reaching out, changing lives!

The list of information we received just short of a week before we were due for our weekend medical mission trip was brief. All we got was — electricity by generator set (still under repair), bring torch, sleeping bag and mosquito net, weather can be cold so bring something warm… then there was the assignment of a few tasks to the respective individuals and a few more items we would need for the medical service.

Out of the 17 of us only dentist Dr Kelvin Tan had been to Kampung Lumampau in Sipitang, a seaside town 144 km south of Kota Kinabalu two years prior to this. According to him, the stretch of unsealed road leading to the village in the interior after we got off from the main road from Sipitang could be challenging, the village is small and it is very cold in the morning. Since our camp commandant Gem had never been there, she could not offer any information on the church, Basel Christian Church Malaysia (BCCM) Lumampau where we would be based except that we would be staying at the pastoral home. So with that we were all prepared for a little adventure to explore this new place that we knew not much about.

getting ready
We met at church at 9:00am on Friday, 07 July 2017 to load things on to our respective vehicles. Since “off-road expedition” was expected, we had to go by sturdy four-wheel drives.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

packing things onto Winson’s car

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Martin getting ready his…

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Dr. Timothy Cheng with his monster truck!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

our pastor in-charge Ps. Renny sending us off with prayers

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

getting there…
We set off just before 10:00am and arrived at Sipitang at noon for lunch. Kelvin and his brother and fellow dentist Wesley were waiting for us there. We were later joined by Elder Kerimus from BCCM Lumampau and his wife Ibu Samiah who would lead us to the village.

Although the last stretch of the road was unsealed, the condition was good albeit a little bumpy at places. Our four-wheel drives managed it well and we reached the church an hour and a half later.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

we are here!

When we all got out of our respective vehicles to stretch our stiffened limbs, we were rather surprised to find the weather nice and cool at 2:30pm and it felt like we were at Mt. Kinabalu National Park! Except for Kelvin, the rest of us just thought that the lower temperature in the morning as mentioned was due to the location in the interior and surrounded by trees so naturally it would be cold in the early hours of the morning but we never knew we were actually on the Crocker Range (maybe 3-4,000 ft above sea level according to Martin the horticulturist after a close examination of the vegetation) and hence, the nice cool weather. How ignorant we were with our geography in our home state!

Kampung Lumampau with lumampau means a river that never dries up, came into existence only in 2003. BCCM Lumampau is a very small church which was started with only five families.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

the girls picked to stay at the pastoral home where the kitchen was and with two each of bathrooms and toilets as well as living area downstairs

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

the boys stayed at the long house a hundred metres away

After we unloaded everything from the cars, we took the first afternoon easy as we realised the villagers would only come for the medical service the following day. For a few of us who had been on mission trips of similar nature before we found ourselves a little restless with nothing much to do. From our past experience, the villagers would have reached the centre by the time we arrived and long queue formed before we even set things up, and the whole afternoon would be hectic so this was not something we had expected nor accustomed to. In the end we tried to calm ourselves down and join the others to just relax and enjoy the unhurried afternoon.

nice and easy first afternoon…

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

executive chef Bit Fung (in blue) and sous chef Christina working out the menus

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

afternoon tea break

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

fellowship time all round

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

after tea break it was time to get to work — doctors, dentists and nurse sorting the medicine out and getting themselves prepped!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Gem, insect repellent is not insect spray!!! But apparently it worked, in the end she managed to use her lemon grass insect repellent to do some pest control and got rid of the ants!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

interior of the boys’ accommodation

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

transformed! Richard and Martin worked hard and efficiently to put up the mosquito nets for all of us!

first evening
Electricity from the generator came on at around 6:15pm when we were about to have our dinner. The planned programme for the evening after our dinner was a sharing session at the church with the local church members.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

it was a small gathering and only a handful of members turned up for the session. Nevertheless, we had a good time with Winson leading the lively praise and worship

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

and with Ps. Timothy Cheng delivering his inspiring message on foundation taken from Matthew 7:24-27

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

it was fellowship time with the church members after the sharing

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

young Joshua found some new friends

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Ps. Timothy having a chat with En. Ongoh, chairman of BCCM Lumampau

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

the solar panel brought by Dr. Timothy to power a couple of bulbs fascinated the villagers

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

and our own team members too!

After a short debriefing and with us sharing a snippet of our reflection for the day, we all got ready for bed before the generator set was switched off at 10:30pm. Although the afternoon was not strenuous, the long journey had tired us out.

a new day…
The cooks were up at the crack of dawn to work on the breakfast. I  was woken up by the noise in the kitchen and got up at just after 6:00am.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

the ladies were helped out by Dr. Timothy in the kitchen

Seeing they had enough hands in the kitchen, I put on my cardigan and took the chance to go for a walk around the compound and to enjoy the fresh and crisp morning air. And I was blessed with the opportunity to witness this…

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

beautiful morning colours

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

breathtaking!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

within minutes the colours were gone and the heavy mist set in…

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

after the colours of the sunrise disappeared the place was shrouded in mist again

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

at one side the view before me was covered in thick mist while at the other side the mist had lifted and blue sky came into view… truly amazing!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

morning devotion at 7:00am before breakfast — spiritual food before physical food!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

encouragement from Lamentation 3

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

heavy breakfast to get us ready for the day ahead

“open shop”…
It’s medical service day!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

setting up for dental service

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

getting the tools ready

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

the “drug store” is almost ready

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

setting up the registration counter

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Winson making sure that the blood pressure monitor was functioning well as his first attempt at taking my BP reading at unbelievable 190 was considered a complete failure!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

see, it’s working properly!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

the Shim family checking their blood pressure to ensure all were in good health!

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guy talk!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

villagers slowly turning up…

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Cheryl busy at registration, assisted by son Joshua

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

patient sent over to Winson for blood pressure and weight reading, overseen by Dr. Kavita

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

operation at a steady pace

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Dr. Melissa Liew in action. This trip we were blessed with 4 dentists so the work was divided among them with Dr. Kelvin Tan (far right) being the overall in-charge for the dental team

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

being resourceful — no electricity so a hand held torch was used

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Dr. Foong Tian Yuan’s turn at tooth extraction

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

patient in consultation with Dr. Timothy Cheng

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

dispensing service by Rita

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

fellowship under a tree… Ps. Timothy Cheng having a chat with the village folks on their life in rural Lumampau

mission trip - sipitang lumampau (51)

Richard does his usual thing — giving tips on dental care

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Gem being the head lice inspector!

The medical and dental service concluded by 5 o’clock in the evening and while the dinner was being prepared, we took a relaxing stroll around the area. It was great not to be bothered by the daily grinds of life back home but to just take things slowly and enjoy what nature has to offer.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Winson enjoying the view of hills of trees

second night
It was fellowship night at the church after dinner.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

it started with Gem representing our church BCCM KK (E) to handover some children’s bibles to En. Ongoh, chairman of the church

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

then it was some fun praise and worship with actions led by Gem

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Ku daki daki daki daki gunung yang tinggi, ku turun turun turun turun lembah yang dalam, ku melintasi padang rumput hijau terbentang, Yesus besertaku….. (I go up and up and up and up a very tall mountain, I go down and down and down and down a very deep valley, I tread across the vast expanse of lovely green meadow, Jesus you are with me…)

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

our team participated in the action song… so lovely

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

a better turn-out this time with Rev. Yulius (front middle) from Sipitang joining us

After Ps. Timothy’s short sharing on John 16, we broke into groups for a short sharing and to encourage the church. Oops! Only then most of us realised we had challenges with expressing our bible knowledge and biblical jargon in Malay!

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After the sharing it was more fellowship back at the pastoral house. We had another debriefing session before we called it a night just after 10:00pm and before the generator was turned off.

last day
Another new day with the kitchen crew getting up at the crack of dawn again to prepare for breakfast to feed us. Similar to the day before, we had our short devotion before breakfast and it was yet another moving and enlightening session with everyone expressing on how they had been blessed by this trip.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

morning devotion led by young Winson

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Gem giving out certificate of appreciation to the team

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

a group photo session before breakfast — a very good looking bunch!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

only now that the team was complete with a wefie!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Sunday service

The church presented a dance and sang in their local language Murut.

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

presenting a love gift to the church, received on behalf by En. Ongoh

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

our song presentation “How Great is Our God”

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Joshua reciting Psalm 127

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

bidding farewell to the church after the service

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

Kau sahabatku, Kau saudaraku… (You’re my friend, You’re my brother…)

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

memory in the making (1)

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

memory in the making (2)

When it was time to go…

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

everyone looked refreshed and relaxed…

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

loading things on to the cars — it’s all about teamwork!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah

more teamwork!

reflection…
When the medical service was done, we had 39 patients for medical and 31 patients for dental service with 33 teeth extracted. These were very small numbers as compared to our previous mission trips to bigger villages but this time, the team members had the chance to experience something different. With the small number of patients, both Cheryl who manned the registration counter and Rita who gave out prescriptions had more time to chat with the villagers. They found out more about them and also gave them tips and advice on how to better take care of their health as most of the villagers suffered from gastritis due to irregular meal times and body aches and pains working tirelessly in their vegetable farms.

Although we felt disappointed initially that we did not get the huge number of headcounts we expected, we came to the realisation later that it was not the quantity but the quality of service that mattered. The villagers were given a chance to have a chat with us the visitors from the city and it made them feel like the visit was more of a social outing than a daunting appointment with the doctors. We trusted that our presence was an encouragement to the small church and the village folks there, and that God’s love and His hope reflected in our service helped to strengthen the church.

As for the few of us who came with a certain set of expectation that we brought from the other mission trips which we participated in the past, we learned that we were not meant to come with a pre-set mind or draw any conclusion from our past experience but to be prepared to experience something new as there would always be something good out of it when we answered God’s call to be a part of a new mission trip, and did things out of sheer love. We also learned that we must not be so hard on ourselves by getting disappointed easily but to just let God lead, and wait upon Him. It is His plan, His timing and His purpose! Besides, with the slower pace in such a setting with nice scenery and fresh mountain air, it was time for us especially those who lead a busy life and work a demanding job to just slow down and breathe, and learn to rest upon the Lord.

This time it so happened that all of us in the team were not only of the same faith but also from the same church except for one member from the medical team. The 17 of us were a church, a very small church who represented BCCM Kota Kinabalu (English) to come and visit another small church at Kampung Lumampau! It was encouraging to see that every single one of us joined in and shared during the morning devotions as well as being present at the sharing at church in the evenings, and worshipped together on Sunday with the villagers as one body in Christ.

As concurred by all in the team that everyone felt strong about the love demonstrated wordlessly among the team members and the enjoyable fellowship forged throughout the trip. New friendships were fostered not just among the members of the medical team but also for our own church members as some of us did not know the others well. At the same time, old friendships were strengthened too.

We pray for the church at Lumampau that they will not lose sight of God but grow from strength to strength, and will expereince spiritual breakthroughs one after the other and may their hearts burn ever so fervently for the Lord.

We came away refreshed, renewed and with our spiritual life enriched. When we reached out to serve, lives were changed but we just did not expect that the lives that were changed and impacted the most were our very own!

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah, bixa orellana, lipstick tree, 紅木, 胭脂樹

I was fascinated by this plant and I dragged Gem along to take a closer look so she said I must showcase it — introducing the Lumampau blooms – Bixa Orellana, lipstick tree (the seed in the fruit can be used as food colouring or on lips!), 紅木 or 胭脂樹

medical mission trip lumampau sipitang sabah, bixa orellana, lipstick tree, 紅木, 胭脂樹

delicate and beautiful flowers of Bixa Orellana, lipstick tree

2 thoughts on “reaching out, changing lives!

  1. Sorry sister I just got time to read your 3rd medical mission trip articles very goods experience each time you go for your mission trip. Yes God always have HIS plans, timing for you. I’m so happy to see all your teams are enjoys this trips.
    God bless you more revelations and he will let you see miracles miracles things that you never seeing before amen…

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