No Perfect Time to Serve God But Now!

L-R: Toe, Mag, Annie with Noa (11 months), Siyi with Eli (2yrs 8mths), Gus

EAST News caught up with one of EAST’s longest serving Resident Faculty Toe and Magdalene (Mag) Set who have served in EAST since 2006 and joined Cru since 1986. They have just received their 35 years long service award from Cru Singapore. Toe and Mag have two adult children Gus and Annie, a daughter-in-law Siyi and two grandchildren: Eli (boy) and Noa (girl).

Below is an account by Mag of how the Lord led both of them to serve in Myanmar and began serving in the Cru ministry there in the early 1990s. They were there for six years and began the Campus ministry and new Staff Training Centre in the mid 1990s. They also started local staff training in campuses over three different cities during that time. Also, in 2014, they were back in their beloved Myanmar for sabbatical, teaching in Myanmar Institute of Christian Theology. In 2002-2006, Toe went to Dallas Theological Seminary to obtain his Masters of Theology and soon returned to join EAST afterwards as resident faculty. However, his ministry to the staff in Myanmar continues to this day via digital means. Do continue to pray for their family and ministry.

No time like now

Toe and I had a desire to serve in Myanmar but the political situation was bad. In 1988 there was a bloody military coup and thousands died. In 1990 there were violent protests after the military refused to hand over power following elections. It was a very unstable situation and with a one year old child and another on the way, we were waiting for a better time to go.

But God showed us Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 and we realised there was no perfect ideal time that would meet all our requirements.

So we made plans and prepared for our first overseas assignment in Myanmar. One day, Toe told me about the passport surrender issue – that every returning citizen was required to hand over his passport upon re-entry. He explained that if anything were to go wrong in the country, I would have to take our kids and return to Singapore without him. Also, since there was no policy for spouses and kids of returning citizens then, there was a possibility that our request to stay could be rejected anytime and the kids and I would have to leave the country leaving Toe behind! My heart sank and I wanted to change my mind about going, but I knew we would have to take that step of faith as God had called us.

So not knowing what lay ahead of us, we went with our little faith in a big God.

A Challenge

I have many wonderful and precious memories of our time in Myanmar. But I have to admit that I also faced many difficult challenges. Perhaps some of the greatest challenges I faced were language and what I felt then as the lack of personal space.

We went there to set up the Campus ministry as well as a staff training centre to train local ministry workers. The training centre was set up in our home, so every day the house was filled with people with whom I could not communicate! I found myself feeling lost and lonely in my own home as everyone around me talked, joked and laughed in a language I did not know. Some even freely helped themselves to food and drinks in the house and I began to feel I had lost my private safe space.

These challenges, and the many that came after, were part of my growth as a person. I am thankful for them and for God’s grace that saw me through. It helped when Toe explained to me that Burmese are very relational people, and when they feel comfortable in your home, it means they feel loved and accepted, like family. I have grown to love my dear Myanmar friends who God brought into our lives.

Blessings in our Lives

As we look back over 35 years in full-time ministry, we are so grateful to God for watching over us each step of the way. We are also so thankful for our family and friends who stuck with us and supported us through the many changes and adjustments, for the many people we have worked with and for our faithful supporters who kept praying for and encouraging us.

We would appreciate your prayers for the following:

  • Peace & tranquility in the nation of Myanmar.
  • Help, relief and comfort from the Lord for those who are suffering there.
  • Our family to continue to grow in faith & obedience in the Lord.

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