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Esther Choi

Why did I go?  Why Cambodia?

Simply put, it was a step of obedience and a fulfillment of a promise I made to God in the fall of 2010.

To be completely honest, I really didn’t want to go to Cambodia. In fact, I was so upset and angry and told God that I hated Him after I heard Him say, “Go to Cambodia.”  After duking it out with God, I found myself repenting, submitting and agreeing to go.  Going to Cambodia was a huge step of faith as I was in a season of unemployment.  Although I had the financial means to go, God spoke and told me not to worry about money.  Also, a month before the trip, God just kept telling me, “I am going to exceed all of your expectations.”

What did I learn?

This wasn’t my first STM trip, in fact, I’ve been on many and each time I went kicking and screaming.  This time, I prayed that I would go fully compliant and joyfully.

The trip really took me out of my comfort zone, especially since we were asked to participate in teacher training and kids’ camp.  I am not a teacher and children’s ministry is not for me.  Also, there was a generation gap between myself and the youngest member, so naturally, I had some concerns.  Yet, in spite of my short- comings and concerns, God showed Himself to be faithful.  Thankfully, our trip was a success, we all got along and I grew very fond of my team.

To my surprise, the highlight of my trip was the Evangelism Day.  It was the one part of our schedule I dreaded doing.  When we got to the place where we would evangelize, the children from Living Fountain led us through this village, calling upon all the children to come and join us for Sunday worship.   A 17-year old preached on the life of Moses.  He used about 10 pieces of Bristol board which depicted the life of Moses from birth to the release of the Israelites from Egypt.  It wasn’t just a 10-15 minute sermon; it went on for a good 30-40 minutes.  This teenager shared with such confidence, conviction and passion, that it not only humbled me, but put me to shame.  He lived in the village, accepted Christ because of the After-School program offered at Living Fountain and was now preaching to the kids in the village.  These kids were taking the blessings they received and sharing it with others.  They were blessed to be a blessing. I thoroughly enjoyed that experience.

Through this journey, God also showed me the need for community and how He brings His people together for His glory — being part of a micro (CoaH) and macro (global church) community. As I shared, I was seeking employment and thus, the decision to go to Cambodia was a huge step of faith.  Without solicitation of funds, God miraculously provided 100% of my airfare, from within and outside of CoaH. I never asked for financial support.  This was community in action.  I was incredibly humbled and thankful for those whom stepped out in faith or simply desired to bless me.  As He promised, I realised during my trip, He truly did exceed all of my expectations.

What are my next steps?

I am prayerfully seeking what my next steps are to be.  In essence, this trip was a continuation of the faith journey He had designed for me.  God has been re-engaging and stirring within me some visions and passions I left aside for quite a long time.  I’ve always been missions minded; I financially support overseas and urban missionaries, took the Perspectives course and even thought about being a tentmaker many moons ago.  Upon my return, I found that my role of being a sender did not change.   Not that my faith journey was steering off course, but He caused me to see again a bigger, more global picture – something of which I may have lost sight along the way.  Although I may not have been the most enthusiastic person about going to Cambodia, I am, nevertheless, very thankful that I stepped out in faith and was given the opportunity to see the wonderful works that Anne, Pastor Choi and his family are doing at Living Fountain — especially how they have been ministering to, and raising up, future Cambodian leaders.