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-Summer Volunteer Joy from Taiwan
“Came to Hong Kong and took a journey to Japan…every time when people asked me, I would say I wanted to have a breakthrough in my life and get along well with God… and I did it.” Joy took the advice from her mom, a pastor of youth in Taiwan, to join the summer program in Hong Kong Smart Team in mid-June while her university summer break started. The volunteering and STM both helped shape the renewed soul of Joy. Being an introvert to keep any conversations short, Joy has now become a talkative person who enjoys sharing her encounter with God within two months.
Face No Makeup
It is typical for Taiwanese girls wearing makeup in their daily life. Joy adopted her makeup habit for more than 2 years. During STM in Iwate, Joy was asked by her team leader to have a break with cosmetics for a while. A week passed. Joy was upset. “Wanted to groom my brows and put on lipstick. I found myself too ugly to look at.” The team leader instructed Joy to have a quiet moment with God and ask God’s view on natural beauty. Never in her life has listened to God’s voice, Joy got a direct answer from God once she closed her eyes. She was inspired that “God who made everything fine in the world will never fail”. The answer touched her most. It was the very first time she ever talked to God and talked to Him in this way.
– Jean of Pakistani Team
“Go and serve people in an unknown place. By the service, you will discover how great and mighty our God’s love is,” said Jean, who intended to bring all her findings back to Canada.
One of her findings was the power of body language. Jean used to be shy from body touch. However, her only common language with the Urdu-speaking children in Pakistan was body language. “To show my love to them, the only way is to hug them no matter how dirty they are or how many fleas they have. It’s my breakthrough. With God’s love, I can naturally hug children who are rather dirty.”
“After all it is a way to let children know they are being loved. This love brings hope, not despair.” Jean learnt this love language and applied it well.
- Gabriel of the Philippines Team
“I feel lots of joy and healing when finding my own identity and how I can be a blessing towards other nations,” amazedly said Gabriel from US.
There was a time when Gabriel got confused at the identity of being an American Chinese, embracing two cultures in language or custom, etc. By working with people from different nations during the STM, he learnt that being born to be cross-cultured can be a blessing to people groups, going between them and bringing them to be parts of the missions.
In the Philippines, one scene caught his sight. Whenever he thought about it, he would burst into tears. A little girl dropped her food on top of a poo while eating. She picked it up without feeling dirty. “I start to have a taste of why Jesus came to earth, how he felt about people when seeing them suffering… if you see your own children suffering, you'll do anything to fix that.”
Seeing that God used teenagers to be His instrument, and his teammates grew so much after the trip, Gabriel came to have a decision. “I started to have a passion to equip more youth to be part of the mission”.
– Pastor Christo of Kuching Team
“As a pastor working for a long time for the ministry, taking a break and coming here, my spirit has been really renewed,” the Sri Lankan pastor went straight to the point.
Pastor Christo was in CCMN Global Summit last year that brought him to Kuching. He had a dream at heart to go back to meet up with the villagers there. This year, his dream came true. “I’ve got the first-hand information on the ground. There are a lot of things to share with my pastors and Sri Lankan people back home.”
His team paid a short visit to villagers. Each house gathered 15 to 25 people. When his team moved to another house, people of the previous house followed them. He found the villagers caring, lovely and hospitable. “It's like Jesus' time. The crowd followed Jesus. I was so heart-broken for their hunger and thirst for the Word. I didn’t have enough time to be with them.”
Coming from a nation with lots of persecutions, Pastor Christo has gone through so many things more than the tight pre-STM training or STM schedule. Thus, he could take a light heart to go through everything in the STM. “For me, it is just a training,” concluded he in a casual voice.
- Pastor Elijah of Kuching Team
“I want to keep on doing something for them. God has put responsibility upon me. This is a duty that I feel. I have to fulfill that duty,” Pastor Elijah from India confidently said.
Inspired by CCMN advocators 4 months before STM, Pastor Elijah grabbed a faint idea of doing mission aboard. Since a believer in his church has an idea of going for long term mission in Malaysia, he set foot on Kuching where God kept inspiring him to go even though it was an unknown place for him. He felt that God wants him to “go to the other shore where sheep are there.”
He found that there are plenty of Hindi people working and living in that big island. But those people like sheep did not have shepherd to take care of them, among which an Indian family accepted Jesus Christ 20 years ago and yearned for God’s words and encouragement from other fellow Christians who speak Tamil. They have no worship place and their own dialect bible. Elijah met his own Tamil-speaking people by God’s plan in Kuching. “I will never think of these people until we met,” he exclaimed.
Elijah decides to equip a potential brother-in-Christ for long term mission in Kuching and sets up a strong Tamil community worship center to serve the fellow Indian people there.
- David of Bangladesh Team
“Once I thought charity was giving out money to people in need. It did help them to solve the problem for a short while, but wouldn’t even touch the root cause,” said David, who got baptized for just more than a year, mulled over the issue of poverty in Bangladesh.
As a cameraman for his team, he witnessed how difficult life could be in this world’s poorest country. However, he came across many living testimonies that God raised up people from the slums, full healed people’s trauma, reconciled relationships among families. All these have kept His field workers faithfully work for God till now. Inspired by what he saw and heard, he concluded “the only hope is from God. When people experience God, their thought and hearts are no longer the same. It is more likely for them to walk out from the problems and stand up for life.”
Back to Canada, David wants to impact others by his images taken on the trip via PPT or short video clips.
-Pastor Ruth of Bangladesh Team
“Even a 50-year-old church was inspired to bring up next generation and be committed to discipleship,” said Pastor Ruth delightedly.
Leading a group of young teammates, the first-time Bangladesh team leader decided to let the youth take up major roles during the trip. Invited by an old church, they were holding a 3-hour long prayer meeting. Believing in her passionate youngsters, Pastor Ruth gave them a free vein. “What they shared in testimonies or the lessons they learnt throughout the 14 days were biblical,” she acclaimed.
Most importantly, their team showed pastors a concept that “it was not their own duties, but everyone’s to outreach, preach and make disciples while finding fellow workers for the harvest.” Ruth explained that it was a mission strategy used by their host, whom was inspired by Luke 10 in the Bible. Since it was Jesus’ method, it brought fruitful results as it was promised.
“Being a pastor with 27 years of experience, the strategy helps me to consolidate all my biblical knowledge with practical implementation.” Ruth said with gratefulness.
- Shirley of Pakistani Team
“This time was quite different from my first trip. Field workers intended to raise up teenage helpers to train up the child slaves from brick kilns. It was a discipleship in another sense,” said Shirley, MUD Leather crafting artist, by her observation.
Unlike serving the slaves in brick kilns in the past, the volunteer team was told to teach a group of teenagers in the village about personal hygiene such as hand-washing, teeth-brushing and wound-dressing. Then the young helpers would be asked to facilitate a similar event for a group of child slaves from brick kilns. They did their job orderly and well. It pleased the field workers and the team very much.
Shirley recollected her business trip to a hide factory in Pakistan last year. She intended to train up a group of slaves in brick kilns with leather crafting skills that would be making their own living. She was very glad to hear how discipleship worked out for these young ones and little ones.
- Bangladesh Team(Jeshurun/Rachael/Rose)
“It reinforced my faith. God's healing can take place to ordinary people. It is by God's power not our own power,” firmly said Jeshurun whose team experienced miracles and signs in Bangladesh.
Coming from a mission-minded family from Malaysia, Jeshurun saved up time and money for this first STM with his wife, Rachael while his parents set off to David City at the same time. His father, Pastor Malcolm, has been a mission mobilizer for years in the church. No wonder there is a saying, like father like son.
Jeshurun followed his team to a village where he prayed with great faith for two sick people, one with a stroke and another with back and arm pain. They got healed completely and joyfulness instantly came up on their faces.
Going into a faraway village where there was no hospital, Rachael had a soft spot on a fevering child whose granny was handicapped. She and her team didn’t stop praying for this little one for an hour until the fever was gone in the end. “I was really touched by God’s miraculous healing to the child and the family,” said Rachael compassionately.
What this Malaysian group did was even greater. Jeshurun recalled, “Our teammate, Pastor Rose from Malaysia as well, had a feeling on the last day of the trip. He wanted us to pray for the healing and revival of the land in Bangladesh out of poverty.” This was how prayers took them wonder by wonder.