The sole reason I took part in this year’s Pa’ Adang mission trip was because after being spiritually-dormant in this ministry for around 3 years, I was inclined to step out of my comfort zone once again to serve the Lord. The last mission trip I went on was to Pontianak, Indonesia following a group of friends from Senadin Methodist Preaching Centre (SMPC). I was filled with utter joy and exuberance after the trip. Hence, I registered to join Pa’ Adang short-term mission trip which fell on 17-24 July.
Actually, another subtle reason that incited me to join the group for this mission trip was because my close university friends agreed to join as well. Some of them are young Christians and some are lukewarm Christians. I was moved when all of them decided to go. Throughout the mission trip, I was very happy to see them working hard in getting the job done despite strenuously following the tight and tiring schedule every day. Our friendships grew deeper as well during this mission week. This was because we spent most of our time together; we shared personal experiences together; we also confided in each other and sought answers regarding Christianity.
I had been a Christian since I was young, my bible knowledge and spiritual growth was somewhat sufficient to aid and advise them in times of need. Until a point in life I started to wonder why I needed to be in this position that I had to nurture, set a good example and be a role model to all my friends in life. I prayed to the Lord, read my Bible and I came to notice that after being a Christian for so long and gradually taking up the cross to be the disciple of Jesus Christ, I realized that this is a commandment of God and I chose to obey it. God has shown me His unending grace and I want to share this love from God with my friends.
Apart being impacted by my friends, I personally acquired plenty of revitalizing experiences from this mission trip. First of all, the primary objective for us was to help in painting the hostels, toilets and store buildings. These facilities were all readily built by the adults from other churches who voluntarily went to Pa’ Adang to serve on a regular basis. Before plunging into the details, I came to think of something contemptuous that is: “Why can’t the Penans at Pa’ Adang build and paint the buildings themselves?” After all, those are mere laborious and grueling works. Well, after a few days living among the Penans, I realized that most of them are still accustomed to the jungle life. They are predominantly and immensely lacking in education. This is why nowadays the Penan parents decided to send their children to Lawas for primary and secondary school education. Upon knowing all this, my scorn towards the Penan people slowly evaporated and I gathered my composure to serve them wholeheartedly.
By the grace of God, we, as a team, managed to finish painting all the required buildings. Because we were way ahead of schedule, the person-in-charge suggested we went to the river bank to collect rocks for filling the muddy grounds in order to prevent vehicles from being stuck. Those three days of arduous labor taught me to rely on God and to always set my eyes on Him. There was a time while I was working and was terribly exhausted, the temptations of giving up and frustration hit my mind. I quietly prayed and pushed all of them away. I learnt to turn my eyes upon the Lord and whispered to myself that I am doing all this for the Lord and for the Lord I will accomplish. Many times, we may feel burnt out serving in the church or perhaps frustration strike us really hard until we are so doubtful and resentful towards God. We must not let these feelings affect our perspective toward our Lord. Despite not seeing God’s presence by our side, He is the one carrying us on His back throughout the journey.
Two hearts in exercise
Another unforgettable experience was the devotion time led by Rev. Jabez Tiong every day. In summary, the content taught me the importance of waiting upon the Lord. It reflected directly on how I see the Lord in every aspect of my life. Many times I felt that whenever I prayed, God was not there listening to me. I felt that praying to God was something futile. Nevertheless, the devotional message hit me right on the head that in every true prayer, there are two hearts in exercise; the first one is your own heart, it is the little, dark and earthly human thoughts of what you need and God can do; the other is God’s heart with its infinite and divine purposes of blessings. Therefore, I will always remember to not listen to my own selfish and earthly heart but acquiesce only to God’s. Also, God always works according to His omniscience because only He knows what and when is best for me. Consequently, I learnt to praise and give thanks to the Lord in all occasions including sorrowful or suffering occasions. For I inherently believe that Jesus is always in my heart and the bible promised that God will never forsake me.
Secondly, I learnt that wading through hardships or predicaments in life is a part of spiritual growth. Every time I encounter such painful trials, I ought not to complain rather trust in the Lord that He will be guiding me throughout the process. Even though it is easier said than done, the ultimate result is never remorseful but is filled with God’s wondrous deeds of guidance. This profound concept was immediately being tested when I returned home safely at Senadin, Miri, I was struck with a very painful stomach ache. It lasted for four nights after the trip. I went to see the doctor and I was diagnosed with a severe constipation. The pain continued and I did not have a good night sleep at all. I was desperately crying out for speedy recovery because I could not do anything but cringe in pain. Amid the pain and suffering, I realized how difficult it was to set my eyes on the Lord. I kept asking God to heal me instead of trusting His timing and ways. However I also realized how blessed I was to enjoy good health all these years. I knew then my illness was just a mild one and there was no point making a big fuss out of it in complaining God. Praise God, I recuperated gradually and I gratefully thanked the Lord for the lesson I learnt.
In short, this short-term mission trip to Pa’ Adang has been a spiritual nutrient for me to move on my journey. I take this opportunity to thank the whole team and special gratitude to Rev. Jabez Tiong for leading the team. Lastly, I would like to conclude my testimony with a bible verse taken from Hebrews 12:1-3:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3