The Trip Back In The Land Up North

In case you guys wonder where all the posts have gone to, I have been busy with work and preparing for my trip back in the land where Facebook is prohibited. This is my second trip back here ministering to the churches over here and half of the previous team came along. Below is a photo of the team eating bbq over there. We took a selfie together:


I shall not belabor my readers with a day to day account of the trip but i shall share a few reflection points over here. Firstly, this is the first time I preached in a church service, and in fact, I preached a total of 5 times in 3 different churches in 4 service settings and led an entire prayer meeting and 2 LG settings. In terms of ministry wise, this is a thanksgiving point to God, that He helped me and led me to prepare the message that the people at the churches here need to hear. Honestly, nearing the departure, I was still in the midst of preparing the messages and I was struggling over preaching a particular message on family, as I was asking myself if I do have the credibility to preach this particular message. God guided and in the end, the points were covered during the prayer meeting which i was leading. The learning point from this whole experiene is that we do not need to feel inadequate when we are doing the work of God but we can depend on the leading of His Holy Spirit. This was exactly the same thing that God taught me the last trip. God's grace sustained us and God's grace brought the team through, although we felt ill-prepared and we were ministering with trembling and fear.

Secondly, it was amazing to see how God brought together different people to play different roles within the team. One example was how I was deployed to do a visitation. The 'client' is a believer in one of the churches who is facing some issues and apparently started to cohabit with his non-believing girlfriend. By the grace of God, I was able to minister to him with my experience and encouraging him to turn back to God while in the same time, his girlfriend was ministered to as well and received Christ in the end. This was something which I did not expect, particularly because we expected to minister to believers most of the time. Even when we were ministering to believers, we thank God that we were able to pray for them and speak the word of God into their lives. Another example was how me and another brother were asked last minute to lead praise and worship in the discipleship training sessions. As both of us were the main praise and worship people the last trip, we were able to lead with impeccable coordination even though we did not come prepared (reason being we decided to ask the churches to lead the worship time and just focused on facilitating discussions and preaching).

Thirdly, I finally managed to attend some of the lifegroups over there. And on reflection, I begin to see how important the small group ministry is over here. To give a bit of background, most of the families here are very poor and they may not have the resoures to go to church for service and other gatherings on a regular basis. Henceforth, by holding small group meetings in the houses or within the vicinity of the church members, it helps to draw the members to attend small group meetings on a more regular basis and provide them with the spiritual food which they would otherwise not get if ministry had remained in church service. This links back to how small groups are important in the process of pioneering, as our church vision is aiming to do this year. As small groups are more versatile and more mobile, I have a tendency to favour small group ministries in reaching out to people as compared to church services. This is not to say that church services are useless, but in certain settings, it may not be that helpful. Nonetheless, the main receiving in this land comes from church services and acknowledging that, and not accepting things as status quo, the challenge for the churches is perhaps how to provide the resources to bring the members to church during the weekend.

Fourthly, as a personal reflection, I think there are personal breakthroughs in my own service to God. In terms of public speaking wise, I was given the chance to preach in the services and this gave me valuable lessons that I need to humble myself before God if I were to preach the Word of God to His people. I realised that though the points from the sermon may be the same, the message could essentially be different. Case in point, I use one sermon for three service settings, but in each setting, I found that God used the sermon to speak different emphasis to the people. I also found myself leading a prayer meeting, as mentioned in the first point. To me, this was the first time, and the experience showed me that preparing for prayer meeting is not just coming to pray but to seek God for what we need to pray. And of course, doing visitation was something new to me and we found that the true visible fruits from this trip really came from the visitation when we saw how the lives of the people we visited were changed and how it helped the church to follow up on their issues.

Lastly, as I think back, the keyword in this trip was really service. While there were chances to preach and share in open settings (not to mention that the people treat us like kings), God taught us, and continued to teach us in this trip, that our primary purpose was really to serve the people there, and not to be served. Case in point, I was originally scheduled to preach in one of the youth meetings but due to miscommunication, the local people ended up doing the sharing instead. I could have been unhappy but I found myself unusually calm and God told me that I was there to serve and I was to support the local churches in whatever ways possible. This makes me more joyful in the end. And indeed, it was precisely because I knew that I was there to serve that I was willing to take up any roles during the trip.

Overall, it was a good trip and I thank God for the people who have gone along. They were tremendous blessing and I hope that I have the chance to go back there again. If not for my reservist, I know that I would have had more flexibility in deciding when to go back there. With impending changes to my life stage, I am praying that God will open up doors for me to return, not only to equip the churches and the leaders there, but possibly even to see if we can start a Hope lifegroup in that area.

I actually have more reflections to share but I am reserving those for the future as they are more personal in nature. As of now, this is all that I am sharing for now.

Comments

  1. edwin tan11:57 PM

    glad to read that u blessed and were blessed during your trip

    ReplyDelete

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