Campus Alive

May 9, 2013

Mission Trip to Kg. Bakok

Filed under: Please Note — campusalive @ 5:36 pm

Mission Trip team and the kids! They weren’t all of them :P

written by: Cindy Chai

The moment our eyes caught sight of our hostels, we were all wishing it all never ended and that time could be rewound.
So there were 10 of us – Elaine, Trester, Marc, Michelle, Kar Suan, Sharon, Kezia, Kevin, Claire and I – joining the misson trip to Kampung Bakok, an hour drive from Raub, Pahang which is where a group of Orang Asli stays. We had dinner at Al-Awwal before departing to Trester’s church for the night. As we were just coming out from Al-Awwal, the familiar T529 bus arrived at the bus stop. We were running like crazy towards the bus with our backpacks, sleeping bags and a few other bags. Thank God that the bus waited for us as Michelle sped towards and reached the bus to hold it for the rest of us to catch up. Then, at the train station, most of us bought our tickets and crossed to the other side of the rail while Claire and I were still in line. Just as both of us crossed the ticketing machine, we saw the train. Others were calling out to us to hurry up and we ran as fast as we could. Thank God we managed to make it just before the train door closed. :D Three cheers for God! :D
Charmaine (our co-ordinator/leader for this trip) and Daryl (a full time ministry worker in Trester’s church) picked us from Kepong’s station and drove us to Trester’s church. Her church members also brought some sleeping bags for some of us who didn’t have any. Thank God for you guys! 
Then, there was a briefing and run through of the program with Charmaine before we called it a night.
The next day, we were introduced to Uncle Ranjit (Trester’s dad) and Uncle Vincent (head of mission team for Trester’s church) who would be driving us to our destination. It took about 2 hours to Raub. We stopped by Raub to have breakfast and to do some grocery shopping in the market. I think we spent about RM150 for groceries like biscuits, vegetables, chickens, packs of rice etc. After another hour, we arrived at our destination.
We lodged our belongings at a church built on Pak Cik Yukmoi’s land, at which we spent our night. We met his wife and children. According to Charmaine, the Orang Asli are very shy people. And yes, you can pretty much guess that the children are so much shyer than the adults. We were all very excited as this was the first time most of us participated in mission trip. Since Pak Cik Yukmoi’s wife and teenagers and some others needed some time to prepare our lunch, we decided to take a walk around the village. We managed to persuade Pak Cik Yukmoi‘s children to follow us around the village. We walked from houses to houses under the bright, sunny weather. All of us were smiling and greeting and waving to everyone we saw. I didn’t know how but soon, more and more children from the houses came out and joined us though we had to persuade them initially, since they are very very very shy. I think the children are about 2-12 years old. Some quickly got warm to us and held our hands as we went from houses to houses to call for more children to join us. As we asked the children, “Mana kawan kamu yang lain?” (The language of Orang Asli is Semai, but some can speak in simple BM), the children pulled us to another village called Kampung Tuah where more children joined us. As it was nearly time for lunch, together with about 70 children, we walked back to the church.
This reminded me of this verse:
Mark 10:13-16
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Some of the places had small rocks scattered all around. I was really amazed as some of these children walked around without their slippers / shoes on the rocky ground.
We then had our lunch, simple but delicious. We used our hands to eat since the Orang Asli people did that. The children sat at the other side and watched as we ate. They didn’t even approach us. Normally, children who see food will rush towards them but these children didn’t. Uncle Vincent said that the children would only come to our place and eat after we had eaten, or they would eat at the other side. Wow. And these children do not fight for food. They shared. Yes, you didn’t see it wrongly, they shared their food. I saw a young child about 6-8 years old, put some food on her spoon and fed another child of similar age I suppose. I’m amazed.
After lunch, we proceeded to ice-breakers. The children were so energetic and hyperactive! They obeyed our instructions and gave us positive responses. Laughter could be heard from every corner of the church. They were all really excited and this motivated us further. Around 3.30 p.m., we went to the river to swim. The children led the way. They are really good swimmers! Some even did backflip before diving into the river. And yes, they jumped on us, too.
We were then brought to another part of the river with a bridge where we could jump down, according to Trester. The sky was pretty gloomy. We were afraid that it would rain but we prayed and journeyed to that place. Halfway through, there was a light drizzle but the children pulled our hands towards that place. The ground was muddy and slippery due to the drizzle. We had to balance between not slipping and catching up with the rate at which the children pulled us. It was really amazing to see the ability of these children to run when it was really slippery! When we reached the part of the river with the bridge, our hearts gripped with fear. The height of the bridge from the river was about a storey or one and a half storey of a house. We were jaw-dropped when we saw the children just jumped down from the bridge into the river with all sorts of styles, (quoted from Trester) “like it’s nobody’s business”. Michelle jumped first then followed by Trester and Kevin. Sharon jumped next.
Then it was my turn. OH MY. I was excited before I saw the height, but when I was at the edge of the plank, I was afraid. According to those who had jumped, the water level was only slightly above their waist. So for those who could not swim, it should be safe provided you’re above that height xD What held me back? I didn’t know. I was having inner conflict. A part of me was giving the other part of me reasons on why I should just do it like the water level is safe, there are pro swimmers down there to catch you in case of drowning bla bla bla.
In the end, I didn’t know how and when, I did it. :D But it was seriously scary! Especially that moment when you were in air, with no firm solid ground underneath your feet and you’re falling straight down… OH MY! It really took a lot of courage to jump down. Elaine and Claire jumped after that. Down in the river, we then shampooed the children with the shower gel brought along by Charmaine. However, we could not stay for long as the current was getting stronger due to the heavier rain. All of us got up and went back to shower and bath.
Back at the church, the rain stopped. -_-“ We stood outside and behind the church, surrounding the water pipe as there was no water in the shower room. The girls formed a circle and washed each other’s hair. :D
After we had all washed up, we played with the children. They taught us some of their games and songs while we taught them some of the games we played during our childhood. :P Uncle Vincent then instructed us to persuade the children to go back home to rest so that they would not be too tired later on and so that the rest of us could rest as well. We did but failed. -_-“ The children still wanted to play. With Uncle Vincent’s thunderous voice, the children scampered and hurried back home. Cute.
Dinner was served after that. There was tapioca served too and Uncle Vincent suggested us to eat with the sambal prepared. I tried and I felt it tasted a little funny because I somehow tasted durian. I thought that the tapioca tasted like durian. -_-“ It turned out to be that the sambal was durian sambal. -_-“ But the sambal was spicy enough :D NICE.
There were about 15-30 minutes to 8 p.m. (the time youth service and children church begin) but the church was already beginning to be filled with energetic children running around. At 10 minutes to 8 p.m., there were quite many children already and since we had finished our dinner as well, we went to play with the children. Kar Suan played the keyboard and the children surrounded the keyboard. There were a few songs played which were suggested by the children and we all sang together. They were “Yesus Pokok”, “Soraklah Halleluya”, “Hari Ini Kurasa Bahagia”, “Jesus Loves Me This I Know”, “Walk Walk Walk In The Light” and “God Is So Good”.
The youth section, joined by adults as well was taken over by Sharon while the children section was taken over by Trester. I was with Kar Suan, Claire and Kezia in the children section while the rest were in the youth section. Michelle was the photographer. In the children section, Trester explained to them about the tree in Psalms 1 with each children helping her to paste the point she mention on a manila card. Then, all of them were given a cup with some cotton wool and two green bean seeds as well as little water. The children are like these seeds that will grow into a tree in Jesus. After that, they were split into groups to draw and colour and write their names on the tree. Each was then rewarded with a jelly cup and a sweet while waiting for the youth service to finish.
Around 10 p.m., day one ended, the children with their siblings and parents went back home while the rest washed up and laid out their sleeping bags in the church. Before lights out, we had a short team debrief session whereby we shared about what impressed us the most and what did we feel of day one. Everyone shared and Uncle Vincent gave us a question to ponder upon: What is the thing that you learn the most from this trip, as in what do these people teach you that you will bring it back to you to the outside world? Hmm. Lights were out after a round of prayer.
The night was really cold, even colder than INTEC’s library. There were only two ceiling fans. Uncle Vincent told us that it rained very heavily in the middle of the night but no one seemed to be aware of it probably because either we tidur mati or we were dead tired due to an eventful day.
The next morning, we had a short devotion session together with Charmaine before breakfast. It was on Psalms 34. We read and then shared on our thoughts of it.
After breakfast, around 9 a.m., we began the day with Sunday service. It kicked off with prayer and then worship in the church led by an Orang Asli lady on vocal and an Orang Asli man on the guitar. Her voice was melodious. I was amazed, once again. Really, these people never failed to amaze me. Yesterday, during the service at night too, a group of three teen girls were on the vocals while some teen guys were playing the musical instruments. Uncle Vincent said that they never learn how to read the musical notes, they learnt by heart, they memorized the lyrics, the chords and the tune of the praise and worship songs. Wow.
After worship, there was offering before we presented a performance on the parable of the sower to the people and sang “Yesus Pokok” with actions. Then, it was split into children church and adult service again. I was in the adult service as both Kar Suan and I were given the privilege to share testimonies with them. After that, Pastor Rafi read the word of God and then preached to the people and shared some of the stories or experiences that he had been through. Following up next was Uncle Vincent’s preaching before prayer. On the other hand, the children church was taken over by Kevin and Claire.
That marked the end of our activities planned for them. Thank God that it all ran through smoothly. There was free time before lunch so some of us played and taught with the children while the rest went to the river for a swim – Michelle, Sharon and I. :D We were told that the current would be strong due to the heavy rain the night before. We were a little disappointed but the teen girls, Yati and her friends, followed us to the river to check on the river condition. On the way, we were praying that the river would be suitable to swim. And praise God, it did. :D Although I had done it the day before, there was this unexplainable fear in me when I stood at the edge of the plank. Michelle jumped. Sharon jumped. And I jumped. SCARY! The feeling of weightlessness.Oh dear. Though people always say practice makes perfect, I always had this same fear each time I was up there. After jumping 4 times, we headed back to the church to wash up and pack for home.
Lunch was delicious :D Remember earlier on, the groceries we bought from the market in Raub? The Orang Asli women cooked all and fed all the children, some adults and us for the two days. Amazing indeed!
We were sad when we had to leave. We hugged the children and shook hands with the adults, thanking all of them for their warm welcome and hospitality. As we were leaving, we looked up the beautiful sky and saw a halo. Perfect ending to this trip as it reminded us of God’s encircling love for each and every one of us.
I was truly humbled by the Orang Asli. Their faith is so genuine, so pure and so simple. This is what impresses me the most. Sometimes we say that we have faith in God which comes in package with some “but(s)”. They teach me that all it takes is really just a pure, innocent and simple faith in God.
Matthew 18:2-3
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
There is no signal for your phone in their village so basically to enter Kampung Bakok means you are cut off from the outside world, entering into a new world. They might not have the latest gadgets or internet connections but they never complain. Like what Michelle said, their smiles are very contagious and she smiled so many times that her face experienced muscle cramps. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, probably because you are tired but you will definitely set a curve on your face once you see them smiling at you. When you look at all of them, you can see pure joy and it reminded me of:
Nehemiah 8:10
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Yes, indeed. Uncle Vincent and Charmaine told us earlier on to have the heart of being a blessing to them and as we minister to them, everything must be directed back to God. Because we won’t be with them forever, the missionaries who come to visit them won’t be around forever but God is forever with them.
The children are so adorable especially when they put their hands together and close their eyes for prayer. Oh gosh, cuteness overload. :P Just as how much we think God loves us, that is how much God loves them as well. They are all children of God too, our brothers and sisters in Christ. They show us great hospitality, trying to make us as comfortable as possible during our stay there. They even invited us to come back next time. *touched*
I’m truly blessed by them. Many thanks to Uncle Ranjit, Uncle Vincent and Charmaine for leading and guiding us throughout the trip as well as to the rest of the mission team, you guys are just so awesome. Our friendship become stronger and thanks for the memories. On top of it all, all glory and credits go to God who makes all things possible, who sees us through it all, who teaches us through the Orang Asli, who loves us unconditionally.
If there is an opportunity given to me, I will definitely go back.
Ending this with a poem by Mary Ryan entitled A Child’s View of God (A Pure And Simple Faith):
There is nothing so innocent as a child
With eyes closed and head bowed in prayer
With a pure and simple faith
He gives thanks to the God who created him
Not asking complicated questions
But seeing God in the wonders that abound each day
Knowing Jesus loves him
And that’s enough for now
We all need to be like children
In our hearts
Finding Joy and wonder
In the flowers and the sun of God’s creation
Trusting and believing in Jesus
With a pure and simple faith
Jesus came as a child
With all His innocence and wonder of life
As He grew He still had
The innocence and wonder of God’s creation
He loved us and died for us
So that we could believe in Him
With a pure and simple faith
Mary Ryan

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