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 (Manna 72: Love—the Bond of Perfection)
My Journey Within A Journey: From Fear and Doubt to Faith and Trust
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My Journey Within A Journey: From Fear and Doubt to Faith and Trust

Wai Leng Loke—Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I have often heard of the church’s missionary trips to India. While I admired the courage and zeal of those who served in the ministry, I never expected to step foot on this sub-continent of South Asia.

One day, when I received an invitation out of the blue to assist in the religious education work in India, I was overjoyed. As I listened to the coordinator of this ministry describing how I could help, my heart raced with excitement. But I could not shake off a nagging sense of inadequacy when I thought of my limitations and lack of knowledge and experience. I was worried that I could not adapt to the living conditions there. Moreover, memories of lurid reports of serious crimes in India during that period crowded my mind, dampening my initial enthusiasm. Indeed, beyond this missionary journey, I would have to undertake my own personal journey of faith.

MILESTONE 1. ENTRUSTING TO GOD 

The first and most immediate bridge that I had to cross was parental consent. Not surprisingly, my parents were very anxious when they learned of my intention to go on this trip. My father mentioned the recent spate of crimes in India reported in the newspapers, hoping that these would deter me. As the days passed, the continuing accounts of the crimes on India were steadily eroding my resolve to join the missionary work. On top of this, I began to worry about my assigned tasks, as I did not know where to start with my preparation work. It was getting all so stressful that I harbored a secret hope that the trip would be canceled. Thus did I struggle for a few weeks, worrying and yet not willing to let go of this wonderful opportunity. Finally, a few brethren and I decided to pray about this matter. 

One evening after service, I shared my foremost worry—my safety—with a preacher. Immediately, he assured me: “Just go. Jesus will take care of you. He will take care of all His servants. Just go. And go with faith.” Suddenly, I felt as if God Himself had said these words to me, with His full authority and reassurance. Joy and faith in God filled me (Jn 14:1).

“Lord, I’ll go where You want me to go!”

The next morning, I told my parents about my decision and asked them not to worry, assuring them that my God would definitely take care of His workers. 

 

REFLECTION 1: TAKE THAT STEP!

At the Red Sea, Moses only had to stretch out his hand and the LORD parted the waters so that the children of Israel could cross the sea on dry ground (Ex 14:21, 22). But at the River Jordan, when the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, God wanted them to cross the river when it was overflowing and when the current was strongest. God commanded the priests bearing the ark of the LORD to step into the water and promised that the waters flowing downstream would be cut off and would stand up as a heap (Jos 3:13–16). Had we been among the priests, would we have taken that step?

It is easy to pray to God for more faith in Him. But the true test comes when we have to leave our comfort zone and translate knowledge and belief into action. It is difficult for us to take the first step because we tend to walk by sight and not by faith. When we no longer see the familiar and comforting, when we stare nervously at the strong current and the overflowing waters in front of us and remember only our limitations, we forget that our God is almighty. We must remind ourselves that God is in control and that He will help us to accomplish His will. But we must have the courage to take the first step. Belief and action—that is true faith.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 

And lean not on your own understanding; 

In all your ways acknowledge Him, 

And He shall direct your paths. 

(Prov 3:5, 6) 

The Bible provides us with countless reminders of how God makes possible the impossible —He parted the Red Sea (Ex 14:21); Jesus gave the blind sight (Mk 10:46–52), walked on water (Mt 14:25), calmed the wind and the waves (Lk 8:22–25); He even raised the dead to life (Jn 11:38–44). What else is there that our Lord cannot do for us?
For me personally, what I needed to do was to take my eyes off the overflowing waters of my worries, and take that first step of entrusting the whole trip and divine work into His mighty hands. 

 

MILESTONE 2. DOING MY PART

I received another call from the Education Affairs unit of the Indian Mission Committee confirming the trip. My co-workers would be two sisters, one of whom had been actively participating in missionary trips to India and Africa for more than a decade and is still passionately involved in this area of divine work. She and another sister were a tremendous source of help in my preparation for both my trip and my assignment. 

In addition, I did some research about the subjects I was to teach during the trip. I also read up about the climate and the different cultures in India, prepared medication, and sought advice from various ministers and brethren who had been to India before. 

After preparing all that I could and needed to, a new worry struck me: I would have to explain and elaborate on these topics with nothing more than just occasional glances at my lecture notes! I was not sure I had sufficient wisdom and eloquence. In fact, I felt woefully inadequate. Then I remembered what God had said to His servant Moses: 

Who has made man’s mouth? (Ex 4:11a)

Once again, I consciously turned my eyes upon Jesus. I resolved to pray and ask for God’s full guidance to enable me to speak fluently and to serve according to His will. 

My co-workers and I met at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on May 15, 2013 to embark on our journey to India. I usually dread flying but somehow this flight was different. As our plane shot up into the light blue sky, I thought about the greatness and the almightiness of God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in it. My usual fear was replaced by a sense of serenity, an absolute conviction that everything would be well in His mighty hands. Before long, we were at Chennai, India, walking out to the welcoming smiles of the local deacon and preachers. 

MILESTONE 3. SEEING AND EXPERIENCING THE WONDERFUL WORK OF GOD

During my two-week stay in India, I truly experienced God’s working; with God, nothing is impossible (Lk 1:37).
It was summer and very hot. In the sweltering heat of the day, I was often bathed in perspiration. Even when I was comfortably lying in bed at night with the ceiling fan at full blast, my clothes would be soaked. But the heat did not hinder my work at all. And amazingly, none of us suffered from heat stroke, serious dehydration, or diarrhea, not even after accidentally having a cold drink sold by a roadside vendor![1] 

Then on another day, a preacher informed us that a week before, a major typhoon was heading towards the area we were in. Surprisingly, the wind had suddenly changed course and headed towards the opposite direction instead. Had it not been for the grace and protection of our merciful God, our church and training center in Ambattur, Chennai would have been affected by the typhoon and the rest of our trip might then have had to be canceled. 

God’s abidance when we commenced our work was also manifested. When I began my classes, I discovered that my earlier fears were completely unfounded. Words flowed spontaneously, and I was able to lecture smoothly. I was once worried I would not have enough examples to share. The reality was I ran out of time! Thank God for His guidance. 

 

REFLECTION 2: TAKE THAT STEP!

Deep down inside most of us, there have been times when we wanted to do something for the Lord. However, before we even begin, we are bogged down with a long list of negative thoughts. These often so overwhelm us that we surrender to our pessimism, and we give up without even trying. Yet, have we considered that God’s work is accomplished through His power and not our own limited wisdom or strength? 

So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? … Have not I, the LORD?“ “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Ex 4:11a, 12) 

Once again, we need to return to the exhortations of the apostles. Even the great apostle Paul was troubled by his weakness. But he shared what the Lord had said to reassure him, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9a).

And Elder James tells us how to overcome our anxieties: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (Jas 1:5, 6).

 

MILESTONE 4. ENJOYING THE UNITY IN CHRIST

One in Ministry

As we served together, my co-workers and I saw that God indeed had His own good will in all that He had arranged for us. We could see that He had put us together as co-workers because we complemented each other in terms of knowledge, skills, and even in our way of thinking and physical strength! Praise the Lord! 

For … we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. (Rom 12:4) 

One Family

Not only did I enjoy the blessing of serving together with my brethren, I was truly touched by their warmth—people whom I had never met before, but whose love transcended race, culture, and geographical boundaries because God first loved us.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 Jn 4:11)

One day, a brother drove us to a church in Chengalput, around 1.5 hours’ drive from our training center at Ambattur. As I am prone to motion sickness, the journey was a great torture for me. We had to make a stop by the roadside so that I could recover from my terrible nausea and dizziness. I felt very bad to have caused everyone so much inconvenience, but the brethren were very kind and understanding, going to great lengths to look for remedies for my condition.

Moreover, throughout our trip, our Indian sisters put in a lot of effort to prepare traditional Indian dishes, snacks, and drinks for our meals. There was never a time that we went hungry! The two weeks whizzed by because these brethren had truly provided us with a home away from home.

I truly thank God for His love that was manifested through His servants. Besides the local members, our brethren back home had been incessantly interceding for us, and my co-workers provided loving support in both word and deed (1 Jn 3:18). Their examples have taught me to also show sincere care and concern towards others. 

CONCLUSION 

The whole course ran smoothly. Thank God for His great love, grace, and protection throughout our two-week stay in India. Words will not suffice to describe my gratitude for the wonderful opportunity to work together with good co-workers, to be able to serve our brethren in India, and to witness for myself the wonderful works of God. 

I was asked to teach but by God’s wonderful mercy, this missionary trip taught me many precious lessons.
Not only did I learn to acknowledge my own weaknesses and shortcomings, “for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10), but I also realized that even in my weakness, I can still do more for God through Christ who strengthens me—both physically and spiritually (Phil 4:13). 

I learned to cast all my cares upon our heavenly Father through constant prayers (1 Pet 5:7), to put my fears behind, and to trust in God. I also learned to trust in His arrangement and providence, for He sees all our needs and He works in ways we cannot see. If I had set my eyes only on the strong currents and had not taken the first step to accept God’s calling, I would not have witnessed how God works through His servants. He strengthened my faith in Him and cleared my doubts. I am now eagerly looking forward to my next calling. 
All praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus. Amen. 



[1] Travel advisories to India generally caution against consumption of food and drinks from roadside vendors because of the high probability of food contamination.

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Author: Wai Leng Loke
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