Is It Worth It?

Nov 2, 2021 | Sports Friends International

By Cat Tongkao, Sports Friends International Communications Director //

When I was ten, I wrote an autobiography. 

I must have thought I’d had a pretty exciting life for a ten-year-old. Almost 20 years later, I stumbled across it again while sorting through some old boxes. I remember I was approaching my 30th birthday, and found myself in a season of comparing my life with that of my peers – many of whom were married, had mortgages, and were climbing career ladders to high and mighty places. I, on the other hand, was raising financial support to continue serving in Southeast Asia as a missionary with SIM’s Sports Friends ministry; no rich husband, no mortgage, no career ladder… not even a dog! 

I remember questioning whether I had made a mistake by going down the missionary path. Should I have joined a graduate programme after university? Would I not have had more money and security if I had stayed in the UK and got a ‘proper’ job? 

I picked up the autobiography and began to read. It traversed through my first ten years via various subjects such as family, hobbies, and holidays. Then, at the very end, there was a section entitled The Future. Underneath the title, I had written the following:

When I grow up I either want to be an artist or do something sporty, but I’ll probably change my mind when the time comes!

I have absolutely no recollection of writing these words. In fact, I went in a different direction altogether –  studying Modern European Languages and Linguistics at university with a year teaching English in Austria, before two years sailing the high seas as a cruise ship photographer. Yet, 20 years later, there I was doing perhaps one of the few jobs in the world which perfectly combines both art and sport in the role of the Communications Director for SIM’s sports ministry, Sports Friends. 

I felt God confirming to me that I had indeed made the right choice. That His hand had been on my life to bring me to this very point. No mistakes. No need for comparisons. He had worked through my own attempts to find meaning in a ‘dream’ job travelling the world at sea, through the life and death of my mum, through my realising it was time to use the gifts and talents God had given me for something greater than myself. 

I reflected on my life at the time in Thailand – dodging through traffic on my moped ride to work; the bustling markets full of friendly people and incredible food; meaningful, life-transforming work shared with colleagues spread across five continents; a Bible study group with eight women from seven different countries… Life was rich. I was rich. But in ways contrary to what the world tells us. I felt grieved that I had ever questioned whether this was the right path for me. 

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

– Psalm 73:25-26

Perhaps you’re like I was, questioning whether the challenges and sacrifices of following God’s call into missions are worth it. As missionary doctor Helen Roseveare once said: Ask not “Is it worth it?”, but rather “Is He worthy?”. I promise you, you’ll find that the answer is a resounding YES!

Whether you’re ready to engage in long-term ministry or want to test the water with an internship or short-term ministry trip, your passions, gifts and skills can all be used for God’s glory. 

Cat currently serves on the Sports Friends senior leadership team and leads the Sports Friends communications team out of her home town near Manchester, UK. Sports Friends have many opportunities to join the team! Find out more: