Some personal reflections — Ada Leung

Before the trip, I was worried as I didn’t have a strong heart for missions and regarded myself as a “lukewarm” Christian that the Lord would spit out any time.  I even questioned my physical and spiritual strength for this ten-day trip. The thought of teaching a VBS class and witnessing for Christ was intimidating and I felt inadequate especially in the area of improvising with kids, or people.

How did I get moving eventually? I prayed and took that initial step, and peace followed with strength and power.  So I learned not to be overwhelmed thinking about the journey ahead, but taking one step at a time with Jesus. The walk itself was a reward.

While visiting one Chinese grocery store to enrol VBS students, I encountered something that I would never forget. A young boy bought a leafstalk of celery which looked withered and ready to be disposed of, but he paid for it!  When he got his change, he paused for one second, and then decided to get himself some chewing gum.  My heart churned and softened for this child as I compared his grocery shopping with mine.  Somehow God opened my eyes to see beyond the withered celery to that little piece of gum, and I realized this boy’s shopping was complete with joy, lacking nothing! I reflected that God is right here where we are in the midst of plenty or want, and we can trust Him for his blessings to fulfill our heart’s desires.

My life has been within a structured Christian environment. I attended Christian schools, joined a Christian church, and I have a job in a Christian organization. All of a sudden, I just couldn’t get my mind around the fact that there are no Chinese Christian churches, fellowship, or resources here in this Santiago Chinese community.  There are about 100 Chinese families of hardworking parents and adorable children in and around Santiago, no different from our Canadian families here in Toronto. I know God loves them too, and I do believe He has His plan and timing in providing spiritual guidance in that part of the world. But we are actually living in the same planet and we cannot just stay in our own comfort zone and continue with our own Christian activities without reaching out to those in need.

I have doubted and questioned a short-term-mission venture, about how effective it would be, and what difference it would make. It’s only ‘short-term’ after all! Then I realized Santiago doesn’t rely only on short-term teams, because God was around from day one. He recruits his own ‘long-term’ team: missionaries who follow His footprints, working side by side with the community with whom they’ve committed their hearts and lives, to build up God’s church of life, who persevere for Him to complete His purposes!  What a privilege that God allows us, a ‘short-term’ team to be part of His mission, to learn to serve alongside the missionaries, to bless, and be blessed.

Just like a mirror can reflect the sun to shed light into darkness, I felt like my life, broken it was, still reflected the light of Jesus the Son into other people’s lives. All through the trip His gracious presence and encouragement were bigger than anything.  For it is not by might, wisdom of men, or well-planned programs but by His Spirit, His timing and His purpose.  It is Christ in me, and He is adequate.  I experienced this in teaching a VBS class of bubbly seven-year-olds, and on VBS graduation day, when they all prayed with me to accept Jesus. Muy bien!  I saw Jesus’ presence in learning to pray in faith that it is not about the size of my prayer, but the size of my God.  I saw it in learning to be humble in team work. The truth is, every touchdown in life is a team effort, and here I applaud my teammates, both my team on the trip, and you at home who sent us off with prayers and money!  I saw how the Body of Christ – different members, all functioning to do the work of Christ – depended on each other and no one was redundant: “God works through different men in different ways, but it is the same God who achieves His purposes through them all.” (1 Corinthians 12:6)