Acts 2:17 "In the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
My name is Sarah Chang from Belize. I was called as a lay missionary to the USA in 1973. By the mercy of God I was called once more as a full time silver missionary to Belize in Central America in 2009. I want to share my personal silver mission testimony. This is my prayer that God may ignite our world mission zeal once again, pouring out His Spirit on us so that our sons and daughters prophesy, our young men will see visions, and our old men will dream dreams.
I. God’s calling
When god called me as a lay missionary to the USA in 1973, it was a time that the Holy Spirit was working mightily for world mission in UBF. I did not know Jesus, but I obeyed his calling, based on Gen. 12:1. I took His mission as the most precious thing in my life. My missionary life in the States was like wilderness training for 36 years, because I had zeal without knowledge. I fought a lot with M. Moses Chang in those years. I was a miserable sinner. My children saw only misery in me. But God had mercy on us. M. Moses retired at the age 62 and, without discussing it much with me, made up his mind to leave the U.S. and to go to Belize - like he was running away from me. I received Gen 31:24b “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” I thanked God because all these things did not come from me. M. Moses left for Belize in August 2008. God began to intervene in me through my son’s marriage problem. In April 2009, God did wonderful work in me to be born again. It was God’s one sided mercy. In His faithfulness God led me to know Jesus and what our Lord Jesus did on the cross. My sins were forgiven by the blood of Jesus. I made a decision to entrust all things to his mercy and to obey his calling. I joined M Moses in Belize in September 2009.
II. Importance of same language for silver mission
Belize is a very small country with a small population of about 360,000. She became independent in 1981 from the British Empire. Belize’s official language is English. It is a blessing for I didn’t have to learn Spanish to teach the bible in Spanish. We have been struggling but kept our faith and now we are called again. It is a time for us to give and share what we have come to know and learn about our Lord Christ, the gospel.
Shepherd John and Elizabeth in Kuang-Ju UBF are interested in silver mission. Before the Korea world mission report, we visited them to invite them to consider coming to Belize. But when I met them again this year, they were sorry to tell me they can’t. Their main concern was the language problem. I agreed with them. This made me think about those who are 40s and 50s. If God pours out his Spirit on them they can dream dreams and learn language as a preparation for silver mission.
III. Blessing of the Bible
When we retired at 62, our social security income was cut down by about 30%. But I thought that I bought time for God. But when I arrived, my first problem was the heat. It was like being in a sauna every day with lots of sweating. I wondered how people can live in such heat. Everything in Belize seems so small and there are not many choices. Life seems simple. When we had problems with internet, I felt isolated from the world. There was a time I missed Korean rice so bad. I thought fishing ministry would be easier than the USA. Most students did not say “no” to the invitation, but no one showed up in first semester. Everything seemed so slow, but I got the same excuses that they were too busy. I worked as a full time nurse all my mission life. My life seemed unproductive all of sudden. At this time I received John 4:35 “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.’”
I held on to this word, for Jesus saved me who was like a Samaritan woman. With a lot of time on my hands, I considered working on bible study questions as my work. I was excited to work on my new laptop. It was large and heavy, but it was my first computer and a new experience. As an old generation, a computer was a dreadful thing to me at that time. I began to be thankful for the bible, thinking what we can do with just one book, the bible. I can do the daily bread, read it, meditate on it, write testimonies, work on its questions, and be taught and teach. I am very thankful for UBF 1:1 mission. I thank God for his calling for 1:1 bible teaching and world campus mission. I accepted that, whether a country is big or small, college students are the intellectuals and hope of that country.
I began to fall in love with Belize’s simplicity. I learned that when we obey His world mission command, God gives us the love of God in our heart for that country and people.
IV. In rented house
Someone suggested to work even a part time or voluntary job to keep in contact with the native people to know and learn them. We lived in a little more expensive apartment for more than a year. We could see the Caribbean Sea in front of our apartment. It was like living outside of Belizeans. So we moved into our present rented house. I felt like I was now living among them. We did not take anything when we went to Belize except our car. But God blessed us to learn about God who provides. God opened a way for us to keep contact with Belizeans and to learn about them through seminary school at the Assembly of God. I also began to take classes at CST (Caribbean School of Theology). Classes were small with about 10 people, but most of them were local pastors. CST offers classes for 2 weeks 3 times a year. Students were eager and teachers were dedicated. I was blessed to see their intensity with studying. This allowed us to learn about what’s going on in local churches.
Amazingly God began to draw students to 1:1 from January 2010. But most students commute a long distance by bus. It takes 1-3 even 4 hours by bus. On weekends some students go back home. M. Moses kept Sunday worship all by himself for a year. I joined him and it became 2. It seemed impossible to establish SWS with them. One or two came randomly. By the grace of God, one man Dillon Leal made a commitment based on Gen. 12:1. He had to take bus on Sunday. Many times he had to wait one or two hours because buses run slow on Sunday and when it was full, it did not stop. He came and sometimes he missed SWS for about a year, then he himself realized his unfaithfulness before God. To help this one man we invited him to come on Saturday and stay for SWS. So we began to have God First Fellowship and study for Sunday bible study questions. To raise up fellowship leaders we began to have Tuesday leader’s bible study. In this way, we now have Humble Shepherd Fellowship on Thursday with a leader, Melanie Lammey, and Cornerstone Fellowship on Friday with Darren Leal as a leader. To raise up Sunday bible messenger we invited Dillon Leal to stay with us on Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday. We had the engagement between Dillon Leal and Shannelle Sosa on 15th of January 2017. There will be Belize UBF’s first wedding on the 30th of September this year. We are still striving to reach 20 people on Sunday. This first house church is very important to set a good example, for Belize has handed down common-law relationship without marriage generation after generation.
V. Need of commitment
As bible students increase, their concern was when we would leave. They said they have seen many missionaries come and leave too soon. Someone asked me how long I am going to stay. I made a decision and said, “As long as God gives me health I will stay.” Dillon made a commitment to accept campus mission. I am also blessed to know that it is up to God. Some people ask how long we be there. But I don’t know.
VI. Importance of exercise
After one and a half years in Belize, I noticed that my upper arm muscle tone was gone. I learned how to ride a bike in Belize and I began to exercise at the nearby Princess hotel gym regularly. It took more than a year to get it back. I did not take care of my skin and was embarrassed at spots on my face. But with this visit Washington UBF senior missionaries along with a Shippensburg senior missionary gave me special treatment for my face as my 70 year birthday gift. I am learning now how to take care of my skin too. Exercise should be part of mission for silver missionaries. We come to the U.S. to visit at least once a year to do medical check-ups. I thank God for our UBF medical doctors for their sacrificial help for missionaries, especially for Dr. Andrew Park, a dentist in Baltimore for us.
VII. Bonding with mother chapter
M. Moses Chang and I lost our mother chapters in 1976 and again in 1979. We were like orphans for a long time of our mission life. By God’s providence, Washington UBF became our mother chapter for our silver mission. Their prayer and practical support for our silver mission has been a great blessing. We sent Kimisha to Washington UBF earlier who is no longer with us. We brought 4 people to USA international conference in 2013. Out of 4, Dillon and Lyndi remained and they are growing. Lyndi was a high school student. Dillon became his 1:1 bible teacher. They finished Genesis. Now Lyndi began to teach one person during lunch time at work We sent Dillon Leal, Melanie Lammey, Shannelle Sosa, and Shennell Skeen last year. These people began to learn from Washington UBF and came back and began to have ownership for Belize campus mission. No one left. We had Latin America director’s conference in January 2017. It was impossible for us to serve without God’s help and Washington UBF’s support. Washington UBF sent short term missionaries to Belize such as Hannah Chung , Hannah Ku messengers for our SBCs. This year Washington UBF is sending HBF youth mission team(10) to Belize from 7/26-8/9.
I thank God for God’s servants, Mother Sarah Barry, Pastor Abraham Kim and Sarah Kim, M. Jacob Lee, Isaac Kim, and many other coworkers who have visited us. It has been a blessing and great encouragement to us and God’s work in Belize
Some wonder how we pay for our living as silver missionaries. We live on a little pension and social security income. We will be poor in the States but we are not in Belize. When I worked full time and made more money, I couldn’t serve or feed sheep. I was just busy to feed my family. But with silver mission we are blessed to share with many more. We are blessed to learn Jesus’ shepherd life in Belize. Our silver mission life reminds me of UBF shepherd life in the 1960’s in Korea. When our growing shepherd Aaron Gentle was robbed and his upper jaw was broken I thank God for the practical help from head quarter Chicago UBF, Washington UBF, Cornerstone UBF and from unknown.
God did great work in M. Moses and me. We suffered with a sense of failures. Who could believe we can be changed? Our Lord Jesus did. By his grace we became coworkers and prayer partners in Christ Jesus for His kingdom. He led us to have 6 am prayer meeting every day except Saturday. Those who stay at the bible house and Angelica Lopez join our prayer meeting. Personally, I am blessed to see M. Moses’ change and his growing. We have joy of learning of Jesus’ shepherd life. I thank God for Jesus who saved us from downward life to heaven ward life. As my key verse says, though we are old, we dream dreams. We were very ordinary, seemingly hopeless people. I wonder why God called us for silver mission and to a small country like Belize. By the grace of God I have been an eyewitness along with many others of how God opened the door for world mission. I was part of one of the first USA missionary teams in 1972. When UBF prayed for Niagara conference I was there. When we couldn’t see any hope, UBF prayed for Russia. God opened the way miraculously. There was such passion and zeal for world mission in those days. God opened the door through nurses and doctors. When the door was closed God opened the door through chicken killing jobs, sewing jobs, student missionaries, etc. Then we began to see less and less. I see God’s hope and vision for world mission anew through Jesus who forgave us and called us as silver missionaries.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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.” Matthew 28:19-20
By Sarah Chang