My heart for missions began in April 2015. I got connected to Jesus Flock, a church in Cubao, and joined their mission trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Back then, I knew little about missions. Although I heard a lot of stories about mission trips from my churchmates in True Faith in Christ Ministries, my home church based in Noveleta, Cavite, I still didn’t have a clear picture in my head.

First Exposure Trip

The 13-day mission exposure trip to Thailand gave me a glimpse of the Father’s ability to fulfill His promises. Despite lacking sufficient funds for the trip, I had faith that the Lord was at work. I followed Jesus Flock’s suggestion to raise personal funds through support letters sent to friends, relatives, and churchmates. Surprisingly, I received almost double the amount needed, truly a testament to the Father’s goodness.

During our visit to different villages in Chiang Mai, I learned about the challenges faced by Christian leaders in spreading the Gospel to a predominantly Buddhist country like Thailand. There was a lack of knowledge and understanding about Jesus and His teachings. As we hosted a youth fellowship there, I felt a deep connection to the people and realized God had planted something in my heart.

As the plane prepared for departure, tears flowed down my face as I prayed to God, desiring to return the following year. Sadly, circumstances prevented me from doing so, causing my passion and desire for mission work to wane over time.

Pandemic Hits

In 2020, I was excitedly preparing to resign from work and pursue job opportunities in Thailand. However, my plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown. While walking home one day during the lockdown, I felt a familiar gust of wind that reminded me of my time in Chiang Mai. It felt like a sign from God, so I paused and looked up at the sky, wondering if He was calling me back to Thailand and if this was His timing.

This encounter reignited my desire to go on another mission trip, but there were challenges. The world was in the midst of a pandemic, and Thailand’s borders were closed. Despite these obstacles, I continued working while seeking God’s wisdom and leading.

Towards the end of 2020, I received confirmation from the Lord to resign, despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. I believed that once I resigned, everything would fall into place according to my plans. However, just as I was ready to return to Thailand, the second wave of COVID-19 hit, and Thailand’s borders closed once again.

Doubts started to creep in, and I questioned why God would allow these obstacles if He truly wanted me to go. It dawned on me that my readiness lacked something. While I knew I was called to return to Thailand, I neglected to seek permission and blessings from my family and the leaders of our church. I had been so focused on my own desires that I forgot to include them in the process.

As I navigated this, I understood the importance of involving my loved ones in major life decisions. I learned that God’s timing and the journey towards fulfilling our call may not align perfectly with our own plans. It requires patience, trust, seeking guidance from both God and the people around us, and honoring the authorities He has placed in our lives.

After realizing the importance of involving my loved ones in my decision, I shared my vision with my mentors at church and asked for their prayers. I knew explaining this decision to my mother would be difficult, but I prayed for God’s help. Eventually, my mentors and my mother, despite their initial reservations, gave me their blessing to go.

God Answers Prayers

Even though I had made up my mind, there was no definite job opportunity waiting for me in Thailand. Then, unexpectedly, a teammate from my first mission trip to Chiang Mai reached out to me. They expressed their desire to return for a long mission trip and invited me to join them. This opportunity excited me, but I faced a dilemma – I wanted to teach in Thailand while also engaging in mission work, not the other way around.

Once again, I turned to God for guidance. Should I go with my teammate and their family or wait for another opportunity to align with teaching as the focus?

In February 2022, after seven years of praying, God answered my prayers. My church mentor connected me to a Filipino teacher in Thailand who was looking for volunteer English teachers for Thai elementary students. There was a leap in my spirit and without hesitation, I said “yes.” Shortly, I began to process necessary documents and requirements for my visa application. There were hurdles but God provided everything that I needed.

A Teacher and a Missionary

On June 30, 2022, I embarked on my journey to Thailand. I carried with me the prayers and support of my family, church community, friends, and the hopeful anticipation that God would do amazing things during my time there.

I am currently teaching in Phayao, a village nestled in the northernmost part of Thailand. The school, situated in the Village of Hope, is surrounded by breathtaking mountains, rubber trees, and farmland. It serves as a safe haven for the children of the community, providing them with education, facilities, and support.

Village of Hope is a vast compound that includes a church, school, retail store, multiple playgrounds, and dormitories for the students. It was specifically chosen by the Lord to care for children who have been abandoned, sold, or come from challenging backgrounds. Some of them have parents involved in drug-related issues, while others come from poor families. Many of the children have never had the chance to know their parents or have been separated from them due to imprisonment.

Mission of Hope

I feel a deep burden in my heart to pray for these children and their nation, and to assist them in any way I can, even through simple gestures of kindness. The Compassionate Hope Foundation (CHF), founded by Papa Al and Mommy Susan, rescues these children and brings them to the Village of Hope. Pastor Pratuan Somboon and his wife, Mae Gik, along with the support of the CHF and other organizations, lead the entire village. This partnership guarantees that the essential needs of the Village of Hope are met, and scholarships are provided for some of the students.

In this remarkable setting, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the dedication of compassionate individuals, I am honored to be part of this mission of hope. In just two months, I was able to establish a deep connection with the children in the dormitory, creating a family-like atmosphere. Despite occasional challenges, we rely on the guidance of our Father and the love He continues to shower upon us to overcome any obstacle. Trust, respect, and love have flourished among us, solidifying our bond.

A Challenge to Consider

Now that you know my story, let me ask you this—what if God asks you to go? Are you going to say “yes” to His calling? Are you willing to give up the conveniences of life to be in a place of discomfort where you could be surrounded by people who might persecute you? Will you give up your profession or career, time with your family and friends, and/or your personal dream to answer God’s call?

These are just some of the questions that will daunt you, but the work that awaits in the mission field is tremendous. There are still a lot of people who do not know Jesus and the eternal life that He offers. There are still a lot of tribes and persecuted nations that need the light of Jesus.

As a Christian nation, I believe that the Philippines plays a big part when it comes to the end-time mission of God. I’ve heard a lot of visions and prophecies about the Philippines being the missionary-sending nation, and it is not an accident that there are lots of OFWs strategically dispersed and assigned to different parts of the globe. Could it be that, more than serving other nations, our nation’s greatest calling is serving God’s redemptive plan across the nations by being covert missionaries masked in our day jobs?

One thing is obvious: the Philippines has a part to play in God’s masterplan for the return of His son. Obeying God and His call for your life demands sacrifices, but once you see that there is unfinished work yet awaiting fulfillment, everything will be worth it.

Until every nation sings unto His return…

Aldrin John M. Malia

Aldrin John M. Malia is a missionary teacher in Thailand and a child of the living God. His life vision is to share the love of the Father to the fatherless and to the vulnerable kids of Thailand and to prepare the way before the coming of the Lord by reaching out to the unreached tribes of Thailand. On most days, he loves worshipping the Father through songs and banner dance.