Tommy McMillan —
Snapshots of Asia
August 17, 2013
“All of my work and relationships find meaning through the person and work of Jesus Christ,” Tommy tells us during our interview.
In relation to this, Tommy decided to dedicate two months of his time serving as a volunteer with TWR Asia. Hailing from Minnesota, USA, Tommy was excited to travel halfway across the world to discover Southeast Asia.
Tell us about yourself, and how you came to know about TWR.
Well, I grew up in a city near Minneapolis, Minnesota. For a time as a child, I lived in a village in Congo, Africa too. I became a Christian at a young age through the influence of my family. They have been a source of encouragement and support, along with my pastor and church family. Recently, I have been studying at a Bible school in Chicago and enjoy playing music with my sister when I visit home. It was at school that I met a representative for TWR and heard about opportunities in media overseas.
How was the overall experience?
I applied online after talking to a representative who visited my school. Although there were some uncertainties during the initial stage, I knew that God was in charge. Through the sometimes stormy details God has provided peace and reassurance:
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” — Matthew 6:25-27
My experience at TWR Asia has been fantastic. I was excited to visit Asia and I love the people, food and culture. The TWR staff members were extremely welcoming and supportive. The office has an encouraging culture of grace, mission and prayer. For lunch we find local places to eat, and a few people brought me out to learn about the city after work. It felt like family because of our common unity in Christ.
What was your main role? What were some things you learnt?
The main project I worked on was recording and editing a music video for a professional musician working with one of our teams outside Singapore. We became close friends traveling in and around the city, collaborating with other creative professionals and sharing the light of Jesus through music.
One of the things I learned is the importance of being Spirit-led rather than relying on extra-biblical traditions (see what Jesus says in Mark 7). I got to see God work in some incredible ways through ordinary people following His leading.
Besides working on the music video, I also helped work on an animation with TWR Asia’s Marketing and Communications department.
This being your first time in Singapore, what are some first impressions from the places you went to, or people you met?
Someone told me that Singapore is the stepping stone to Asian culture, and I found that it is true! It is hot, humid and tropical but not too far removed from Western culture. Most people speak English (with Singlish words mixed in), public infrastructure is excellent and there is plenty of western food. But local Malay, Indian and Chinese food tastes great, people have wonderful Asian hospitality and many families come from other Asian countries.
From Singapore, I got to travel to some other places in Asia, and I think Singapore prepared me well for that.
What will you remember most about your time in Singapore?
I will remember good times of travel in and around Singapore, prayer (and seeing God’s provision) and the people I met.
I want to thank God for his provision and grace over the past few months. Travel was smooth, I didn’t get acutely sick and God protected and provided for all my needs. God is a good God!
Editor’s Note — Tommy immersed himself in the Singapore culture very well and loved every bit of it. He ordered local food and drinks like a true blue Singaporean. Towards the end of his time here, we heard him laughing at local jokes and attempting to speak Singlish too. We were glad to have him with us at TWR Asia where he was indeed a blessing!
(All photos courtesy of Tommy McMillan)