Wycliffe Singapore’s next Executive Director, Charles Ho, will assume the position on 1 October 2021. Ahead of taking up his new role, we caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to and what led him here.
Call to service
A Systems Engineer in IT, Charles was called to serve full-time in ministry late 2000 as Wycliffe Singapore’s Ministry Coordinator, right when he was looking for an IT role in ministry. Though working with computers was what Charles was comfortable with, he saw the need for a computer specialist and how heart language was instrumental for church growth and discipleship, especially in the work of Bible translation.
The opportunity was also good preparation for entering the mission field, which he eventually did together with his wife Hoong Yen, in 2005. The couple received training in linguistics and theology before setting off for a country in Southeast Asia with 190 years of minority Christian presence.
Charles’ passion for missions was birthed serving in various capacities in Bartley Christian Church’s Youth Fellowship and the Missions Department, where he was blessed with many opportunities to explore his spiritual gifts in IT, administration and leadership roles.
On the field
In the 13 years abroad, Charles’ IT expertise saw him in positions such as a computer specialist providing support to regional personnel and mobilisation coordinator with a partnering organisation in the Mekong region, where he oversaw the development of strategic plans for national involvement in 5 countries. He has also served as the interim director for another Wycliffe organisation in the field, while Hoong Yen served in literacy efforts.
Engaging with locals in Bible translation as well as recruitment efforts in missions exposed Charles to the diverse demographics and leadership in national churches from different areas—from small, community, ethnic churches to large, city churches.
Surveying the efforts of the national churches in that country to send out missionaries, Charles is encouraged by the growing involvement of youths in missions. They are also strategically located to reach out to neighbouring countries where people groups have similar language and writing systems.
After pursuing a Masters in Global Studies during his sabbatical in the States, the couple relocated in 2014 to another Southeast Asian country. Here, Charles continued to serve as an IT consultant and Director of Strategic Initiatives of Wycliffe Global Alliance Asia-Pacific, overseeing the strategic initiatives teams in several countries. He was also involved in Scripture and community engagement among 7 unreached people groups.
On his greatest challenge thus far, Charles shares about “communicating with [locals to] understand the heartbeat of God as a missionary”, working with them “as a church to send out cross-cultural workers to unreached people groups”, seeing “God as a redeemer [at] the centre of missions”.
“One of my weaknesses is depending too much on self rather [than] on God. I need to trust that in all things, God is sovereign and learn to trust […] the Holy Spirit for direction and leading.”
Since returning to Singapore in 2018, Charles has been serving as the Missions Director of his home church. The couple also continue to serve an unreached people group remotely.
“Serving and equipping local Christians and churches towards a transformational indigenous movement has always been my heartbeat as I believe God is preparing local believers to be the missionaries and church planters [in] regions where we, the foreign missionaries, have difficult or no access.”
Willing and open for God to use him in any capacity, Charles sees this upcoming role as another instance of God “[using him] for a particular purpose for a particular period of time.”
“My vision for Wycliffe Singapore is to establish a strong partnership with churches so as to raise the next generation of young people for the harvest field. Through strategic partnerships, we will together explore new ways in which the Gospel can reach the last frontiers and [for] communities [to] be transformed through His Word in their heart languages,” Charles shares.
From engaging the next generation through social causes to facilitating strategic collaboration, integrating Bible translation with discipleship and researching Business as Missions for creative access nations, there is much to be done and much to look forward to.
Soli Deo gloria!