That was fast!
It’s always that way, isn’t it? The anticipation is slow, and then before you know it, it’s over. I knew this would happen so I tried to take one day at a time and savor each moment. Even then, it was too fast to take it all in!
None of us were ready to come home! That’s a good sign that we were enjoying the ministry. In fact, I was not missing home at all, not even In N Out (that was our first meal on American soil).
In summary – God gave us plenty of grace and answered prayers – nothing bad happened, it was all good. Here are my reflections:
- I felt useful. This is important to me because I don’t want to go all the way there and not make a difference. I don’t want to waste time with doing only one thing a day. So in fact, we did multiple things a day i.e. evangelism, lead Bible Study, English corner – in one day.
- I am strong enough. This is important to me because I think I’m physically weak. I am afraid I am not a good traveler, that I would get sick or can’t keep up. I don’t want to be a hinderance if someone has to take care of me. But God answered and gave me strength as needed. I am also afraid that my physical weakness will keep me from going on mission trips again. But God affirmed that I can go again – either short or longer term. We taught the kids Isaiah 40:31; it was the verse for me, with the tune that will be stuck in my head forever!
- God has prepared everyone with a life story and experiences that will be used by him to bless others. Each member was able to use their skills and gifts in different ways. While 4 of us do not speak Chinese, we contributed in different ways. We took different parts and gave different ideas. We also have different weaknesses where we had to be patient with each other. I am still learning that.
- I had fun. There was joy, laughter, and rest at appropriate times. This is important to me because ministry should be joyful even when it’s hard. And it was. Admittedly half the team is my family, so that definitely made it much more fun for me. I’ve always wanted to go on a mission trip with my family. The downside is that I may have treated everyone like they were family, with my filters down. This is both good and not good. Formal courtesies that you normally don’t use with family were put aside. So the other team members who are not used to me like that may have been offended. I don’t know, I am just guessing, so I watched myself to not be “too comfortable”.
- We did not go as experts. As team leader and church staff, and I was introduced as “Pastor Katy”, at first I felt I had to be a “professional”. But as I said above, God prepares us with life experiences to share, not knowledge to teach. We did prepare Bible studies, etc. but since we really didn’t know what to expect and who we would be speaking to, we depended on God to give us wisdom along the way. And he gets the glory.
- I think we did well. In the various ministry opportunities from panel discussions to Bible Study to games to sharing the Gospel to total strangers to giving an altar call to hundreds, we did not embarrass God. We had good things to share that blessed the audience. We were a shining light through our good works so people can glorify God in heaven.
I am praying for God to show us what’s next. God willing, I want to go again.