Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Jeremiah School Experience

I would not do justice to my experience at Jeremiah School (JS) if I did not begin by recounting some events which occurred a year prior to my time at JS. At that time, it all began with me pondering the things I could possibly be doing in my summer holidays the following year. A thought came up suggesting that I could possibly go on a short-term mission trip for 3 months. I knew some friends who were planning to go to Taiwan for this purpose and the prospect of joining them there was beginning to excite me. However I still had some reservations. First of all, I had to somehow raise about NZD 4,000 to fund my trip there and secondly I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go on a mission trip there for a people I did not have a particular passion and heart for. So amidst all that, I realized that it was really beyond my control and committed to giving this issue to my Father in heaven for Him to sort things out for me.

Fast forward a year later, I had just gotten back to Malaysia for a 2 months holiday and was immediately whisked off to Fraser’s Hill for the annual Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP). It was there that I got a brief re-orientation to the local scene of things and the state of youths in Malaysia. After being away for 4 years, I was actually more acquainted with things at New Zealand and had lost touch of matters back in my home country. It was there that my burden for the youths in Malaysia started to grow but deep down God re-assured that my place for now was serving in New Zealand. It was also there that someone suggested that maybe I could help up at JS to pass my time in Malaysia but I shortly dismissed the thought as I had to return to New Zealand in the middle of February and I also wanted to spend time with my family while I was back.

About two weeks later, out of the blue, my mum suddenly suggested that I help up at JS saying that it only lasted a month. I was puzzled (as I was told earlier that JS ran for 6 weeks) but yet also a little excited as well with that news. My mum had no knowledge that I had actually entertained that idea not too long ago! So I quickly called up Choy Quin the current principal of JS and found that it was in fact 6 weeks long. However she re-assured me that I could still participate even though I had to leave halfway through it and that JS actually needed 1 more male mentor. With that, I was given about a week to decide whether I could take up the offer or not. After seeking the Lord on this issue and His confirmation in the form of my parents consent, I went for the mentors briefing session shortly after Christmas. After a two hour long session, I was in! To make my inclusion into JS all the more interesting was that JS was only about a week away and the dateline for mentors registration was all the way back in October. After that briefing session and another, a day before the actual JS start date in Port Dickson, the task ahead looked really daunting as this was my first time doing this sort of thing. Amongst us mentors, we enjoyed a close fellowship to the point that we were able to support each other in ministering to the JS participants as well as providing a listening ear to each other. This was truly one of God’s great blessings to me during my time at JS which has enabled me to endure the whole month there.

As for the occasions spent with the JS people, many a time it was most challenging and frustrating but at the same time encouraging and enjoyable times were spent with my mentees. Just to see them possessing various qualities of mine; both positive and negative, was truly a unique opportunity and this has allowed me to relate and empathize with them, alluding at times to some of my own personal struggles and triumphs from previous experiences. Having said that, they too have humbled me many a time thus showing me the areas in my life which I should be letting go to God to work on. I too learnt lots from the many sessions at JS but the sessions which had a real impact on me were ones which talked about the current state and needs of Malaysia; politically, socially and economically. This caused my heart for Malaysia to continue to grow and if you are reading this, please pray that I would never loose my heart for Malaysia and God will one day provide me with an opportunity to come back and serve in Malaysia.

In closing, my experience at JS has been truly an awesome and rewarding experience. I feel that in many ways it has been God’s answer to my prayer a year ago as not only had I a heart to serve my fellow countrymen especially the youths but God also provided for me the means financially, physically and spiritually to serve Him as best as I could at JS.

-soli deo gloria!-