WOW.... i still can't believe it has happened! 1 Year of planning and preparation for the "Love in Action" Mission Trip to the Philippines and i'm still in awe of how it all beautifully transpired. Truly God was there every step of the way!
This is not the first time i have gone on a mission trip, i think this would have been my 3rd time away on a mission.... last time i had gone to the Philippines and to Korea to celebrate the launch our SHE Women's Movement to meet the amazing women who are serving in this ministry and that was such an incredible experience! BUT! Let me tell you, this particular mission has really challenged, stretched and strengthen my faith in soooo many ways. (let me tell you more about that as you read on...)
This mission trip is so close to my heart, specially because of the connection and the sisterhood that was formed even before this mission trip was birthed. It was a year ago when we visited the beautiful women in BAY LIFE CHURCH and God has definitely linked our hearts together for the same VISION.
Bay Life Ladies have been such a massive support and inspiration, and since then have been our co-partners in making this mission possible.
(1 year ago when we first visited Bay Life Church and met the beautiful women whom we have had the pleasure to serve with in this mission trip)
There were also so many ladies from our SHE Women's movement team who have helped in raising funds for this mission and who have worked behind the scenes to really help and support the team. THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH! You know who you are!
Being able to serve and share the word of God is not only a privilege, but also what we have been made and called to do!
"For this is what the Lord has commanded us. "I have made you a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth." Acts 13:47
We as believers have been CALLED to do so! And yes it's great to go to church every sunday, join a connect group every week and attend mid week service as much as you can......... but really.... we are called to share the gospel to the ends of the earth.
We have been called to be LIGHT, to go and bring salvation to the ends of the world... and yes of course start from where you are, you don't have to travel across the seas to do this, you can certainly start from home and share your faith with your family and friends down the street.... though i do highly recommend and encourage you to go and join a mission trip and experience God move in this area first hand. An absolutely life changing experience!
Experience is the best teacher! Through this mission trip, i had learned so much in such a short time. It was such a humbling experience and one that challenged, stretched and required me to really rely and trust God fully.
Here's a few things that no one really tells you about when going on a mission trip - (My lessons learned from this trip)
1) YOU WILL WANT TO COMMIT
I have heard others mentions "short term" mission trip... and yes i think they were referring to the short amount of time they served at place and serve - May it be 2 weeks or 4 weeks etc... However, i feel that "short term missions" should be a label that we need to take off.
Because once we're in there for a mission, we're in there for the long haul. We're in there, committed till the end. So no, there should be no such thing as a "short term" mission.
When you decide to join a mission trip, it might feel like it's only for that moment and soon after you go back to work and go on with your usual schedule, but really it doesn't go that way, i just know you will be so touched by what you will experience in the mission and you would want to be there for the whole journey.
(Playing with the cute little babies when we visited Compassion Philippines)
(Many were baptised and accepted the Lord into their lives.)
3) YOU WILL HAVE TO DO A LOT OF ADJUSTING.
Apart from being in a totally different environment and away from your comfort zone, you will have to adjust in many ways! They way you communicate will have to change... for me it was about slowing down and learning to challenge myself to speak in the language i grew up speaking.. Though from living in Australia for so many years, it has been a challenge for me to speak it fluently.
Adjusting as you live with different kind of personalities, adjusting to the culture, the food that you eat..(or can't eat)...
The biggest adjustment for me was not being able to be in control of my schedule!! haha I have my own routine and love to work around a very organised schedule... but being in a mission, anything can happen and we just have to learn to let go!
4) YOU WILL WANT TO BE A LOCAL (OR SOMEHOW BLEND IN)
One of the things i really enjoyed about the mission is that since i was born in the Philippines i was able to somewhat "blend in" ... it was fun connecting and building meaningful relationships during the mission and it had made me feel at one point that i wanted to stay and become a local!!! The people we're so welcoming and you can really see the love they have for their community as well.
(Here, Kristine and I forgot for a moment that we were in the Philippines! Walking around the mall eating "Dunkin Donuts" on one of our free days. It was fun experiencing being a local)
5) YOU WILL BE CHALLENGED, STRETCHED AND YOUR FAITH WILL BE STRENGTHENED.
And yes this is what we want!!! I feel that when we go out to a mission, we really need to let go and really come from a place that is so open and come with a teachable heart. Ask "Lord, what can i learn from this mission trip?" "How can i bless others in the most meaningful way?" When we come with an open mind and a heart ready to serve, i believe we learn so much more... not just about the mission and serving, but about ourselves too!
You will learn how much you can stretch!!! You will learn how much you can fully trust and rely on HIM and know that in everything, He is in control.
(Here we're preparing some gift bags to give away to the ladies that we have visited at the women's prison in the San Mateo Community)
(The beautiful Children of CWC Children's Outreach. It was great to connect and spend time with them.. we played games and did some face painting too!)
6) YOU WILL DISCOVER GIFTS AND PASSIONS YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD.
Absolutely!!! Coming in to a mission trip with a heart ready to serve, there is no doubt you will have many opportunities to practice your gifts.
In my case... i remember i was called up at the front to share a little testimony about the mission trip, but i also ended up singing a song of worship! God had re kindled a gift that i once was using back when i was younger... and it was a beautiful to experience it again.
There were gifts that i had that i was able to use!
I MC'd a Mass Wedding for the first time and helped organising the flow of the wedding... I would have never thought of doing this but i did! and i was also able to share the word and got the courage to sing again.
Mission trips are the best way to really get your "hands dirty" and really pull your sleeves up to serve. No holding back, instead, being available and ready in every season.
"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2
(The Mass Wedding! We had 9 Couples married! It was a beautiful day and everything went smoothly. Thank God for His provision that we were able to raise funds for this massive event. These couples would have not been able to get married otherwise)
The things you will learn and discover is limitless when you go on a mission trip. Not only will you learn so much about serving, using your gifts and talents to serve and bless others, be stretched and challenged, but you also learn so much more about yourself.
We have been called to be the light of the world. We do that when we serve and give value to those who are in need... shine with authenticity, walk in faith and boldness as we allow God to use our lives for His Glory.