ZOE from a Missionary’s View
Interview: Lori-Ann, ZOE Missionary
It’s about this time of year when in the office, the desks start to empty and the workspace gets a lot quieter. Where is everyone? From about the months of May through to the end of July, many of our missionaries take their annual trip back to their home country to share with supporters, churches and schools about what ZOE is doing to fight child trafficking and raise support to stay working on the field in Thailand.
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing one of the newer ZOE missionaries, Lori-Ann Tsang who is here with her husband Simpson. They have been here for almost a year and I was able to chat with her right before they head back home to Hawaii for the first time. Check out what she had to say about life and working in Thailand.
What’s the best thing about being a missionary?
It’s way better than I expected! There are two best things: working with our fellow missionaries (I don’t think I would’ve met them anywhere else in the world, even though some of us are from the same country) but also being able to affect and impact the lives of our ZOE kids and also the rescue part… being able to see that what you’re doing every day impacts their lives so directly.
What local Thai sayings have you picked up?
“Su su” is one of them for sure (don’t give up) or instead of saying “Ummm?” they will say “Aray na” which is like, “What?” or they will say, “Pay nay?” which is like a greeting and like “Where are you going?”
Have you had an answer to prayer recently?
God has continued to be faithful but one thing that happened recently was an immigration situation. We had booked our tickets back and we didn’t realize that it conflicted with having to be here (in Thailand) for our check-in. We were really disappointed about it but God was faithful and despite us not knowing, the error being on our part but now because of our change in dates, we are able to be back for a close friend who is grieving right now. If the change didn’t happen, we would not have been able to be with them but now we can be there for our friend and I can see God’s goodness in all this.
What are some cultural differences between living here and yours when you grew up?
Actually there are a lot of similarities because of the Asian culture but with the American culture in general, it’s been about getting used to how things get done. Urgent things don’t seem as urgent here (not so much at ZOE) but in general, if you need to get something fixed then the amount of time it takes or the amount of follow up is different. But I think it’s about learning to be in a good place of understanding that it’s not a sign of disrespect or that they don’t care, it’s just a different culture and understanding that and being gracious even though it’s not the way I have done it in the past. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to is that things just take a lot longer and also the fact that you’re still learning the language and so you’re not just able to do things on your own but you have to ask for help to get something done and that’s very different and a whole different level of dependence on God too. You have to lean on other people and you have to lean on Him.
Has your testimony grown since leaving home?
Definitely! God has shown us so much about who He is and who we are and just being humble and learning from Him but also seeing the amount of faith that our fellow missionaries and our fellow Thai staff have and seeing God at work. It’s given us a lot more boldness about the Gospel and believing God for miracles and healings.
What’s the scariest thing that’s happened to you so far?
When we first got here, a couple of things happened but it was because it was so new and we didn’t really understand. So one day Simpson backed into a car, which left very little damage at a mall but we didn’t really know what was going to happen. Or being pulled over by the police but not knowing why and wondering what’s going to happen.
What’s been the best part of your mission so far?
I think the best part has been a deepening reliance on God and God putting in our hearts more of a desire for intimacy with Him which is the best part. There are so many good things but Him teaching us that if we seek after Him always and we put Him first that He is with us. He’s always with us. And that all the other things will fall into place.
In closing, I wish to thank Lori-Ann for her honesty and openness and for letting me share some of the ups and downs from her journey here so far with our blog readers. We trust that your upcoming trip back will be full of encouragement and sweet times with your families.