One of the recurring question that I’ve been getting after returning from leading the mission team to China is ‘what were some of the things that surprised you from the trip?’
There have been many things, and I hope to cover most of it in subsequent blog series. But the first at the top of that list would be God’s sovereign control in spite of human mistakes.
Initial Plan: 100 students
When we locked in the dates for the trip during July 2014, we had initially planned for it to be the usual holiday English camp with about 100 students. Often these kids would be the cream of the crop in terms of their English speaking abilities, and the holiday camp would be an opportunity for them to enhance their conversational capacity.
However, I received a call in November informing us that the office in China had made a marginal mistake, and that the dates that we had locked in were not during the holiday seasons, but would in fact be during the thick of their school term. So instead of leading a winter camp, our team would be teaching at three different schools during a regular school week.
Naturally I panicked a little because while our team was trained to teach, there were merely trained to teach the lessons they had prepared. So over the next month, we had to re-strategise and make some adjustments to our teaching schedule.
God’s Plan: 3000 students
Not long after the phone call, I received an email with details about the school and found out that the year 7-8 students (which would be the year group that we are teaching) in the 3 schools averaged to about 1000 students, which meant that over the course of the week, we would have reached 3000 students with our lessons.
That was of course incredibly daunting and exciting at the same time! Most (if not all) of these students would have had zero contact with Christians up to this point in their lives, and all was about the change the day we land in the country.
Our team braved the uncertainties and went with it. And although we didn’t get the kind of intimacy you’d get with a smaller group of 100 students, I know that we had a deep impact in their lives. We could see it in their smiles in class and we could see it in their tears when we left. Although we couldn’t know all of them by name, they knew our team members by name. So we hope and pray that God will multiply the work that we’ve done there as we return each year and even through different Christians that they may meet in the future.