan other evangelistic events – none of which he felt naturally attuned to.

“I’m not a very artistic person. Social media is not really my thing. I only know simple chords and strumming patterns… I didn’t know anything more than that,” he said.

“And when it comes to outreach, I was always very timid. So planning an evangelistic event was even more challenging.”

But Yee Ray continued to hold on to the belief that God doesn’t call the equipped but equips the called.

He remembered the story in Judges 6, where God made Gideon strong to fight his battles even though he believed that his clan was the weakest. 

And so, along the way, Yee Ray saw how God empowered and equipped him even as he served – even his weakness could be used for God’s glory and purpose!

Having gone through this journey, Yee Ray would like to four simple words of encouragement for fellow aspiring young missionaries who can relate to his story.

1. Youths are not exempt from missions

The calling for us to share the gospel is simple. If God calls, He will empower.

2. Give your best years to God; there is no better time than the time we have now

We are blessed with the time and flexibility we have now as students, so use that for His Kingdom. As C.T. Studd wrote: “Only one life soon will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

3. Have a simple heart

We need not overcomplicate our obedience to God. Just go!

4. Pray

We are called to seek the matters on God’s heart. Learn to make bold prayers and intercede for the missionaries, for the nations and the lost. 

And for those of us who might not be able to get involved in missions now, Yee Ray also has three tips to share (after all, all believers are ambassadors of the Good News!).

  1. Continue to share the gospel and build your faith convictions. The people you meet need Jesus as well.
  2. Seize opportunities to be involved in mission work. Pray and intercede together with the missionaries. 
  3. Give to missions. Even though we might not be able to give much, doing so helps us to build the habit of contributing to missions.

A fellow youth’s takeaway from Yee Ray’s sharing

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

As the interview came to an end, I was very encouraged by Yee Ray’s sharing, his conviction for the lost and how he persevered in his journey. 1 Timothy 4:12 came alive to me through his sharing.

Despite his young age, he took the Word of God seriously and grew his conviction for missions.

And even when doubts and fears came his way, he chose to be still before God and let Him take the lead.

Just like how God called Abraham to leave his country, Yee Ray left in simple obedience despite not knowing where exactly God was leading him.

That’s faith and courage, not in ourselves – but in who God is!

As youths, we often belittle ourselves and our capabilities in the things we are called to do. So often, we forget that what matters more is the big God who has our back. 

So take courage and go forth, knowing that God is with us!