2015 Bangladesh – Hannah Chong

Love, Hope, & Joy

As I reflect on my 2015 missions experience, I can’t help but honestly testify to God’s faithfulness in my life. The main themes of this trip for me were love, hope and joy. These were three things God really revealed to me, and powerfully spoke to me about.

Firstly, to speak on love: the Lord showed me the importance of love being the motivation for all that I do. I was assigned as the team photographer for this trip. And early on, there came a point where I knew I was placing too much pressure on myself. This was not good for me, as it made me forget why I was taking photos in the first place. Rather than taking photos to serve God out of joy, it became a task that I felt like I was doing out of obligation. I remember one specific day when I felt very exhausted, and I lost purpose in taking photos. I really questioned myself in the moment: “Why do I feel like this? Why am I lacking joy when I am capturing the beauty of this country, and capturing what God sees?” It was then that I took a step back, and realised I had forgotten why I had been sent out to the missions field in the first place. I was not just sent as a photographer, but I was sent to fulfill the Great Commission, by living out the Greatest Commandment; I was sent out to love. The greatest aim in everything I was doing was meant to be love – to love God and then to love people, even as I was taking photos. At that point, I decided to put my camera down, and to reconnect with God, and to remind myself why I was on the field. I had decided to stop capturing images for a significant portion of time, so I could remind myself that I was there to love. Once I chose to humble myself, and put my camera aside, and remembered my identity not as a photographer, but as one who has been marked by the love of God, I was filled with an enthused spirit; I was refreshed and ready to love once again.

Second, to speak on hope: the Lord highlighted the importance of hope in doing the work of the ministry. A powerful work that God has recently been doing in my own life is breaking off the mindset of hopelessness and cynicism. He is teaching me to see the world not just as a place that is filled with brokenness and sin, but to see it as a place that Jesus died for, so that it can be fully reconciled unto Him. On one of the last days of our trip, when we were at a market, we saw children as young as perhaps six years old, walking around, begging and tugging at the shirts of strangers for money. Upon viewing this, my heart was broken and moved. The children even approached us, but we were told to clearly not respond to them. It would have made the situation more dangerous, as a throng of other kids would have begun to gather around us if we responded to them. I could have chosen to be discouraged and defeated by witnessing this extreme poverty, but God was reminding me that I am no longer one who is bound by hopelessness. The team took time to pray, and as I lifted these children up to God, He began to give me words of life and truth. He began to show me how he views these children and desires to reach out to them. I was exercising in that moment hope. God was teaching me that when we minister to a lost and broken world, we can only do so when we stand in a place of hope.

Lastly to speak on joy: God revealed how His joy must always be our strength as we serve Him. I shared a powerful moment with a little seven year old boy named Anthony, one of the pastor’s sons. I was playing with him one time, and I remember I was just staring at him. Out of nowhere, suddenly, the Holy Spirit fell on me, and I could not stop laughing. In that moment I was filled with deep joy, satisfaction, and pleasure as I was looking at Anthony. I felt like God was saying this was His heart for this boy, and that this is also His heart for me, as well as for His children in Bangladesh. This moment I had, completely re-oriented my perspective of missions, as God filled me with His heart. I was re-charged and re-energised to minister to people out of joy – joy in knowing God and His love, that is deep and wide, for His people.

I am thankful to God, that He has given me powerful revelation of these three truths: love, hope, and joy, and I am excited to now walk in greater revelation of them in my everyday life. It is not just something that is meant to be reserved for missions, but something I am to walk out daily.

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support in making this missions trip possible. The testimonies that we bring back from the field belong not only to the missions teams, belong to you as well. Thank you and God bless you!

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