Interview with Rev Rodney Hui

Rodney and IreneRev Rodney Hui has been in the missions scene for the past 36 years serving in Operation Mobilization. His two books, “Been There, Done That” and “Keep Going!” have inspired many to keep going in missions. They provide practical tips to Christian living, introduction to missions and real life examples of those who have responded to God’s call to serve in the mission field (telling stories of their joys and struggles). This coming August, Rodney and his wife, Irene, will be commissioned by Katong Presbyterian Church and the English Presbytery for a four-year stint aboard the MV Logos Hope. Despite his busy schedule, Rodney graciously shared his insights and wisdom with Elder Yeap Eng Hooi (EPMC Chair).

Yeap Eng Hooi – YEH: Rev Rodney, you certainly have a very impressive and colorful career as a missionary that has spanned more than 30 years. Could you share with us a brief summary of your calling as a missionary, your stint in serving with OM Ships Ministry and some memorable experiences your encountered?

Rodney Hui – RH: I responded to God’s call when I was in NS and joined OM on the day I ROD (or ORD). At that time I thought to myself –“I have just given 2 years to the country. I should now give 2 years to the Lord.” Two years have turned to what seems like forever! I started on the MV Logos, then pioneered OM Singapore and most of OM in East Asia, lived in 6 countries and on two ships in the process. I enjoyed immensely the voyages on the ship all over Asia, the Mediterranean and Europe as a care-free trainee at first. My most memorable experience must be traveling with 3 other young men in an OM van overland from Holland all the way to Singapore. It took us 6 months! I was only 23 then.

YEH: What are some of the best lessons you have learnt from your mentors who have influenced you the most?

RH: From George Verwer, the founder of OM, I caught the vision and passion for the lost. The earlier values of love, forsaking-all, sacrificial living and giving, esteeming others (and many more) were formative and foundational in character, missions and ministry. Servanthood is still the way we lead. Early leaders in OM modeled many of these qualities. But alas, I am afraid I am a slow learner. One powerful lesson I had appreciated and continue to practice is the belief in young people and in giving them opportunities and responsibilities to grow. I remember being given leadership for the work of OM Singapore when I was only 24! I am sure I made many mistakes but how else could a young person learn.

YEH: What has brought you the most satisfaction in your career as a missionary?

RH: Several things. The grace of God is top on my list. I don’t say it like a cliché. God’s grace is everything  to me. Next are people – especially the joy of seeing them transformed and used by the Lord. The extra satisfaction is when I learn that I have played a part (however small) in their journey. My wife and two children, Justin and Marianne often are the inspiration to keep me going. Justin, Marianne, Irene and Rodney

YEH: Going down the memory lane, how has the missions scene in Singapore changed since the time you became a missionary?

RH: I started actively recruiting young people into cross-cultural missions in the 70s’, at a time cross-cultural missions was hardly on the radar of the churches in Singapore. Short-term missions (as distinct from today’s mission-trip phenomenon) were viewed with suspicion, made worst when some returnees moved on from their home churches for various reasons. Over time, the mission scene matured and grew. It is really an answer to prayer to see churches now getting involved. Not all are there yet. Even in our EP churches, a few are still in the infant stage while others have taken off. The posture should be equal partnership at all levels of engagements in missions. Kingdom-building should be our outlook (not empire-building). Missions today is quite complex and sophisticated, but I still find some churches approaching it simplistically.

YEH: How did your interest to serve aboard the Logos Hope arise? Tell us more about your work and responsibilities on board the ship.

RH: The Logos Hope is the newest and the only remaining ship of OM. It is refitted with modern facilities to meet today’s challenges. Many churches in Singapore and SE Asia have been instrumental in making Logos Hope a reality in their prayer and financial support. The Logos Hope will be coming to Asia for the first time. Asia is the area I was responsible for in OM and knowing my availability, the leadership gave Irene and I an invitation to be on board to help when the ship comes. I will be heading up the Partners Division on board, overseeing ministries to partners, leaders, pastors and special visitors to the ships. Being part of the leadership team, we hope to be a model to the 400 or so younger crew members. Irene and I are looking forward to be “parents” to many young people on board. The MV Logos Hope

YEH: How do you stay fit and healthy?

RH: I run, and I like long-distance runs. I train for the annual half and full marathons. But alas, I will not be able to for the next few years. I also do circuit-exercises to keep fit. I find that physical fitness helps me in serving the Lord more effectively. I like the running landscape to vary and therefore I am looking forward to run all over Asia and the Pacific where the ship visits!

YEH: Your children, Justin and Marianne will be staying behind in Singapore. Are you concerned for them?

RH: No, not really. I know they are mature and independent enough. The two years in the army for Justin and the year away in Africa for Marianne have taught them to take care of themselves. We are thankful for their support and their blessing. It’s not often children get to send their parents out in missions! This means a lot to us. We are confident that the Lord will take care of them. They are the ones making the sacrifices. The moral support and care of Katong Pres, friends and relatives will make the difference. We hope to have them staying on board with us when they have their university holidays.

YEH: Any other thoughts?

RH: It has been a pleasure working with the EPMC. I know your heart is to bless the EP churches in their missions endeavors. You can’t go wrong when you have God’s purpose to work for. When we are on board, it will be a blessing to have more young people from the EP churches come and join us in working on the Logos Hope!

YEH: Thank you Rodney for sharing your experiences, views and observations with the Presbyterian Express. A missionary career can certainly be exciting, adventurous, and fulfilling. You have shown us how you can achieve that.

Godspeed and Bon Voyage!