After 39 years in ministry serving in seven parishes and living in church manses with the Uniting Church in NSW, Terry and Lyn Oades reached retirement and decided to make a fresh start. They made the move from Rockdale inner Sydney, where Terry was the church minister, to Berry, a quiet rural town on the South Coast.
Their many busy years serving God together, filled with the responsibilities that comes with being in the ministry, and with the added demands (and joys) of raising four children, suddenly came to a stop.
“It was very quiet compared to what we’d been used too,” say Lyn. “And we came to Berry not knowing a soul.”
After moving to Berry, Terry and Lyn were able to relax and enjoy spending time turning their new house into a home and creating their “jungle out the back” into a new garden.
They also joined a local church and set about making the change from “pulpit to pew”.
But Terry and Lyn still felt they had a lot to give.
They had many years of experience between them along with diplomas in theology and teaching.
"Even though we’d reached retirement age and were out of the work force, we still felt we had a lot to give.
"We had experience and skills and it would have been a shame to let them drop away and not be used anymore."
“Even though we’d reached retirement age and were out of the work force, we still felt we had a lot to give. We had experience and skills and it would have been a shame to let them drop away and not be used anymore.”
Terry and Lyn were on the lookout for opportunities and seeking God’s guidance for what they could do.
It became clear that God was leading them to do short term missionary service in South Korea. Their qualifications and experience in serving God’s people perfectly suited a small missionary training college run by SIM Korea in Seoul, where they had the opportunity to teach young people preparing for the mission field.
Lyn, a qualified TESOL teacher, taught students English, a subject taught daily at the college. Terry was involved with leading Bible studies and teaching on topics such as worship, self-care and burn-out in ministry, pastoral care, discipleship, and leading small groups.
“We loved the teaching and most of all enjoyed working with the students who were young and eager to learn.
“They were keen and enthusiastic and committed to Christ.
“Coming from a church of mainly older people, it was refreshing to spend two to three months with such lovely, lively young people. They were such a blessing to us."
Terry and Lyn went to South Korea three times, over a period of 5 years.
They say short term missions was ideal for them in early retirement as their health was good and they were able to be financially self-supporting.
Short term missions also meant they weren’t away from their grown children for too long and were able to arrange their mission trips around the arrival of grandchildren.
They will always value the time they had learning about Korean culture and living in the Korean community. They now love anything Korean!
“We had a wonderful time,” says Lyn. “It was enriching and exciting.
“It’s wasn’t just about filling in time and keeping ourselves occupied, you can do that in Australia, we felt that God called us.”
“It’s wasn’t just about filling in time and keeping ourselves occupied, you can do that in Australia, we felt that God called us.
“For anyone thinking about missions in retirement, we would absolutely encourage them to give it a go.”