CAMBODIA 2020: MY FIRST OVERSEAS MISSION TRIP
By Abigail Chew
In January 2020, eight of us from Kingsway Methodist Church travelled to Battambang, Cambodia for our annual mission trip. It was my first ever overseas mission trip, and I was very nervous.
I felt uncertain and unsure. I wondered if I was ‘good enough or strong enough’ in my faith to go and share the gospel, especially with those of another culture. I was also fearful of evil spirits and was afraid that I would encounter them on the trip.
But I knew that God wanted me to go, so I signed up anyway despite these feelings. Deep down, I wanted to grow in my faith to trust him more; I wanted to take a leap in faith and see him come through. And he certainly did.
His purpose and plans prevail, and he will come through whenever we step out in faith and trust him.Abigail Chew
I expected the journey of growth to merely be a week long (the length of the trip), but it started five months beforehand. We had monthly meetings, not just to sort out logistics, but to also spiritually prepare ourselves for the trip. We memorized verses and had Bible studies which helped us to remain alert and sober-minded, aware of the spiritual battlefield we were entering. When we studied Judges 6–7 together, I was immensely encouraged by God’s kindness and provision despite Gideon’s doubt. We also memorised James 4:7–8, and I held on to this promise whenever I felt scared of evil spirits.
Almost every house we visited had a ‘spirit house’, a religious shrine. This only made it more apparent to us that we were entering into enemy territory. Strange things did happen. There seemed to be many loud noises (dogs barking, construction) when we shared about Jesus. One of our members suddenly felt unable to speak when she was leading the sinner’s prayer. But it was never something to be terrified of, for God always protected us. He is far greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4), and he is always in control.
Anytime I felt apprehensive and afraid to evangelise, I called to mind the Bible verses we had learnt before. I stepped out and trusted that God would be more than capable to reach people’s hearts despite my own shortcomings.
I shared the gospel with many families and households, but I distinctly remember two encounters. One was with two ladies. It was a very hot day, and we squatted by the roadside in the shade as I shared the gospel with them … and both accepted Christ!
Another instance was with a large family, the majority being older men. I felt intimidated, but I leaned not on my understanding and instead trusted in God for the outcome. As I spoke, I felt a strong conviction and the words flew out of me with meaning. It was the work of the Holy Spirit, and all came to accept Jesus!!
Besides this, we also visited some primary schools and shared the gospel using colourful bracelets. However, we ran out of bracelets at the last school, which was the biggest. We settled on just sharing the message without giving out bracelets, but God came through!!
Little did we know, one of the teachers had organized with Gideons International to provide New Testaments to each child. This was a strong reminder to me of God’s provision and sovereignty over every situation.
In many ways, it is harder to return from a mission trip than it is to go. Returning to a life of comfort and of merely studying/working is tempting, but I am reminded to rely on God in every matter, no matter how big or small. His purpose and plans prevail, and he will come through whenever we step out in faith and trust him.
Abigail is a member of Kingsway’s Methodist Youth Fellowship