In this video interview, Dave and Debbie Walker talk about how they were first introduced to OC International, their initial field of service in Japan, and their current ministry in the Singapore Mobilization Center.
How did you get started with OC?
We’re Dave and Debbie Walker and we serve in Singapore [OC Mobilization Center]. The way we got involved in missions … after our university days we came to Christ, and we were discipled by some folks, friends of ours. They went off to seminary, and they started sending us mission biographies. We started reading those. The Lord grabbed our hearts and we sensed that he was calling us to full-time service as missionaries.
It is interesting how we were invited and began a relationship with OC and that happened in New England where David was going to seminary. OC would come to the seminary for recruiting purposes, and we started a relationship with several of the OC recruiters, playing golf, going to seafood restaurants, doing various relational things that kind of …that captured our hearts. First was the relationship and then what OC stood for, the vision to reach whole nations so that was, even in those days, was a passion of our hearts.
What field were you called to?
That was in 1988 that we went to Japan with our two children. The main focus of that time, those beginning days in Japan was one of a research posture to find out what the church actually needed… and how we could come alongside. It developed more into a foundational prayer ministry over the years that we were there.
Originally we started studying 18 growing churches, because of the smallness of the church in Japan. We wanted to understand what were some growth factors, so we studied 18 growing churches, to understand what was causing them to grow. We found some principles that we could assist the church in, but then the Lord directed us more (as Debbie said) into a prayer ministry and encouragement for pastors and helping pastors come together, and breaking down some of the barriers that existed there.
How long did you serve in Japan?
We served 15 years in Japan. And then some of our team members left, and so we were determining if it was still viable for us to stay there and have a team. We felt that it was time for us to move on and the Lord had put other dreams and …on our heart of ministry. So from that process we moved to Singapore about 8 years ago and took up a more area-wide ministry… in mentoring and coaching, in resourcing different fields and ministries in Asia.
How did you transition to the new place?
In order to describe the mentoring and spiritual friending that we do, I kinda want to just take a little visit back to Japan. Those 15 years, in fact for me, were… I was more involved with our family. We did have a prayer ministry, yes, but my focus was with our children and to be involved in the school where they were. Those were foundational years for me and my heart. God used those years to prepare my heart to be someone who comes alongside. Those years were secret years with him in the prayer closet, as it were. So when we moved to Singapore, there seemed to be by His good hand a convergence of those particular lessons that He had been teaching me in Japan and teaching both of us. So that when we came to the area office, we had some background in what, how you adjust to a new team, how you adjust to a new country, what do you do in times of difficulty and challenge. He had been fitting us those 15 years…
What are your ministry opportunities?
So as we looked in the area and we saw different OC ministries, we saw opportunities to come alongside and enhance those or help them to expand… and that really fit our sense of ministry and our OC vision. So we were able to go to India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, wherever OC had work, we would travel and visit them… do some membercare. and also resourcing ministries.
What are some specific examples?
That has actually unfolded a very dynamic ministry for one particular Singaporean partner that we have a relationship with. Additionally, we talk with people about what’s going on in our various fields in Asia that we are partnering with. And they want to join us on those trips. In fact use their giftedness to resource schools, Bible schools in Cambodia, children’s schools in Cambodia, Bible resource schools in India and children’s schools in India, so that’s the kind of resourcing we enjoy doing. It’s relational based, so we have a relationship with people and then we invite them to join us in resourcing our teams in the area.
Who are you training locally?
Because it is a Bible school, these are some of the leaders who have already graduated and have come back for training or they are potential leaders. And so they will be church planters, they will be pastors…so this fits in with the overall design is how do we help the national church because these will be their leaders. So if we can bring resource people in to equip them, to encourage them, to empower them, or to build platforms for them in their ministry, that is what this particular ministry is all about.
Why do you do all this work?
The ethos of wanting to come alongside, the Barnabas approach, is very dear to our hearts. And it actually fits us as our own persons, so that’s a great fit for us. The idea of building partnerships, the whole body of Christ. It goes back to the very foundational purposes that we always identified with and so now with the Global Alliance and the greater sense, the greater need of partnershipping and working together really resonates with us. It’s where missions is. We feel it’s on the cutting edge of where we want to be, too.
26 years ago when we joined OC, what drew me to the organization was the sense of family, the sense of we’re all in this together. And we are all working together for a common goal. And over the 26 years I’ve only seen that deepen and especially with the Global Alliance that has expanded considerably.