A Jar of Clay — Blessings and Lessons from a Mission Trip
What are some of the blessings and lessons you have gained from this mission trip?
This trip has reminded me anew that in everything I do, my aim must be to honour Christ.
Prior to the trip, God encouraged me through 2 Corinthians 4:7 —
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
While I harboured doubts about my ability to serve in the ministry effectively, this verse reminded me that I am simply “a jar of clay”, and it is through my weaknesses that the all-surpassing power of God can be prominently displayed. Despite my limitations, God can use me as a channel of blessing to others because He is mighty and all-powerful.
Understanding this, my fears transformed into eager anticipation of what God could accomplish in and through my weaknesses, bringing honour and glory to Him.
During my time there, I was assigned to serve in various roles.
One of my first responsibilities was leading worship. My worship partner, Ruth, and I were more comfortable being “backup” worship singers. The challenge arose as we needed to sing much louder than we normally would as the locals were not familiar with English songs.
Our second task was to prepare a dance item for a conference (organised for the labourers), which involved performing an Indian or Sinhala dance. This necessitated learning and executing a local dance that was entirely unfamiliar to me!
Despite my initial apprehensions, 2 Corinthians 4:5 provided me with much encouragement —
“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
Initially, I was afraid that I would embarrass myself during the dance. However, God, through His Word, helped me to embrace this task swiftly with a genuine desire to serve the locals, all by His grace.
Moreover, only two key locals were present at that time, as some had returned home due to personal matters. It was an opportune time to uplift and support the locals through fellowship and teamwork.
While serving through worship and dance, I was enveloped in a deep sense of joy and satisfaction, knowing that Christ was being honoured and that we had been a source of encouragement to the locals.
By God’s grace, we were able to grasp the dance steps with ease, and the experience turned out to be a delightful time of fellowship with the locals. God alleviated the fear and burden I would normally have felt in such situations.
The conference's theme verse, Philippians 1:20-21, once again reminded me of the importance of honouring Christ with my life—
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
In addition, I am thankful for the many opportunities I had during the trip to share my salvation testimony and my experiences in my journey of following Christ. God had allowed me to experience the profound measure of His grace, so that I could share it with others and draw them closer to Him.
Reaching out to the students at the university
Secondly, I was grateful to be rejuvenated in the “One Man Vision” and in cultivating a heart for individuals.
The ministry is still relatively young with only a handful of labourers. I was impressed by how the ministry leaders poured their hearts into training each labourer personally, whether it was in establishing their spiritual disciplines or assisting them in their character development.
I also had the opportunity to visit a neighbouring country for four days, where the ministry leaders had previously served. During the four-day trip, our focus was on providing encouragement, primarily to three locals whom the ministry leaders had previously followed up on.
The objective of this trip was to re-establish connections with the locals for fellowship and reignite their passion for Christ. During our prayer sessions, the ministry leader addressed the spiritual needs of each individual and articulated her hope that God would use them to establish a local ministry, with the potential of sending them to other states in the future.
Inspired by the ministry leader’s hope, vision and heart for each individual, I was reminded of how God values each one of us and desires to use our surrendered lives to advance His Kingdom.
Recognising the potential in each of us, I was convicted to have God’s heart as I disciple others, irrespective of their current spiritual condition.
After the short visit, two of the locals expressed their gratitude for our visit and conveyed their interest in restarting the online Bible Study sessions. Another local also expressed her desire to re-engage in Bible Study and regular Quiet Time.
I was deeply encouraged and touched that our short visit was not in vain—God had used it to inspire them to rejoin the online fellowship.
Lastly, I was reminded of the power of God and His word in bringing salvation to the lost.
We had the opportunity to share the gospel with various students from one of the local universities. Most of the students at the university hailed from different religious backgrounds and struggled to embrace the belief in one true God. For some, Jesus was just one of the many gods or good teachers that they believed in or followed. It was hard for me to envision how God would guide them toward sincere faith in Jesus as "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
During my Quiet Time, while reading the book of Acts, I was reminded that God is indeed mighty to save, and His Word is powerful.
One of the locals’ salvation testimony deeply encouraged me. She came from a different religious background, and both her parents had passed away a few years ago, with a one-year interval in between. Her father died suddenly from a stroke, while her mother succumbed to dengue fever.
It was during this period when she began reading the Bible with a Christian colleague, and gradually, she encountered God's love. This encompassed her firsthand experience of God's miraculous provision of a job for her.
Another local also recounted her experience of answered prayers, marking a pivotal moment of realisation that Jesus is the one true God.
Both of them took about a year of intentional Bible Study before finally acknowledging Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Nonetheless, I was impressed by the power of the Word of God in convicting their hearts that Jesus is the Messiah and the only way of salvation.
The two locals (far left and second from right) whom we interacted with
“ I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes:
first to the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
- Romans 1:16
Romans 1:16 affirms that it is the power of God that brings salvation to those who believe. Therefore, I can be bold and persevere in sharing about Christ, knowing that God will accomplish the work of salvation, as it is His desire.
I am grateful to God for the time well-spent on the trip, serving as a reminder for me to honour Christ through my life and to sharpen my vision for individuals and the world at large.
It is my prayer that God will use each one of us to be His labourers in the harvest field, which truly is plentiful.
Charmaine embarked on a mission trip to South Asia for three weeks in July 2023. During the trip, she had the opportunity to learn discipleship from the local ministry and experience being part of the fellowship there.
Charmaine is a labourer with the NUS (National University of Singapore) ministry and is currently working as a General Practitioner in the medical field.