The 6 Lessons I Learnt From My Serve Asia Placement

1. Never forget God & honour Him in all you do

Spring usually represents a new beginning and a transition from the cold winter to warmer days. I remembered arriving in East Asia right in the beginning of Spring…indeed it was a beginning of my journey as a SAW!

I was recently reminded of the story of Daniel and friends. They, too, had to assimilate into a new culture. In the midst of it all, they never forgot God and purposed in their hearts to honour Him in all that they do. Their actions in turn brought much glory to God! I was in a similar situation with Daniel – settling into a new culture with different worldviews and values. I hope that I will learn to be like Daniel; constantly aligning myself to the Father’s heart, to bring Him glory in all that I do.

 

2. Remember and love those who are marginalised

Every Monday, I would go visit the ladies working in the brothels, and the visits have opened my eyes to see how ‘dark’ this world is… I experienced different emotions during the visits: my heart ached whenever I met young girls working in the brothels; I was angered when I witnessed men coming in/going out of the shops, and ultimately, I felt deeply saddened at the state of the world today. I know for sure that this is not what God had in mind when He created the world. May we continue to remember and pray for the marginalized groups of people around us.

 

3. The cross draws us with its message of hope

During one of the visits to the brothels, the outreach worker and I brought along some jewelry to give to the ladies in the shops. We brought a few different types of jewelries; earrings and necklaces of different designs. During that outreach, I made a very interesting observation: ALL the ladies actually picked out the necklace with the cross! Despite not being a Christian, these ladies associated the cross with peace and blessings and therefore wanted to carry a cross with them. The cross really does draw people to it, and it is my prayer that one day, these ladies will understand the true meaning of the cross.

 

4. Be intentional in making friends with non-believers

During the Easter weekend, I made some small treats and gave them out to the foreign students living in my dormitory – as a small way to share about Easter! I have to admit that it was not easy to do so, as I had to shamelessly knock on their doors and explain why I was doing what I was doing. I realised that this was the first time in my life whereby most of the people around me were non-believers. Knowing that my stay was limited, I wanted to be intentional in reaching out and making friends; to be a ‘light’ and a living testimony for God.

 

5. God is faithful in all things

Over the summer vacation, I was involved in helping to plan a retreat for a group of ladies who used to be in the sex trade. Through this retreat, I once again witnessed God’s faithfulness 🙂 There was a storm the day before, and it was raining very heavily during the morning of the retreat. However, when the retreat activities started, the sky cleared up and we had amazing weather! We could thoroughly enjoy the beauty of His creations.

My most memorable experience of the retreat was during the prayer time – where we had the opportunity to pray for each lady individually. During that prayer session, three of the ladies decided to receive Christ! WHAT GREAT NEWS! My heart was filled with joy for them and I knew that the angels were all celebrating in heaven for these souls that were saved! 🙂 All praise and glory to the God!

 

6. Christmas is a gift for all

This was my first Christmas away from my family. Initially, I felt a bit sad to be so far away from home during the special occasion; but when Christmas was only a few days away, I was actually very thankful to be able to spend Christmas with new-found friends and “family”.

Christmas is a regular day, with no fuss or holiday; but I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about how “Christmas-y” I feel, but about the truth of the season. We celebrate Christmas because through the birth of Jesus, we have experienced what true love, joy and peace mean – the greatest gift of all. It is my prayer that one day, this gift will be received by all.

 

After My Placement

I have applied for a one-year-long program in a bible college (Graduate Diploma in Intercultural Studies) and I am currently waiting for school to start in July! Meanwhile, I have been more involved in serving in church.

Adjusting to Returning Home

The first month coming home was difficult and I felt I did experience what they call “reverse culture shock”. Everything was so familiar yet different at the same time. A mentor in church processed this with me and she said, “Things didn’t change much… but you have changed.”

This was really true as I had started to see my own country with new lenses. Initially, I had high expectations for myself to immediately jump back into my “Singapore life”; to take back all my serving in church and to be as involved as before. However, I struggled with this. Thankfully, I have a very supportive community back home, and slowly I realised that no one had expected me to do so. I have learnt that it is ok to take time to adjust and adapt.

 

 Looking to the Future

This trip has definitely impacted me as I got to witness the needs and how God is working in another part of the world. This trip has strengthened my faith in God and I experienced His faithfulness over and over again, and I know that God will use me as long as I am willing. The burden for East Asia continues to grow and I hope to be able to be able to return as a long-term worker. Please pray as I continue to seek His will for me in my future – as a long-term worker!

 

   

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