Week One Of Fifty-Two

*For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline – 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV*


So it’s officially been a week (and a few days) since moving into COCM and I guess I can finally say that I’ve settled down into the place!

It has definitely an interesting experience in terms of adjusting to a new lifestyle so far… Let me explain a little;

  • You’re living at the place you’re working at! – I’ve found that as lovely as this building is, sometimes you just need a break. Whether it be a walk around the block or a drive to the supermarket, it’s really necessary to step out of the building to get a break once in a while. Luckily this past week has been quite slow in general so I’ve had more opportunities to explore and orientate myself around the area.
  • After work, you’re still working. – My working hours are 9-5:30 Mon-Fri as any normal job. However, not that I’m complaining, I find myself working past these ‘office hours’ to finish up on a piece of work because I really do enjoy what I’m doing here. Actually, I’m more than happy to be doing so, such that I’ve found myself asking for more work to do! But I am starting to learn to separate work and private hours to discipline myself into better habits, rather than working through the day.
  • It really is a family community here. – You are spending your whole day with each other. Working, cooking, cleaning relaxing and bonding – you do all of this with each other. Of course, there is time to spend on your own, but there is the process of growing together through the highs and lows that I didn’t really expect – you learn to be patient and love one another just like with family at home.

 

So yes, this first week has definitely been an eye opener. Not only in terms of what I had ‘expected’ – because I really didn’t know what to expect, but also in terms of discovering more about myself and my relationship with God. The first couple of days were tough, not in a hard way, but just adapting to this new lifestyle, making small changes to fit into the community, learning a new language, and at the same time, giving myself the space to grow independently in my journey with God.

 

My missions calling

Hi there again!

My last post mentioned about how I was given the opportunity to share with my congregation about my calling to serve and into missions. Today I wanted to share with all the readers out there what I had shared with my church. I wrote the following ‘letter’ to the congregation but also as a prompt for my own sharing which briefly explains the process of how I came to the decision in accepting this calling.

My testimony and calling to join COCM:

I first heard about COCM through my first PHAT Camp where I participated as a camper. This was about 5 years ago where I was a newly baptised believer and I didn’t really know much about the Christian community beyond my home church. Through the camp, I got to witness and experience the amount of support the camp provided to the youths, the sense of fellowship between Christians all over the UK and ultimately, what sparked my interest in serving God.

Ever since then, I’ve been able to serve within my home church BCEC; joining the worship team, leading youth groups, teaching Sunday school – but deep down I knew my heart yearned to do more. Just over a year ago, I was attending a camp called ReGen where a sister was sharing about her missionary experience with children in China. During her sharing, I felt a really strong urge that now was the time to step outside my comfort zone, to leave, to take a step of faith in serving. I had no idea what this meant to me, if I was ready for such a big step or how I would even fulfil this, I guess, calling.

With all this running through my mind, I started praying to God. Praying for clarity, to know if this was a calling from Him, or if it was just me in awe of how inspiring missionary work seemed to be. I prayed and debated through what options I had to take, asking that He would show me the path to follow, to make it clear to me that this was what He had planned for me and somehow show me a sign so that I didn’t have any reason to doubt His call. Of course, God’s timing was just perfect. After I finished praying, an announcement was made that there was a new English volunteer programme starting up and that they were looking for participants to join them at COCM – He couldn’t have made it any more clear to me that this was His way of telling me what to do!

So what does this mean to me?

As mentioned before, I’ve always known that I wanted to serve in a deeper way, although I never thought about going into ministry work or serving full time. It had never even crossed my mind to do something like this before, yet this calling seemed too strong to ignore. Last year after expressing my interest in joining the programme, I was ready to give up my education and take this step of faith. However, God had a slightly different plan, He knew that I had the heart to serve, but he also knew me, how I over-analyse everything and ultimately He knew what was best for me.

The volunteer programme ended up getting pushed back one year, allowing me the time to finish my bachelor’s degree, so that I could take this step with no doubt, without any reservations or what ifs. God has been working in so many different ways to help me achieve what I needed, both with the support I have received from brothers and sisters in doing this and also with the community he has surrounded me in. To me, this just made everything so much more definitive, that without a doubt, He had planned this journey for me.

Stepping into the unknown

For those who don’t already know, I’m moving to Milton Keynes at the end of the month! I’ve decided to take up blogging to make things easier for me to share about my journey and to keep those who are interested, updated on my time serving.

Long story short; I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to serve with COCM and join their English volunteer programme where I’ll be serving for a period of 12 months. (I’ll be posting a full testimony soon! – keep a look out for it ^^)

However, back to the main point of this post; I was given the opportunity to share about my calling to serve with COCM to the English congregation of my home church, BCEC. After the service, I was touched by how many people were encouraged from my short sharing and I hope that my story will encourage even more people.

I’ve always been independent and I’ve never really been comfortable asking others for help, so sharing with the church today, asking for support, both spiritually and financially was a huge step for me. For those who know me well, you’d know that I’ve been financially independent for a while, but asking the church to support me meant so much more than just the funding.

Fundraising for my time at COCM is more than just taking a step of faith in trusting that God will provide for me, but it’s also an invitation to those around me to support me on this journey to see what God can do through me and to join in on this endeavour. God has been so good throughout my life and I would love to take this opportunity to share about his grace and provision with you too.

So here I am, asking you to join me on this journey through the next chapter of my life, to see where God takes us and maybe, my experiences will be an encouragement to you somehow, be it now, or when you do stumble across this page, or maybe not? No harm in sharing!