To download the original copy, please follow this link: CIM News Update – October 2018
From this issue of News Update:
This past July, Clara Hoh, traveled with me on a STM to Ghana and Togo. It was her first visit to Africa, and at 16 years of age, she was the youngest member to travel with me on any of my previous STMs. What made this trip more special was that her mother, Flora Loong, who has been on the CIM staff for the last 12 years as Administrative Assistant was also on the trip. In future updates, you will hear from Flora and other members of the July team, but in this edition read about Clara’s experiences.
“For all my life, I have always only viewed myself as ordinary. I thought that I was different from the church’s missionaries, or leaders, or really just anyone for that matter. I witnessed that everyone seemed to always know what to say and that everyone somehow seemed to always sound so knowledgeable when speaking God’s words. Comparing myself to everyone else caused me to develop a lack of confidence to be good enough; whether it was being good enough to proclaim God’s words to others, or being good enough to share my experience with others, or sometimes even being good enough to pray in front of others.
When my mom approached me with the idea of going on this mission’s trip to Africa, my first instinct was to be excited; however, after spending time to think more about what would occur during the trip, I began to develop a sense of doubt about whether I could really be qualified enough to fill this spot on a team whose mission is to spread God’s message and God’s love – I mean, I’m neither a great speaker, nor would I describe myself as a very loving person. As a daughter of someone who worked at CIM, the topic of missions would regularly come up throughout daily life. I was exposed to the world of missions constantly, whether through the periodic prayer updates, to even casual conversations around the dinner table. I always found myself pondering the possibility of myself going to Africa one day and doing all those things I have only dreamt of doing. However, this had always felt more like a far-fetched dream than reality. I never thought I could ever do what other missionaries were doing, nor did I feel qualified to be on a team filled with such experienced and amazing people.
And so, going on this trip was a big step for me… actually scratch that – going on this trip was a gigantic step for me to take. It was so out of my comfort zone and during the planning process I continuously questioned myself; I was so stressed out that I felt the negative energy spread to the people around me. During meetings with the team, I tried to act confident (key word: tried) and prepared on the exterior, however I was mentally freaking out. I carried these fears and my doubts with me travelling to Ghana, but somewhere deep inside, I was also eager to find out if God has something in store for me during this trip. Yes, I had many doubts, but I also held a determination to do my best and see where God could guide and I was excited to see what he wants to show me from this trip.
When we first arrived in Togo, and officially started our outreach with door to door visitations, I honestly did not expect to talk too much. I was placed in a group with Pastor Isaac which was both relieving and nerve-racking; I was relieved because I knew he had experience and could lead the conversation, but also nervous to be put on the spot and somehow be able to find the right words to speak. I was by far the most inexperienced person who was there on the missions’ team, so I found that I kept hanging back and trying to avoid having to speak at all costs. I wanted to make a difference and somehow find myself a way that I could actually be useful in building towards God’s kingdom, but I was also afraid to step out of my comfort zone to try. I ended up hanging back behind the group and planned to only speak a few words here and there. That is why, I was quite taken by surprise when Pastor Isaac called on me in the middle of his evangelism and asked me to share my story. Looking back, I feel that this was the moment where I really felt was the beginning of my trip. I was incredibly nervous, but I felt that at that moment, God simply took over and rather than speaking the words that I have prepared and rehearsed, I feel that God helped me speak what was really in my heart. I didn’t feel nervous anymore after I have started talking, and it was an incredible feeling for me because it felt like it was the first time the Holy Spirit was guiding me towards what to say, and I was speaking my own story from my heart and not from a piece of paper. I think that God wanted to break my insecurities and truly show me that I am precious and I am useful in his eyes. After I shared my story, the woman responded in the most amazing way, that before that very moment I would never have believed would happen to me in real life. She told us that the story touched her heart and that I encouraged her in her faith because she knew now that someone has experienced something similar and that what she went through was very real.
If you asked the “me” from before the trip, I wouldn’t think that I would be able to break through that shell of insecurity that I tend to carry around… but somehow it did. For the rest of the trip I found myself opening up more easily and gain much more confidence in my experience and abilities. There were many more times where I was called out on the spot and asked to speak, and throughout this trip I learned to become more and more comfortable, not because of my own abilities, but because I could feel that God was leading me through everything. Even throughout the nightly devotions, I started to open up more about my thoughts and feelings. I tended to keep all my emotions to myself and I didn’t like expressing them to others with the fear that they’re not important or not worth anyone’s time. Going to this trip, I thought that everyone was much more experienced and may feel judgmental towards my lack of knowledge and confidence. One of the most important lessons that God wanted me to take from this trip was really just understanding that I am precious and I am useful in his eyes and even when I don’t think I am qualified to do something for him, he will always find ways to work through me. I learned that my story is just as important as other’s no matter how ordinary I think I am. God assured me through the work in this trip that through him, even I can make a difference for him in his kingdom, whether in Ghana and Togo, or even back home in Canada. I found that even after coming back, I discovered a newfound sense of confidence in proclaiming God’s words and speaking to non-Christians about my faith. I initiated conversations that I never would have before this trip happened and as a result God continued to guide me though my words.
This trip also allowed me to spend a lot of time reflecting on how I want to be living for the rest of my life. Seeing all the pastors and the Christians in Ghana and Togo being so faithful to God no matter their hardships, was awe-striking for me to witness. Their resources might be scarce and their living conditions might not be ideal, but their willingness to continue to serve God despite these things were encouraging to me and got me thinking about how I could also find ways to put God first in my life. Throughout those two weeks, I constantly prayed to God at night to show me the path that I should take for my future and what I could do to serve him like some of these people are doing in Ghana and Togo. I think after listening to different testimonies, I realized that I don’t need to receive an answer right away, but instead, I need to do my best to model my life after Christ and live my life for Christ and let him guide me towards wherever he will guide me. Before this trip, I have always held a feeling of fear for my future, and every time I thought of what I would do for postsecondary I would find myself in a pit of stress and despair. I think through the stories and lives of the pastors, God wanted to encourage me to stop looking towards my future with stress, but instead, trust God to lead me through whatever he wants for me. Now, I am able to look ahead towards my future with confidence and trust of what God has in store for me to do next.”
It is always so exciting for me to read reflection papers like this and see how STMs not only transforms the lives of the locals that we share the gospel with but also those who go on our STMs.
If you are interested in joining a STM or want to know more about our ministries, please visit our website at www.cimcanada.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pray for Rev. KK Maxwell Liwangol who is now the new General Overseer for the Evangelical Church of Ghana. May God bless his ministry and may the partnership between CIM Canada and ECG remain strong.
- Pray for the financial needs of CIM Canada. Pray for awareness of our ministries and for more donors. Pray for a healthy general fund and funds to maintain our ministries including village schools, Togo and Roma ministries.
- Praise God for the Ride for Refuge fundraiser. Over $8000 was raised for the ministries of CIM Canada.
- Pray for the remaining STM team that will be traveling to Ghana in December this year.
- Pray for our upcoming Annual General Meeting on November 3 and 4. Pray for the Lord’s direction as our Board of Directors meet.
Rev. Isaac Quan
Financial Highlights for the month of September 2018
(please click on the table to enlarge)
1. General Fund – for general and administrative such as staff salaries
2. Designated Fund – for specific ministries in different field locations as designated (cannot be transferred between funds)
– All financial figures are in Canadian dollar and rounded to the nearest dollar.
Registered Canadian Charity Registration Number of Chinese International Missions (Canada): 896216207RR0001