Before going to Pa’ Adang, I had a question,“Why send university students to Pa’ Adang?”
The Miri District which subsidised the trip could use the money to pay professionals or adults to get the work done with perhaps even better result and more efficiently. The answer the leaders gave was that they wanted to give university students a chance to experience outreach work among those in need.
After a long and bumpy ride, our team reached a river where we had to go on foot, cross it in order to reach the village. At first, I thought it would be easy as we only needed to take care of ourselves while all our stuff were being carried to the village by two Hilux. But in the middle of the muddy road, the Hilux got stuck and we had to carry all our equipment to the village.
Eventually, we helped to carry the lighter stuff. The Penans were very willing to help us carry our stuff. What surprised me most was that children aged twelve to sixteen and even ladies came to help us and their strength was astonishing. Their helpfulness touched my heart as some of the stuff was more than their size and weight, and yet they gave us their welcoming smile while carrying the heavy load.
We spent five days in Pa’ Adang continuously working under the hot sun. We were thankful that all of us were in good shape. And none of us fell sick. And despite the tiredness, we were able to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and worked through the day. While working, we shared jokes and sang. The laughter was like “petrol” energizing me to continue to work throughout the day.
Another blessing that I received through this missions trip was that I have the chance to interact with the Penan children. We faced a problem when we came to learn that the kindergarten teachers were all on holiday during our mission week, and thus Sunday school was cancelled. However, our Sunday school team leader, Esther Hong, did not give up and looked for a person who could help us translate Malay to Penan, to continue the Sunday school program. By the grace of God, she managed to find a Penan girl, Norshila who graduated from Indonesia and served as a pastor at Pa’ Adang. God’s provision was there even before the need came to surface. All we need was to have faith in Him.
While teaching Sunday School, I realized that not only the Penan children were learning, we also learned from them. Throughout the days spent in Pa’ Adang, I found how happy the Penan children were. They did not have a lot of material wealth, but they managed to find happiness in their simple life. Again, God used these children to remind me to be thankful of all that I have and to rejoice in all circumstances. Despite the language barrier, I felt the warmth and love that they rendered to us; I think this is why we say God’s love is universal.
When preparing this testimony, questions like “Why were we traveling all the distance to the remote village knowing that we were of not much help?” came to my mind. While questioning, I came across an article that had all the answers to my questions.
When we enter into a missions field as a team, we are to support and help. Most importantly we are to spread the Word of God. Moreover God is using us to show His love to the locals. Besides, by helping the community, we show them that they are not alone.
This trip had truly been a humbling experience for me as I worked alongside all the brothers and sisters in Christ. I made new friends while deepening the relationship of the existing ones. By serving together in those 5 days , their commitment and their love for God inspired me to continue to grow in my spiritual journey. Furthermore, the passion of the Penans to know more about God to an extent that some even have to walk 2 hours to church also encouraged me to love God more.
I’m really thankful that God had given me this opportunity to experience His love for us including those in the remote countryside.