Interview with Ian
A photographer by trade, Ian Tham has been giving back to society by going on mission trips across South East Asia since four years back.
IAN: There wasn't really a deciding factor or turning point in my time in church that made me decide to join the Outreach team. I remember in 2010 that I had this really strong desire to be a part of a mission team so I told my caregroup leader at that time that I would like to be notified of the next mission trip and from then, slowly joined the Outreach ministry before the restructuring.
I've been on seven or eight mission trips in the span of two years so far. I would say that the most memorable [trip] for me would be with the level 3 DARE (Secondary School) ministry to Chiang Rai, Thailand. This wasn't my first mission to Chiang Rai but this was the trip that made me go "I would love to do missions for as long as I can".
It was on the night where the youths were split into teams to go house visiting. We stopped by at this small house, which belonged to an elderly couple that lived with their grandson as their son moved to the city to work and never returned. The house was made of wood, had minimal lighting and ventilation. I was the photographer for that trip and I remembered as I followed the youths into the house all I was thinking about at that point was how I would be able to get the shots I needed. As one of the youth leaders laid hands and began to pray for the old man in the house who was suffering from partial deafness and respiratory problems, I took a shot and when I saw the spark of hope and joy in the old man's eyes, I teared.
Besides honing skills and really appreciating what we have in our modern homes (warm running water and a toilet that flushes being a couple of them), I would say it has made me understand how no condemnation and unconditional love can impact and change the lives of people from around the world regardless of race or even language barriers.
What motivates me would be the people we are doing the missions for, just being able to see the joy on the children's faces and the faces of the village people when we are there is able to keep me motivated through the day's program even though it gets really tiring.
My dream is to be able to touch and change the lives of others. Even if just one person were [to be] changed out of the many in every place that the team I am a part of manages to visit, it would be worth all the time and the effort.