Two teams departed for COR’s adopted mission eld in Cambodia in May and June, and, though vastly different in the type of activities and experience, were both greatly blessed by learning to see Cambodia through God’s eyes.
by Andrea Soh & Ng Jing Yng
Medical Mission (1-5 May)
With just ground sheets, plastic chairs and a loudhailer, the Cambodians came. They were attracted to the idea of free medical treatments. But beyond that, I believe they were also drawn to the fact that others had come from afar, just to care for them.
Medical mission trips have always been, in my opinion, a powerful way to reach out to the Cambodians. Medicine serves a practical need, especially for those who might not even have the means to pay for their daily meals. But what can we do to also convey the message that God is the ultimate healer in their lives? After several medical trips made by the church, I think we have made some progress in that.
The team started each clinic session with a prayer, together with the Cambodians who were already queuing for their turn before we arrived. When the call for prayer came, almost everyone, from the young to the old, automatically shut their eyes and clutched their hands together. Many were also open to receiving prayer, with some quietly saying, “God bless you” after receiving their medication. These acts warmed our hearts, and I am sure it warmed the heart of God as well.
Over the years, the COR Medical Missions has adjusted itself into a comfortable routine: registry, doctors, dispensary and prayer. And maybe, this has become a slightly too familiar regime. For this trip, God reminded us that the Cambodians have to start taking charge. [1 Cor 12:12 “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ”.] Hence, we became more deliberate in getting the Cambodian church workers to lead. From registering patients to the children’s ministry, everyone kept in mind that this is the Cambodians’ land.
The team, made up of an eclectic mix of Christians from different services and churches, might have signed up for missions with different expectations. But after the five-day trip, I believe we all went home with a single-minded understanding that Cambodia and Cambodians are part of God’s church as well.
Slab Construction Mission (24-30 June)
‘Oh, a fly just flew into my underwear!’ A team member exclaimed helplessly as he squatted, his hands deeply submerged in the basin of water filled with oil-slicked dishes. Many such inane comments would provide much fun and laughter over the course of the week in late June that the team spent in Kampong Speu, as the 18 of us transformed into construction workers and gardeners.
As city dwellers, however, we proved to be either terribly inefficient in what we did, or an impediment to the local construction contractor who had to touch up the cement work after us (just ask Nat!).
But God delights in working through His people, and in spite of our fumbling hands, the cement floor was finished, the pillars painted, the area weeded and mango trees planted. The shelter, we prayed, would be a dwelling place from which God’s presence would move into the village.
Upon finishing it, we then went door to door with the local church staff, inviting the villagers to the evangelistic rally held on the last day of our stay in Kampong Speu. There, Christopher Chan, the Mustard Seed Service pastor, preached and a group of us put up a mime, while some ministered to the children. At the altar call, seven gave their lives to Christ.
If asked to describe the mission trip in one word, it would be ‘Providence’. Whether in the skies which held up until we finished our construction work, or our health which also held up in spite of the unforgiving heat, God showed Himself to be faithful.
And through it all, as we looked at the examples before us – of Reverend Tit Hieng who joined us in hard labour and drove us around in Phnom Penh, and the local church workers and even children who toiled tirelessly alongside us – we learnt the rich lessons and joy of humility, of service and of being blessed as we bless.
Andrea Soh and Ng Jing Yng are both in the profession of Journalism. Besides writing for CHORUS, both of them are also actively involved in other ministries. Andrea is a cell leader in Mustard Seed Service while Jing Yng helps out in the Tanglin Halt ministry.
This article first appeared in Issue 7, August 2013 CHORUS Magazine.