An interview with Franki and Cindy Yip.
Why do you count Wales as home?
A lot of our important life events took place in Wales, so our family counts Wales as home.
We were born in Hong Kong but were ‘born again’ in the UK. To further our education, we moved to England and eventually to Wales in the mid-1980s. We met while studying at Cardiff University. Each of us also received the calling to mission during our student days.
After graduating from university, we started work in Wales. Franki, a city and transport planner, was involved in the redevelopment of Cardiff Bay. Cindy worked as a pharmacist in the community sector in south Wales. We both enjoyed our jobs and felt settled, but we knew that God had called us into mission, and we continued to prepare ourselves and wait upon his timing.
We married in 1994 at Heath Evangelical Church. The Lord blessed us with two lovely children, and our daughter started school at Lakeside Primary. However, when God called us to move on, we humbly obeyed and followed his path of choosing.
Tell us about your upbringing in Hong Kong and your coming to faith.
Franki. I was brought up in a non-Christian family with two elder brothers. My father was a classical Chinese scholar and a well-known poet while my mum, in contrast, is a good but low-key Chinese artist. As a family, we were very close and looked out for each other. During childhood, both my father and my mother went through life-threatening illnesses at different times, and we witnessed how our parents laid down everything to look after each other (and of course us as well) in their long journeys of recovery. To ensure I received a good education, my parents sent me to a good Anglican school in Hong Kong. It was as part of the curriculum there that I encountered Jesus through studying the four gospels. Jesus’ life, sayings and teaching caught my attention even though I was not keen to study the subject. His life was ingrained into my thought and mind as a result. Then the surprise conversion of my eldest brother was another significant factor. Inspired by God’s love, he gave up his place in a UK medical school so that my family could gather enough money to fund the education of my second brother’s and myself in the UK. Arriving in London, I met a group of lovely, youthful Christians. Through their lives and love for Jesus, I gradually came to see the goodness of coming to God. One evening, I repented from my sins and surrendered my life to Jesus in London while writing a letter to my friend. It was such a joy to receive Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. It was such grace that both of my parents committed their lives to Jesus a few years after that.
Cindy. My two sisters and I were brought up by lovely and kind parents. Although they were not Christians, they chose to send us to Catholic schools to receive a good education. As a child, I learned about the Creator God in the Bible in school but also about different gods through my family’s ancestor worship and folk Buddhism. When I came to the UK, I was exposed to more Christian influence while studying in Christian boarding schools. When I eventually went to university, I was certain that gods exist, but I wasn’t sure which one was the one true God. Seeking the meaning of life, I started to pray. My prayer went like this: ‘Lord, please reveal to me the one true God and lead me to the path of your choosing, no matter what uncertainties or difficulties that may cause.’ The Lord answered my prayer through difficulties and uncertainties, and I encountered him in a personal way. He is sovereign and he is love. I committed my life to him and accepted him as my Lord and Saviour.
What were the joys and challenges of serving the Lord in Central Asia?
It is our joy to see his grace and faithfulness, regardless of our weaknesses and failures. In our years of pioneering ministries in Central Asia among Muslims in particular, we felt privileged to see God’s work in different and often difficult circumstances. Conversions might be rare, but seeing lives being transformed when they encountered God was such a joy! We learned about the glory of God through the suffering of his faithful servants and followers of Jesus from a close distance. We experienced his amazing provisions, miraculous healings and answers to prayers in our lives. It was such a joy and privilege to have close fellowship with believers and workers from such a diverse cultural background.
What happened when you returned to the UK?
We were asked to join the team at the UK headquarters of WEC International.
Franki. In 2012, I took on the coordination role of mobilising UK Chinese diaspora churches. This involves introducing and equipping others for cross-cultural mission and helping churches to rethink world mission as part of their core values.
In the last few years, God has extended the ministry and given opportunities to train Muslim background believers from Central Asia and North Africa. I also helped a non-western mission organisation to develop through mobilising different church networks in different countries, mentoring and preparing a new generation of workers from south-east Asia.
Cindy. I was initially involved in WEC’s short term mission programme, selecting and preparing candidates, and communicating with their home churches while they were abroad. Then I moved on to engaging churches and individuals in London and south-east England and mobilising them into mission. This took the form of speaking in churches and representing WEC in mission conferences, mission fairs and Christian unions. Also, I was on the Acceptance Panel for long term mission candidates helping to select and accept missionary candidates to join WEC long term. Over the last four years, I have been studying part-time for an MA in missiology. My passion is to see missionary personnel being nurtured, developed and empowered for effective and sustainable life, ministry and work. I have now joined Franki in engaging and mobilising the Chinese diaspora throughout the UK.
Many churches are not keen to participate in world mission for various reasons. But when we look back and see the streams of new workers coming to participate in world mission, as well as the churches which step up their commitments to world mission, we thank God for his grace in allowing us to see his work among these brothers, sisters and churches. More excitingly, God has allowed us to see more people from different ‘tribes and nations’ joining the worship of the Lord and involving themselves in God’s mission. These are just glimpses of his glory, and we await more to come (Rev. 5:9-10).
Challenges remain, but it is indeed his work. We feel privileged and honoured to involve in a tiny part of his plan.
So why are you returning to Wales? Will you be available to serve in local churches?
We felt that this move to set up a base back in south Wales was initiated by God, and it is solely by his grace and amazing provision. He must have reasons behind this. We are therefore listening attentively to his leading. We thank God and would like to thank those fellow workers who have been praying with and for us. We are still involved in world mission through our involvement in churches around the UK as well as through training of a new generation of mission workers from different backgrounds around the world. We are open and available for the local churches. Please contact us if we can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org