“Walking with God isn’t easy, but that is the beauty of it.” –Mary Jane
Back in June, it was my first ever mission trip to Battambang, Cambodia with the Royal Rangers Sel#7. I had heard so many testimonies from the people that went and came back. When the time came, I hop on the plane and was ready for an adventure and also to see what God had in stored for me and the people. It was definitely a trip I wouldn’t forget. After I left, I felt the burden to come back. I was so drawn to the people and the culture here that it was so hard to say goodbye.
After coming home, I knew I was going to come back to Cambodia for my year end holidays. I raised funds for my trip as I did not want to burden my parents to pay for my air ticket and also for the STORM program. It was a hard process as I thought no one was willing to help but as time passed, God brought in people to help me with the funds that I needed. I am always grateful for the people that God sends my way.
When the time came, I was so excited to board the plane with my team. It was the four of us- Nicole, Jen, Andrea and I. We call ourselves #nicannsterjen. It was my first international trip without my parents. We arrived at Siem Reap International Airport and took a van to Battambang- the rice bowl of Cambodia. It was a 3 hour journey. This is where the STORM headquarters is. Also known as home and to where I will reunite with four familiar faces that I was so excited to see! That was the brother, my sister-in-law, my little nephew, Seth boy and Amanda.
STORM is so different from the mission trip in June 2014. It pushed me to my limits and there was proper guidance to the work that we were involved in. We were independent and had quite a lot of freedom. It was as if the organizers gave you the supplies you needed and then sends you off into sea to survive. Looking back, I know they had faith in me to carry out the duties that was given. STORM is where you learn your weaknesses and also your strength. The first few days were tough. Waking up early was normal for me but waking up for devotion is another story. At first I was quite negative about myself because I couldn’t catch up with the pace and I was definitely struggling. I honestly wanted to give up and then it hit me, it isn’t too late to do something about it. I surrendered it to God, letting Him do the supernatural. Terence or Amanda would be leading us in our daily devotions and they really opened up my eyes to see missions in a different angel. To see God’s purpose in the things He had plan out. How He used His Son, Jesus as a missionary on its own was just mind blowing.
There were days where we had to go to LOHI (Legacy of Hope International) school to teach pre-school or English lessons. I was assign to the pre-school classes. I was a little sad that I wasn’t given the chance to teach the English classes. I have a love-hate relationship with children. I can love them one second and then hate them the next. During the first few classes, I wasn’t being myself. I felt weird. Thankfully, there was Jen by my side to help me. As days passed, I grew to like the kids. Sincerely. It was a very good feeling to know that I was going to see them the next day. It wasn’t like those mornings where I had to drag myself out of the bed and force myself to teach. By the end of it, I realized that it was God’s way of teaching me how to be patient, to love, to care and also to be humble. I am still amazed at how God put me in situations like this to teach me.
The trips to the villages was always a treat. Why do I say it’s a treat? It is because the view that Cambodia has to offer is just breathtaking and to know the Creator is behind all this is a blessing. One time when I was heading to Don Maey Village, I saw hills and surrounding it was the beautiful nature. My mind automatically clicked to “The Sound Of Music”. Drama, I know. The rides to the villages also allowed me to have some personal time with God. It was a time where I could reflect and see what God wanted to speak to me. The works of prayer is the most powerful thing. We even went to a village and stayed overnight, that was just epic. The sky that sparkled so brightly at night made me speechless. To know that the children travelled from afar just to come to our Christmas program and English lesson was just so inspiring. They were so excited to know the Word. They did not travel by motorcycle or bicycle but they travelled by tractors.
Lastly, the beautiful people of Cambodia. God’s beautiful children. They are no different from us. They are special in God’s eyes. They had taught me so much. I challenged myself to go out there and talk to them during this trip. We (the Cambodians and I) shared so many emotions together that I will always be grateful for. Although there was a language barrier, we connected. That is the beauty of it. To know that the relationships that I built will last for a lifetime is the most rewarding thing. Also, the smiles that they put on their faces when they see you are genuine and so sincere. It just melts my heart. The simple lifestyle that they live, makes them happy. I did worry about not seeing them but one day, Amanda spoke to me and she said, “You know, if God place those people in your life during that period of time to minister, then that was His plan. If they leave and if you never get a chance to see them again, that is also His plan and you shouldn’t feel sad but rejoice because you know that you have done your part.” That is something I wouldn’t forget. Since the last trip, God planted a seed in my heart; that the basic element of life is to build relationships. If not, why did God send His son to earth to be our friend and tell us the good news? He is awesome. With that, it is also the relationship that we build with our heavenly Father so that we will get to know Him better and to strengthen our faith.
Orkuncheran Cambodia. You have blessed me and I will always be grateful for that. I’ll miss you and till next time, Cambodia.
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