Friday, October 13, 2006

Mission Trip...?

I went on a Mission Trip last weekend. It was an interesting experience. First of all, it wasn't an ulu place (as in remote...) It was a semi-town-village area with loads of Cantonese and Mandarin speaking people. I don't speak either language well... almost none actually. So, 'missionly' speaking, it was more of a ministry outreach more than a mission... Somehow my basic understanding of Mission implies that you go to a really remote place as in a unreached people group to spread Jesus' truth and salvation... better if it's to China... then it defines "Mission" 100% where you go to the villages and really dig into God so that you don't get caught... Know what i mean... I'm pretty messed up...

So, I learned a lot in this trip. I dunno... I guess the mission trip wasn't so much of a mission for the people there but more for myself... I met a man. What a man he was. God healed him of cancer. His life is now God's and what does he do? He gives up what he does and goes to this semi-town-village and starts a community center for the youth - the delinquent or those that just need some caring. So, he spends all his money on this place... turns it into a workshop-school of mechanics, music, english and God knows what more... Wow's the word. He gets certified teachers/lecturers to teach music and school lessons and he does the auto-mechanic workshop classes. He doesn't earn a single cent from it. Then, not enough. In the early morning, he goes to this special park in the Taman opposite his, and helps the senior community, those that have succumbed to stroke and need physio workout. He does some massaging for them (which he picked-up cos he did not know how to do it earlier), then not enough some more. He then builds them some more exercise devices that he puts at the park for them. So, now they have those gym-like bicycle exercise thingy, and a reflexology walk-path round the little field. Not enough... he builds a place to where the old ladies can leave their vegetables on so that they can have their exercises after they do their marketing. Everything's covered and more equipment is on the way. And all this on his expense. I've not met anyone who would unselfishly do this as a blessing and as a part of their lifestyle. His common words would be "..if you don't let me do this, you don't give me the opportunity to bless you.." What to say...? This man just has to bless you... and he did that with us... and here we are on a mission...

I met another man. Apparently before he was saved, he was a chief gangster. In that small town, he was the most feared man. As he said in his own words in Cantonese, no one comes and beat me, it is I who beat them up. So, there it is. Now he is saved. He is a changed man. His whole family testifies to it, though people in the area are still cautious of him. He owns a house to which he converts to a guest home. It is just opposite the house which he lives and operates his business (He's in the pork business). We've learned that the guest house is NEVER locked. He says no one will come and disturb because it is God's house. But actually we've also learned people are afraid to go in because it belongs to him... otherwise he'll beat you up! hahaa.. This guy is nice. He shared how much of his behavior changed when God came into his life. He would show how he gets angry and that his word at home is law. Whatever he says, you must do... or else. Now, he says, can negotiate already... haha. And the good thing, he never wants to do again what he did before becasue it's not worth it and God has made it possible.

The interesting thing is, when these 2 men speak, the first thing they speak of is about Jesus. At dinner, they were speaking of the sermon they heard just before and what it means to apply it to their lives. It's just natural for them to talk like that. How many times do we talk among friends about God's goodness, or a topic we heard at church, or the difficulty in applying the pronciples of God in our lives? Hardly...most of the time we gossip (yeah, even men gossip). It is very apparent that they are excited about their salvation.

At the free medical clinic that we also conducted, the Christians that came (the senior citizens), they were excited about their God too... they are definitely sure about their salvation. One lady was quoted saying in Cantonese, "if was not for Jesus, I would have died already"...

It was interesting to be among people who has much to say about His goodness, in spite of their situation; many are poor and go thru hard labor in the farms and fields to support their families. Especially the senior folks. They work really hard. Yet they are thankful for the simplest of things where to many of us, we complain of life being tough and too persistent.

So, what did I learn? I learned to be thankful. I couldn't do much at the clinic... I don't speak any Chinese and I'm not a med student... but I learned to serve... in whatever capacity. Before the trip, I made a conscious note to serve. And not to choose what to serve in. If there's a need just do it. I'm glad I was able to wash the urine bottles...(ooh man...gross..).. but I believe God would have been pleased. At the youth group performance, my guitar decided to fail me... but somehow it did not affect me one bit. I knew I was there to serve Him. I wish I wasn't dead tired though.... But there was just this peace... serving Him became easy.

So what mission was this? I think the mission was for me to see what God has done...and what He can do with those that fully trust and believe Him. Was the mission for the people there? Yeah. But it was for me too. I saw His goodness... and how can we be quiet about it when He is good. These people are not quiet about it. In the man's house (the Youth Center), he put up mini posters everywhere and these words were in most of them - "FAITH IN ACTION..." wow... how much of our faith is put to action? How much of my faith is actually put into action? I wish I could answer that... but that's the mission. A mission to know our potential in God. A mission to know what God can do with us if we say yes. A mission to put our faith in action. Was it succesful? For the people there, I guess it was succesful at this point. For me, the question remains. Whether faith will be put into action is more than just words. Faith is believing and believing in His Word. The problem is we don't always do what His Word says... so it's a lifetime of putting faith into action there... :)

Until then, let's keep pressing on towards the goal... the prize... Here's to the people in Sungai Ruan. God bless and keep you and expand the boundaries of His Kingdom.

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