Ushering in the New Year

It’s been a really long while since I’ve wordpress-ed, and I guess spending 23 days away on a mission trip in a place with limited internet connection and strong social media control has caused me to turn back to the trusty hard copy journals I’ve always kept.

The 23 days have certainly been a fulfilling one, but due to the sensitivity of the region we’re advised not to furnish details of the place or the trip itself. That being said, do let my friend or myself (if you know either on of us) know if you wish to hear about it, for it has certainly been a very very fulfilling time.

Returning home felt as surreal as leaving for the trip. And looking back on the 23 days right now, it was truly by God’s grace that we managed to live each and everyday with appreciation and joy. I guess neither of us expected it to be easy, but the emotional toil could get a little heavy at times especially when coupled with physical discomforts.

It was cold, we fell sick, I vomited so much gastric juice that the only thing I could think of was how I looked like a merlion. We were both down with a fever, which was a terrible thing to have during winter. But I guess through all of these, they all scream of God’s grace that brought us through.

It was a very very stressful first two weeks for me. I’ve never taught beginners/strangers how to dance, and neither have I choreographed anything for guys before. I haven’t touched the piano in five years and suddenly I had to learn how to read scores that were completely different, scores that were in numbers instead of the typical sheet music. I had never played for accompaniment before and I had never served in a worship team before. We had over 10 songs to practice and I had no idea how I was going to do all of these within a week. I could safely say that I played more keys in 23 days as compared to the past five years.

But in a foreign place where you can’t get substantial help (although the friend that travelled with me was a blessing in many ways including the keys), you’re all the more forced to rely on God, and trust with your whole heart that he will grant you the anointing required to do what he wants you to do. Like many others I hate serving with my inadequacies, and I hate displaying my vulnerabilities. But when it comes to a point where you have no choice and you submit it fully to God, knowing fully that you can do all things through him, you see yourself doing things you never thought you could.

I never expected to emcee, dance, and play keys in one single christmas program, and I never thought of it as within my abilities. But somehow, his hand was upon the both of us, and by his grace things got done.

He definitely also cultivated godly qualities within us as we learnt to respond in the right ways to situations that seemed so infuriating and so unfair at times. I guess one of the things I learnt was how to lay down all ill feelings within me at his feet as I prayed/journaled before I sleep each night, and pray for the strength to respond to various situations in the right ways.

We were also blessed by the various friendships we’ve formed with the people there, and I was really touched by how they carried out their prayer meetings and small group sessions.

It was truly amazing how he gave both of us the strength to continually step out of our comfort zone for the past 23 days, especially when the both of us are people who are not inclined towards initiating conversations.

I still remember the great joy we felt and the “wheeeeee” we let out as we felt the plane touch ground at the airport. Feels great to be home, and I’m glad I’m home in time for watch night service and count down.

Those 23 days were definitely not easy, but I’m glad I chose to end off the year that way, and as 2014 begins, the things I’ve learnt there will stay close to my heart.

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