Dearly Beloved Brethren,

Thank God for a blessed mission trip to Nias from 2 to 6 July about 2 weeks ago. I like to share with you the spiritual lessons of serving the Lord that I have learnt in this mission trip. Let us be encouraged and challenged by God’s Word in our service for the Lord “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” Romans 12:11.

Serving the Lord begins with a Burden and Concern

The Lord has laid in my heart the burden to serve in mission especially to help the poorer countries in our region. This burden for the Lord grows stronger in each passing year and the Lord also opens more doors in each passing year. As for Nias mission, the last trip that we went was in 2009 when we organized a VBS camp for the children. Since we left in 2009, there was no VBS as no one has gone there to help. I met Rev. Famachoic who is in-charge of the Nias children ministry last year 2011 when he came to Singapore. He requested for help to come to Nias in 2012 to organise a VBS camp for the children. I was sad to hear of no VBS in Nias since we left in 2009 and my heart was burdened by it.

Serving the Lord is to Pray unceasingly

I told Rev. Famachoic last year that we will pray about the VBS in 2012 and let the Lord lead us into it. It is easy to say “pray about it” and then forget the whole matter. Or we can pray for a while but the busyness of life will cause us to think we have no time for it. The Lord granted His grace upon me to keep praying and committing the mission trip to His Hand. Not my will but what God wants me to do. It is in praying that I know the Lord is working and preparing the way for us to go.

Serving the Lord is Teamwork

I know I cannot go alone to Nias mission as the VBS camp requires a few helpers to run it. I pray and commit the matter to the Lord to touch hearts willing to go. Who will commit their time for the Lord? When we do God’s work in God’s way, He will provide the manpower resources for it. Thank the Lord for 4 willing brethren to join me to Nias mission. In the service of the Lord, it cannot be my compulsion. Thank God also for other willing brethren who contributed to prepare the art & craft materials for the VBS.

Serving the Lord entails Preparation

As we trust God to provide and lead us, the Lord also wants us to be responsible to do our part by preparing for the trip. The VBS camp programme has to be planned, the duties to be allocated, the messages and related activities to be prepared, the art & craft materials to be ready, the games to be thought through etc. Yes, even the air tickets have to be bought at a good price flying by budget air. As we prepare, the Lord enables and blesses.

Serving the Lord is Hardwork

Going for a mission trip is not a vacation trip. With all the preparations done, the real work begins with the flight to Nias. I only bought 20kg of check-in luggage while we have to carry the rest of luggage in the plane including the laptop, projector and guitar. The Lord saw us through the flight from Singapore to Medan and then the domestic propeller plane flight to Nias island. After that, it was a narrow pothole car journey of slightly more than 2 hours from Nias airport to the Church kindergarten where the VBS is held. We learned to bathe and brush teeth with rain water and sleep on bed with mosquito net. Needless to say, mosquitoes are everywhere and been bitten is common. I supposed the hardwork is to stay strong and active running the VBS programme from 7.30am to 9.30pm. After the VBS programme is over, we need to wash up and then prepare for our lessons in the following day. I literally drop dead on the bed every night when I sleep. A lot of hardwork but we serve with no complain. God’s grace is sufficient for us.

Serving the Lord is always a Joy

I always asked myself this question “Is it worth it?” The answer is always a resounding YES. There is great joy in serving the Lord despite the hardwork and long preparations. The joy of the Lord is our strength. The joy to see the children learning God’s Word and receiving Jesus Christ in their hearts and desiring to grow in the Lord outweighs all the difficulties and personal inconveniences we faced. Frankly we can only do so little for these children who are relatively poorer and whose future in Nias island is not promising at all. But the joy of giving “a cup of water” to them is worth the long journey there.

May everyone of us rise up to “be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Elder John Leong

All Praise and Thanks be to God

Thank God for His blessings, protection and provision during this mission trip. Before the trip, I had great apprehension and was uncertain about how things would turn out. Yet, everything went on very smoothly in God’s providence. It is truly by God’s grace and strength that I was able to serve Him.

We were able to conduct a three days vacation Bible school from Tuesday to Thursday for around 70 children at a kindergarten ran by Rev. Famachoi. The theme was “Dare to be a Daniel” and we taught them about the life of Daniel. Beside the lessons, we also had art and craft sessions, song sessions, games, morning exhortations and morning exercises. It was indeed a blessed opportunity to serve God and share the gospel. Two things struck me most in this mission trip.

Firstly, we must work while it is day. The people there woke up very early to work. At five plus in the morning, we could hear noises and the children would already be awake and ready. The sun was not even out at that time. Because our flight from Nias back to Medan on Friday was early, we had to leave the kindergarten before 5am. Even along the way, we started to see people awake and getting ready to work. Clearly, it is their way of life.

The reason why they wake up so early each day is that they want to make full use of the daylight that they have. In Nias, the infrastructure is not as good or complete as compared to in Singapore. Their roads are bumpy with many potholes. They do not have streetlights. They experience frequent blackout. They do not have clean drinking water from their pipes. They do not have hot water to bath in. All these are things we ought to be thankful for and not take for granted. Because of all these, the things they could do at night become very limited. Hence, the daytime becomes all the more important for them. They really make full use of the day and rest in the night.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says in John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Truly, it reminds us to work and not be slothful. We must not waste our time away thinking there are further opportunities to work in future. Rather, we must seize all opportunities to work while we still can. In Singapore because we have electricity and lights, we cannot fully understand what darkness is. However, it is true that when it is dark, there are very little things that we can do. It takes great discipline to wake up early each day to work. It takes great perseverance to be consistently waking up early every day to work. We must not give ourselves excuses to idle or slack. Rather, we must work while it is day!

Secondly, God is indeed Jehovah Jireh. The LORD is our Provider and He will see to our needs. It is in unknown and uncertain circumstances that I learned to trust and rely on God most. In every situation, God never fails to provide for our needs. Many things could have gone wrong, but none went wrong because God saw to our needs. He provided the food and water. He provided the interpreters and helpers. He provided the place and transport.

It was amazing to know that the pipe to the kindergarten actually broke when we were there. Therefore, there was no water coming in to the kindergarten. The only water sources we had were water remaining in the storage tanks and rainwater collected from the roofs. Yet, we never ran out of water because God sent the rain to provide for us. We only learned about the broken pipe on Friday morning before we left. All praise and thanks be to God for He provides for our every needs.

Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This reminds me to lean upon God at all times and to put my trust in God. He is the God almighty who is sovereign and omnipotent. He is Jehovah Jireh not just in Singapore where we are blessed with many, but also in Nias where they are blessed with little. He provides for not just our physical needs but also our spiritual needs. Be it in prosperous or poor places in the world, God made sure there is a gospel work in progress. The gospel is preached and souls are saved because God provided all that is needed. God does not need us, yet He chose to let us have a part in His work. How marvellous and wonderful. What great honour and privilege. It is not about what we have, but what God is able to do through us when we willingly yield to Him. Our God is Jehovah Jireh and He will provide.

Thank God for this opportunity to serve Him, to experience His grace and faithfulness and to have my faith strengthened. Since we have a God who can provide all things, and we have work to do while it is day, I pray that we will labour on. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Cor 9:8)

Brother Bo Hao