Not Ashamed -- Esther Yap -- Crossing Cultures for Jesus
Esther Yap shares with Neo Yi Ling her struggles to be not ashamed of the gospel even as she serves in the mission field.
Esther serves with Wycliffe Singapore and is currently based in Southeast Asia on a two-year assignment. She's doing a practical attachment with a faith-based partner organisation that collaborates with local partners in increasing access to and use of Scripture and related materials.
1. How has the good news of Jesus affected you?
I accepted Christ when I was 12. For many years after that, I recall having many doubts and insecurity in my own salvation. I struggled with ‘not-enough-ism’. My faith was not genuine enough. My testimony was not good enough. Eventually, I discovered and have come to love Hebrews 10, for it shows me the fallacy behind such thinking. The good news of Jesus is not about what I can do to attain it. Rather, it’s about receiving and humbly accepting it. I can now live a life in ‘full assurance of faith’, knowing that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for me was a gift given, not a reward earned nor an honour deserved.
2. How did the gospel lead you to decide on cross-cultural missions work?
What convicted me of the importance of cross-cultural missions was Romans 10:14-17. Each of us was led to Christ because we heard of Him, read of Him and experienced Him. With the far-reaching convenience of technology, not having access to the gospel nowadays seems unthinkable. The fact is, not everyone has equal access. John Piper once said, “missions exist because worship doesn’t”. We worship many gods but how many of us worship the one true God? I couldn’t rest contented knowing that there are people unaware of the gospel, when we are called to share the gospel.
3. How does your present work in your current location challenge you to be unashamed of the gospel of Christ?
In the country where I am, only 9.2% of the population is Christian, but 32% of the Christian population is in my region. Living out the gospel of Christ unashamedly should be easier. Yet, I find myself becoming complacent. I assume we all think alike on doctrinal issues. I shy away from discussing difficult topics among friends. I neglect talking about the gospel because I assume everyone knows it. The pressure to not go against the grain is still there. As I partner with friends and colleagues in the course of my work, I feel challenged to not stop proclaiming the gospel of Christ, even among fellow believers.
4. What is your hope for GBC as a disciple-making church?
I think GBC as a community is in an advantageous position to teach and train disciples who are not afraid to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23). We are sometimes cautious of maintaining a different opinion from the expected norm. No one likes being labelled ‘intolerant’ or ‘judgmental’. As we interact among family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers, even, I hope that we feel confident to share or defend the gospel in a way that speaks to them. As disciples ourselves, hoping to make other disciples, may we be suitably prepared so that we can speak with wisdom when the occasion calls for it (Colossians 4:5–6).
5. How can we pray for you?
I’m attached to a team that is in the process of translating portions of Scripture and producing a tri-lingual dictionary for the community we work with. In addition, I’m doing my own language research, with the goal of writing a dissertation on it. Producing a linguistic paper helps the language development of the community in the long run. It also contributes to the broader goals of producing materials with high quality and advancing academic knowledge and professional skills within the community.
You can give thanks to God for:
- The Translation Committee that has recently been set up to lead the direction of the translation efforts.
- Protection during a recent trip to a village where we conducted a workshop on Oral Bible Storytelling. We’re grateful for the participants who attended. Many of them are such amazing storytellers. May God use them to encourage and teach others.
- Progress in my language research.
and please pray for:
- Protection on the road when I travel.
- The Translation Committee over the next few months as they plan, propose and decide on the future of the project.
Thank you for praying for me!
Oral Bible Storytelling workshop in the village.
You can watch videos of GBC members sharing how they have experienced the power of the gospel in their lives, and are not ashamed of the gospel.
This article also appears in the print copy of Grace News.