For me, my ministry and my recruiting work here in Southeast Asia go hand-in-hand. There is no line that divides going to work and then going home and engaging in church or ministry activities.
The difference between my situation and others here is that I’m privileged to work for a Kingdom-minded company and with a Kingdom-minded team. My job is to use that wonderful base of operations to connect Kingdom-minded professionals with jobs here—one of the places where Jesus is least known—so that they in turn can live as compelling representatives of Christ, wherever they work.
In other words, they build Christian community as they’re building their careers. Success in both really hinges on the attitude they bring as they live out the adventure that God has designed for them.
One thing I stress over and over to people considering a move here: You have to be very open-minded. That may sound simplistic, but it’s critically important.
When you move your career here or any other country, your success in great part depends on managing your own expectations.
If you're open to differences—in cultures, in worldviews, in perspectives on God—and you can accept (or even celebrate) them without hurting your personal integrity, you’ll set yourself up for success much better.
For example, I’ve had to learn to not take it personally just because somebody does something in a different way from what I’m accustomed to. Again, this may sound like a simple concept, but adjusting your expectations in just that one aspect will go a long way in your conversations and how you process the behavior of local people here.
Without that flexibility, I might not have discovered one of the most wonderful things about this country: People here are pretty open to spiritual conversations.
Of course, it has a lot to do with the approach you take when you jump into a conversation like that, but it would probably surprise a lot of people how open people are. As long as there's always a measure of respect in the way you present your faith, people will leave room for conversation.
The logical result of that kind of respect and flexibility is community.
Community isn’t built by accident, though. To make the most of your opportunity as a believer living a God-inspired adventure, you must be very proactive in your relationships.
Granted, on the one hand, you could just live out your life here and still be professionally successful.
Let's say you were a software developer who comes here and works completely remotely. You could do your life here from a home office without having any interaction with other people besides going out for your groceries or the occasional meal out. As long as you did your job well, you could make a living and be a “success.”
On the other hand, if you're practicing your relationships with local community, you will have a very rich life here and open doors just by being an authentic believer who cares about his neighbors. In addition, you’ll grow personally and professionally as you build your network of local people.
But that’s not all, because as believers acting as ambassadors for Christ, we know that what God calls us to is not self-empowered. It’s done by faith—with the Holy Spirit Himself moving you and guiding you.
The bonus is, with the Spirit as your guide, you can come here knowing that you're not walking this life alone. After all, you are taking a leap of faith. You are entering a culture that is much different from your own upbringing. And the Holy Spirit is crucial in the way you experience that life and the decisions you make.
I have to tell you: I feel absolutely free here. There is such a freedom that exists here spiritually, but also mentally and emotionally—just knowing that I am where God wants me to be. I wasn’t in that place the majority of my life before I arrived here.
Just knowing that allows me to enjoy my life much more. And all it took was a little leap.
Written By: Le Minh Tam
Business Development & Recruitment, Southeast Asia