One long weekend, 3 days 2 nights, 5 hours plus each way on the road, simple living, close to nature and my first mission trip!
A trip that has touched me in more ways than I could have imagined. I came back feeling refreshed (the unpolluted country air is another contributor), renewed, stimulated and that little bit more humane; it truly was a humbling experience!
It was a medical outreach organised by our church Basel Christian Church Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu (English), simply known as BCCM KK (E) (we were told it was the first short mission trip in more than 2 years) to a little town called Sapulut in the interior of Sabah to provide basic medical care to the villagers who live nearby BCCM Sapulut where we were going to attach to throughout our trip as well as to do some painting for the multipurpose hall of the parish.
There were 33 of us in our team with 2 medical doctors, 2 dentists, 2 pharmacists, few nurses and the rest were made up of us from all walks of life but with one common purpose, which was simply to help out in whatever way we could.
With a slight delay of half an hour we departed KK at 8:00am on 4 October 2014 and arrived at BCCM Sapulut at 2:00pm after a lunch break in Keningau. Throughout the whole trip there were moments that evoked various emotions and I dare say it was all these moments that made an unforgettable trip!
It started with the hair-raising moments when our car engine overheated while going uphill along the Crocker Range and we had to make an emergency pit stop and on the way back the heavy mist that had reduced visibility to only 50m; the bewildered-at-first-and-only-laughed-afterward moment when the 2 leading cars in front of us split and took 2 separate directions; the felt-blessed-and-didn’t-feel-like-on-a-mission-trip moments when we were fed with sumptuous meals throughout the trip prepared by the team of selfless ladies who sweated in the kitchen most of the time and when we realised there were flushing toilets, proper bathrooms and comfortable mattresses although most of us had brought our sleeping bags; the test-our-courage moments when we the city folks had to take very cold showers with water from the mountain stream; the “traumatised” or as our dentist Michael put it the “fear-desensitised exercise” moments when we witnessed the villagers getting 2 -3 of their teeth extracted at one time or the young children screaming, struggling or crying inconsolably on the dental chair; the fun and connecting moments when the team had time to chit-chat and get to know each other better or to strengthen old friendships; the warm and fuzzy moments when we were immersed in team spirit and served together in joy; the touching and humbling moments when the church of BCCM Sapulut sang during Sunday service all the worship songs from memory without a single song sheet or an LCD projector, or even sound system but accompanied by only a guitar, and although we did not know how to sing the songs in Malay, we still felt that we were all connected in one spirit and in Christ; the enlightening moments when we truly felt that our blessings to others have had us in return being blessed in so many ways… how could these moments not make this trip a memorable one?
This trip was a first for about one third of us and we know it would not be our last for almost all of us. During the early morning devotion on Sunday Pr. Sharon said that this trip was one of the examples of us getting out of our comfort zone and into something unfamiliar and uncomfortable with us giving up our now-considered luxurious lifestyle after seeing how the villagers live and our modern gadgets and going back to basic with no hot water, no air-conditioning and with extremely slow internet to name a few, it was definitely a stretch and a challenge for us but then with challenges come improvements and growth! We certainly have gained much from seeing how the local people lead a simple life, giving ourselves the opportunity to get close to nature and away from the stresses of city life and seeing how different races and age groups in our team come together and serve in unity, and let love prevail.
At the end of the trip, I am sure all have been enriched by the whole experience in one way or the other and as Elder William reminded us during the devotion on the last morning that we did this all out of love for God, and for His glory. May His name be lifted high!
registration and waiting
The free medical consultation and tooth extraction services were provided for the villagers staying around the area and we found out that some of them had to walk at least half to one hour to get there
Dr. Michael Heng said if circumstances permit for the next trip he would like to do some restoration and conservation dental treatments for the villagers instead of only immediate pain relief measure, i.e. teeth extraction like what he and Kelvin did for this trip.
Number of patients:
4 October 2014
Medical – 42, Dental – 62
5 October 2014
Medical – 57, Dental – 28
the paint job
Sunday church service
The ladies who made sure we would not go hungry
1st detour – When all was done, we headed to the waterfall nearby before leaving Sapulut (still it took us about half an hour on unpaved bumpy road to get there, it was really off-road expedition!)
2nd detour – we went to Nabawan and paid a short visit to BCCM Nabawan
Ps. Ishak Junius of BCCM Nabawan shared with us that in this little 30-year-old building on stilts with a tight space of about 600 square metres there is a flock of 200 worshipers comprised mainly of youths from the further interior who go to school in Nabawan. In plain view we could see that the stilts have started to give way and although the church has plan to build a new church nearby with bigger compound, the local authority has yet to grant its approval despite of the plan being submitted 10 years ago in 1995!
Last but not least… how could I leave out the flowers!
Here are the selected flowers taken in the compound of BCCM Sapulut which are aptly named…
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.