Before Christmas we went to India on a ten day mission trip.  We were living with an American missionary couple and it was a great experience for us. 

The lesson to stay flexible is a continuous reminder on this trip.  Originally we were supposed to go to visit churches in rural area.   We packed with basic necessities like drinking water.  Unfortunately, on the way there our guide’s father-in-law passed away.  We ended up going back to the city.   During our stay, we had the opportunity to visit a village church, a Bible school, a Christian medical hospital and various churches.

The Christians in India were very friendly.  We were always treated with warmest welcome.   Whenever we visit a gathering, they would always asked if we have anything to share (someone will translate into Telugu).

We also learnt to adapt to their culture.  For example, eating what they serve.  There’s no problem there.  Both Wai Jia and I loved India food and the food were fantastic.  It is common practice to eat with their right hand.  As such, I followed suit.  Women in churches would wear a scarf to cover their head.  Wai Jia also did the same.  It is important to either ask before hand and/or copy what the locals are doing.  Different cultures with different worldviews have different expectations.  We wanted to be mindful as we were on visitors.

One of the highlights of this trip was being asked to preach.   Though I always had vision of preaching in church but I never expected to do so in India.  Again, it is important to stay flexible.

I also realized the importance of praying in the Spirit and seeking the Holy Spirit before sharing.  After all, preachers are a mouth piece of God just like Prophets in the Old Testament.  We need to go before Him and asks what does the Holy Spirit wants to speak to this church.  Is it to encourage? Is it to rebuke?

After much praying, I felt that the Lord wanted me to speak on the Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).    We had limited access to the Internet while we were in India.  Again, another lesson learnt on the mission field, Bible knowledge off the head is important as we may not be able to access to online resources like BibleGateway.com.  This is a reminder for myself how importance it is to soak into God’s Words.  The Holy Spirit can use anyone.  But it is important that this person knows the Words so he can be used even deeper by the Lord.

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On Sunday, I had the privilege to speak in two services.  When we went to the second service, both Wai Jia and I were shocked.   The second service was held in an abandon missionary school.  At the stage, they had the same verse printed in English.  It is more than a coincidence.  It is a sign from the Lord that this is what the congregation needed to hear.

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We enjoyed our time in India.  The Christians there has a hunger for God.  I’ve been to Telugu services in Singapore.  When they worship, they really worship!  Even though I don’t understand what they are singing, I am always encouraged to see their passion and faithfulness for the Lord.

This trip was a good training ground for Wai Jia and I.  The missionary couple served in India for more than 15 years.  They shared lots of wisdom on how to relate with the locals and practicality of living on the field.   We also see first-hand the fruits of their labour as the youths they ministered grow up to be Godly man and woman.   As we came back, both Wai Jia and I are excited where the Lord will place us next year for longer term (whether it is short or long is all perspective…for us we are looking one to two years).  The short term mission trip is meant to prepare individuals for long term.  Both Wai Jia and I felt this trip was a training ground for us for long term.

As for me, I needed to get back in the Word.   As I preach to the congregation that we needed to maintain the fear of the Lord in our hearts, I needed to do so as well.

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Wai Jia also about our experience in India in her post, Adjust and Carry On.