2015 Angeles City – Lauren Chun

Family In Christ, Not Just Anybody

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

The thought of going on a missions trip was always on my mind, especially when I missed the chance to go in 2013 at my previous Korean church in Sydney. I promised God that I would definitely go the following year, no matter what. The timing was perfect because it was during a time when I had finished my Master’s and was awaiting to hear back from my new application. I was also waiting for God’s answers for the many questions I had about the next stage of my life. Pastor Jamie, who had been always there for me during times of hardship and counsel, advised that it would be a life changing experience to connect with God in a deeper level. I thought to myself, “If not now, when?” God had been planning this very missions trip for me.

At the beginning of the trip, I was filled with nervousness, fear, and a hint of anticipation for the many wondrous things God will manifest through our team. At the same time, I wasn’t sure what the natural me would do and say on a mission’s field. But I remembered my community group leader assuring me that it would be fine and that I just had to be Lauren, myself. A “normal” me would be take weeks or even months to become friends with someone, so the idea of developing a genuine and loving relationship with the local pastors and the local church members seemed impossible for me. Even if I did, I doubted that I would be able cultivate the relationship on a long-term basis.

Then enters nineteen-year-old local university student Jenica. When I was struggling to open up to the pastors and the ministry members, she comes and approaches me with a shy but warm, empathising smile. It was a short moment of revelation as I started to see the local church differently: they were family to me since we had the same Father God. We quickly connected, sharing our testimonies and struggles in life and I was surprised by how God’s grace works in every situation. God was teaching me that life is all about living as a body, whether I am at university, church, or out working in society. I began to see that I wasn’t alone in my journey, but with eleven team members. And despite our differences in language, colour, and geographical location, I was also with brothers and sisters in Christ in the Philippines.

God was manifesting His love and care for me through the local church throughout the trip. The way that the youths praised God with all their might and all their soul demonstrated the kind of worship God was pleased with. Pastors staying up late to transport us from one location to another showed me God’s love for us to be safe throughout the trip. Elders and sisters feeding us with delicious homemade Philippine food displayed God’s love for our team- that He will not let us go hungry, even a single meal. The hugs and prayers of the elders and the youths of the church were hugs and whispers from God. Even the fierce yearning for the LORD during worship and wholly focusing on God was something that the Lord was retouching in my heart to learn from the local brothers and sisters.

This missions trip to Angeles City, Philippines taught me that Christians have the privilege of being part of a wide body of Christ across the globe. It was a vital reawakening that I needed in this season- that the people we see at church are family. We share love, go deeper into our understanding of God the Father, and learn from one another. There are no more lone struggles in the body of Christ.

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