Saturday, February 25, 2012

SUSOM 2012

I just came back from a life-changing journey with the SUSOMites and SU staffs. SUSOM stands for Scripture Union Students on Mission. It is a program for school leavers of 18-20 years old with the objective of exposing the ministry of serving the Lord in mission fields to the students. The following is my sharing during the closing dinner. A thorough reflection will be on my private blog. :)  

When I first signed up for SUSOM, I was not entirely clear of what we are supposed to do here. I only knew we were going to Cambodia at the end of this 3 weeks program and that’s it. What to do in Cambodia, that I don’t know much either but I do know one thing – this is how a mission should be, trust in the Lord that He will lead you in this walk of doing His work.
When I first came in late, I saw everyone has already bonded so well together, that’s my first fear – will I be able to fit in well? The answer to that, I will leave it until later on. We went straight to the Faith EFC IG Camp in the very beautiful Golden Sands Baptist at Port Dickson the next day. It really gave me a fresh sense to Inter-generation camps as it didn’t matter if you are 70 or you are 7, we all enjoyed the time together listening and doing a skit of a very prominent part of the gospel, and also repeated throughout SUSOM, Luke 5:1-11. Besides, I have also learnt to juggle between being a leader and a follower as we were facilitators to games as well as team members. It was also my first time witnessing baptism in the sea.
After a short relieve back here, we were off to Ipoh REACH again in just 3 days. For this REACH, we were all encouraged to share our testimonies in YF and CF. It was a good experience of applying what we have learnt in the workshop before to reality. I was assigned to conduct an ice breaker during the visit to Wesley Methodist YF and it was my first time conducting a game session. I thought I have planned it to the finest bit on paper and everything would turn out well, instead, that session was a total chaos. I was devastated but very much encouraged again when we have the de-briefing session later to discuss on improvements to be done. This is one very important bit that makes me to be not afraid of challenges, and really, take failure as a priceless opportunity to learn. And indeed, we all have learnt much from that experience. Next, 3 of us were assigned to do a session on “Faith” at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. I can’t describe how scared I was that time, so did I see the anxiety in my companions’ eyes too, yet we were sharing on FAITH. What an irony! We prayed, prepared and our first experience as “speakers” turned out to be quite an unforgettable experience at the other side of the podium. We were also exposed to the camping ministry when spending a night in the tent at SUFES campsite. Being a Sarawakian, who is supposed to be close to the jungle, I must say it was a really great first experience for me to do a night hike and I would very much like to do it again!
We were back in PJ for a day, and then we were off to Phnom Penh! I must confess that I was really afraid the minute we boarded the plane that I thought I have paid RM1800 to get myself into a big trouble. The Cambodians who sat behind us couldn’t understand English at all and the air stewardess was having a hard time trying to convey a very simple message. What are we going to do?! However, I soon find out, Phnom Penh was nothing like I have expected. The people here, especially SU Cambodia staffs were extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful. Plus, Cambodians cook really nice food like beef noodle and fried rice which explains the tightening of my pants over the course of only 6 days. But of course, we have to get to the serious business – we are here on a mission. I believe the message that glares at me throughout this trip is kids are precious to the Kingdom of God and I have learned to spend time with them to love them. Kids are no longer little devils, but little angels that taught me so many lessons, from the kids at the Orphanage at Centre of Peace to the kids at the slum areas and province. We danced, we sang, we jumped and we talked so much to get the Good news of the Lord to them and I truly pray that they do get our message. Many times, in our testimonies, especially of those from Christian families, we criticize of the vague memories of Sunday school we have, and how we didn’t take it seriously. Then, why do we actually travel so far to tell them about something they won’t remember? It is because it really does make a difference. If we were never told about Jesus when we are young, what if we next get the chance to listen about Him anymore? And how sure are we that these won’t be the guides that the kids will grow with later? Besides, we have also met a few interesting characters that sacrifice so much of their time, money and effort just to allow the kids in the slums to listen to God’s words. I was never exposed to children’s ministry this much before and I pray that God will give me a vision or courage to do something about the children and youth ministry in my hometown when I go back. Also, Act 1:8 has never struck me this hard before: You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. I was really amazed when I saw God’s words being translated, preached and discussed in words I can’t comprehend, song of praises being sung in a language so alien to me, to see believers in a culturally different setting. This is what Jesus meant by “to all nations”, "to the ends of the earth", and I believe there are really, much more to be done!
Apart from all these adventures, I have met so many people in the past 3 weeks that I must apologise that I couldn’t remember the name of every single new person I’ve met. They are so many interesting personalities but all of with great faith towards the same God that I felt so encouraged to truly follow Christ at all times. We’ve also met a missionary from North India that truly inspired me. Also, I must say that we are really blessed bunch of SUSOMites. We were so well taken care of in every place that we’ve been! From members of Faith EFC, to students in YF and CF, to the different churches we’ve visited, to the Long Sitha, Ravy, Sukun and many other SU Cambodia staffs that took great measures to ensure our comfort, and finally, our SU mamas and papas here. I couldn’t thank God more for this! And here’s the answer to my first fear: Can I fit in? After my first day in SUSOM, I felt I’ve known these bunch of peers that sometimes go cuckoo a bit for many years! It was a great experience serving the Lord together, isn’t it?
Under all the activities, we have to catch up on our daily journaling, quiet time and reading too. Prayers and bible study were constantly in the picture too! It was hectic, really hectic that many of us got sick after the Cambodia trip. We barely have enough rest in between each trip. But I must say, it was really a great adventure I’ve been blessed with. Going to places I don’t know, meeting new people every day, listening and sharing stories wherever we go – stories about how Jesus Christ has touched each of us despite our VERY DIFFERENT backgrounds. This experience has also opened up a new door to me as I experience so much joy in serving the Lord full time – how about being a full time missionary after university? J

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