Just 2 weeks before we flew back to Singapore for our current break, Jason and I were actually invited to go on a mission trip to Myanmar in March. It was a church-planting training mission trip and I thought it must have been an error because we know nuts about church planting? Honestly, I was reluctant to travel just 2 weeks after our return to Singapore because we had been travelling so much during DTS, but I agreed in the end.
Things changed when we attended our first Sunday service back in our home church. Our senior pastor preached a message in church that ended off with encouraging the young people to make RiverLife their home. It was a call to commitment that got me thinking. When Jason and I were doing DTS, I gave some excuses – we are far away from home, so it’s hard to contribute to our home church in Singapore. But that sermon was a wake-up call for me and I started asking God about how I can love my church and contribute even in my limitations. Of course, the first step was to be more joyful in going for the Myanmar mission trip.
My key role during the trip was to share on personality profiling using DISC and MBTI tests. I thought it would be easy. After all, I understand them quite a bit especially since we learnt a lot about DISC during DTS. The challenge came… How do I teach them cross-culturally, through a translator???
The issue with these tests is that it uses English alphabets to represent English-worded personality traits in a non self-explanatory way. This was especially so for the MBTI test. What is Sensing? Intuitive? So I had to quickly think of a way to explain what the alphabets mean without having to explain the word itself, so that my audience can catch what is really essential. Even administering the test itself was challenging as the questions were very western-centric and translation was difficult. However, we managed to overcome all these challenges and most of the participants managed to have their personality profiled.
It was a really fun and enriching experience to share on this with our pastor-participants. They gave me a lot of grace and respect even though they were hearing from someone so much younger than them. I explained the different personality types using the analogy of birds and this helped them to overcome the language barrier and learn in a visual way. Many of them feedback that they are finally beginning to understand themselves better and amusingly, their spouses too! It’s really my honour to be given this opportunity to build up the body of Christ. God made us unique with different gifts and even weaknesses, and understanding ourselves is the first step to working well together for his kingdom.
How far would you go to establish God’s home on earth?
Another highlight of the trip was to visit a church plant in rural Yangon. The 6-hour van ride to-and-fro was the bumpiest I ever had as the city concrete roads gave way to rural sandy roads. The lady pastor we travelled with is currently already running a church, but is planning to convert a bible study group she leads into a formal church. Due to distance and poor roads, it is hard for this group to go to church. Hence the pastor plans to plant a church where they meet instead.
The new ‘church building’ is actually a bamboo stilt house in a random corner of rural Yangon and only accessible by a bamboo bridge. Yet the pastor is willing to travel all the way there to tend to her flock. This is the lengths that people would go to establish God’s home on earth, a place where He can dwell among his people. It makes me go back to what I started this post with – how can I commit to my own church and to build God’s home here? Jesus died for the church. That’s how important it is.
Special thanks to our RiverLife missions staff Rhoda who invited us and guided us on this trip. We have learnt a lot from her and how she lives her life!