A Strategic Trip of Exploration

This is part 1 of a three part series reflecting on our recent trip to South Asia.  

On the 11th of November 2018, my wife Silpi and I with our two children (aged four and two) set off for South Asia for a three week mission trip. We had been planning for this trip all year. It was to be a strategic trip of exploration with the view to return at the end of 2019 as a full-time missionary family. 

Our call to missions was not straight forward, it was many years in coming but God through his gracious sovereign hand had worked all things together for our good.

My wife and I had been discussing mission work in South Asia since we married in 2011 but 2018 was the year in which he began to strongly compel us by the constraining love of the Spirit to take a step of faith. This trip for us was the first one since that call. We left this time with great anticipation and a different perspective. We saw everything with our call to live in South Asia full time at the forefront.    

We had five goals for this trip:

1. To see how our children would respond to being in a foreign country.
We know that living on the mission field with young children is going to be challenging. We wanted to see how they would go and prepare them to return later. During the trip we came to see how adaptable the kids were. They loved the adventures of riding on motorbikes and traveling in taxies without a seat belt. They were able to engage in serving others as well. My son joyfully gave away some of his toys to children in the slums we visited to give out some food and clothing. 

2. To explore the logistical realities of moving to and living in south Asia. 
We visited schools, the immigration department, looked at housing options, grocery costs etc.- all the practical things we needed to know in order to come up with a budget for living in the country.  Cost for some things were relatively cheap but others were high due to import taxes. We were able to come up with a plan for living and staying in the countrylong term, for language learning and looked at some potential accommodation options.   

3. To share our vision for the region with key national leaders and to network with as many of them as possible. 
During this trip I was able to meet with key leaders who were excited to learn about our vision for the country. They were very excited about our church planters training program and our vision to raise up local leaders to plant multiplying churches through the country. I met many others as well who are ready to work with us and local church leaderships that we might make our home church.

4. To explore other avenues of ministry work in the city that we planned to live in and love.
We also wanted to explore how we could practically serve the people of the city. We got involved with several ministries. We visited a slum in amajor temple and gave out food, clothes, some tracts and a Bible to the local people. Many doors have begun to open for us in this area.

5. To teach an overview of the O.T to a group of church planting students at the ENGAGE training centre.
I travelled to the west side of the country to run an intensive training week on the Old Testament. It was exciting to teach the students and see their understanding open as they grasped a Christ centered hermeneutic of the O.T. I was priviliged to preach in one of the church plants started by one of our planters. I was so blessed to see the flourishing of this small church of 50-70 people that a few years ago did not exist. I was also able to spend two days with our national coordinator and an afternoon with our church planters discussing the future of the ministry and reiterating our vision to raise up pioneer church planters to go to the unreached places. 

Stayed tuned for parts two and three where I will give some missiological reflections on the trip and in part three share our plans for the next year. 

Please be in prayer for us.

Blake and Silpi Cannon.