“As long as I am a willing vessel, God will do the rest” – Trusting God boldly on a missions trip

Can you imagine going on a missions trip where 50% of your plans had to change overnight?

That’s what happened to a team of 17 youths from ACTS Youth Ministry* on the day they were slated to leave for Cambodia.

How was the mission trip still a success? In our two-part series of Missions: God’s Heartbeat, hear from first-time missions tripper TERENCE CHIN as he shares how God worked in and through the team.

*ACTS is the Youth Ministry under Eternal Life Assembly - a safe and authentic community for youths (aged 13-25 years old) to grow in God.

June 17, 2024

When the pastoral team announced this decision at the airport, our team’s morale was shaken.

Out of the 17 youths who were to go on the Cambodia Mission Trip, five contracted COVID-19, and they were seasoned youth leaders with key roles for the trip. Some of the members cried at the prospect of losing five older leaders and the uncertainty that came along with it.

God is still in charge of this mission. Gideon had his 300 and we have our 12! Our pastors encouraged and prayed for the remaining 12 youths. After repacking some logistics, our team of 12 checked in for the flight. Lunch was the most sombre meal I ever had, with most of us silent and shaken. There were many unknowns. How would the responsibilities held by the five leaders be shared? Who could fill the role of Bro Jireh in facilitating a leader’s training session? How would we conduct the children’s ministry?

Text to Highlight – Integer rhoncus

After we reached Cambodia and settled down in our accommodation, we spent our night praying and worshipping God. Yun Fei, one of the 12 members, had been praying for the team during the flight and encouraged us individually with some words that she received from God. That night, we felt a deep sense of God’s peace and were encouraged to move forward.

Restrategizing the ministry was needed. As the five COVID-positive leaders held heavier responsibilities, the rest of us had to step up to fill their roles. I was assigned to take over Bro Jireh in training the Cambodian youth leaders and facilitating ministry time.

My faith in God was fiercely challenged – not only was this something I had never done before, I was also not a leader back in the youth ministry! Although I do help to initiate and plan outings for my LG, I’m not an “official” youth leader. I thought to myself: I am not even an official “leader”; how can I train leaders, or even facilitate an altar call?

Thankfully, God provided Bro Jireh to guide me. He spent time preparing with me that night over a call. I also memorised and rehearsed the script with whatever time I had. I was so nervous the next day! Initially, it was awkward as we were new to the Cambodian leaders. But I thank God that those feelings gradually went away as the training carried on, and they slowly warmed up to us.

Text to Highlight – Integer rhoncus

During the session, God showed up. Many raised their hands to respond to the altar calls, and our team went forward to pray for them. His presence was so evident, and He was ministering to the youth leaders. It didn’t matter that there was no air-conditioning in the sweltering heat, accompanying music, or a capable facilitator. Their hearts were so hungry for God, and He met them.

It was wonderful to witness how everyone stepped up to fill the gaps. The Cambodian youths also joined in and practiced with us for the skit for the children’s ministry. Though it was our first time working together, they were so ready to serve. Their willingness to step up was vital in successfully engaging the Cambodian kids, conveying the message clearly, and helping them learn new dance moves. Serving alongside them was truly memorable, and I miss fellowshipping with them. 

Last but definitely not least, I was able to witness firsthand healing from our group prayer. We had the opportunity to pray for many people, one of whom was the grandfather-in-law of Ps Vutha*. He came with a walking stick and some pain in his leg.

After attending Ps Matthew’s training to pray simply and pray until the pain is gone, the elderly man stood up, shook his leg, and walked around without his walking stick. Seeing how well he walked after our prayers, felt like he was pulling a prank on us the whole time, but we knew it was God’s miraculous power at work.

That was also when I understood how praying simply and having child-like faith is as effective as any vocabulary-filled prayer.

Looking back, this missions trip is definitely one with many firsts for me. When asked why we wanted to go, I remember saying that I didn’t want to miss out on what God would be doing in Cambodia.

Indeed, by God’s grace, I got more than I asked for.

I would have been more than happy to work behind the scenes and assist the team. However, God’s ways are higher. Through this trip, I’ve learned that all we have to do is trust God’s sovereignty and omnipotence in every situation.

If you have been hesitant about going for missions, or are considering going for missions, I encourage you to just go for it with an expectant heart! You will be amazed at how God will move, and how He can use you. As long as you are a willing vessel, God will do the rest of the work.

Text to Highlight – Integer rhoncus

Participating in missions is on God’s heart. Here’s what you can do:
  1. Give to missions: dedicate your finances to the Lord and support missions efforts.
  2. Pray for missions: challenge yourself to pray for one country every week. That’s 52 countries in a year!
  3. Go for missions: sign up in faith for upcoming missions trips!

ELites, in this Year of Discipleship, may we Give-Pray-Go and make disciples of all nations!

*Ps Vutha is the pastor in charge of EL Cambodia

Image Credit: me. Desc: Food is Good!
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