At the orphanage. We took Polaroids of every child, made photo frames and asked them to write what they loved most about themselves, to affirm that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in Christ.
Generosity was the recurring theme of the day: a 13 year old asked to take a polaroid with Donna, then told her that it was for her to keep. Also, we made friendship bands at the girls’ home, but they actually outdid us by teaching us even more intricate knots. We ended up learning much more from them instead. At the end, a young girl called Angel even approached Christiane and gave her the beautiful friendship band that she had made.
This really moved us, as to these children, we were mere strangers. But they put themselves aside sharing what they had, just like the poor widow in Mark 12; her two cents were declared by Jesus as the largest offering of all, because it came from the heart. Their Christ-like hearts in that moment humbled and inspired us.
Day 4 – Cornerstone Marikina Sermon on Adoption
At Cornerstone Marikina’s Sunday church service, Gerald Clark, Founder of The Home for Good Foundation, shared his powerful testimony of adoption and his orphan-care ministry. Led by the spirit, Pastor Kathy closed with her story of her own two adopted babies and its accompanying struggles. This resonated with many of our teammates who’ve either been healed of orphan spirits in the past, or have a heart to adopt.
Pastor Kathy encouraged us that she has never seen the Spirit flow as strongly and freely as with our team – “You can tell that this team has prepared and prayed for their trip”. God had honoured our willingness to go beyond what was required! Let this be an encouragement for all who have yet to go out – intercession is crucial! The mission begins the minute you sign up.
Throughout the trip, it never ceased to amaze us how God has clearly given Filipinos such strong, innate musical giftings and a love for music as a nation. Through these, we can already see God moving and touching lost sheep in Marikina. It is a promise of much more in the future, where Philippines as a country will use music to save nations and bring countless people back to Christ.
We left Marikina with a deep burden to pray for more provision as well as labourers to continue sowing seeds in the hearts of Marikina’s children, elderly and homeless. With such little time spent there, we knew that more missionaries still need to come and help them foster a deeper heart change towards Jesus. Our earnest hope is for them to be surrounded by the unceasing embrace of our Father’s loving presence, and to know in their hearts that they are special, they have a purpose, and that they will never, ever be abandoned.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Christiane and Donna on behalf of the Marikina Phil 04 Team
Top to bottom, left to right: Joel, Terry, Pastor Monroe (Marikina), Victoria (Marikina), Rachel, Kate, Pastor Kathy (Marikina), Christiane, Donna, Li Min, Joshua, David, Matthias, Gabriela, Madeline and Spencer
The Great Commission resonated strongly in our hearts months before our flight. From the beginning, we made a commitment as a team to go beyond what was required: meeting weekly to intercede for Marikina, worship, bond and prepare thoroughly with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Because of the intentional seeds we invested in the hope of seeing God’s glory and power break through, we left for Marikina that day as a family on fire: 6 brothers and 7 sisters coming together to serve our Lord.
Together with Pastor Kathy and her team, we shared God’s Word, our testimonies, words of knowledge, home-cooked meals, and led the Filipinos in worship, dance, stories and activities. Many of us stepped out in faith to pray fervently for the people. We saw how our Father moved among His children; proving that He is a God of kept promises. He performed the same signs and wonders in the Bible that we were trusting Him for; the deaf heard, the lame walked, pain ceased, hearts opened, and people were healed physically, emotionally and spiritually!
Day 1 – Kamada Home (Street Families)
On makeshift benches in what looked like a run-down classroom, we dove right into ministry with 80 adults and children from Kamada’s street families; all living together in crowded quarters upstairs. Some young mothers carried their infants and sat amidst the crowd as Cornerstone Marikina’s team led worship, followed by Christiane’s beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” (pictured above).
After acting out the Sin-Chair skit, Gabriela taught about God’s promise to save those stuck in sin, and Donna shared about how God transformed her life. Despite it being their first time, it was humbling to witness how the Spirit flowed and tied everyone’s parts together seamlessly.
Some highlights from ministry time include an old lady who was mute and almost completely deaf since childhood, whose hearing was instantly restored after prayer. There was also a 10 year-old girl (below) paralyzed from her hips down since infancy, due to meningitis. After the laying of hands and intercession, she regained sensation in her legs and could stand and walk with aid for the first time in her life!
The boys were bursting with excitement when we began praise and worship, especially during our music performance. They mimicked all of our dance moves and we played Tug-Of-War (below). During Matthias’ sharing about identity, we noticed a change in the spiritual atmosphere.
Meanwhile at the factory, David preached about how God desires to deliver His children from their sin and struggles, sharing a powerful testimony of his uncle whose debts were completely cleared overnight when he trusted God for breakthrough. According to the full-time staff, that night was the first time he saw so many workers responding to an altar call (above: 60% of those attending), compared to the usual 1 in 10 people.
Day 2 – Old Folks’ Home
After a hilariously heartwarming dance medley by the Lolas, we broke into three groups led by Christiane, Joel and Spencer; each sharing their personal testimonies in different parts of the compound.
When Spencer ended his teaching in the main hall with the bold statement, “Jesus come and explode in healing”, throngs of old folks were moved by the Lord to respond to the altar call (below).
In the ward for well-behaved Lolas, there was an old lady who was previously wheelchair-bound and now in a walker due to severe leg pain. After praying once, she could stand for the first time in months, but still could not walk due to curled toes. So we prayed again – her toes uncurled and she was completely healed, walking around the room without any help or pain! From this, God taught us the power of persistence and prayer on the mission field.
Afterwards, we related a vision that God wanted to give her a special present. We encouraged her to ask God what was inside, and with tears in her eyes, she told us that He had given her a new pair of sandals. What boundless love and good gifts our Heavenly Father has for each of His children!
Looking back, divine healings followed wherever we trusted in the Lord and called upon his Spirit: swollen joints, stomach pain, neck stiffness, impaired vision and even paralysis from stroke were healed in Jesus’ name. Many arms and legs that could not move were now fully functional, swinging and kicking for all to see. God truly exploded in healing miracles that day!
Written by, Christiane & Donna on behalf of Marikina, PHI 04 Photography by Kate & Matthias
For most of us in the team, this missions trip to Philippines was our first missions trip. As such, the team was really excited yet, nervous, as to what this trip held in store for us. We set forth with expectant and open hearts to what God could do through this trip. Moreover, we also partnered with another team from Emmanuel Assembly of God (EAOG) for the entire duration of the trip which was indeed a blessing.
Our team photo at the airport before we embarked on our journey to Philippines!
The first place we visited was the women’s prison. Most of us held a preconceived idea that a prison will be a rather cold, unfriendly and dark place. However, the place was drastically different from what we imagined. The women were able to freely move around within the compound, and in actuality, these women were so full of joy that it did not dawn on us that they were in a prison. Our team prepared a special song item, titled “Good Good Father”, for the women. After the song was sung, Pastor Kathy said that she felt the presence of an angel singing alongside our team member who presented the song. This greatly encouraged us and set the tone for the rest of the session. A representative from each team took turns to give a message; amazingly, both teams have prepared a message from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. The message touched the hearts of the women and that they were thoroughly engaged, some were even shedding tears during the message itself. Indeed, the presence of God was evidently felt during the session.
Boys’ Home, Girls’ Home and Orphanage
The following places we went to were the boys’ home, girls’ homes, and the orphanage. Initially, we were a bit hesitant to take the initiative to approach the children. However, we soon felt at ease with them and we just realized that happiness can be so simple; just taking a photo with them, playing simple games, or even carrying them on our backs could plaster such huge smiles on their faces. It was then that Matthew 25:40 resonated so strongly in me. Whatever we are doing for these children, who were supposedly cast aside by society – a hug or just loving them – we were doing it unto our Lord Himself. Also, many of us told the children that they were beautiful, which reminded me of Psalms 139:14, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, each of them precious in God’s sight.
Our theme for the children’s ministry was dreams – how God has destined for them to dream big dreams that will glorify Him. Coincidentally, the team from EAOG was doing their ministry revolving around the theme of “Restoration”. When we pieced together our individual themes, we slowly began to see God’s overarching plan of how He wants to restore the children and then, dream big dreams for Him. We saw many children being touched by the Father’s heart and had an avenue to share the dreams that God has birthed in them.
The boys at the boys’ home posing with their handmade crafts!
One of our team members posing with the girls at the girls’ home (with the trademark Korean heart sign!)
Interacting with the children at the orphanage.
Old Folks’ Home
The last place we visited was the old folks’ home. It was a place that really left a huge impact in our hearts. Hundreds of elderly were housed within a small compound and some of the living conditions left a few of us in tears as we just felt so much empathy from within. However, during the later part of our session where we interacted with the elderly, we could feel that our companionship and conversations made them so joyful; that was enough to bring immense warmth to our hearts.
The elderly joining us for songs & dance!
On our last day of the mission trip, our team went to Cornerstone Community Church, Marikina. We first attended the main service with Ps Kathy preaching. When we reached the venue, instantaneously, it felt like our own service back at home! After a short lunch, we sat in for the Generations (youth) service. The atmosphere was lively after a series of games and forfeits. One of our team members shared regarding the season of rain to encourage the youths to press on for their school outreaches. Because of the typhoon that happened recently, some Geners went back to school for make-up lessons. However, thank God that many of the outreach leaders were present. When our team prayed for the youths, we were greatly impacted and felt that their hearts were so hungry and on fire for God.
One of our team members preaching with a translator.
Though we started the trip with another team from EAOG, we ended as one huge team – a body of Christ. It was so fascinating to see how our messages and activities were in sync. Even though we may be teams from different churches, we still serve the one and only true God. As what Ps Yang said, it takes a citywide church to bring in a citywide revival. We had the absolute privilege to see a glimpse of that in our time in Marikina. Overall, I can proudly say that it has been an extremely blessed mission trip.
Our last photo with Ps Kathy before we bid our goodbyes.
A team of 6 members comprising 4 sisters and 2 brothers embarked on our journey to Yangon with mostly first timers; except for myself, who was there last year for the children’s prayer retreat. We visited 3 sister & partner churches, two children homes, several homes and slum areas. On the first night, we were in awe of the worship by the students from the ministry school which opened heavenly portals. The abiding presence of God remained strongly felt as we continue the rest of our journey.
We visited two children’s home (Pastor Caleb’s and Pastor Nandar’s) and were overwhelmed by the children’s warm reception. We were also very impressed with how well-behaved the children were! They helped out with everything in the house such as cleaning the common areas, cooking, and the older children took care of the younger ones. The team put up a puppet show about the life of Daniel and played games with them. Everyone had a tremendous time together!
Prior to visiting Pastor Nandar’s children home, we felt that it was important to bless the children and to reaffirm their importance to God. As we spoke the words of blessing, we believe that there will be a change in their mindsets, not only catching a glimpse of who they are in Christ but also as mighty warriors, remaining as a lasting impression for them.
Our hosts brought us by train to the slum area to share the gospel. After splitting into 3 groups, we separated into the various alleys. The houses in the slum area were small. Most only had a room in which the occupants ate, rested and slept. Thank God for His grace as the entire experience was mostly easy for us. All we had to do was to share the gospel or testimonies and quite a number of the residents readily accepted Christ into their lives! It seemed as if the seeds had been sown and all we had to do was to reap.
We have recorded a total of 19 salvations and will keep them in prayer that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide them. For the rest of the families who have yet to receive Christ, we are grateful for this opportunity to sow seeds in them, and believe it is only a matter of time before they are saved.
Ps Nandar’s Ministry
Wednesday morning, after devotion, we went to Ps Nandar’s home where she occasionally holds her ministry for HIV patients and other invited guests. The people were from the vicinity of the village. The team shared their wonderful testimonies.
Lawrence preached a sermon on having the joy of the Lord. One of the villagers shared a testimony of how the Lord healed her. She was coughing blood and had to be admitted to hospital. They prayed the whole night for her and the next day, the doctor diagnosed that there was nothing wrong with her. All glory to God! A man brought his family for the meeting and his whole family of 4 received salvation. As the team ministered to the people, the Holy Spirit descended and the presence of God was very strong. It was truly a memorable morning.
Nga Su Taung Cornerstone Church
We taught them the power of the name of Jesus Christ and His blood, with a focus on how to deal with and be delivered from negative emotions. This was followed by practical training and declarations. During ministry, the Holy Spirit moved powerfully and the majority fell under His power and were touched. God is so awesome and we witnessed God’s love, power and glory that morning!!!
Syaloom! Our team pioneered the first ever courier trip to Gereja Bethel Rohulkudus (GBR) church in Batam.
Some #funfacts for you, readers:
The distance from Harbourfront to Batam is actually closer than Pasir Ris to Jurong!
I took about the same time to get from Batam to Harbourfront, compared to Harbourfront to my home in the northeast
GBR church is situated within the village area south of Batam. It serves the local community with the focus of running children ministry programs in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The meetings are often held in the various houses of the villagers. GBR also has about 20 Bible students, aged 16-30 years old, who reside within the church with the responsibility of running the programmes.
On our first children’s ministry session, I teamed up with Jeannie, Wei Kian, and 3 students. We headed to a nearby village about a 15-minute drive away. As we got off the vehicle and walked towards the house where the gathering was held (only accessible by foot), Daniel Aritonang – a son of GBR, started calling out the names of the children as we walked by their houses. One by one, we would see them excitedly run out of their houses and follow Daniel as we marched towards the gathering place.
Almost instantly, we were reminded of the gospels where Jesus called out His disciples to follow Him. From a young age of 2-10, these children gather at the house every week to worship, pray and learn about God. It was amazing to see the energy and passion that the Bible students had for God and the children. This same passion was reflected in the children during times of worship and prayer. Clearly, this is a picture of discipleship.
Daniel Aritonang (left), as he enters the house where the children gather
Children praising and worshipping God
The church runs such gatherings around the surrounding villages everyday, up to twice daily. It may also be done concurrently at different venues as the students are allocated to different places. As for our contribution to the ministry, we prepared crafts and games, which we would then use to illustrate a teaching.
Drawing and colouring on a paper plate crown to signify us being children of God I
Drawing and colouring on a paper plate crown to signify us being children of God II
Apart from children’s ministry, the team was often put on a spot when we were asked to share a word, a testimony or even sing a song. Thankfully, we had this covered as preparing a message was part of our pre-trip preparations. Over the next few days, we each took turns to share in the bible students’ devotional time, two youth services and two main services on Sunday. At times, we were led to pray for the students as well as various individuals among the community.
Praying for the daughter-in-law of Pastor Pantas and her son, Miguel who lived in the same house as us during our stay.
GBR is a church that spans way beyond its four walls. While they may not have much as compared to the churches in Singapore, Pastor Pantas Aritonang, founder of GBR, shared that 10 years ago, a missionary prophesied that there would never be lack in GBR; that God would provide for every necessity. From providing food for over 30 people residing in GBR daily, running children ministries all over, bills and many more – all these were evidence of His providence. God is doing a great work through GBR in Batam and we were indeed blessed to be a part of the GBR family for the 5 days.
Group shot with the GBR family at Barelang bridge
For most of us, Batam was our first mission experience. Despite Batam being so close to Singapore, we saw for ourselves how the two cities are worlds apart. Our hearts are enlarged as each of us return home with the question, ‘What about my community and how may God use me?’
P.S. I strongly recommend this trip for students and youth who may be tight on budget but wish to experience the mission field. Remember my #funfacts? Now go! And be a blessing to the nations.
One week after Kingdom Invasion 2017, I suddenly woke up in the middle of my sleep, and I heard God’s gentle whisper in my heart, “Ask of Me… Ask of Me…” Without thinking, my half-dazed response to God was, “Ask for what, Lord? … Lord, I ask for NATIONS!” The verse Psalm 2:8 immediately rang in my heart,
“Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” (Psalm 2:8 NKJV)
In Psalms 2, after God notes the rebellious state of the world and ridicules their pride, He affirms Jesus’ Kingship and Sonship, laying out this grand Messianic promise for the great end-time fulfillment – nations will be reconciled to God and the ends of the earth will come to know Jesus as Saviour and King. This theme of “Nations for Your Inheritance” rings consistently throughout the Bible – the Abrahamic promise in Genesis 12:3, to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, and through to Revelations. God is knocking on our hearts, calling for our attention to His great promise for the nations. Are we responding?
The exciting news for sons and daughters of God is that we are seated “together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Guess what, God is inviting us to be a part of His plan in bringing the nations back to Him for His inheritance! We don’t need to sit on the sidelines with popcorn and soda, watching this great promise unfold, and miss out on the epic action. God is calling us to ASK, contend, play our part to evangelize, and disciple the nations alongside with Jesus! What a privilege and honour He is offering to us, His children!
Missions to the nations have always been the core of who we are at Cornerstone. Right from the beginning, God laid on Pastor Yang and Pastor Daphne’s hearts that Cornerstone is to be a missions-sending church. Over the past 8 years, through our flagship Cornerstone Couriers annual programme, we have sent almost 3000 people on over 400 short-term mission trips around the nations, reaching tens of thousands of people, preaching the gospel, praying for and healing people, training up leaders and encouraging various local ministries.
This year is no exception. We are launching our Couriers programme this April! You can be a part of Couriers, as we plan to send out more than 400 people on 51 short-term trips into 11 nations. You can sign up by visiting our Couriers booth after our weekend services, or online via missions.cscc.org.sg/couriers. You can sign up either as an individual or as a cell group. Be a part of contending for the nations, for Jesus!
Besides our Couriers programme, we are introducing 3 new mission programmes to deepen our missions scope in Cornerstone:
1. Builders: For mature Spirit-filled believers with a passion for nations. Sign up to be a Builder to a specific nation or ministry, join a core group of Builders, and commit to 1-2 short-term mission trips per year for the next 2 years. Come alongside our nation pastors and local churches to build and strengthen the local ministries, with the various ministry and practical gifts God has put in you. As you go on our Couriers trip this year, do seek God about being a Builder to a nation in 2018.
2. Apprentice: Formerly known as “Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Programme” (COVP). For mature Spirit-filled believers with a call to long-term missions. Go, serve in one of our local ministries in a nation, for a time period of 3-12 months. Learn from the local ministry leaders and experience what life as a full-time missionary is like. This is a key stepping stone to answering the full-time call to missions!
3. Heart: Calling all medical practitioners in Cornerstone – doctors, dentists, chiropractors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Go, bless the local communities through our short-term Heart medical clinics on the fields, alongside our prayer and evangelism teams. “Bless Santiago 2016” has been a successful example of the power of combining God’s supernatural and medical healings in community outreaches, where hundreds of people encountered and received Jesus while being physically healed at our medical clinics.
God’s nations call to Cornerstone is loud and clear, through Heidi Baker’s New Year message and the various messages over Kingdom Invasion of Singapore’s destiny as “Antioch of the East”. It’s time for us to get out of our nests and soar into the nations, to ask, contend and disciple the nations, for Jesus and His inheritance!
God is calling. Are we responding?
Cornerstone Community Church
In February 2017, Pastor Daphne, Aileen, Priscilla, Annie and Zoie, visited the Akha Outreach Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand, to minister at their annual Akha Women’s Conference. The conference seeks to empower the Akha women and to serve as a time of refreshing and encouragement for many of them. Each year when we return, we hear of testimonies from the Akha women about breakthroughs that they receive the year before and the greater things that they are expecting the Lord to do!
Below is a short recount from Annie Boon, who is currently volunteering in church, about her trip with us to the conference:
When Aileen first asked if I would like to join Pastor Daphne and a team of ladies to minister at the Akha Women’s Conference in Chiang Rai, I did not know what to expect but was excited. To prepare for the trip, I asked Aileen a few questions beforehand as I felt that I needed to manage my expectations; particularly on accommodation, whether we would be staying in the village or in a hotel.
This trip opened my eyes to see missionaries reaching out to the tribes; it really encouraged me to see missionaries that were so obedient to the Word of God! As I have never visited a tribe before this, it was amazing that God is showing me how He is using available vessels for His good work to serve Him. It was heartwarming to see the Akha women coming together for the conference from their various villages. I could sense such a freedom in worship in these women and their strong trust in the Lord. They were being set free and filled with the Spirit of Joy! I will always remember their joyful hearts and the smiles on their faces.
I could see that the conference was a brilliant avenue for these ladies who come from the different villages to bond and encourage each other in the faith. Looking back, I realized that it was the simplicity of these women’s trust in God that causes them to receive God the most. This is especially pronounced when there is very little access for medical help in the villages so they have to depend on God and trust that He will heal them.
It is a privilege to be able to join this trip as I had learned many things about missions, the culture and what the Lord is doing in a nation apart from Singapore. As long as you are an available vessel, God can use you! Go, expose yourself to missions and see what God is doing in the nations!
In appreciation of Cornerstone Courier Team – unto the uttermost part of the earth in Cambodia
1-5 December 2016
When I heard that Cornerstone Church Singapore would be sending a “Courier Team” to Solomon Independent School, my first thought was that the Church might want to donate used clothes, old shoes, toys and leftovers through the services of DHL Courier. Thank God, things turned out even better. The Church sent a team of 13 members to the school instead. They arrived on 1 December 2016 by plane – not DHL Courier – and came in obedience to God’s calling to bless our children, pray for the sick, minister to the poor and needy and share the Gospel in Cambodia.
The Courier Team ministered, first and foremost, to the children of Solomon Independent School, through lively and meaningful activities. Parents and children were invited to celebrate Christmas together in school, where the Gospel was widely preached. We also had a wonderful time of fellowship with the local youths. The team further divided themselves into four groups and dispersed to visit many villages, giving out rice and dry rations as love-gifts. Our Cornerstone Couriers brought the Love and Blessings of the Lord to the doorsteps of the young and old, the poor and needy, the ailing and the lost. The sick received prayers of healing in Jesus’s name, and the Gospel was shared to many families.
We appreciate very much the video posted by Joanne, which presents a beautiful picture of the eventful time that the team spent with our School.
6-9 December 2016
Together with three Cambodian Pastors – Pastors Kea, Mok and Rom – Team Leader Luke and I extended our trip to Kampong Preah An, situated by the Mekong river, facing Laos. It took us several hours to arrive at the three villages there. The villagers were invited to assemble by the Mekong river, where we distributed rice and other rations. There, I supported Luke who was preaching by the Mekong river, in the footsteps of Christ preaching at the sea of Galilee. About 190 villagers from the three villages gathered to celebrate Christmas as one. Many came, and were given physical and spiritual food; many prayed the sinner’s prayer and received Jesus into their lives.
Our new believers soon faced some persecution: they were barred from drawing water from the well owned by non-believers. And so upon our return to Singapore, with the Church’s blessing and under Luke’s leadership, a sum of USD1,000 was raised immediately from Luke’s cell group. The money was sent over and has been used to build a new well – where ALL who thirst can come and draw the Living Water from the well. I believe the well-water must taste especially good, since Pastor Kea has just received requests from two other villages, Kampong Poh and Commune Selaumi, for us to build similar wells for them.
Before the trip, I questioned why I was signing up for mission trip. I felt in my heart that was time for me to go for missions. Miri was not my first choice, however, as I was praying, God brought that to mind. He reminded me that if I do not go then who will; for the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. I am really glad that I obeyed God and I have no regrets going. It changed my perception and I learned how to see from the heart of the Father and learning to see from His perspective.
The trip was held at a village called Rumah Ampik where helpers come from Cornerstone Singapore, Cornerstone Miri and BEM Cornerstone (Borneo Evangelical Missions). Most of us from Singapore did not know Bahasa Melayu so the other two churches helped as translators for us, and the youth camp coordination. I felt the Lord telling me that He loves this place and He wants pour His Love on this people here in the village during one of our trips to visit the campsite before the youth camp began.
Throughout the camp, when Pastor Sabrina preached about vision and action, I was so happy that almost all of the children have dreams of what they want to be in the future. Pastor Sabrina asked them to write down their vision and action plan in the paper to remember what they dreamed to do. Truthfully speaking, I was really blessed to be part of this mission trip because not only did we give, but we also received much from the trip itself. During the last night of the camp, kids were testifying of their dreams. One of the children name “Jane” wanted to become an evangelist when she grows up and another wanted to become a worship leader. There were many more testimonies of the dreams of children wanting to go into ministry!
As I looked back, I believe God has a lot more in store for us and He wants to see us walking in deeper intimacy with Him, stretching our faith. He wants to do a work of acceleration in our lives and bring us to a place where we desire to come to a place of full maturity in Him!
Our team of 7 members, began our mission adventure to Sri Lanka on 19th Nov 2016. For this trip, we were heading back to visit Shalom Home, in Maskeilya, where 5 of our fellow members had the opportunity to visit the year before. Hearing stories and anecdotes from these 5 members who had been to the girls’ home stirred up a sense of excitement and expectation in our spirits.
After a 4-hour journey from Colombo, we reached Shalom Home, nestled among the tea plantations. We were greeted by the girls who were eagerly anticipating our arrival – they presented us with fresh flowers, warm hugs and their brightest smiles. Later, they treated us to a performance of Sunday School Songs with actions that they had learned a year ago. It was a heartwarming feeling to know that they remembered what was previously taught! It reminded us of the verse in Matthew 21:16 – “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise”. The praises that came out of these children’s mouths was indeed of joy and praise to our heavenly Father!
During this time, we also had the opportunity to witness the love of Christ to a woman who was seeking refuge and shelter for her 3 sons due to family circumstances. Our team leader, Christopher, and Adrena ministered to her about the love of Christ and led her to Christ through the sinner’s prayer. As we had brought bags and clothing from Singapore to bless the girls, we offered some of these for her and her children. She was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, and mentioned later that she had never felt such love before. It reminded us of the command in the bible to take care of the fatherless, orphans and widows as in Psalm 83:3 – to defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Before she left the home, we reminded her to always fix her eyes on Christ and that God was her Jehovah Jireh, who will always protect and provide for all of her family’s needs. With the help of the supervisor of Shalom Home, we arranged 2 weeks’ provisions for her family from a nearby grocery store.
Projects at the home included painting a room that had been converted into a study room, teaching the older girls how to use the computer, and to sew with the new sewing machine from our project fund. We were also tasked with the opportunity to teach the older girls life skills such as budgeting. After the lesson, we brought them on a trip to the grocery store where we divided them into groups and accompanied them to purchase items from a shopping list. Through this experience, we hope to have helped instill the value of money to the girls which will be beneficial to them in future. The shopkeeper even treated us to free drinks when they found out that the girls were from the home!
We ministered to the kids through activities such as bible stories, games and craft. It was a joy to see the girls’ faces light up with delight as we engaged with them. One takeaway that we had learnt as a team was the beauty of simplicity – it didn’t take much for the girls to express their joy. On a particular night during the trip, we pumped balloons to entertain the little ones, and soon they were laughing and running around with one another in excitement and popping all the balloons! It was very reassuring and a joy for us to hear from the matron of the home, that after every bible lesson, the girls would share with her what they had learnt. What a great comfort this was as Proverbs 4:21 reminds us not to let the commandments of God escape from our sight and to keep them within our hearts.
Throughout the trip, we were blessed by the girls at Shalom Home, and we could see how they were ever passionate for Jesus. From our conversations with them, we found out that some of these girls wanted to be pastors in their future vocation. During one of the sharing sessions, we gave them the task of praying for one another and it was evident that they were prayer warriors as we witnessed them interceding for each other through the prayer list that they had made. Their zeal for Christ stirred within our hearts.
Being part of missions is indeed a joy and privilege as we are the salt and light of the earth and the world for Christ. This trip has indeed reminded us to continue to show the immeasurable love of Christ to his beloved children, and in return, we were blessed by the simple faith and actions of the girls from the home. We are indeed blessed to be a blessing to these girls and to others!