Ongs in Malawi



Application Interview

Posted on April 28, 2010 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

We had our SIM application interview on the 17th April 2010 with two members of SIM's State Leadership Team - Christine and Barb. Christine and her family is preparing to serve with SIM in South America, and we know Barb from the Makki days! It went well considering we had Teaghan and Lucas with us, but it was good that they met us as a family. 


Based on this interview, our application papers and what our referees have said about us, Christine and Barb will write a report for the SIM Personnel Director to recommend whether we should proceed further in the Application process. If so, we will then embark on the next phase which are the assessments - personality, medical/dental, SIM manual and doctrinals! We envisiage that this phase will take us up til the end of this year. The doctrinals will be the challenging one so much prayer will be needed here.


I have been thinking about what the next six months will hold for us. There are still big questions that we are still seeking God's leading on, such as: "will we have college accommodation for next year"? "what to do with our current house"? "should I take a short break from Bible college for 6 months and  return back to full-time work during that period to save up some money"? I think we will get some more clarity in our thinking after my college application interview this Friday (30/04/10).


In the meantime, we continue to think through some possible placement opportunities with SIM in Africa. We invite you to be in prayer with us about this with regards to where God wants us to serve Him. There are two opportunities that have grabbed our attention so far. They are:


1. Kenya - Evangelist/Water & Sanitation Tentmaker 

This role will involve ministering amongst an unreached people group in northeastern rural Kenya. It will use a tentmaking approach through the avenue of water and sanitation development to build meaningful relationships with the community and a platform for the gospel.


2. Botswana - Schools Outreach Cooridnator 

I was blown away by the fact that 50% of Botswanans are under the age of 15! This role will involve taking the gospel and the HIV/AIDS intervention program to the Jr Secondary and primary schools. There is much potential here to influence the young generation of Botswanans, some of which will grow up to be the country's future leaders.


Two very different opportunities! How will we decide? What will be our selection criteria? Will there be more opportunities to come our way?  Only the Lord knows. I'll blog about this next time.


~ Pete


Applications submitted!!

Posted on February 27, 2010 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A few significant things have happened in the past 10 days.


Firstly, our church published our story and plans to go overseas in the recent Missions prayer newsletter. So it's out there now. The whole church knows!


Secondly, *drumrrrrrrrrrrrrrroll* we submitted our SIM applications yesterday!!! *applause*


We are now onto Step 4 of the 13 steps involved...


so what happens now? The SIM Candidate Review Committee will look over our applications and make recommendations to the State Managing Director, followed by doctrinal, personality, medical, and dental assessments... and then another 5 steps after that before we can go.


Reality hits a little harder each time we take another small step towards take off.


Teaghan has just started preschool and she is not liking it. She doesn't like changes.

I think on the day we leave, I'll cry. I'll cry because I'll miss my family. But I'll cry even harder for Teaghan because I know there'll be big adjustments ahead for her, being the cautious little person that she is. I know she'll miss her Grammy and Uncle John terribly. I think Lucas will be fine because he'll be a little younger and he's more easy going in character... and no.3, if there is a no.3, should be too little to know what's going on!


We'll just have to trust that God will give all our kids the strength to cope. I think we need to start praying for that now. Will you please join me in praying for that too? :o)


Today Pete and I discussed some more about what's in stored for us in the next two years.

We've been considering the following:

- What to do with our house? When Pete is studying full time in 2011, how will we be able to keep up with our mortgage repayments? Should we move/sell/rent out?

- Should I go back to teaching when Pete is studying full time?

- Should we have no.3? We'd love to but can we afford to? Because that would mean I can't work. When is the right time for no.3??


We've talked heaps about it already but always find it hard to come to a conclusion that we both feel peaceful about... a God-given peace that is....until today.


This is what we came up with today.


2010: Pete continues part time study at SMBC

2011: Pete commences full time study at SMBC. Jo studies part time at SMBC. Rent out our townhouse in Dural and move to college rental housing (Croydon or thereabouts). Pregnant and no.3 born at the end of the year. Teaghan attends preschool.

2012: Leave for Africa mid year...


The one thing that's had us a little unsure is How will we survive with neither of us working and no savings? But today we've decided to not be too worried about that now and just trust God. I mean, really TRUST God. We feel that it is important that we spent 2011 preparing ourselves spiritually before we head off, for we feel that we need to be strong in our faith and understanding of God if we're to be serving him overseas where our faith will be surely be tested. I'd like to do a little bit of study, not to earn a piece of paper, but to know God's Word better.


So we're going to *deep breath* step out in faith and pray that if this is indeed God's will for us, then he'll also make a way for us financially, even if we cannot see how at this point.


We'll sleep on it, pray on it, and see if the peace is still there as time goes by....


~ Jo

The Road Ahead

Posted on October 12, 2009 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

As Jo has already mentioned, last Friday (9th October 2009), we went into SIM to discuss the process for becoming long term members of SIM and some possible placement ideas.


After our initial discussion with SIM 8yrs ago, enquiring about short-term mission with Steve Turner and Kaye Shooter back at the old SIM office in Kingsgrove, the meeting on Friday was a significant step for us (although it didn't really feel like it as Jo has already explained). It was the first step of the membership process! As Jo has already mentioned in her previous blog entry, this process can take up to 2-3 yrs, so we have commenced at the right time as we had planned to leave for Africa by 2012.


So what will the road ahead look like? SIM's application process is as follows:


1. Enquiry/Discuss placements

2. Application completed & received by SIM

3. Reference forms sent out & received by SIM

4. CRC Interviews conducted & Reports received

5. SMD/Personnel Director Approval

6. Assessment material sent by Personnel Department

7. Assessments:

a. Doctrinal

b. Personality

c. Medical/Dental

d. Endorsing SIM material

8. Placement finalised

9. Summary of Assessments to State Leadership Team for Interview

10. Appointed

Orientation (SIMCO - 2wks in April) happens between Assessments and production of brochure

11. Production of Brochure/Prayer Card

12. Raising Support Team/Further courses

13. Departure 2-4 yr term


We should be getting the application forms and some ideas of placements in the next few weeks.

The plan is to complete the forms by end of 2009, and complete the doctrinal assessments by end of 2010.


For myself, 2010 will be my final year of working with the view of doing one year full time study at SMBC in 2011.


Things are gaining momentum after a very long build up, but it is all in God's perfect timing!



Visit to SIM thru Jo's eyes

Posted on October 9, 2009 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

We visited SIM today to chat with Steve Shooter (NSW director) about our plans. We know Steve from being involved with SIM over the past years, so it wasn't a daunting experience. It wasn't even as huge a thing as one would expect such a meeting to be. Afterall, we were practically there to sign on the dotted line to go serve in Africa! I guess it was because we'd known for the past 9 years that we were going, so this hasn't come out of the blue for us, nor is it a surprise to those who know us. The huge event happened 9 years ago when we first approached SIM about our short term trip to Ethiopia. Back then, it was huge for us and for our families to take that first step.


We decided to bring Teaghan and Lucas with us, so they could meet us as a family. The last time we set foot in SIM, we didn't have kids! Symbolically, it was important to us that all four of us were there as we are in this together. Team Ong: two Ongs and two Onglets :o)


The whole meeting lasted about 2 hrs, during which time Lucas had a nap in my arms (which he has never done before!) and Teaghan made a mess of the playroom there.



Teaghan's trail of destruction from the playroom to the meeting room.


It was a very informative time, and we had many of our questions answered. Here are some things that we nutted out, as well as things we're still thinking thru...


1. God's timing is perfect. Our plan was to be 'on the field' by 2012, in 3 yrs time. Without knowing how long the application process will take, we approached SIM today. We found out that the process will take 2-3 years. So we are at just the right time. We plan to submit our application by the end of this year.


2. God wastes nothing. All our experiences, gifts, and skills are coming together to point us to areas in which we can be involved. At this stage, we are excited about the possibility of being involved in training up teachers in Christian schools to teach Christianly and/or training up people to minister to children. Having worked at Pacific Hills, where we were daily encouraged to be Christ to those we teach, this is something that excites me. I can also draw on resources and experiences of those from PHCS to help us in our journey too. Pete is very excited about this as he gets to work with people, which he prefers over engineering related ministry. I had thought he'd want to use his water engineering, but it turns out that he's much more excited about children's ministry possibilities. This works out well as Steve tells us that placements are decided based on the guy, and the wife is generally 'free', as her primary responsibility would be for her kids. So this way, I can still be involved as much as I can, as it is an area I'm passionate about, while still doing what I love - being mum to our little monkeys.


3. We did the right thing in buying a home now, and we've been advised not to sell it before we go. This cleared up this part of the puzzle for us, as we were also unsure about housing.


4. We've narrowed it down to a part of the African continent - East Africa. It was acceptable for me to say NOT Ethiopia, as having been there, I didn't feel drawn to return. I couldn't stomach the local food and just generally didn't feel at home there. I felt 'at home' when we were in Kenya in 2005/6.


5. We can take a 2-3 week 'survey trip', once a placement has been decided. This will help us prepare ourselves to work there long term, as well as preparing Pete's parents in getting them used to the idea of us going. We haven't budgetted for this in our 3 year plan, but I'm sure God will make a way if he too thinks this is a good idea. We'd love to visit our conuntries of birth (Hong Kong and Singapore) before we go to Africa, but at this stage with the survey trip in mind, it is highly unlikely that we can afford it. Poo. Double poo.


6. There's a 'doctrinal test' somewhere in the process. I'm a bit worried about this. I feel as though I've just wandered back from the wildreness, as Pete put it. What if I fail??!! Gosh I need to really get back into reading the Bible regularly. Is it wrong to want to read the Bible just so I can pass this test??!! I should be wanting to read it for personal growth... Eeek, sometimes I feel like maybe I'm not 'holy' enough to serve overseas where I need to be really strong spiritually to fight off Satan's attacks. He already knows I'm good target, having gotten me once! I need to 'stock up' on holiness before we head off!!


7. Third child. Should we have another one? If so, when? It not, then will we live to regret it? Should we alter our original family plans for our ministry plans? We can delay missions for a year or 2, but once we miss the time frame to have one more, we can't go back!


Oh so much to process!! Sometimes I find myself thinking, oh gosh this is all so real now! and the reality hits, esp when we do things that I know we'll miss when we're overseas, like visiting my mum. At those times, I think: I don't know if I want to go anymore!! I guess that's all part of the sacrifices we make.


At the end of our meeting yesterday, Steve prayed that "If it is God's plan that we stay in Australia, then may there be such blockages in the way that it will be very clear to us. And if it is indeed God's plan for us to go, then may He open door after door for us."


And to that, I say amen!