Being a lecturer by profession, I’m blessed with long vactions, but never before had I used my vacations or my free time to serve God at missions. I have been in the community for just about a year now, and after having heard so much about mission activities, I was longing to experience mission life myself.My prayers were finally answered this year.
In the month of January, our household servant told us about the Mission to the North-East, which was scheduled in the month of April. Though I gathered all the details of the mission, I was more interested in going as I would get to see a new place; I had no idea what happens at a mission. I was just excited to go to Assam. I gave my name without even thinking about my work and family. I thought to myself, God will take care of everything if He wants me to be a part of the mission team. I’m not sure if I was truly convinced about that myself, but God did take care of each and everything and this eventually changed my way of thinking. God took care of my leave at work; but what amazed me the most was the fact that my family had no issues with me going for the mission, even though it was a month-long mission and that I would be away from them for so long.
As time passed by, I began to take this mission seriously and started preparing myself for it. I had just one expectation from this mission – I wanted to experience God more closely and I wanted to know that He is really there for me.
Soon it was time for me to leave for the mission, and I could experience mixed feelings within me; on one hand I was scared, worried, anxious, but on the other hand I was happy and excited. I didn’t know anyone else from the service team, and our only interaction had been via a whatsapp group where we messaged. Travelling so far, with people whom I didn’t know was getting me a bit edgy. Things did get better as I spent time with the members of the team.
Just as I began to get comfortable, this bubble was burst as I was asked to share at the Youth Conference. I wouldn’t normally mind sharing how scripture reading, personal prayer and Rosary have changed my life, but my problem was that I would have to speak in Hindi, a language which I am not very fluent in.
During my first review, I struggled with the language, but everyone praised me, and this encouragement from my team members helped me put in more efforts and improve.
When we reached Assam, the entire team began conference preparations like getting the hymns, sessions, sharings, activities, etc. in order. For some reason our parcels containing the conference books, jackets, t-shirts, etc. were still held up somewhere, and all that we could do at this time was pray and surrender our problem in prayer. At this time I saw how God listens to prayers and provides for our needs.
The next day, only few of our parcels arrived, and it was amazing to see that it had exactly the things that we required for the conference. My faith was strengthened when I saw God’s faithfulness.
Another instance of how God showed His faithfulness was in terms of the weather. I was in charge of the outdoor activities, and it was pouring heavily in Assam during those days. We prayed to God about it, and asked Him to take complete control over everything related to this youth conference, especially the weather, and God marvellously took care of everything. It did not rain during the conference days and the conference went on smoothly. I was truly amazed to see how God was really there, taking care of everything.
During the three day Youth Conference, I saw how the Holy Spirit inspired the speakers and the sharers at every session. The testimonies and the sharings that I heard there were just amazing and touching. I was asked to share about my life and the changes that occurred after giving importance to scripture reading and Rosary. Initially, I was afraid to speak to a crowd of more than two hundred people in a language which I am not familiar with, but to my surprise I wasn’t scared or afraid of anything when I went up; I did not blank out, I had no problems with the language, my thought process was clear; I felt the presence of God right next to me, and He had filled me with His Holy Spirit.
After the Conference we had the Nehemiah Weekend, where we were divided into several groups, and each group was sent to a separate village. This experience at the village changed my outlook to various things and taught me how blessed we are to have everything back home. The village that we went to had no electricity, no gas connections, not even proper toilets or bathrooms. At home when the current goes off even for a few hours I would get impatient, and to avoid all the discomfort due to such power failures, we got an inverter; but in this village there were no such amenities, and still we managed comfortably, and in fact the villagers manage everyday. Usually I am very particular about hygiene, especially with respect to using a washroom, but after the two days experience at the village I praise God for the basic provisions of a proper toilets that we are blessed with. For the first time in my life I cooked food on a chula, at home we are blessed with gas connections, induction systems, ovens, etc. After this humbling experience I learnt to praise God for every blessing that He has bestowed upon me, which very often I have taken for granted in the past.
During the mission I took ill for some days, but the love and care that I received from the rest of my group members, made me feel at home.
This mission experience has exposed me to that side of life that I had never even thought of, and I’m glad that God chose me for this mission and gave me a chance to serve Him and experience Him so closely. This mission gave me such close friends who treat me like their own family members. I am looking forward to serving God more. Our God is truly amazing. All we need to do is allow Him to work in our lives.