In August 2016, Daniel went on a short term missions trip to the interior of BC. He went with a small team from BPGC’s Chinese Ministry.
Back in June when I was asked by the mission board to go on this trip, I was hesitant and doubted my usefulness. The purpose of the short term mission is to reach out to Chinese restaurant owners. In my attempt to escape, I thought of some excuses to do with language barriers and age gap between the people we are reaching out to and myself. Other than driving, what can I possibly contribute to the team? I barely know the team members, how can I spend nine days with them? And my most honest excuse was that I just wanted to enjoy my free time before school starts. That’s when I prayed to seek direction from God and He motivated me to reflect on my intentions. I did say that I would like to try local missions and this was my chance to try. My definition of “local” is Metro Vancouver, but it also meant any place where I don’t have to cross borders. As a member of the mission board, I felt the need to experience this trip. God kept tugging at my heart and saying, “I will provide all that you need, if you are willing to say yes to my calling.” And I said yes.
God is a strategic God because He trained me to appreciate diversity in culture while I was in Hong Kong (you can refer back to that sharing I posted on Facebook). During the many visits on the first few days of the trip, I mostly sat back and observed how the veterans of the team build or maintain a friendship with these restaurant owners. Before I proceed with the trip details, let me acknowledge each team member. We have Otto from CCM, and then we have our own Maggie and Yolanda who are very experienced with this trip and these restaurant owners. Next, we have Judy with one trip experience prior to this and by God’s grace, she has an amazing testimony about battling cancer. Finally, we have Tony and my dad, Vincent. I got to know each member of the team during the long drives and through everything we did together on this trip. We are all so different in our age, education, and culture but we all believe in the one and only God. I’m sure every member on this team has a personal highlight of the conversations they had. I have two personal highlights. The first was when I had a spontaneous conversation with two indigenous locals in Masset, Haida Gwaii. It was a casual chat with the locals and I told them that we’re a team of people from a church in Vancouver. It is rarely comfortable for me to chat with strangers but perhaps God used those 15 minutes to spark a curiosity about Christ into the indigenous locals. My second highlight was when I got to have a 40-minute chat with the son of a restaurant owner in Burns Lake. The rest of the team were chatting with the restaurant owner in Cantonese as usual but since the son of the owners was willing to sit down and chat with me, I finally had my chance to chat with a stranger about God. I was nervous at first, because I’m usually not very smooth with conversations. The talk ended up being an uplifting experience for both of us. Thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, I was able to ask him about his thoughts on church, God, and the purpose of life. I felt true comfort when I let the Holy Spirit use me in the conversation and the young man seemed encouraged and he expressed appreciation of our visit. We exchanged emails and went our separate ways. I questioned myself before and during this trip about my ability to converse with strangers about Christ. I then realized that it was God’s plan for me to learn from the veterans how these talks are done and I got my chance to try it. God does wonders when I laid my weaknesses before Him and simply say yes to His calling by going on this trip.
Throughout the trip, I kept wondering how the English Ministry could possibly be involved in this trip and I discussed future possibilities with some of the team members. This interior BC trip has been happening every year for the past nine years but the English Ministry doesn’t know much about it; I want to start the change and get the English Ministry more involved in this. The workers of the restaurants we visited are either Caucasians or Indigenous. That means those from the Chinese Ministry can continue to build a relationship with the Chinese and those from the English Ministry can effectively reach out to the English-speaking people. The (English-speaking) church we stayed in during our time in Haida Gwaii has a children’s program every summer and they would love to have us help them. Those are just possibilities for the future but there are no solid plans yet. I encourage you to pray about God’s direction in your life in terms of missions. All followers of Christ have a common mission to advance the kingdom of God. Our God can call you to be faithful in your workplace as your mission but God can also call you to go on local or global missions trips. It is important for each of us to honestly explore God’s calling and not be afraid to say yes. If God is calling you to go on this trip, or if you want to be updated about future trips, please talk to me and I will be happy to hear your thoughts and I will bring it up during mission board meetings.