written by Li Shea

During devotions, Terence shared with us one line that really stuck.

“Don’t look at them as problems, but as people.”

This helped us in looking at the kids from a different perspective. To look at them as how Jesus would see them. When my patience wore thin and frustration kicked in but the knowledge of the love and the compassion that God has for His people helped put things in perspective.

To me, this perspective is not just for the children but to anyone we encounter, the community we serve in and even those living in poverty, right outside our doorstep. Though its difficult to change that mindset towards poverty, I can only pray and draw closer to God to be renewed in my mind.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing as I faced some challenges. Mainly, the impatience and frustration when teaching a student who seemed to not care. Aside from change in perspective, it was important for us as a group to refocus ourselves, especially through prayer. For the first few nights, it consisted of just lesson planning and prep until one day we decided to commit all that we were doing, our expectations and intentions to God.  It was also a reminder from Debbie during one of our devotions to stop and pray and it was something that we brought throughout the trip.

Another challenge was sharing devotions in Bahasa Malaysia. We struggled to find the right words in BM with our limited vocabulary (and internet!) but all in all (through much prayer), the devotions turned out well, or at least understandable (haha) and we definitely stepped out of our comfort zones. Comparing this missions trip with my previous, I would say that I was more intentional and directed this time around and it has thought me that God can use anyone in His Kingdom, no matter how unqualified you feel.

Do I think volunteering is for everyone?

Yes. Volunteering not only benefits the community (when done right) but also enriches your life, through the struggles and successes. Especially for Christians, we have a calling to spread the Gospel and it doesn’t have to be limited to the interiors of East Malaysia to call it missions/volunteering because our mission field is wherever we are. All we have to do is allow God to lead us as we take the first step.

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