Here we are in the Phillipines.
We are here for the first time to do medical mission with the local church to reach out to the poor in Santa Rosa, a settlement area for the victims of Typhoon which plagued Philippines in 2013. Mission has been something that is very close to my heart since before I started medical school, and it is interesting that after such a long hiatus from medical mission of 10 years (our last trip was in 2007 in Cambodia), we are with the same team again, this time with more knowledge, experience and hopefully wisdom too.
So how did we end up here?
If you had told me last year that i will be volunteering my time in mission this year, i would have stared at you blankly and say: Sorry i have got no time. Also I am not in the right frame of mind and spirit to do this. My work and family are more important.
The past few years have been years of wandering for me. My entire focus during that time was to be the best that i can be in order to excel at work so i can enter into the surgical training programme and flourish in it. This became my world, the thing that i took a lot of pride in. I eventually got accepted into the SET programme and started my surgical training in 2016. There began a slippery slope toward either alternating self aggrandisement (when things go well) and self-destruction (when things go bad). I thought this was going to be a fun ride, i finally got what i wanted, but instead, it was a journey marked with a lot of pain and deep struggles. Feeling lost so many times, feeling concussed from a massive whack on the head out of nowhere, going through anxiety and depression, confronting many things which i did not, absolutely did not like about the world and myself.
Of course it would be inaccurate to say all of it has been mired with frustration and struggles. I did experience a far deeper measure of God's grace through the dark valleys, and there were interesting days and experiences filled with joy and small victory. But as humans, we tend to let the bad things stick more than the good.
Now i see it all as part of God's breaking process for my life. Had He not allowed me to crash and break into many pieces, i can't imagine what monster i would be right now. And yes surely i was headed toward a certain gravely path had God not intervened. Not that i don't still have those monstrous elements in me right now, but God in His infinite wisdom, brought me thru dark valleys, which in turn, saved my soul.
Thankfully He placed people in my life to guide me in the right path. Two such people are my wife and son. They have taught me more about what is important in life than anyone else. My wife had told me that i needed to come to this trip, despite the fact that she is 5 month pregnant and had to look after Jonas when i am not around. She said God is not done with me yet. Even though what we are doing here mostly is treating cough and cold, infections, skin diseases, asthma, stuff which i knew little about, the fact that i am once again immersed in God's works advancing His kingdom purpose rather than mine, is in itself a reward. I am deeply grateful for her encouragement and sacrifice.
I don't know what to expect. But the words of Jesus: therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:19) resonates deep in my heart. So here's to a great adventure in the Philippines!
|At the Cairns airport, waiting for departure|
|Having lunch with the local church|
|Reminded by my wife to drinking Vitamin C everyday :)|