As we approached Baguio, I marvelled at all the green leaves, trees and mountains, scenery I hadn't seen for quite some time as a seafarer. It reminded me of Psalm 121: "I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." With a grateful heart, I was nevertheless looking forward to the weekend of 'not doing much'.
Looking back, I can only smile at this initial plan. Each of us experienced unique opportunities to share about God's love with locals while on holiday. Three mates, three different stories…
Upon our arrival in Baguio, the three of us headed to the local mall to meet up with some of Daniel's friends. While we were waiting, a crippled young man approached and talked to us. It turned out he was fund raising for the Unification Church. He began to explain to us what his church's vision was, giving us a little insight into the doctrines of this religious movement.
We ended up talking for a while, challenging the man to read the Scriptures himself and follow Christ, instead of looking to a human leader (the recently deceased Reverend Moon) for guidance. As an Unificationist, he acknowledged the authority of the Bible, but had not yet read it all himself.
The next day I was sitting in the city's main park, spending some time with the Lord alone and enjoying His Word. After a while I saw this same young man in the park, so I invited him to join me where I sat. Again, we talked for a while and I was able to share from the Scriptures; testifying to God's work in my life and challenging him to draw close to the Father through Christ. In the end we prayed together and he went his way, thankful for the time we spent talking and the prayer. It struck me that he had seen me practising the very thing we had challenged him on the previous night, reading the Word of God for myself.
I do not know where he is at with his relationship with God now, but I know that God used us to challenge him in a very powerful manner. I felt very honoured to be a part of God's calling this young man to Himself when all I was doing was being on holiday.
It was a great privilege to share with a local church as part of a team from Logos Hope. The pastors invited us on a Saturday to discuss our presentation at Sunday services, and requested that we focus our sharing on missions. I was surprised at how open-minded they were, giving us total strangers almost all of the Sunday service time to share, sing, dance, preach and pray with the local congregation. I was given the privilege of preaching at two services on the Sunday.
In my preaching titled "Bible as mission", I shared that mission has been central to God's plan for the world since its beginning. From God's first promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, God promises to bless all peoples of the earth through His chosen people.
I traced this theme through the Old Testament, finding examples in Joshua crossing the Jordan, David fighting Goliath and Daniel surviving the lion's den. In these famous stories we recall God's blessing towards the Israelites. But what we can easily miss is that in these events God was glorifying Himself through His chosen people before all peoples so that even those who are outsiders might come to know that He is Lord.
After preaching, many people came forward to receive prayers from us. Several hoped to participate in short term missions, others intended to commit their life to be full-time missionaries. Praise be to God!
Another blessing I received was from Compassion sponsored children who attended the church. They had received Christ during their involvement with Compassion and God has been working in their hearts since, transforming them to be willing to give their lives to serve Him.
Several had already participated in short-term missions and others were serving as teacher or case worker in the Compassion project. They were the living proof that through our efforts in mission, as humble as they may seem, God is being glorified, and is active in bringing people from all nations to Himself.
Several months ago, I stumbled upon an Indian Bhangra worship song on YouTube. It immediately caught my attention as an example of how folk rhythms from traditional cultures could be used to worship the "One True God". The lyrics speak of the oneness of God, instead of thousands of deities in Hinduism. It was exciting to know this first ever Christian Bhangra song might reach into the hearts of not only East Indians and but also people in other nations. It gave me a desire to develop a simple choreography for worship dance.
During the Sunday service we attended, the Lord impressed on my heart to lead the congregation with this worship dance. I did not plan this worship until the service started but had the conviction that it was what God wanted me to do. So I invited the congregation to stand and worship Him through dance.
You can view the worship dance on YouTube
I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as people worship God with so much joy. Several people came to me after the service and told me how the dance routine had many similarities to their own traditional dance in the region. It was such a blessing to worship the Lord in a new way.
Would you imagine doing all these 'unplanned' activities during your 'planned' holiday? From time and time again, I am reminded of the following statement:
"God does the most amazing things at the most unexpected times through the most unlikely sources by the most unusual means to bless us in the most delightful ways".
Daniel Jang from Newcastle, New South Wales is serving with (Operation Mobilisation) OM's ship - Logos Hope. For more information, visit www.gbaships.org
Daniel Jang's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-jang.html