Volume. XXVI, No. 45
Sunday, 06 May 2012

Sister Gillian Ong's Mission Trip - Part 1

Dear Brethren,


Warmest greetings in the Lord! I hope all in Hope Church is well. 


I feel privileged to share with you a testimony of the Lord\'s goodness and providence through a short term mission trip.


I embarked on a three-week mission trip to Southern X in December last year with a group of five others. We were strangers to each other who had met through an organization in charge of this project. Our mission was to support the work of a group of missionaries who are based in Southern X and who had started an English Learning and Vocational School. 


Open evangelism in X is illegal. The missionaries informed us that as foreigners, evangelists are closely monitored by officials and therefore they have to be careful in all that they do. As such,  it has not been easy gaining the government\'s trust and rapport for their support in allowing the school to be established. A lot of work was involved, both logistically and prayer-wise. The work was committed into the hands of the Lord. The missionaries have been praying that the Lord will use the school as a form of quiet but active outreach to the local community by providing quality education. Through their efforts and the grace of the Lord, a small group of  X youth came to the Lord. A small youth group now runs once-weekly to help these youth learn the Scriptures, receive discipleship and support as Christians in a non-believing environment. The missionaries hope these seeds planted will help the local church to be stronger with their own spiritual leaders who are well-equipped in the Lord.


Therefore we had to be very watchful in our speech, especially when we befriended the locals. It was with careful preparation, and a lot of prayer that we descended upon X, a country of people whose faith is steeped in Animism, ancestor worship, Buddhism etc. However the Lord is indeed working in X, a country once ravaged by war and destruction. Despite its past, X remains a land of great beauty. The scenery in the countryside is breathtaking. 


The group of missionaries we met had been based in X for many years. They welcomed us warmly and we had the opportunity to observe the work they do. What an eye opener! The missionaries are busy from daybreak till nightfall. They barely have time to rest. During the day, they prepare for lessons. At night, they teach. On top of that, they plan for Bible studies and youth group for the weekends and also handle logistical, management and planning work around the school. On Sundays, they drive for miles to visit local churches to support their ministries.


There are some Christian churches but congregations are small in numbers. Despite subtle yet at times forceful persecution from government and non-believers, X Christians continue to worship at church. This is allowed by the government but is closely monitored by officials. As a result of limited support and government monitoring, church leaders are often not very well-equipped in the Scriptures and are limited in their effort for discipleship and outreach. We were also informed that Christians are mostly the poorest in the X communities. When we visited one church, we were given bananas to eat as guests. This was actually a big treat for even though bananas were really very cheap and could be found in abundance everywhere, it was still a big cost to the brethren we had met. 


While in X, our team supported the missionaries by helping them to run the English club, the Friday youth group, and outreach to rural communities. We visited three schools, and presented items, taught English, conversational classes, songs and interacted with the students and teachers. This was necessary so that we could start to build trust with the communities as we could not teach from the Bible or even mention we were Christians. 


In the rural schools, we were received very warmly and had very positive feedback. At first, principals seemed apprehensive to having us there because it was a first for them too, and they were not sure what we were going to do. However, despite some anxiety on our part, we committed this work to the Lord. Praise and thank God that they actually invited us to come back again. This would be extremely helpful to the missionaries as it helped to lessen the unease having foreigners in schools and helped to pave their way into these rural areas next time they visit. 


Our preparation prior to this trip were songs, skit items, art and craft ideas, materials, worksheets, games. We tried our best to prepare for "everything" but realize that we can only do so much and to trust God to do the rest. Physical preparation is important but spiritual preparation is more important.  The Lord has plans to make this a learning journey for us as much as it is of blessing others and being blessed in return. We were constantly amazed at the way God provided at all times. 


Amazing grace! Where do I start? It was with much trepidation for most of us that we embarked on this journey, especially as we ventured into unknown grounds with our insecurities, fears and worries. It was also difficult to prepare while not knowing what exactly we would be doing, who it was for etc.... having to expect the unexpected. But God encouraged us by giving us encouragement and inspiration from the faith of the missionaries. In their years of living and working among the ‘X-tians’ they had so much to adapt to with very little support, except those from overseas who would uplift them in prayer, and some, with money. God is gracious. Every challenge along the way was met with a solution that could only be God\'s faithful hand at work. The Lord was with us at every step.


We knew from the missionaries that our visits to the rural areas were unprecedented. The missionaries had their duties in the school and were unable to do the outreach work in these communities without taking a few days off from their work. Their hands were tied. Our visit was a support for them as we could be sent on a short term basis. To aid us, we were given a X Christian interpreter whose English was at a basic conversational level. Despite language difficulties, we were very grateful to him and he was greatly helpful in facilitating logistical arrangements and communication with the schools.


The missionaries\' intent in sending us to these schools was to help establish trust between local education authorities and school officials as these areas were and still are closely guarded against foreign influence. The missionaries were prayerful and hopeful that such short term mission support would help to build relationships with the different local ethnic communities so that they would know of the schools\' educational opportunities and be interested enough to attend lessons there. In turn, they would be able to interact with the Christian workers and witness their Christian faith, and ask questions pertaining to their faith. 


One example is that of a young man we knew who came from a faraway rural area. In his teens, he became a monk twice to seek peace for his sins. He told us that no matter how hard he tried, he still felt the burdens of a sinner and no good that he did as a monk had brought him the peace he had hoped for. He began to pray very earnestly because he believed there is a God, but who is He? He asked this God to show Himself to him, so that he could experience the peace he so badly wanted. For two years, he prayed. By miraculous turns that could only be the hand of God, he eventually ended up in the school where the missionaries were. There, his prayers were answered when a local Christian shared with him the Christian way of salvation, freely given through the Lord Jesus Christ. He told us that he was so happy when his heart became convicted through the good news of salvation and finally experienced that peace he had been praying for. He had known that no matter how hard he tried to be good on his own, he could not truly wipe all his sins away. In Jesus, he believes his sins are all washed away. 


.... To be continued next week.



(‘X’ is a communist nation in Asia, and believers in Christ are restricted in their activities. To protect the missionaries, and believers, the name of this country has been with held).




More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Yvone Kam. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Boong Atijatuporn.
*Deepest sympathy to Sis Mavis Wong on the loss of her grandmother.
*Hope Bookstore: Open 12:30 - 1:45pm
*All are encouraged to attend Adult Sunday School or History & Theology of Calvinism Classes.
*2012 Family Easter Bible Camp CDs & Media - order forms available at the foyer notice board table.
*Speaker for our 26th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service is Rev Patrick Tan. Please invite your family, relatives & friends.

Looking Ahead
*26th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, 27 May.
*Vacation Bible School (VBS), 2-6 July.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin (PNG/Adl) & Sis Mavis Wong; Bros Raymond Chia (S’pore), Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Chen Ooi (NZ); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (Adl), Arum Han (Whyalla/Adl) & Tina Kour & family (Adl); & others who have arrived at their destinations.
Church Activities - over the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per),  & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai) & Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.
Sis Nary Li’s pregnancy - normal foetal development.
Cambodia Missions - Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry; Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh).
Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
God’s Comfort - Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & families; Sis Mavis Wong & family; & others who are grieving.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim & Ministry (Esperance, WA).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.
Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
House of Hope, Cebu, The Philippines - Ministry to drug addicts.
Journey mercies: Bros Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Chen Ooi (Adl); Sisters Arum Han (Whyalla/Adl) & Mavis Wong (Adl); & others who are travelling.
Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
 Uni Placements: Bro Samuel Ki (Broken Hill) & Sisters Arum Han (Whyalla) & Felicia Tan (S’pore).
Full-time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee & Corinne Teng.
 Australia - National leaders: godly wisdom & guidance; people to repent & to come to Christ.
 B-P Churches - unity of doctrine & fellowship.
 Believers in Islamic & Communist countries.
21. Post-natal recovery: Sis Bernadette Ng.



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