AM I CALLED FOR MISSIONS / Melisa Sellvadurai, AO Volunteer
When I was a teenager, growing up in church, we often talked about missions and how we were all called to go out to the nations so everyone would know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The concept of missions was just that, an IDEA which never got put into practice until I left for University. God brought the right people into my life; people with a similar passion to serve God and that led me to my first mission trip, a local trip to encourage an Orang Asli ministry in Cameron Highlands.
I remember feeling unprepared and ill-equipped. I didn't know enough theology to share a message. I didn't know how to help with children's ministry. Nor did I know the right words to pray in Bahasa Malaysia.
So why did I sign up for missions?
On mission trips, we get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Life can be tough and studies, assignments, work, relationships and family can all be a little overwhelming some days. I have often had to pause and ask, "God, what are you trying to say through all this?" By obeying the call to missions, we get to see God at work in the smallest of details like giving us good weather, to the bigger life-changing encounters, like healing and restored relationships. Taking a step back, we get to see God show up and show off. More than just a mountain top feeling, missions gives us a purpose when you step out of your comfort zone, knowing that you too have a role to play.
On mission trips, we experience a new passion for God
On mission trips, we spend an hour with God every morning, reading the Bible, praying, journaling, doing group devotions. In our everyday lives, we are so easily distracted by our phones, or friends, or busy schedules but not on a mission trip! Time had to be spent alone, just filling up on the goodness of God, so we had a tank full of love to pour out during ministry time on our trip. As we are given opportunities to see and experience God more, our passion for Him grows. We also understand more clearly who we are in Him and what our role is in His family.
On mission trips, we experience a new compassion for the lost
We are able to share our faith story with others. We get to pray for those who are hurting, lay hands on those who are sick, and encourage those who are lonely. Out in the field, God breaks our hearts by exposing us to the lives of those who lack the comforts we enjoy. He gives us a new heart for ministering to the hurting, the broken, and the lost.
It is in these key areas of spiritual growth through mission trips that our faith journey makes huge strides
It's been over 15 years since my first mission trip and I have been to almost every South-East Asian country and have continued to go for missions even locally. Together with my church, we give towards missions yearly and I know that the next best thing I can do is pray for those in the field. Being in Malaysia and seeing all the different nationalities around town on any given day, I have come to realise that my mission field isn't just out in another country. I love learning languages, from Thai to Burmese to Bahasa Indonesia and with that I can surely 'go out to the nations' right in our own backyard.
I have been a volunteer with Asian Outreach for the past 8 years, helping them with the editing of the Asian Outreach Connections magazine and their newsletters and my sister-in-law who is a housewife also volunteers with the editing. Helping them with the magazine and reading the testimonies of the foot soldiers and others who have gone for missions has also greatly inspired me in my own journey in missions.
I still don't think I know enough of theology to share a message, or am able to engage with a room full of children. But I do know how to love and be present, to smile and say thank you in a familiar language. I do know how to ask, "Are you ok?" and "Can I pray for you?" and I surely have testimonies of God’s goodness which need to be shared. Missions taught me to start with what I have. Even if it's just 'two mites'.
Missions is all about showing and sharing the love of God. I realised that if we want young people to make missions part of their everyday lives, we must first create space for them to experience it from where they are at – their church.
I continue to pray that God will grow spiritually healthy young people by giving them opportunities to join Him on missions, be it in foreign countries or in their own town. God is drawing young people to Himself, to be part of His big story, part of His family on mission, and trips are a powerful way for them to experience God in new ways.
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”