For the longest time, I had a desire to participate on a mission trip (Discovery Trip). I had heard so many amazing experiences of others who had already gone on trips and listened as each shared how God was at work all around the world. One year, I went to a Mission Fest Conference and talked with different organizations and collected brochures on potential mission opportunities. There were many opportunities to go, but somehow, I never made it a priority and my main excuse was “I’m too busy” to take time off work to go.
Fast forward to 2016 when I was suddenly laid off from work. I really felt that God was laying on my heart the need to focus my priorities on Him and subsequently I made the decision to rejoin the Elders Board and serve at C4 Church in other areas as well. In the Fall of that year, I was diagnosed with cancer which further re-shaped my priorities. 2016 was a year of perseverance in my life.
The following year I underwent surgery and subsequent cancer treatment. At the “ripe old age of 54”, I started making a list of things I still wanted to do in life but as yet hadn’t made them a priority. At the top of that list was going on a missions trip, so with the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I submitted my application to join the C4 Team going to Bangladesh with Partners International. For me, 2017 was the year of trusting God.
By God’s mercy, and amazing grace, I was one-year cancer free in 2018 and I was regaining my health and strength. Plans for the March trip to Bangladesh were in full swing and everyone on the team was excitedly making final preparations. Just prior to the start of the trip I injured my leg playing hockey. The next day necessitated a visit to the hospital where x-rays revealed I had a broken ankle. That was the day before departure!
I was determined that this setback was not going to prevent me from going on this mission trip. I convinced the doctor to fit me with an adjustable hard case cast instead of a plaster cast. In order for the doctor to clear me to travel, I promised to get up frequently and walk around to help the blood circulation in my injured leg during the long flight to Bangladesh.
I left the hospital feeling relieved but then it hit me … What if I’m not supposed to go? Would going be selfish on my part and distract the team from accomplishing what God had planned for this trip? Would I slow the team down? A flurry of calls to the church leadership and Partners International ensued in order to pray and determine if I should still go on this particular trip. Through prayer, it was discerned that I could still participate on this mission trip.
The trip was not easy. My ankle was very painful, it was very hot and uncomfortable, and I could not walk very far on crutches. However, I would not have traded these hardships for anything!
The trip was amazing. It’s easy to love the people of Bangladesh. There is a special gentleness and innocence about them. I loved worshipping with them, even though I didn’t understand a word they were singing, we were united in Christ.
The highlight of the trip for me was praying with the Adopt a Village Pastors at their regional offices. After an inspirational message from one of the Pastors on “Don’t let fear stop how God wants to use you”, we split the men and the women into two groups for discussion and prayer.
To open up the conversation I shared my journey leading up to this trip … the job loss, being diagnosed and treated for cancer, my ankle injury, and I openly shared my fears. One by one each man shared their own pain and fears. It turned out our root fears were almost identical and we were able to pray for one another. It was a powerful time together.
As I reflect fondly on the experiences of the trip to Bangladesh, I am powerfully reminded that in our own strength we cannot accomplish much. Strip away our livelihood, our health, even our ability to do things that we take for granted (like walking) and we are left to rely on God alone. It’s at that moment that important things get done. Our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh walk this life every day. I pray God would continue to minister to them giving them perseverance in the midst of their trials, trust when all seems lost (and they feel they are not making a difference), and most of all that they continue to hope in God the Father, Jesus the son of God, and the Holy Spirit that dwells in them.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Testimony of Peter Lin, C4 Church Bangladesh Discovery Trip