Hope y’all are doing fine! I meant to do this update a few days ago but haven’t gotten around to it until now, sorry!
In terms of the being-in-a-new-environment stuff, I’ve thankfully adjusted pretty well! The jet lag only lasted a few days, I haven’t gotten sick, and the weather hasn’t been too hot. It’s just the interacting-with-people part that is more nerve-wracking. I didn’t realize how much you have to not care about what people think of you, just in order to survive and do necessary tasks. It’s inevitable that I’m going to screw up and people will think that I’m incompetent, especially because I look like I could be from here. But I guess that’s part of the learning experience.
We just finished a three-day VBS with a church, where the majority of the kids were non-churchgoers. Parents that weren’t Christians were sending their children to our camp because they wanted their kids to have a chance to learn English from native English speakers. We had to revamp a lot of our plans after the first day, but on the whole it was really fun! The kids were really cute and were starting to mimic a lot of our English words by the end of the three days. The people at the church were also really kind to us, and it was cool to feel a connection with them through shared faith, even though we couldn’t really talk to most of them. Some of the people that we worked more closely with on the camp mentioned to us at the end that we had encouraged them a little bit in their ministry, which was nice to hear. I found that taking some time out of my own contexts also re-energized me for some of the work that God has called me to at home in the future.
Right now, we’re in the middle of teaching English to refugee classes at a Christian school. It’s been very new and a lot more challenging than the VBS, because these people are around our age and much more closed off than the kids were. The first day we definitely didn’t do so well, but thankfully we’ve improved a little since then. I’m finding that this part of the trip definitely demands more trust in God’s ability to work through us, even if we don’t see results.
- Thankful that there are a lot of people here taking care of us and watching out for us
- Thankful that God was able to work through us at the VBS and that people were so accommodating to us
- For faith and courage! So far this week has been something new every day, and it can be a little scary to just jump into it the way I know we need to.
- That God would work through us somehow and continue to teach us more about Him
Thanks for reading! The next update might be in a few days because I put this one off for a bit, but we’ll see. Until next time!
Hope you’re all doing okay! As an FYI there are probably about 40 of you receiving this email now, and it’s also being made available to my church as a blog! It’s a lot more people than I expected would read this when I created it, but it is a good thing to be open to my communities so I’m going with it…
The past couple weeks has been a lot of planning and emailing back and forth, trying to come up with programs. A few of our contacts and supervisors have given us feedback on some of our ideas, and it looks like we may have to throw out a good portion of what we have planned. Even though I was expecting that going into this trip, it’s been a good reminder to not attach my sense of worth to any of my ideas and just keep trying to do the next thing that I think God is calling me to do.
Some of our main supervisors and contacts picked us up from the airport and helped us settle in for our first night. We also had dinner together and got to know each other a little. My first impression is that it is definitely their plans that we are fitting ourselves into, rather than us running around trying to figure out how to help people that we don’t know very well. We’re definitely no saviours, just here to play our very specific role to help people improve their English. I’m really appreciating how great this kind of setup is – it’s the most effective way everyone can make a difference and it’s also going to keep me humble.
We haven’t actually started talking about anything officially yet; we have orientation later this morning (I’m just up too early right now because of the time change) and our first camp starts tomorrow. I’m a little nervous but hopefully I can carry a good mindset through this whole process, no matter how well or badly things turn out,
- Thankful for our supervisors and contacts that have been extremely helpful and welcoming
- Thankful for a safe, smooth, and relatively comfortable journey on the plane
- That we would trust in God’s ability to work through us, but also be open to whatever He has planned even if things don’t work out the way we want
- That God would continue to bring healing to the refugees here
Thanks for reading! I’m gonna try to keep praying for everyone’s requests, but let me know if you have any updates on those too. Until next week!
I’m excited this is finally happening! Thank you for committing to taking time to pray for me and Northeast Asia this summer.
There are about 35 of you here. Some of you are my family, some are friends I’ve made in Markham, London or Ottawa, and some of you are also part of my churches in Markham and Ottawa. It’s a little weird for me to think about you all as one community, but it’s also kind of cool. We’re all part of a secret team makin’ moves for Jesus
What is this?
These emails will share updates about the trip process, and ways that you can pray for everybody involved. I’m planning to send one more email right before I leave in a couple of weeks, an email after each week while I’m away, and then a follow-up when I get back. Hopefully this will help us to be a more effective Christian community, working together in our different roles towards a common vision.
Security-wise, I was told I can use Christian words without needing a secure email address, but I’m still not going to name any specific countries or places. I’d appreciate you also being discreet about mentioning the country to people you don’t know very well (and not at all in writing). Thanks in advance!
My fundraising was due last Monday, and thankfully all of the donations came in on time! There was some stress in the last week because I wasn’t able to purchase plane tickets until much later than anticipated, which pushed my budget up, but it all worked out in the end. Another change was that our supervisor, who was organizing everything and planning to help us get around while we were there, had to back out of the trip because of family health issues. We are now being taken care of by a few different people for each section of the trip, although I don’t think any of them directly work for TEAM. It’s not as comfortable of a relationship, but I’m thankful that they are responsive and willing to answer any questions.
Now, I’m beginning to work with my missions partner (her name is Laura Beth) on some of the things we’re going to be doing there, which have also changed from when we started this whole process. We’re planning a short VBS for young kids, as well as conversation circles and ESL lessons for high school seniors. Most of them are already involved with Christian schools and churches. It turns out that we’re not so much extending the gospel to the unreached ourselves (although we will be to a few kids) as we are helping to support people that are already involved with the Christian work there, which is probably the best use of us as first-time short term missionaries.
What have I learned so far?
A lot more than I expected! These are just a few of the main things.
- How to send people: I’m guilty of not really paying attention to my friends going on missions trips, but now I know a little bit more of what they’re going through and how much different kinds of support can mean to them. Even if I never go on another trip again, I’m excited to support future missions trips in a much better way than I’ve been doing. Thanks to all of you for showing me how!
- Understanding my Christian community: I didn’t realize the kind of community I had around me until I started asking for support. So many people have been generous in ways that I didn’t expect, including people not on this list, and it makes me want to become more involved with my different communities when I get back. Thank you for donating money, making time to talk to me, asking me thoughtful questions, telling me how I can pray for you, checking up on me, giving me really great advice, and signing up for this email list. Everything is super appreciated
- Being generous myself: I had to admit to myself that there was a temptation to push for more financial support just so that I wouldn’t have to pay for this trip, and I learned that I also can’t hold onto my own money too tightly just because I’m giving a lot of time. Tithing is actually a huge help; setting aside money to give beforehand makes me a lot more generous when something like someone’s missions trip comes up. Thanks to my family for being great examples of that!
- Giving up my own agenda: While a lot of the budgeting and fundraising and logistics problems were coming up, I realized that a lot of my stress was about my own plans being ruined. My entire summer has revolved around this trip, and because I gave up a few cool job opportunities to be able to go, it felt like if I didn’t go then I was a failure and an embarrassment. All of that reminded me to trust in God’s plan for me. Even if I didn’t get to go, I had definitely still learned a lot from the support raising and training process. And that would have really forced me to give up my own agenda, which is a good thing.
- Praise that fundraising and logistics are almost done and are in good shape, and that I’ve learned a lot through the whole process
- That Laura Beth and I would get to know each other better, and be able to plan activities and lessons that would really speak to the people they are for
- That I’d continue to give up my own agenda and trust God through any changes that might come up in the next couple weeks
- That God would continue to be with and speak to the people overseas
Thank you for taking the time to read this and to pray! Feel free to reach out and let me know how I can keep praying for you!
How are you?
I am well here in the UK.
After the training period at Amnos Church Planning School in Brentwood, Essex (North east of London), I was sent to Southall Church in South-west London (near Heathrow Airport).
Praise the Lord that I have wonderful team members and the team leader.
At the hosting church, my team was asked to do children’s ministries, which is three days of VBS from Friday to Sunday.
I have four team members from South Korea. They have prepared children’s ministry programs (Arts and Craft, Music, and Sports). There are three team members from London, UK. In fact, they are from the church I used to attend. One of then is my church friend in Toronto.
We invited people in the local community. Thankfully, many parents and children have come to the church and participated.
I have been leading children’s worship songs and Bible program. I didn’t know that I would be leading actions to ‘Amazing Grace, Stand on the Rock’ and other Christian Children’s songs.
The children are so diverse that all their religions are different–Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians.
It is God’s grace that He sent these children to us so we could lead them to Christ.
Things have been going well too.
Today is the busiest day, for there are Sunday services and the children’s program.
Door-to-door evangelism is starting tomorrow.
I pray that God continues to touch these children and their parents’ hearts for Jesus.
Thank you for praying for me.
I can feel that St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church is participating in this mission through prayers.
How are you?
I have arrived safely at the Amnos Ministry Church Planting School for 4 days of practical evangelism training.
They use Trinity Church buildings and facilities for this training period.
Many people have come from the US, South Korea, and the UK for the missions.
I am the only one representing Canada (yay~!!!)
Today, I had an orientation in the afternoon and the evangelism training (worship services+sermons).
The speaker for the evening session was ‘Andy Hawthorne’, and he delivered such a powerful message.
The passage was from the book of Luke 5:1-10.
Simon Peter tried to catch fish all night yet he couldn’t. Jesus tells him to “put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
The part when Peter said “But because you say so” highlights his obedience to Jesus.
Also, the passage demonstrates the humility, the heart do what Jesus said, the fact that revival needs hard work, and the work is done in teams (requires unity and teamwork).
I am encouraged that Jesus will be with me and the people as He is going to make us ‘fishers of men’.
Jesus calls us to be His witnesses, and tells us not to be afraid.
Tomorrow, we are going to find out our hosting churches. I am looking forward to meeting my team for this missions.
I am keeping in mind that St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is praying for me and the people here.
It truly gives me strength and courage.
I will update you as more things will come.
Thank you for the support and prayers.