Lessons of a Missionary Newbie part 3

So this part took time as I’m preparing again for a new missions trip YAY!!
To read about the first 2 check out these links!
Lessons of a Missionary Newbie part 1
Lessons of a Missionary Newbie part 2

Today I will be blogging on our actual experiences on the mission field:

The Dreaded Immigration (insert horror background music here)
Philippines: After lots of prayer and speaking in tongues (quietly), I breeze a super early morning flight from PAL (Philippine Airlines) . This is only my second time flying out through PAL internationally, but I do find it easier going thru the immigration here than Cebu Pacific who grills you as if you don’t deserve having a vacation outside the country (Sorry Cebu Pac, too many bad experiences with you)
Vietnam: This was quick and easy thank you Lord!
Cambodia: The immigration was quick and easy as well but crossing the border was too confusing. The driver gave an instruction only in Vietnamese, (my gift of interpretation of tounges is not yet that fluent sir 🙁 ) we went down from the bus and just waited among a throng of people-all foreigners being clueless of what’s happening.
I realised i just need to stay calm, let them work out their system or the lack of it and just wait for your name to be called.

Welcome to the nations!
While Vietnam welcome us with warm sunshine, Cambodia literally soaked us with heavy rains, flooding level. We are soaked and jampacked in the tuktuk along with all our luggages. We found out historically that our first missionaries who stepped here in Cambodia 10 years ago were actually soaked with rain as well, but the supernatural part of it was that they are the only ones who were rained on while the whole place was dry- WHOAH! So Im thinking this might be the welcome or warning from the gods of the land. (insert walang makakapigil sa amin video)

Not our actual picture when we arrived, but this is how you packed a tuk tuk with your luggage.

Meet the Church

Greeted by so many happy faces in Cambodia!
I’ve always known Filipinos are super warm and friendly but I never fully appreciate it until I went on missions trip. Blame it on discernment I guess, but sometimes  I feel atrocities from people, a sense of cold stares as if they don’t want you on their nation, or maybe Im just not used to being unwelcomed :). 
Seeing our church mates for the very first time was really good- all of a sudden you feel at home (away from home) and you can just feel the life oozing out of them-they are so vibrant and alive, compared to the locals of their nation (who has yet to know Jesus). I super appreciate how warm and hospitable our churches are at different parts of the globe.
About Hospitality
Hospitality may seem to be too minor to be expounded, it can be easily ignored by some but clearly the Bible has a lot to say about it exhorting us to extend it even to strangers. So don’t underestimate the power of a cheerful face, those hands that helps carry luggages, the times you spent waiting and picking a guest from the airport, the money you invest in taking out people for lunch, dinners and coffee, and the home you lovingly prepared for someone to stay into. Kudos to you for showing Christ-like love even to the tiniest details.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:8-10 ESV
Great company and great food, Vietnam is a mecca for all the foodies out there!

Lessons of a missionary newbie part 2

Our 11 days trip to Vietnam and Cambodia might be one of the top 5 things that happened to me this year for so many reasons but on top of the list will be that its a God- fulfilled promise. I’ve always have 3 nations in my heart Mongolia, Vietnam and Africa and Im glad that finally after many years of waiting i got to visit one of them.

I’ve learned so much from this trip and one of them is to celebrate diversity!! 
Sometimes in our head its our common default to lean along choosing people who are most likely like us-how we work at the phase we wanted and how we wanted it. But thank God we are too unique to find so many people like us, I think its God’s grace and mercy upon us that despite of how alike all our DNAs our (99.9% according to Science), we are made super different in so many ways.

I cannot even describe how unique we all are on our mini team of three. One loves to wake up really early while another stays up late to keep abreast with Eat Bulaga’s kalye serye. Two of us are adventurous foodie while the other would want to stick to a diet of unli rice and meat- true-blooded Pinay indeed! I love observing how different we all are and yet it never becomes an issue.
In terms of ministry one of us is a worship leader while the other one is a frustrated singer haha.
It doesn’t matter really because she’s the evangelist in our group, just leave her for a few minutes in any corner and minutes later you’ll find her having a new friend-she has a way of making people really feel comfortable when she’s around its a gift really. As for me, Im the organised teacher who takes super long time studying and organising everything.

In terms of preparation, i love how one of us is really good in the computer, she prepares all keynotes-no complaints, no questions ask just pure servant leadership! Initially I was supposed to go to this trip alone but I thank God’s providence and sovereignty He gave me a team. And what a team we made, while one is teaching, the other would be leading worship while the other one will be the host. On another end, while one is doing the workshop, another one will be the game master and the last one will take of the technicals. I love how we all take turns in doing what we love to do, what we don’t normally do, what we need to learn to do, excelling in how God wired us to be and yet in the same breath doing and learning what the circumstances called us to be. I do believe that we don’t need superstars in this line of work, rather team players who will do whatever it takes to win and shoot the ball as a team!

As we start our day every morning i love how one of us is just consistently sincerely grateful to everything God has done the day before, she prays from the heart every breakfast and im blessed just really watching her do it. And as we end our day, the other person just remains to be that perky, jolly person amidst our exhaustion, its always like her day is just starting no matter what time it is.

So here’s some encouragements to all team leaders of future missions trip:
a. no one is an accident in your trip, God has placed them in you team for a purpose
b. learn to spot and mine all the hidden gems every team member carries
allow them to shine in their element and be stretched learning a new skill
c. keep the healthy tension of being teachers and perpetual learners at the same time
d. be a constant encourager and set up your people for success
e. keep on modelling and learning, re-learning and un-learning even.

To Lynn and Melfer, my mission trip buddies, thank you for making me a better person in this trip!
Cheers to more front-row seat and God-sized adventures together!

Lessons of a Missionary Newbie part 1

I’ve always wanted to go on a cross-cultural missions trip, but for some weird reasons i keep on getting denied. From a supposed to be long-term missions trip on Afghanistan the very reason i left my last job, all my 3 friends got to go except for me. And the saga continues, another trip to Mongolia that got postponed because of a super cold weather, and still another one in Mongolia where I was not chosen to be the staff to go. Even a study and a conference trip to US where my visa got turned down thrice.
But last September 17-28 turned out to be different. After 10 years I was out for my officially second missions trip with two other campus missionary-Lynn and Melfer. An odd group of three women but certainly not an accidental combination as I would relate later on. This blog is meant to chronicle some of the lessons I’ve learned as a newbie and hopefully you can glean something from it as well.

Lesson 1: Love for the nations begins with lots of preparation

Confession time- we barely had 2 months to prepare for this as we are doing this on top of all our everyday task at work.

Prepare yourself physically
Yeah of course you know this, but some people refuse to heed it so im writing it here hehe.
Aside from the fact that you don’t want to be hospitalised in another nation and be detained,
you also don’t want to be quarantined when you get back on your own nation-remember the yellow paper you have to fill up honestly.
Melfer was really smart in asking her nurse friend to give her a list of medicine must haves so that whatever slight sickness we have she got it covered-yay! So i suggest go have a list like that.

Lesson 2: Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy body in the mission field

Prepare yourself emotionally
I will keep it short and simply say- leave your personal baggages in your own nation (better yet deal with it) and carry only loads of peace, joy, and love.

Prepare yourself spiritually
On top of the very basic thing of not cramming your personal week long devotions a day before you go to the missions ( i know the struggle is real but so is God’s grace), dont forget to keep your prayer team informed. There’s so many ways to prepare yourself spiritually but i’ll just zoom into prayer team just for today.

Lesson 3: We can never have an overdose of prayers while in the mission field

Aside from our family and close friends, our prayer teams are the most informed people in our lives during the whole trip. Audaciously ask prayers from them, your family, friends, team even your FB friends. Even if just !% of my FB friends will be praying about what I posted that will still be 42 additional people interceding for us. Speak in tongues daily, pray unceasingly!

Prepare your team
 To keep things short and simple, lets put an acronym for this: VIP, nothing original just
Vision, Instruction and Prayer

Vision: Honor God, make disciples and be a blessing to the nations.
         Obey all of God’s instructions and seize every divine appointment

Instruction: Get and prepare as many materials as we can.

I was so blessed to have a team that will do whatever it takes to get the job done. We got so many materials you would think we are doing a month-long seminar 🙂 Melfer even brought books and manuals no matter how heavy they are. As for me Im privileged to have well-travelled bosses so i hijacked them for all the materials they used whenever they speak outside, I got notes on Leadership, Discipleship, Evangelism and Teams.

By faith we are nations-ready!

We prepared ourselves for whatever they will asks us to do. We got a lot of training materials and were just constantly studying and learning: Worship Service, Events Management, Discipleship Database,Power Evangelism, Five Dysfunctions of a Team and the list continues. What a blessing that we are all so diverse thus its easy to complement and amplify each other’s strength.

Lesson 4: For training materials focus on the value we have and the principles why we do what we do, teach them methods only as examples and not patterns to follow

Prayer: We prayed on the plane, prayed on the taxi, prayed on the bus even in the tuk-tuk, we prayed every breakfast, prayed even when the event is already ongoing. Im glad no one among us was an expert missionary that it really drove us everyday to really depend on God’s strength, grace and wisdom.

Prepare for the unexpected

On top of all the crazy preparations, one thing we cant prepare is teaching all the trainings with a translator :), this is a skill we have to learn on the spot! We navigated when to pause, what words to use to make it clear and simple, when to cut our sentences and when can we do paragraphs, what illustrations are best and what examples can they relate to. This whole experience is completely a Holy Spirit moment as we allow Him to teach us words to use, discern right timing and relevant stories to share, otherwise we would not have survived this exercise 🙂

Lesson 5: Good communication skill is a must to missions keep on mastering it!

So this is just a tip of the iceberg of this exciting journey called Missions.
I hope to continue writing everything we have learned though i know as early as today that there will be no words enough to capture every God-sized adventure we undertake. Cheers to more front row seat to what God is doing to the nations!