Written by Tricia for Go Asia (May-Aug 2017)
Sometimes we think that going on missions trips will change people’s lives – be it in their quality of life for a period of time, or their spiritual life after they accepted Christ. However, most often we did not realise that the trip will shape our lives, open our eyes and feel with our hearts what God truly wants us to be. Despite the struggle of inadequacies, Tricia chose to let God use her through the Sattha trip.
A little about myself
My name is Tricia, 20 this year. I’m in the midst of completing my final year in an art school doing Performance in Theatre. Despite being in a small church, we’re so blessed to be supporting a handful of missionaries – our own adopted missionaries and local and international organisations.
Ever since I was 17, I made an effort to go for a mission trip at least once a year. As time passed, I began to question my intentions in going for short trips – am I truly chasing after the heart of the Lord? It was only recently when I went back to Thailand on my second short-term mission trip with Sattha that I learnt the contrast in making converts versus making disciples; building relationships with the local churches and missionaries; adjusting to the culture and language of the country before extending our hands.
In the April of 2015, during a Christian fellowship session at university, there was an announcement about a 3-week football mission trip called Sattha to Central Thailand. After nights of prayers and contemplation, I decided to sign up. However in the weeks before the trip, and even during the first few days, I began to regret my decision to go. I can’t play football; I’m here alone and there are so many people on the team… what if I can’t get along with them? I can’t even speak Thai…
But things took an unexpected turn when I turned to God and presented to Him my worries, loneliness and inadequacy. Although the language barrier was a major struggle, it taught me to trust that He’s able even when the situation seems otherwise. I can recall a hot afternoon where we were at a school, the ladies in the team and I were sitting on the bleachers while supporting our Sattha football players as well as the home team. A quiet girl sat beside me, in contrast to the rest of the students who were cheering their lungs out, I handed her a tract. Moments after she had read the tract, an image of a child praying on the last page caught her attention. Afterwards, our conversation consisted of a poor attempt of charades, and she had agreed to be prayed for and wanted to know who Jesus is.
Seconds after praying for her, a huge downpour came and everyone had to be evacuated. We were told that the rain hadn’t come for months and Thailand was experiencing a harsh dry season that year, and after the rain subsided, the school felt grateful as they believed that the Sattha International Team brought the rain with us. And that gave us a wonderful opportunity to share about the great God we have that brings rain and to who belongs all glory. The incident with the young girl and the rain convinced me that it is Christ that enables us, it is through Him that we desire to do good works, and as we serve Him, our focus shouldn’t lie solely on our ability, but our availability. For we can’t, but He can, as stated in 2 Corinthians 3:4-6.
When it comes to knowing God and spending time with Him, how strong of a basic need is that? We’ve also been taught that different demographic groups hold different needs, which calls for different approaches in spreading the gospel and so on, so forth. Growing up in an urban context – where our basic needs are met almost instantly that it becomes not so much as essential as needing an internet connection, is a complete contrast to a rural setting where food and water might be scarce to find. With that being said, I very much appreciated the Sattha training we had and the nightly team meetings where we’re reminded where their needs lie, and importantly, how do we bridge culture effectively to meet their needs and guide them in seeing the need to know Christ.
My heart is filled with extreme gratitude to Christ for the past 3 years in experiencing His blessings and teachings through short-term mission trips. In being able to know more who God is and His purpose for us; the way His Word is revealed, the significance of prayer, and the urgency of equipping workers for the harvest. The verses below had been an inspiration, leading me to base the theme of the sharing on, reminding ourselves that in all that we do, we do it for His glory. As seen in the book of Joshua, the same God in the past, present and future are being glorified, and that He’s the same King that delivers. For He is a God that keeps His promises and makes all the impossible, possible!
“At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon
And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies…”
– Joshua 10:12-13 (ESV)
Recently, after coming back from my second Sattha trip, I felt that God has spoken to me in many beautiful ways during my time in Thailand, in regards to missions, serving Him as a body of Christ, humbling our hearts as we deny ourselves, and coming to Him in need. In respect to my desire to make His name known and working with children in a cross-cultural setting, I’ve made plans to take a degree in Intercultural Studies with a minor in Children’s ministry/education in a Bible College, and God-willing, able to gain some work experience before entering full-time ministry.