This was one interesting Christian Mission Trip. My fellow home cell church member decided they would like to do mission trip this year and we decided upon Sabah. As this was the nearest, and well, in our very own country of Malaysia. However, there were still many surprises because culturally, there are differences even though we are in the same country, but on another geographic region.
We planned our trip to be during the festive season of Hari Raya Puasa holidays after the long Ramadan fasting month. We wanted to use up as few annual leave and to have as few disruptions to our regular office work as possible.
Just before the mission trip, all of us were caught up with our work. It was so busy and such a hectic month as we tried to complete our work task before the dateline. It was as though the devil knew that we are about to do God’s work, and throw all kinds of obstacle in our path. Our mission trip team comprising 11 members altogether all suffered some kind of ailment or hectic work schedule. Aunt Lily, had a sore back, Patrick’s wife – Siew Poh and my wife – Lena had nausea, John as was I were bog down with work. All of us arrived at the airport looking rather down and some of us wondered why on earth we are going on this mission trip. Only the children were all work up and excited about this trip.
Nevertheless, we still went ahead trusting God to pull things through for this mission trip. We arrived at Kota Kinabalu and met up with Pastor Alex who will be guiding us through this mission trip together with his team of church workers and members. We had a rest for a day before embarking on our adventure. The rest did do us some good because it gave us some time to recover.
Blend in to Local Villages
Our mission trip took us to two villages, Kampung Telantang and Kampung Marak Parak, located in the northern part of Sabah near the town of Kota Marudu. We had to rough it out a bit by sleeping in the hallway and getting used to living as the locals do. Roads leading to the villages were unpaved and it was quite a bumpy affair going to the village.
The locals were the Dusun people, and we had church services three times a day – morning, afternoon and evening – ministering, teachings, giving testimonies, and giving prayers for them. John and Martha were the strongest in Bible knowledge and did the most teaching. Not to forget, Lily, a retired English language school teacher who was at first apprehensive to share testimonies and Bible teaching in Malay surprised even herself as she did it very well!
One of the highlight in Kampung Telantang was trekking to a riverside pool for water baptism. They said it was not far, only about one kilometre away. Turn out to be an hour long trek! We went through a logging storage yard, crouched through some barbed wire fence, walked by a padi field, then into the jungle for some vigorous trekking, and crossing a wide rocky stream before finally reaching the perfect spot for water baptism! All of us had a memorable time though surprised at having to travel so far just to do water baptism. We even nickname the journey “The Exodus”!
Church Service in Kampung Marak
Another highlight was the breakthrough church service that we had in Kampung Marak Parak. There were fervent prayers and the people cry out to the Lord for a revival. And boy, what a revival it was! The Holy Spirit really moved very strongly, and I was somehow filled with it. For the first time, I was astonished when I prayed for somebody, they were overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit and fell over, or what we call “slain in the Spirit”. I was able to prophesy and provide words that I knew very well that I did not made it up on my own, but was given to me to pray for the person standing in front of me. It was such a unexpected marvelous experience that not only ministered to the people in the village but also strengthen my faith.
Through it all, the church mission trip was exciting and full of adventure though we had to do mission work. It was almost like an outdoor adventure having to do unusual activities, like when the time the house we stayed in ran out of water in Kampung Marak Parak, we had to take a bath in the river in near darkness as the sun set over the horizon. We slept in our sleeping bags not in the open, but crowd together in the hallway of the houses we stayed. We had fun doing our water baptism, and we even had time to have a holiday getaway at Poring where we did the canopy walk, and soak our tired bodies in the natural hot spring.
When we returned to Grace USJ and gave our testimonies, many church members became interested and would like to experience what a Christian mission trip is all about. And yes, the mission trip is not just ministering to the needs of the people, but the missionaries who go for the trip themselves get to be ministered too.
So for all you church goers, do consider planning for a mission trip because when we give and bless others, so do we get blessed in return!