I retired from teaching in 2009 intending to spend my retirement years to ‘fill in the gap”. Those were the exact words that were impressed upon my mind and heart when I asked God “So, Lord, what should I do with my time?”. The Lord has blessed me and my family so much, the least I could do was to bless others as He has blessed us.
Since then, the ‘gap’ has taken many different forms ranging from a few days to a few months.
One of these gaps is going for short term mission trips. Each trip came with specific purpose: disciple-making, with a specific task: doing children program, mostly among mission kids. Looking back, they were kind of ‘easy: saw the needs, prayed, responded, planned & prepared, went, did it, and...DONE!
The trip to Klang came with a totally new challenge. It was my first time meeting refugee kids face to face.
I had read about the plight of the Syrian refugees. I vaguely remember some drowned, some starved to death in cramped and unhygienic settlement. I thought to myself, “Oh dear, poor people…What to do, we live in an imperfect world…oh well...these happenings are so far away...how to help…give money also don’t know where would the money end up.”
I have volunteered with Interserve Singapore for 3 or 4 years now. Whenever the National director emphasised the need for mission work amongst the lost folks in MENA (Middle East North Africa), my consistent 'hidden' reaction to that is “Needs are everywhere, MENA countries are all closed lah. How to go? Can pray lah. Pray that the Lord will change the world scene loh”.
If I was honest with myself, I didn’t really ‘care’ very much.
But the Klang trip had opened my mind to realize and my eyes to see. We may not be able to physically reach the lost in the Middle East region yet some of them are right there, in Klang, just 45 minutes flight away from Singapore. Oops.
The Klang trip had opened my heart to see the plight of the refugees in person. Suddenly, they are no longer just people mentioned in the news. They are real people residing almost at the door step of my comfort zone, beautiful and safe Singapore. Oops again!
The conviction dawned on me when I saw the beautiful smiles of the young children wearing dirty uniforms speaking little English ‘fighting’ to tell me their names. The conviction came clear when the principal shared how as an untrained teacher she became a principal of a school with 400 refugee/illegal migrants’ children, leading and working among a team of mostly untrained teachers.
God had not called me to serve anywhere in full time capacity, but He had called me to fill in gaps with the talents and resources He has richly given me. I have the time: I can go there for a week or 2 to spend time just loving the kids. As a trained teacher with young kids I can share my knowledge and experience with the teachers there.
My own words recently shared with a young person in the context of seeking God’s guidance in full time ministry has come back to me: All God asks of us is a willing heart, availability and obedience.
So, I have no excuse not to return to Klang to do my part as and when He leads.
After all, we are called to “To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”, Micah 6:8
Lead me on, Lord, lead me on.