Pari Bala, National Director of Operation Mobilisation (OM) Malaysia, shared about her journey of the LORD wooing her into missionaries.
When she first knew God as a young believer in her university days, she came upon a daring autobiography of a brave-hearted missionary called Amy Carmichael.
Carmichael took the road less travelled during her days as a woman, sailing across the oceans to Japan, and then to India. Carmichael was so clear about God’s assignment for her to India that she turned down a pastor who asked her for a hand in marriage.
That obedience struck deep into Pari’s heart. She knew she wanted to give her life to God, one of obedience like Carmichael.
Approaching her final year of studies, she asked God two questions. First, she wanted to know if her American boyfriend of one and a half year was to be her life partner. The LORD said, “No.” Her second question was if she should remain in the United States to work. The LORD replied, “Go home to Malaysia.” So, she broke off the relationship and returned home upon graduation.
Despite a good career in engineering and experiencing spiritual growth in a vibrant local church, Pari could sense that there was more to life than this. As an engineer during then, she would patronize the MV Doulos ship of OM ministry at the dock, located near the plants she visited for work. Hence, she would take the crew out for lunch. Setting missionaries on the holy pedestal, she was surprised to find them quite ordinary, although they had extraordinary journeys with God.
Around that time as well, a lady working in OM Malaysia would ask her out for lunch. Both the lady and her pastor would sit Pari down and encourage her to join the MV Doulos ship in their regular meet-ups. And although Pari gave excuse after excuse, the LORD answered every question she had for Him, in her quiet time.
So, obediently, Pari – a new believer who had no clue about missions but only a heart to serve – packed her bags to Doulos. She thought of serving the LORD for only one year, but that extended to four years.
When she first joined, like the other crew, she cancelled her bank account and her credit card in starting her journey of faith, living only on USD 20 per month to purchase the extra things she wanted. She learned that MV Doulos sailed on prayers and the oil of the Holy Spirit.
So, the journey of faith began, opening her eyes to see the faithfulness of God in providing her needs and her wants. For example, she recalled a Good Samaritan handing her money to buy a music disc in Penang for sailing in the ship. Not only that, she got to celebrate important family events with her two sisters who stayed abroad while serving in the ship.
Also, one of the biggest barriers in serving in MV Doulos is leaving her mother who was unwell. But God reminded her of Luke 9:62 and Matthew 6:33. She knew in her heart that God would take care of her mother.
No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be give to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Hence, Pari served in the ship for four years, before returning to Malaysia to take care of her mother who had a heart attack. In Malaysia, she worked in OM Malaysia to spend time with her mother, whom God lengthened for another four years.
And when her mother had a second heart attack, the LORD honoured Pari by allowing her to be by her side during her last breath. Had Pari return to the hospital a moment later, she would not have spent these precious last moments with her mother.
Today, Pari has been faithfully serving in OM Malaysia, for more than 20 years. Under her leadership, OM Malaysia has started Teen Street and OCZ Conference annually, which latter prepares missionaries with skills before flying off to their mission fields.
An engineer whose heart was captivated to be a missionary, Pari found her life to be fulfilling as she walks and knows God deeply and intimately.
Indeed, Pari’s gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4). While she could have chosen many other things, Pari has chosen to sit by the feet of Jesus, listening and seeking to obey His every word.
And like what Jesus said to Mary, it appears that Jesus might also well say to Pari, “She has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
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