August 21, 2014. Where has time gone?! It seems it was only yesterday that I had turned in my Cambodia application. I know I can't speak for individual team members when I say this, but preparing to leave has been quite a roller coaster ride. We each had different challenges throughout this process. However as a whole, we've also shared many moments through bonding, growing, and adapting. Each of us have experienced something different, but overall, we grew together as ONE team and ONE body in Christ. Since the time we each committed to go to Cambodia until this very moment, the day we depart America, we have gone through several different stages of preparation: spiritual training, team bonding, and organizing. Going into this mission trip, I had no idea how much work went into the preparation process. Every detail counts. Preparation is key to ready our hearts, mind, and body for what we will face in Cambodia. I'm sure even if we were ill-prepared, God would use us... but to what extent? Even now, we aren't fully prepared; no one can ever be 100% prepared. However, we have tried our best to ready ourselves and we are going into the mission field knowing God is leading the way.
A huge part of our preparation process was through Open Gate. Open Gate was a summer academic camp that each of us was a part of; Grace Choi was the "headmaster", Sally Han was a substitute teacher, Sarah Park was a 3rd grade reading teacher, and I was a reading teacher as well. Although each of us had a different role, we all worked towards the same goal: to work in a way that would provide the best care for the students, parents, and each other. In order for the camp to succeed, we all needed to flourish in each of our roles as a principal, teacher, or substitute. Through the difficulties we encountered during camp, we all learned to either change or adapt to the situations. We also learned to adapt to each other. Not one of us was left to struggle alone; we managed to have continuous communication with one another throughout Open Gate and the preparation process. Through the camp, we each took away a different learning experience that ultimately made our team unite and grow as one unit.
Alongside Open Gate, we also went through a series of spiritual training. For certain, we all can agree that the spiritual training portion of the preparation process has given each of us time for self reflection and reflecting on where we each stood in our relationship with God. Lessons we had each learned in the past were re-learned. Although certain points on topics such as love and holiness seemed like common sense, we each realized how much we had put in the back of our minds and how much more we needed to be in Christ. Each week, we reflected on a new topic in the ways of God: Supremacy of God, His love, Sovereignty of God, and Holiness of God. Through each topic, each of us had been able to open up and share our personal experiences about our relationship with God.
To say preparing for Cambodia was an easy matter, I would be lying. Throughout the last couple of months, I have struggled immensely within myself. At times, I've wanted to give up because the feeling of being attacked emotionally, physically, and spiritually was made bigger in my mind than God. When I took things into my own hands, I found myself drowning in misery. However, when God was put into control over my life, I had never felt more peace and reassurance about the decision to go to Cambodia. Each of us has struggled in our own ways and battled internal wars of our own. However, in the end, God was (and still is) bigger than all that we had faced and with that, I can confidently say that we are at peace and ready to start a new chapter of our lives in Cambodia. The future is a mystery, but through thick and thin, God is and will be sovereign over all things.
"Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all" 1 Chronicles 29:11-12