MINGALABA~ Myanmar, we meet YET again.
I came on this trip rather agnostic (not in the religious sense of the word, rather the attitude in which I came) about the prospect of running a programme here.
It (the purpose of the trip) sounded highly operational in nature and I questioned if I was really needed. I signed up months ago knowing that my cell leader would be heading it, with the intention of fully supporting her, yet I was reluctant to go without my own cell following me.
As the time drew near to the trip I had to make up my mind to be of use to the community here. I had decided to go and the trip WOULD HAPPEN no matter how I saw it so why not just do it well.
We were tied to FGC, our partner church, where we would run the Youth programme this time around, a different objective from our last trip. And the itinerary would follow a similar format as it did before: prepping for our events in the morning, visiting the neighbouring churches in the afternoon to see how their have been progressing, and sharing a word at night, and the week would end with the Youth Event, in this case, Myanmar Youth Night.
I was spared the roles of planning the program as I would be travelling a week before we got to Myanmar and Joanna wanted to spare me the trouble. Of course that meant doubling up on certain adhoc roles.
I was also expected to (more a self-expectation more than anything) step up more into leadership roles that I could easily shy away from the previous year, what with a brilliant Team Leader last year.
Day Two of the trip, I was tasked to lead a small group of youths to Dasan-yi Church (Living Waters), where Pastor Niang opened her home to children in the area for tuition on weekdays and church on weekends. An “easier” case in comparison to the other teams, but I was fearful and quiet most of the ride to her church for fear of messing up.
The Youth Head, Minthu, followed us with the intention to be my translator. BTW, this dude was hilarious. (And highly afraid that I would hit him because he saw my lifting videos on instagram) He was helpful in providing me with the comfort I needed in a familiar face... but other than that... nada (sorry Minthu). His deathly fear of his poor English ended up with me having a three-way translation instead with ANOTHER person at the church who could speak better English.
As I sat with Pastor Niang and her family, I kept on praying in my Spirit for wisdom. We had to suss out the spiritual condition of the church while encouraging them on their journey and correcting any misconceptions in the vision, further, I had to model for the teens and show that I was 💯 confident even though I was shaking in my shoes.
Then I made a small prayer, that I will not be content, until I left that place knowing that I was of use to God’s people.
As I interacted with them, I knew that the Lord was guiding my conversation in the flow, wisdom and authority with which I spoke. I was fearful, yet confident as I imported knowledge I never knew I had.
I will not be content, until I left that place knowing that I was of use to God’s people.
That visit allowed me to see how I could in some ways disciple the team that followed me whilst making sure the work of the church was done in the land.
Well we definitely didn’t step out of our physical comfort zones on this one. The hotel was clean and food choices were plenty. We even had time to visit 3 cafés on this trip (the “hipster” kind)!
Rather I had to step out of my personal comfort zone. After Gkids (when my girls were in Sunday School), I took on more leading roles on stage, and would naturally help in the organization of events.
When they got to the TeensXcite level I started to take a backseat, accomplishing the bare minimal of being a cell leader. And with that, I allowed my work, training, life push serving and God slowly into the background.
As I served, I looked at the youth in Myanmar, who would wake up at 5:30AM everyday for a combined time of devotion and prayer. And now they would add on an additional layer of 3x3 prayer (a prayer group) at 6:30AM. Even though their school started at 8AM! These were kids from the age of 7 to 18, starting the day with God. Throughout our stay here (and even with the previous group), they would ask for time off from class to listen in to our sessions, or help us to set up for events.
To them, God was above WORK. All responsibilities, roles, and actions were guided by Him. Everything else was secondary. And because they did that, they had to move by faith that forgoing a day’s wages to serve God would be more rewarding than our human mind would fathom.
BUT THAT’S FAITH. And the beauty of it.
FAITH isn’t IGNORANCE. Rather, moving where we are led by the SPIRIT. And embracing that where we are would not be possible without Him. It is understanding that every step of the way we are called there for a reason and being open to experience and see His hand in our lives.
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
In retrospect, I was reluctant to come because I put my comfort level above the need for me to be here to support my leader and the vision I had committed to during a YouthNet144 retreat in 2017. But I am glad I did. Because the combination of this trip with the Paris trip forced me away from my life for a prolonged period of time. The life and routine that I had gotten so accustomed to that I would be uncomfortable otherwise.
The discomfort forced me to reframe my perspective and recalibrate my compass to Him as my center.
Maybe I am stepping INTO a new season of my life as I serve in Myanmar. Maybe I am stepping INTO Myanmar to serve consistently. Who knows?
Guess what? This would be my 4th time in this country. 2011, 2012, 2018, now 2019.
There seems to be something drawing me here as I declared that my heart was for Myanmar in 2017.
New team, new experiences. noma bien tuy mey? (see you again?)