One night, as Dr. Season Mussey sat holding her newborn son, watching his breath rise and fall, she realized she needed to learn to trust God in new ways.
“Sitting there, I was thinking, what would you have me do, Lord? What’s next? I think this was the first time in my life I was finally maybe still and quiet enough to really hear his still small voice.”
The pandemic closes doors
A teacher and education consultant, Season traveled with her husband and son to Spain, where they saw the difference English as a second language classes could make within the larger ministries of a church. But just as Season was beginning to apply what she’d learned in her local context, the pandemic unexpectedly closed the ministry’s doors.
Around the same time, a friend emailed Season about a short-term mission opportunity through International Ministries. One of IM’s partners in Cambodia needed someone to serve virtually in an English teaching experience. “It seemed like a direct answer to my prayers,” Season says.
Season connected with IM’s Short-Term Mission Director, Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil, to learn more about IM and the opportunity. “IM’s commitment to go only where invited really struck me as critical,” Season says. “And this was no different in a digital platform. IM is really in tune with preparing any short-term missionary to know their role and support the partner and their goals.”
God opens a new ministry opportunity
In Cambodia, which is primarily a Buddhist country, IM partner Bless Cambodia Network ministers to college students through a housing ministry with a missionary house parent. Ten students from various local universities
live at the house. Because students value learning English to enhance future career opportunities, house parent Ellen Shaoang Phom wanted to provide them with an English class.
“This was a real step of faith for me,” Season explains. “I was comfortable teaching English in person, to primarily Spanish-speakers. This would be a very different experience. The primary language (Khmer) in Cambodia is very different. I had a lot to learn, not just with the online aspect but also with the cultural and linguistic differences.”
Ellen and Season set two goals: to help the students gain confidence and proficiency in English and to use the Bible during the instruction. Beginning in February 2021, Season focused on basic English and vocabulary. The second term, they practiced conversation and read parts of Psalms. By the third term in August 2022, the students were asking for an English Bible study—reading and talking about the first six chapters in Daniel.
“As the classes progressed, the missionaries in Cambodia began to see increased confidence and willingness to speak English in everyday settings,” Season says. “And they started asking more questions about the Bible. Their curiosity about faith increased.”
A step of faith results in seeing God at work
Season saw the Holy Spirit at work not only during the classes but also in her own family. Her little son was often present during the virtual meetings, participating when he could. “My son has an awareness now that there are other people on the other side of the world who God loves just like he loves us,” she says. “He’ll ask, ‘Are they sleeping now? Did they already go to church?’ We love those students as family even though
we haven’t met them.”
The experience gave Season the opportunity to practice what one friend calls “adventurous obedience,” and she gained a lesson in partnership. “Partnership is something IM does really well, and it’s the way God does it, too. God brings brothers and sisters in Christ all together toward a common goal. That’s the power of God. At the time I was just focused on the difficult decision to shut down my small English group locally, but God had this bigger plan. God is weaving together a masterpiece for people to know him.”