Have you ever flipped through the Couriers Mission guidebook and thought, “Yes, it would be great if I could be a part of this trip”? Then you start to curb your enthusiasm, or even give yourself excuses like “Oh well maybe next time,” or, “Aiyoh, who will look after my grandkids when I am not around? Never mind better let the younger ones go… they have more energy any way.”
You know what? You’ve missed out. I am over 60 this year, and over the last six years I have gone on four Couriers mission trips – I have crossed a river on a bridge fashioned from a single bamboo pole; ridden pillion on a motorbike through two streams; drunk warm milk fresh from a cow; taken a 14-hour bus ride teetering off roads that were cut around the hills with nothing between us and a steep drop to nowhere; played with a little piglet that we named (hoping that he was not our lunch); and experienced one bad bout of food poisoning. I have zero regrets, as having witnessed many miracles, I have been blessed with a lifetime of memories that I will treasure.
My first Couriers trip was to Surabaya, Indonesia – and what affected me most, was the big pleading eyes of the children, hungry for love.
God has put a love for Myanmar in my heart, and I have made three Courier trips there. My first trip to Yangon was special. I got to minister with my two daughters and their cell group. One hour after we arrived from the airport, we had to jump off the back of a truck, and I had the daunting task of being the first one up to share in the main church service, while all the younger ones adjourned to do children’s ministry, leaving the team leader to support me. I also made my first big blunder of not giving an altar call! But our God always gives us second chances.
On that first trip to Myanmar, my daughters and I really connected with a lovely little girl, Rebecca at Ps Nandar’s Orphanage. She was then about 13. Two years later, on my second trip to Myanmar, I was waiting under the shade in the orphanage, when Rebecca saw me from afar, and ran up to me to give me a big hug – melting my heart, knowing that she still recognised me.
This second trip was slightly different. Half the team as well as the team leader were members of my cell group. We spent more time encouraging pastors of our affiliate churches. It was so good to go into the villages in and around Yangon. I remember one village head invited a whole group of Karen Christians and we prayed for them to be born again and to be Holy Spirit baptised!
On my last trip to Dawei, Myanmar, in December 2015, we were privileged to be the pioneer group from Singapore. Dawei is a 14 hour bus ride from Yangon. In preparation for the village outreach we were told to wear slippers and not shoes as we had some stream crossing to do. Little did we know that after our truck dropped us off, we were still 1km and two streams away from our destination. The high humidity and the slippery, muddy path, proved to be quite a challenge.
As usual, Jehovah Jireh was my Provider, and He gave me a knight in the form of the Assistant Pastor who pulled up alongside me on a motorbike and asked me to hop on. This was a memorable first motorbike ride for me along slushy paths and across two running streams. Christmas outreach was fun and we were richly rewarded with the stretching of 70 gifts being distributed to over 100 villagers! We were also blessed with 20 salvations and many new friends! We had also packed bags of groceries for the poor and it was such a joy as each team member took turns to share the Good News. Once again God favoured us with another 20 salvations!
Couriers is for everyone. Age should never be a barrier. And the challenges? They are there for you to overcome. It really is easy to be part of Couriers. Just look through this booklet. Select where you want to go and when you want to go. Training sessions are provided and planning meetings are held to help you assimilate yourself with the other team members before heading out. Remember, there are endless opportunities waiting for you and it is really a beautiful experience to travel with the younger members of our Cornerstone family!
It is often said that wisdom comes with age. On this note, I would like to share the Lord’s reminder to me in Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
By Ruby Chew
This is part of a three-part article, “Missions is for All Generations”. You can find the full article here.
A loud “Woo-Hooooo! Woo-Hooooo! Woo-Hoooooo!” broke the strains of our melodious choir. I jumped. Whoa, what’s that? I turned toward the sound, only to find Esther on her hind legs, in upright posture right next to me, “singing” in rhythm with the girls at Shalom Home.
The dog at the Home truly lives up to her calling. Like Esther in the Bible, she barks and howls excitedly whenever the girls at the Home belt out her favourite songs.
Our mission team—Sri Lanka 03—comprising eight adults and two tweens were amused at the singing dog, but more surprises awaited us the next few days.
Our Mission / Prior to our Trip – Pray and Prepare
Our team spent five full days with twenty-four girls, between the ages of two and seventeen, at Shalom Home, Maskeliya, Sri Lanka. Prior to our trip, the team met about five times to worship, pray, plan, practise and pack. The time spent seeking the Father aligned our hearts with His and guided our planning. One of my greatest takeaways from these meetings is the reminder that “the more we seek God, the greater is our ministry.”
A New Lease of Life at a New Home with a New Family
The twenty-four girls have been abandoned, orphaned or come from families with a history of abuse and domestic violence. Shalom Home is aptly named and surrounded by tea plantations. It provides the girls with a tranquil, peaceful, safe and secure environment. It is an ideal place for them to start on the path to their new life, and it is a place where they get to know the Abba Father and be immersed in His love.
It is heartwarming when we spot the older girls helping and comforting the younger ones. The care and love they shower on one another exemplify the meaning of family. Despite the adversities they have faced, the girls, having witnessed the love that the matron and the founders of the Home shower on them, do likewise.
One of our team members, Adrena Yeo, said, “Personally, it’s the amazing assurance that God won’t leave nor forsake His children, no matter how remote a place they are in! I’m comforted to know that the girls are safe in Shalom filled with peace, love and joy, rather than in an unhealthy environment.”
A Home of Songs and Prayers
A Life of Worship
The girls practically live on songs. They have a broad repertoire of Christian songs in English and Tamil. Grace is sung before and after each meal. A “Good Night song” is sung before they turn in for the night. Singing about Jesus lights up the faces of the girls, and they lapped up the new action songs we taught them. The best is always reserved for last, so it was a privilege to serve as His mouthpiece to sing the Aaronic Benediction—a priestly blessing—over the girls. I watched their faces fill with quiet assurance as they listened intently to the lyrics or simply let the music wash over them.
Team dancing with the girls
If singing is part of their lifestyle, then dancing to Christians songs is their favourite pastime. The older girls choreograph their own upbeat dance moves— a mix of classical and hip hop— to the music of Christian songs. One of their and our favourite dance routines is Kiruba Kiruba, a catchy song about His mercy and grace. Surely, I had to ask for a double dose of His grace and mercy to descend upon me when the girls taught us this fast-paced, funky dance.
Generals and Prayer Warriors
The Father showed me that He has called them to be Generals and Prayer warriors. Prayer is a common sight in the Home. Girls as young as eight and eleven- years old volunteered to pray during our daily devotions. Four of the girls, sitting for their O levels, prayed in a corner before setting off for their exams. Before we set off for our one-day trip, their Matron also rallied them together to pray.
One of the girls told me on that on her 2nd day upon entering the Home, one of the older girls showed her Psalm 91 and encouraged her to memorise it. She said that for the seven years she has been in the Home, Psalm 91 has seen her through her fears. Psalm 91 is about seeking the refuge of the Father, our Protector. This speaks volumes about the girls’ situation and how they cope with the challenges they face. Her sharing makes me wonder how many people have tried memorising a chapter, not verses, of the Bible? By the way, Psalm 91 only has sixteen verses.
The Father’s Heart: Dance with the Father
The overarching theme of our programmes was the Father’s Heart. Each day our Biblical stories, games, art and craft activities quizzes, puzzles and colouring activities and devotions revolved around different topics of the Father’s Heart: the Father’s Promises, the Father Provides, and the Father Protects.
Sharing the Gospel using stickers!
Girls learning to make a loom band cross
Loom band cross
One of our memorable moments was the sermon shared by our team leader, Cheryl Lek. She shared her experiences about the Father’s heart and how at her last birthday, she asked the Father for a gift: A Dance with the Father. The preaching was followed up by an altar call. Every girl responded including the live-in staff. A blessed time for us to pray words of encouragement and to speak prophetically into the lives of the children and the live-in staff!
Cheryl, the Preacher!
Our evening devotions built on the theme of the Father’s Heart, with the last day culminating on the topic, “Forgiveness”. Breaking into our smaller devotional groups, the girls shared their fears and their dreams for their future and on the last day, they spoke about their loved ones whom they would like to forgive. I believe the team found these sharing moments with the girls immensely moving.
And we ministered to the girls, once again, to ask for forgiveness for those who have hurt them.
We went to Bless, but they Blessed Us
We went to bless the girls, but they blessed us instead. On this trip, members of the team including myself encountered several firsts. I thoroughly enjoyed my endeavour in painting, not on canvas but on walls and sculpting new balloon models, neither or which I had done before. Most of all, this trip has sharpened my prophetic lens. Throughout our stay, I received revelations from the Father about Sri Lanka and confirmation of my new divine adventure. So this mission has unexpectedly geared me up for the brand new year ahead!
This trip has encouraged missions’ first-timer Adrena Yeo to “look forward to serving on the next mission trip”. She added, “I can’t wait to witness His mighty works! I’m blessed by the children’s purity, love and joy despite their backgrounds, all because they have been saved.”
Kek Lay Yan, having gone on several missions, said, “The girls at Shalom Home are a blessing to me. I am so touched and amazed at their love for God. The Father loves all of his children, and he looks after them. I am so thankful for the short time spent at Shalom and the opportunity to share some of the gospel stories with them. The keen looks on the children’s face not only encouraged me but also added joy to my teaching. It is not about how much we can do, but how much God can use us and bless us through it all.”
This year was my second mission trip via Cornerstone Couriers. I would like to thank Cornerstone for providing the platform for me to have the opportunity to involve in short term mission trip. Sri Lanka was our third choice when the team signed up for mission, we didn’t expect we will be selected to go there. We were excited about it even before the trip. We sensed that God has something prepared for us in Sri Lanka. It must be His divine arrangement!
The Lord impressed in our hearts His love as a Father when we prayed and seek Him after we knew that we will be going to a Boys Home to minister to the children. Just as He wants us to know that each of us is wonderfully created by Him and He has a plan and destiny for each of us, He wants us to bring the same message to the children.
During the trip
During the trip, we also received words and visions from some cell members who were praying for us. It was amazing! God revealed to them what He was going to do with the children. One of the visions was our Lord Jesus giving seashell to each child; each of them is unique just like the seashells, every seashell is different in its shapes, forms, colours and pattern. I have thousands of seashells at my house, of different family and species, every time my husband showed me a specific seashell; it is always in unique pattern and colour. Admiring them will lead me in awe of God’s creativity.
During one of the team devotion in the morning, I saw a vision of a wooden fence with sheep. The Lord touched me, my heart was tendered by Him, He reminded us to feed His sheep, and this is the most practical way to show our love to Him.
During a briefing session by Sister Theresa from Kidznet, she prayed for the team and the word “forgotten” touched my heart so intensively. The Lord remembers those who may have been forgotten by the society. The Lord impressed in me His tender heart towards the children. He also downloaded His tender heart into me.
The dynamic of the team was good as we are from the same cell group and we already know each other rather well. Even though there were disagreements sometimes but we worked together with same mind and same Spirit to fulfil the same goal and purpose. Philippians 2:1-8 described the attitude of the team throughout the whole trip. Praise God and glory to Him.
After the trip
I took about 1 week to recover from my motion sickness. But this was a very special trip for me as I could sense in my spirit that God is doing something in me. He affirmed me like a father and I wept like a child in His bosom. He is telling me that if I know that He loves me, there is nothing else to fear. He wants me to be rooted in Him!
Dawei, Myanmar mission trip reflections (1-8 Dec 2015)
On the 1st of December of 2015, a team of eight inter-generational Cornerstone members set out for the land of Dawei in Myanmar. Dawei is a small tropical town in the southern part of Myanmar, and lies home to an estimated population of 139, 000 people. Our ministry focus was to minister to Cornerstone Community Church (CSCC) in Dawei, and its affiliate, namely, CSCC Mae Chaung in the Mae Chaung village. CSCC Dawei, now in its tenth year, is a church plant out of CSCC Yangon, currently headed by Pastor Than Hlay.
Our trip to Dawei was not short of an eventful one. Upon our arrival at Yangon, we were greeted with a 14-hour bus ride up to Dawei through a midnight coach, and it certainly was one kind of an experience for many of us! When we arrived in Dawei, we wasted no time in packing the gift packs for the villagers in the Mae Chaung village and purchasing oil and shampoo which was too heavy to be brought from Singapore. After lunch, we started “ministry” by conducting a prayer walk around significant places of Dawei (physical gates into the city like the bus station and airport, and other gates such as education gate and family gate represented by the university and playground respectively as well as the church). We planted saga seeds as a prophetic act of applying the blood of Jesus around this city. Each night, we ministered at various home cells and one team member will share a testimony or short exhortation on the Word of God or the Father’s Love. Home cell is a daily activity practiced in CSCC Dawei and everyday, with the exception of Sundays, we visited different home cells. They were all eye-opening, and heart-warming moments where we witnessed the hunger and zeal of the Burmese people for the Love of God.
On the 2nd day in Dawei, the team headed for Mae Chaung village. With hearts stirred and spirits soaring, the team took a ride on a little lorry singing praises to the strums of the guitar till we arrived at the foot of the village. From this point, we tracked into the village that us on a 30-minute leisurely hike through a rubber forest and waded across several surprisingly clear and refreshing streams. Our time in the Mae Chaung village was spent performing an evangelistic Christmas skit, which saw the salvations of almost 20 villagers! We also gave out gift packs with some daily necessities and munchies to families and individuals. Later in the afternoon we did house to house visits, where we continued to bless the villagers with gift packs comprising of household necessities. More than just bringing gifts, we also brought the love of Jesus to each household and witnessed another 20 salvations! A team even witnessed the deliverance of a villager!
The subsequent days were spent at youth fellowship meetings and church services in the church building. Different team members took turns to bring the Word, and it was an impactful time as we saw the encounters the people had with God. We also had a considerable amount of time to fellowship with the passionate and on-fire youths of Dawei. We visited a scenic and serene beach called Maung Magan beach and even went for a hot spring together with the youths in the church. It was a wonderful platform where kindred spirits of the Singaporeans and Burmese knitted.
On the second last day of our time in Myanmar, we flew back to Yangon for another youth meeting, where we again shared on Cornerstone’s vision for revival, and rallied for the arising of the next generation. We concluded the trip with the celebration of one of our team member’s birthday, and our host – Pastor San Min and Pastor Tabitha – baked a wonderful cake for her. It was also at this point that the Yangon team from Singapore reunited with our team from Dawei, and we inspired each other with the different stories of our experiences.
We ended our trip with grateful hearts and sentimental feelings of the trip coming to a landing. Exchanging goodbyes and snapping as many pictures as we could, we thanked our prime host, Pastor Joseph, who was an excellent pillar of support, and also served as our translator for most parts of the sharing and conversations. It certainly was a mission experience that would serve as a milestone for many of our lives!
Our mission trip was from the 24th to 30th of July. Our team consisted of four girls and two of us had never been on a mission trip before. We were really fortunate to have the whole team coming from the same cell group, so it was a lot easier for us to share our deep thoughts with one another, and to be honest and share our worries before the trip (saving us the trouble to break the ice). We had three to four prayer meetings before the trip. It never occurred to me that prayer meetings were important until this trip. During these meetings, we prayed for protection, confirmation, peace, guidance and visions of what we would be seeing in Jogja. We carefully noted these pointers and the visions some of us saw – all in our secret notebook 🙂
~ Us on the plane.
Pastor Sarlin planned our entire programme. Our accommodation, food and transport were all well taken care of. It is good as we were able to focus on the ministry itself, especially when two of us were new to mission trips, not knowing what to expect and how to prepare.
Cornerstone Jogja holds its services and meetings in Grand Zuri Hotel. They have the privilege to do that because the General Manager (as well as our translator for most of the sermons) is one of the members in Cornerstone Jogja. We stayed in this hotel too for all six nights.
The members in this church are really friendly, especially some of the youth leaders. They are so full of energy when they are serving the Lord. From the setting up before and cleaning up after the service, to leading worship, to welcoming the members who came for service, to bonding people together and bringing us around, the youth leaders there are really responsible and they listen to their pastors. All four of us were amazed at how passionate they are in serving, especially when they lead worship. They sang at the top of their voices and the love they have for Christ just overflowed and filled the whole congregation. Even though most of the time we were not able to understand the lyrics because they were in Bahasa, the presence of God was so strong and we really enjoyed the worship in Jogja. This is probably the moment I missed the most in Jogja.
~ Youth leaders leading worship.
Pastor Sarlin brought us to visit a few congregation members’ homes to visit while we were there. It was a very big step for a few of us because this was the first time we shared our testimonies, messages and prayed for people we do not know. In my mind I always imagined that there will be a get-to-know-you time before we actually started sharing or praying for them. However, that was not the case. We were expected to be ready to share at all times. How do we know what would be relevant to share or what are their prayer requests? Most of the time we really had to rely on God with regards to these questions. God is good and He answers our prayers. He never fails to guide us on what to share and what to pray for the locals. Each of the homes had its own story, and we learnt so much about God and the amazing things He could do through us from each visit. We were there not only to bless the locals, but to encounter God as well. One of the most interesting experiences during the visit was to see our visions we had during pre-trip prayer meeting being fulfilled. Words could not express how excited I was when we realized that the visions came true one after another! It was really cool.
In addition to house visiting, our team had the privilege to join the church members for their baptism class and their actual baptism, which was held at the swimming pool in Grand Zuri Hotel. The night before their baptism, the baptism candidates were gathered at Pastor Sarlin’s house. That night was pretty similar to “a day away with God” that we had for Cornerstone baptism class. They wrote down their past sins on a piece of paper and took turns burning the paper with a candle that was placed in the centre of the living room. It is really interesting how they carry the “repentance of sins” out in this manner, and they really wanted to see every corner of the paper being burned. If there was a small corner that was not burned, they picked up the paper despite it being really hot, and continue to let it burn until it all turned into ashes. Grace, our team leader, shared a message (on Galatians 2:20) that was prompted by the Holy Spirit before they burned their piece of paper (Yes, God works in mysterious ways). After they burned the paper, we began to go around and pray for each candidate. Three of them were slain in the spirit and God’s presence was really strong too. The first lady who was slained said that she saw Jesus pulling her out from darkness into light. The second lady said she saw Jesus embrace her into His arms. That was so amazing!
~ Burning of the past sins.
~ Baptism. There was so much joy in each of them when they were baptized.
Cornerstone Jogja also has a Christian programme on a Christian radio channel. Pastor Sarlin started this radio channel four years ago. We were invited to join the radio talkshow. It started with a short praise and worship, so a few of us just started worshipping the Lord in the small recording room. Fiona shared a verse and Grace shared her testimony after that, followed by a long Q&A session where everyone listening could call in and ask questions. Those questions really challenged our fundamental beliefs, and made us reflect on whether we have these basics right. Some examples of the questions that were asked are “What’s next after you have accepted Christ?” and “Why are our problems not solved after we accept Jesus Christ?”
Besides doing work for the ministry, Pastor Sarlin and her husband, Pastor Yen, also brought us around to try the delicious Jogja food. We got to shop around on Jogja’s streets too.
This trip was more than just visiting overseas churches. We formed unique bonds with the locals as we prayed for them. We learnt more about God and how important it is to walk right with God before we can reach out to others. We saw how much God can do through us to touch lives. We recognized that spiritual warfare was real, and that the devil will always attack if we are off-guard. On a mission trip, there is no way we can hide if we were not spending enough time with God in our daily life, or if our walk with God was unstable. This trip really taught us, pushed us and transformed us so much. Before the trip, we thought that we had a lack of manpower – there were only four of us! However, God used each of us in different ways and I actually liked a smaller team so that everyone gets to encounter God in a more powerful way. I will definitely sign up for mission trips again. But this time round, I want to be more prepared before I go for my next one.
Being a varsity ministry, it was indeed apt that the main agenda for our trip was to do street evangelism at various Cambodian campuses; namely Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), International University (IU) and Sen Sok High School (SSHS). For many of us, the prospect of approaching strangers in a foreign land was initially an intimidating one. However, this was soon overcome once we met the warmest and friendliest students, who were more often than not willing to talk with and engage us. It was also surprising to learn that many of them had actually heard about Jesus before. Indeed, the seeds are already sown; God is moving in this nation!
Just as we were set to continue our campus evangelism the next day, our plans were met with dismal news- school had been cancelled for that day! Questions raced through our minds – With no students around, how do we get the harvest? We decided however, that we would do a prayer walk around the campuses and we confidently headed out to IU. After 15 minutes of prayer walking, we were suddenly called into an office within the campus. It turned out that the university’s Deputy Director of International Relations had learnt that there was a group of Singaporean university students on campus, and wanted to discuss opportunities for future cooperation! It was amazing how doors were opening, just like that! What a miracle! We were beyond amazed at what God was doing as we watched the Deputy Director converse with our two team leaders. God was teaching us that things don’t always happen the way we want it… because His ways are undoubtedly the best! Never fear!
We continued to be greeted with more open doors at SSHS. Although school was cancelled, there were a few students on campus. Our time spent here was equally special as it was as if God had singled out the very people He wanted us to talk to. This was clear when two of our team members approached a student and eventually led him to Christ. What was amazing was that the testimonies of our team members spoke squarely to the exact problems and struggles that this student was facing! Hallelujah!
The culmination of our evangelism was a youth fellowship event held at a national park. The programme started with us putting up a skit for the attendees. One of our team leaders then shared the gospel as well. Although it started raining halfway, the sharing continued, and a number of people responded to the call for salvation even amidst the rain! Games and lunch then followed, which gave us a chance to interact with our Cambodian peers.
Seeds of faith were definitely taking root in all our hearts as we partnered with God to step out in boldness and live out Mark 16:15 every day. We grew in boldness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit; which propelled us to rise up and claim His promises for the Cambodians we met and also for ourselves. Many of us also experienced personal breakthroughs that we never expected and some even received words of knowledge about their individual destinies!
Indeed, we left Singapore ready to touch the Cambodians with His love, but we could have never imagined how impacted we would be by our Cambodian brethren in return. Our Cambodian contact, Vuthea’s dedication and selflessness to our team touched us greatly. Aside from being the Assistant Pastor of Covenant Church Phnom Penh, Vuthea also oversaw all its operational aspects. His wife had just given birth and on top of that, his new born baby daughter was also unwell, but he sacrificed his precious family time to spend these five days with us- bringing us for our outreaches and settling every minute detail of our logistics so that we could be comfortable and at peace. We were also very thankful to be able to labour in unity with our translators in the various schools we did street evangelism in.
Regardless of the fact that we had only spent a total of five days in this beautiful Cambodian Kingdom, every single day was testament to God’s potent goodness and faithfulness. From our morning devotions we had together with Vuthea and our translators; to our moments of joy and laughter over our meals, it was so beautiful how God had taught us so much about His heart for people in the nations.
On our last night with our gracious hosts and translators, the silent tears concealed in the night were testament to how we had all become a family united by His love and purpose- despite the fact that we hailed from different lands. It was hard to say goodbye- all of us had experienced joy, hardship and triumph as we laboured together and the Cambodians we met had left pieces of their hearts with us.
Before we left for Singapore, we had the privilege of attending a Sunday service at Covenant Church Phnom Penh. We put up a song item and two of our team members shared their testimonies with the congregation. It was a beautiful way to end our trip on Father’s Day and we were reminded of our Heavenly Father’s love and promises as we spent our last few hours with the Cambodians.
We speak confidently on behalf of the team, that we will definitely be back in the mission field – to be His hands and feet in the nations.
On 25 September, our team of 8 set off to Chiang Rai, a province in Northern Thailand. Home to a myriad of hill tribes, our team worked in collaboration with the Akha Outreach Foundation (AOF), started by Pastor Aje and Sister Nancy in ministering to the orphans and the Akha villages. There are a few takeaways that have made this trip unforgettable for us.
On one of the night sessions, Leslie shared with the children and youth on how the song ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ spoke to him as a child and how God had brought him through his life. We then took the opportunity to minister to the children. Particularly, our team learnt that most of the children were going back to their villages the following week. This was something daunting for the children as many of them came from broken homes and did not have good relations with their parents.
Personally, it was my first time ministering and I did not know what to expect. Before praying, I thought to myself as to how much would the people I would be praying for understand what I’m praying due to the language barrier and since there will be no translator. But as our team began to lay hands on each individual and pray, the Holy Spirit began to move. Many were crying as the Holy Spirit began to minister. I too, whilst in a position of ministering, was touched by God’s presence and by how He was ministering to the children and healing their hurts. The Holy Spirit at work enabled them to receive in the Spirit although they may not have understood what was being prayed over them in the physical.
Sister Nancy subsequently told us that one of the boys had come up to share with the other children and youth the next day that the previous year he was supposed to go on an internship, but had instead engaged in smoking and drinking. During the ministry time, he was convicted of the wrongdoings and repented. He even told the rest of the youths not to follow in his footsteps. Praise the Lord!
Our team was also given the opportunity to minister to the staff at AOF. Prophetic words and promises were released over the staff that morning during the time of worship. Later on, one of the staff had said that the word of encouragement shared by the Cornerstone team was a poignant reminder for her to surrender her desires to God. Another too, shared that a word of knowledge and prayer by our team member, Ah Lay, had spoken and ministered to her deeply.
During the trip we also visited Huey Yuak, the most remote village under the network of AOF, to visit and minister to the Akha Church. Saddled on top of a hill was a church with a congregation of about 15-20 people. Esther, one of our team members shared a word with the congregation on Kingdom Living. Thereafter, an altar call was given to those who would like to be prayed for. Most of the members lined up in the front to receive a prayer of blessing or for healing. Similar to the earlier situation, there was no translator to translate every single word of our prayers for the people. But as we spoke in tongues and prayed over the individuals, the Holy Spirit began a work in them. An Akha woman in her traditional headdress, who looked like an elder in the village, had tears in her eyes too. This was something extraordinary as we had been told that the elders in the village tend to be more emotionless and serious. Nevertheless, God must have deposited something in them that touched the deepest end of their hearts. The Holy Spirit indeed is the universal language that transcends all language barriers.
The team with the church pastor and her husband
Esther, with two of the church members
We also visited another village and prayed for the silver smith’s son. He had a knee injury and we began to pray for healing. Later, he said his knee felt better and a headache he had been having since he woke up had left him. Subsequently, our team leader, Yunhe, felt led to ask if there was anything he was worried about. In the presence of his parents, he answered that he wanted his parents to get along with each other. Sister Nancy then explained to the couple the importance of loving each other and the impact it has on their children. She then led the husband to apologise to the wife. It was truly a touching moment to witness reconciliation, especially when patriarchy is deeply entrenched in the Akha culture. To top it off, that day happened to be their son’s birthday. What a precious birthday gift this was to him!
(Top) Praying for healing & (Bottom) Seeing marriages restored
The second couple we prayed for was also having problems in their marriage ever since the husband fell from the roof of their house. We worshipped the Lord and prayed for them and the wife later told us that she felt that the burden was lifted from her.
Throughout the trip, there were many other opportunities to pray for the sick, the hurting and to minister to the churches and households in the villages. As it says in the book of Philippians 3:10-11; “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Amen.
For a team of ages 17 to 21, we’ve never been to the Philippines before and for most of us, it wasn’t just our first mission trip, but a trip of many ‘firsts’ as well. Needless to say, we were all extremely thrilled at the thought of being able to be a part of what the church in Marikina is doing.
After an unexpected 2-hour flight delay, we finally touched down in Marikina, Philippines in the morning and were welcomed by Pastor Kathy and team. We headed straight to the under the bridge community, where families were literally living under bridges.
We spent the day having our first taste of interacting with the locals there, followed by praise and worship, a song item and sharing of testimonies by Shawn and Celine. A salvation call was given and three responded! Subsequently, we helped serve food and distribute clothes and necessities to the families.
In the evening, we made our way to church where we fellowshipped over a home-cooked meal before their mid-week service began. Jun Liang shared a message about the power of God that resides in us and going forth. Though the turn-out was small in comparison to their main service, we found out that their mid-week services was also a form of training ground for the people to exercise their gifts, be it in praise and worship, emceeing or preaching!
The next day, we visited the women’s prison. This was something we were long anticipating, having heard stories of how the women worshipping God sounded like angels singing. We entered their maximum security facility, where most of the women were serving a maximum sentence for offences such as drug trafficking. We had no idea what to expect when we eventually reached the facility where the service was held. Indeed, the sound of 150 women inmates as they sang felt so surreal. There was something about the way they wept as they worshipped and the way they exclaimed with joy, “We are free!” that left an impact on us – a form of liberty despite captivity. Wei Jian shared his testimony while Shawn preached about the presence of God. An altar call was given and every single woman raised their hands as they responded to the message and gave their hearts to knowing God and spending time in His presence more. Our whole team was in tears at the end as we witnessed how God was moving in that place.
On the third day, we visited the old folk’s home in the morning and the orphanage in the afternoon. We had a great time interacting with the old folks. As we were youths, we were initially a little intimidated to take the first step to interact with the Lolos (grandpas) and Lolas (grandmas) there, but all that was gone when we were greeted with warm smiles and hugs. They prepared a dance item for us, and we moved on to praise and worship, a song item and then a skit of the Prodigal Father which they enjoyed very much. Zi Hao and Shawn shared their testimonies while Jun Liang and I headed to the backyard where some other old folks were chilling and shared our testimonies too.
One thing in particular that surprised me was how many of the lolas had come up to me after that. I had shared about how I used to struggle with feeling unwanted and unloved as a child before I knew God, so when the lolas came up to me after that, they smiled and looked me in the eye, held my hand, then hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. I felt so overwhelmed with love that tears began to well up in my eyes. When we went to the orphanage soon after, we were greeted by a song item from children aged 5 to 18. We sang, danced, performed a skit and Wen Jie shared a message about God’s purpose for our lives.
We spent the remaining of our time playing ice-breakers together and when it was time to leave, we left with heavy hearts. There was something about how the old folks had so much love to give, yet no one to give it to, and the children who needed love yet lacked the people who’d give it to them. At this point, though we’ve seen all the joy we’ve brought them, our hearts were broken too.
On the fourth day, we went to the girl’s home. The girls were extremely lively and inquisitive, and we had a great time together with them. After praise and worship, I shared my testimony with them about our worth in God. We then taught them songs and danced with them, and before we knew it, we had to leave once again.
There was a little girl named July whom I had spent the most time with, and as she began to grow more and more attached to me, I feared how painful goodbye would be when we had to eventually part ways. As a result, I started to busy myself with helping out in other areas. However, when I eventually returned to the hall where the girls were, I found July in tears. At first I was confused, but I soon realized that she was heartbroken when I chose to suddenly leave her alone. It struck me how the pain of having to say goodbye was more real for her than it was for me, because they have visitors on a frequent basis, and every time they start to open their hearts to them, they have to say goodbye again. Furthermore, these are girls who are unable to live with their families due to financial difficulty or abandonment. When we eventually had to leave, the whole path leading from the entrance of the home to the van was jam packed with girls as they cheerfully escorted us and chorused goodbye and “I’ll miss you.”
On the fifth and final day, we attended their main service and fellowshipped with the people there. As we made our way to the airport and said our goodbyes, we felt a little sad as we’ve truly enjoyed our time there and the friendships made.
Nonetheless, in those five days, we fed the homeless, gave out clothes and necessities to the poor, visited those in prison and those in homes. We sang, danced, acted out stories and played games with one another, but the key takeaway for us was truly coming to knowing God more. We may be young and we may not have much to give, but we’re glad we said yes to Marikina, and said yes to God. This whole experience has opened our eyes to see the heart of God and the vastness of His love in the process of it all, and our hearts are full. Kudos to the church in Marikina who do this on a constant basis!
The team to Yangon visited our ministries and had a chance to see the great work there. We decided we should share all our personal takeaways from the trip. Below are the thoughts from the team to Yangon, 24 – 31 Aug!
True to the Cornerstone Couriers 2015 theme of “Open Doors,” I thank God for a series of events and open doors that paved the way to join this mission trip. Grateful for a team of varied talents that gelled together as one in serving God.
I heard about the supernatural work God has done in Pastor Nandar’s Orphanage years ago and what a privilege it was to visit! There, I met God in a powerful way – and it wasn’t in the sanctity of a peaceful, comfortable church but out in a hot, rural farm. The children’s praise & worship was so moving, they sang with all their hearts, it wasn’t a soundproof room (only a shed) but yet the voices of the little ones were so loud! These children were powerful prayer warriors! Even a three year old girl could pray and the sick get healed. God was in that place! Some HIV positive people have been healed also. But nothing prepared me for the finale: when all the kids rushed out to us, laid hands and prayed fervently in the Spirit – every team member was touched to tears. There were puddles of tears on the floor after it ended. So much love. From orphans that nobody wanted – some were even rejected by other orphanages. God chooses the lowly of this world to confound the wise.
After each mission trip, my perspective in life is re-calibrated and I learn to be more thankful, complain less, and use my blessings for that which has eternal value.
Myanmar, you stole my heart! I was so blessed & drawn by your praise & worship. Although I do not know a single word you sang, your heart n attitude of worship with such gusto makes me want to shout it out loud with you.
Seeing a whole family of ministers co-labouring together for the Kingdom was extremely heartening. From father, son, wives & in-laws, all spearheading God’s work in different countries & arena, God must be so pleased. May many more generations arise & follow their parents footsteps to pastor Myanmar.
When man sees with our natural eyes, we see imperfection n incompleteness. When God opened my eyes, I saw wholeness & completeness in a crippled man… my heart was made full.
When your unwanted kids at the orphanage rushed to pray for us, I saw unconditional love … so simple, so pure.
Thank you Myanmar, will see you again!
Regarding the event: street evangelism, on the 24th of August –
The Word says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The only initial thought I had before going to this trip was “I’m just going to be a blessing.”
There are many thoughts I could write of this second trip to Myanmar. The sights, sound and the observations I had made. Yet there is one incident which made a lasting impression in my heart.
We were distributing the gospel tracks to pre-believers in the wet market along the streets of Yangon. The market is situated along the railway tracks. The weather was humid yet our spirits were filled with such joy; the simple joy of sharing Jesus on the streets.
There was this incident where a sister’s leg was caught in the mud and it broke her footwear. Without hesitation, she was offered a pair of slippers by a brother beside her, resulting in him walking barefooted throughout the duration.
The brother knew that he would have to walk barefooted in the entire journey yet he chose to offer his slippers to the sister.
I was touched by this selfless gesture; one that regards the need of others more than the impending comfort of oneself.
Many have taught on the generous giving for others, yet this brother had taught me on giving more than the numerous sermons I heard preached from the pulpit.. Giving and love is never to be taught but to be caught.. Never information but revelation.
“…in as much as you did to the very least of the brethren, you did it unto Me.”
One of my most memorable parts of the trip was when we were in one of the orphanages. Despite the limited facilities they have, the presence of God was very strong in that place. During the worship, you could see that the children were all so passionately worshiping God with their hands raised up and eyes closed; they were not distracted. All you could see in them is the love of God and the passion for God. Almost to the end of the session in the orphanage, the pastor of the orphanage got her children to pray for us. Every child as young as 7 years old was rushing towards us and laying their hands on us to pray for us. Despite the language barriers, you can feel their passion and enthusiasm of prayers. When the children had finished their prayer, none of us had no have tears in our eyes. During the trip, the pastor also shared with us stories of people getting healed when the children prayed for them.
In Genesis 21, when Hagar and Ishamel did not have any water and food, it was the boy who prayed and God heard his prayer. Therefore, do not despise the prayer of a child; instead train them to pray from young. This is one of my greatest take away from the trip.
-Goh Shi Hui
This was my first mission trip to orphanages, and it was an eye opening experience seeing children worship with everything within their being, passionately to the Lord Jesus. It was hot and humid under an open shed with only zinc roofing, but the Presence of the Lord was strong and the anointing of Holy Spirit was manifested. All of us were moved to tears by the children, who although were poor and had no material comfort; yet so rich in the spiritual sense. One incident impacted me tremendously.
Dinner was served in the dark under the moonlight. Later an adult had a portable lamp placed on table, but since it was a long table seating, some parts were dim. Suddenly a 7-year old boy ran and held a lamp high next to Ps Cameron in order for us to eat in comfort. Such sacrificial love and care touched my heart to the core. Eventually Ps Cameron persuaded him to place the lamp on table. This is God’s love revealed through this child.
I’ve really been blessed more than being a blessing. And I’ve been deeply impacted by the SOM graduates there. Even through the short span of 8 days I felt that God had blessed me with many precious friendships and encounters with each and every one of them.
It was really nice to talk to each one of them because despite the fact English wasn’t their first language they would walk up to you with this warm smile and genuinely create conversations with the limited English they have. The initiative they took was just touching to the heart.
To witness how God is moving throughout their lives was also amazing, especially during the presbytery where the Pastors laid hands on each and every one of them. I was so touched to hear what God has in store for their future. I really believe that something it’s going to happen in this nation, and it will start with these passionate warriors.
Thank you SOM students for the past week for this wonderful experience. i will never forget the friendships made and I really hope to see you all soon! We may be 2 in language but we will always be 1 in spirit 🙂
True to its theme, it was really an open door. Open doors to an eye opening experience. Open doors to other nations too. This is my first mission trip but definitely will not be my last. And if you are still pondering if you should embark on one I would encourage you to just go because to experience God’s wonders in the nations, it’s just something you won’t want to miss 😉
It was my privilege to spend 8 wonderful days in the city of Yangon together with such a diverse team! Each individual had a part to play; from the activities for the children, to friendships formed with the youth and others with the ability to connect with the adult cell group. The diversity proved to be extremely helpful and the group felt like a microcosm of the Body of Christ, and how each and every one of us has a role in the Body.
One of the standout experiences I had during the trip watching how inclusive and loving the children in Pastor Caleb’s orphanage were. Watching the older children take care of the younger ones, seeing the joy that they had throwing a frisbee around the front yard, and how they all functioned together during dinner time brought warmth to my hearth. It was lovely to see how the children mutually cared for and respected one another. This experience served as a reminder that at the end of the day, expressions of love to one another doesn’t have to be overtly complicated, it can just be simple and genuine.