Small steps and a big leap

Helen shares how small steps led to a big leap into a totally foreign culture and a new life.

Dive into Helen’s journey from life in small-town England to serving Jesus in a megacity in Cambodia.

Three women talking in a coffee shop in Cambodia

Helen George* comes from a little town in the depths of the UK. “Very non-multicultural” she describes life while growing up. “My family tree, too, is as British as they come.”


Now she lives a very opposite life. Surrounded by really different cultures in Cambodia – every day she meets people from different cultures, and it’s the new normal. Her eyes often show a spark of British cheekiness and humor in response to the joys and stresses of life there. Here’s a refreshing conversation with a smalltown girl who took little steps, one by one, in a big leap of faith.

Half Crown Media (HCM): Did you always want to live in Cambodia?


Helen: No. In fact, I didn’t know much about Cambodia until my early thirties.

HCM: What motivated your pursuit of a life in Cambodia?

Helen: I had this dream inside me for a while of living somewhere in Asia while working in mental health and being involved in missions. It didn’t really make sense to me – the combination of Asia, Christianity and mental health isn’t one you find that easily. Also, I’m good with words in English but learning a completely different language is a giant challenge. So, I didn’t see a way – logically speaking.


After a while, someone approached me and shared about an opportunity in Cambodia. I went home and googled, “Does Cambodia have beaches?” Seeing that it does, I felt I should figure out more about that opportunity.


HCM: So now you’re a counselor for missionaries and you also support locals in their counseling education. Did your transition from a small British town to a big city in Southeast Asia happen easily?


Helen: No. When I look back on my life, adjusting to big changes has been more of a step-by-step thing. I went from monocultural childhood to visiting my aunt in another country where she worked in a hospice for children with HIV. That sparked an interest in other cultures and missions.


Outreaches to international students in England and short-term trips abroad became a part of my story. Prayer and other people both had huge impacts on my life. Eventually, I worked in a school. A tragic event opened my eyes to my deep desire to contribute more significantly to the lives of these teenagers. I later gained experience by working for a Christian organization while doing counseling sessions in the evenings.


HCM: Wait, so you’re saying counseling became your side job?


Helen: Basically, yes. I had gotten my degree but couldn’t find a job as a fulltime counselor. My part-time job let me gain experience. At the same time, I was able to do short term trips through that non-profit. Those trips opened my heart up to Asia.

HCM: You mentioned your aunt… tell us about your visit with her.


Helen: She was the first one in our family to live in another country. We took her to the airport. She was planning to only go for three months and ended up staying for 16 years. That was totally God-led!


When I was a young teenager, I went to visit her. That trip played a crucial role in leading me to settle in Cambodia because it opened me up to the possibility of international work.


HCM: Were there other moments or people that were crucial in you coming to where you’re at today?

Helen: An important step was reading a book called “God’s Smuggler” about Brother Andrew. This made a big impact on me.


HCM: Smooth segue into the Hudson Taylor movie project… let’s be honest, is this something you’d share with your friends and family?


Helen: Well, now, with this interview being on a website, yes – definitely! Otherwise, I’d have to say, “It would just be easier if I could watch it and then share the movie.”


HCM: I guess that we’ll have to publish this interview. Seeing that someone else’s story seemed to make an impact on you, do you think stories are important?


Helen: Yes, I think hearing stories is really inspirational and also a great way to communicate. Jesus told a lot of stories, so I guess it must be good to do that. I think they’re a really engaging way to hear information, get inspired and hear what God is doing.


HCM: Hearing your story makes me realize how God prepares us and doesn’t waste anything. He uses each step to prepare us for the next one while helping us to live in the moment. Were you ever scared of something in all of this?


Helen: I used to fear getting lost in this big city because I get lost so easily. Since I couldn’t speak the language or even pronounce any place names, I couldn’t ask for help – and then I would have to roam around the streets aimlessly, never finding my way home. (It’s worth mentioning her cheeky grin here.) But other than that, not really.


HCM: Maybe that’s where the step-by-step strategy came in. It seems like you were being prepared with each step. So, what’s next for you?


Helen: I’m glad to continue serving the Lord using my mental health skills. In a few months, I’m excited to see my family and friends.


HCM: Thank you, Helen, for sharing your story. This interview contains only a split second of what God has been doing in and through your life, but it clearly shows His faithfulness.


And it brings to mind Hudson Taylor’s quote: “A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a great thing.” Step by step, being faithful – it’ll be a great thing.

You can be involved in bringing the Hudson Taylor movie project to new generations. Praying, spreading the word, or contributing financially can make a huge difference. Join us in sharing the inspiring story of Hudson Taylor with the world.


Absolutely! I’d love to hear more.

* Helen George is not the real name of the person interviewed. The photo is a facsimile of a meeting between Helen and two of her friends in Cambodia.

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