I left my home 8 years ago. I packed my bags and went to the city where I studied college. The day that I left was also the day I informed my family that I was leaving. It was bad, I know. But something in me was looking for something more, something greater, to do with my life. I was thinking, I only have one life, so why not take a risk and discover the unknown?
At that time, my number one goal was to find a job and have a living in the city. But God knew that it wasn’t a job I needed the most. It was Him, my Savior, my Sustainer.
Found by Christ
The year 2013 was a turning point in my life. On January 27, I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart, gained new friends that were like family, and got an amazing job with an amazing group of people to work with.
That same year, I moved into another house. My mentor and boss became my roommate, along with other ladies who were all American missionaries. At first, I was too shy to be around them since we spoke different languages, but the Lord knew where to place me; He knew what was best for me.
Learning from Missionaries
Living with my missionary friends gave me a glimpse of their calling. Back in November 2014, Natalie, one of the missionaries, asked me if I would like to go on a short-term mission trip with her. I didn’t really know how to respond, so I asked God, “Lord, if I go, what’s in it for me?” It sounded selfish of me, but I was scared to change my direction in life. I was already comfortable. I loved living with my new friends, and I liked my job in the city.
But when I asked God my question, the answer was immediate. He said, “How will you know if you don’t go?” God was inviting me into something that I didn’t have to understand yet. He just wanted my “yes” as I trusted Him to show me the bigger picture later on. Although I only had less than 3 months to prepare and raise funds for this trip, God made it possible for me to go.
A Trip to Asia
The trip involved visiting several Southeast Asian countries. After ministering to an elementary school outside the capital city of Cambodia, God spoke to me again. He said, “This is what I wanted you to see.” It was a glimpse of my future. I never really saw myself as a missionary. It never crossed my mind, even though I was living with four missionaries for over three years back in the Philippines. I never even asked these missionary roommates their reason for following God into this calling, yet there I was in Cambodia, receiving the call to be like them! We had three more nations to visit at that time, but in my heart, I was already sold to the idea of becoming a missionary.
Facing My Parents
Coming back from that trip, I knew that it wouldn’t be my last. A year and a half later, I was on my way to be trained as a missionary to Thailand. Saying “yes” to this training was not easy. I had to leave home again and take more plane rides. My family, especially my Dad, was not fully supportive of my decision. But I knew in my heart that God was calling me to this.
After three months, I had to go back home to my family and prepare to go back to Thailand for another year of training. But I didn’t really want to face my family. I was scared that I would not be able to go back to Thailand and become a full-time missionary. But God, in all His powerful ways and wisdom through my pastors, told me that it was better to go home to my family despite my fears.
Deuteronomy 5:16 says, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
As a daughter and unmarried Filipina, those in authority above me are my parents. When I honor them, I honor God. I honor God’s command.
God knew I needed to go home. He wanted me to be blessed by my family before going full-time. He took away my fears through the scripture in Deuteronomy and through a dream that confirmed that I should go home.
In that dream, I was about to go back to Thailand. I was with my sister, and we were trying to find our dad. When we saw him, I said, “I will go now.” He looked happy in the dream, and he was letting everyone know that his daughter was going back to Thailand.
When I arrived home, there was an amazing turn of events as God confirmed the dream. My dad and my family allowed me to go back to Thailand with great pride and joy. It was a breakthrough! If I had yielded to my fears, I wouldn’t have received this blessing from them.
I knew that God had spoken to me through the counsel of my pastors. If I had not agreed to go back home, I would have missed the joy of having a family that is always excited to welcome me home! If I had not honored those in authority over my life, I do not think I would have lasted this long in the mission field, either.
Home with God
Answering God’s call brought me to places where I never thought I could go. Though every nation is different from each other, God provided a place for me to stay, a place like home.
Being away from my family and my original home was not easy, but I learned that home was where the presence of God was. I could be in a mountain with the tribal people, or in a crowded city street but still be home.
Wherever I was in the world, if I was with God, then I was home.
House to House Evangelism and Bible Study
First published in One Voice Magazine on Oct. 28, 2021.
Mary Joy Clarito
Mary Joy Clarito is a missionary from The City Iloilo church to Thailand, under the organization of Asian Mission Outreach Foundation (AMO). She is the Assistant Director for the Global Mission Trek short term missions trip and the AMO Mission Base Director. Joy loves writing spoken word poetry and being a messenger of God’s love and hope.