Archdiocesean Single Adult and Youth Office (ASAYO), was slightly different. The youths were invited to spend five days to cultivate a culture of mission & service:
— To make aware that mission is not an activity or “when free and available” to project but a personal response to Christ’s call to us.
— Respecting the mission of others
— Making aware local needs Below we highlight some sharings of those who spent time caring for the poor, teaching of the faith and community living at the Orang Asal Village (Mantin).
Where is God?
Many questioned my decision to deliberately skip a week of classes a month before exams to visit two Orang Asli villages, Kg Belihoi and Kg Sungai Rasa in Negeri Sembilan as part of ASAYO’s Lenten Compassion Walk Mission Exercise. But except maybe for my first acne outbreak ever due to stress, I have no regrets. Naturally, I have many new and exciting things to write of now. (Detecting demonic possession, jungle kitties, what kampung living can teach us about economic sustainability, why philanthropy is now questionable to me considering our socio-political situation and a delightful cuisine my culinary-inclined friends should consider exploring are among some of them.)
Where is God? Isn’t it amusing that centuries of ‘civilization’ have crammed us into spaces of so much comfort, convenience and noise that we still have to ask that? Or worse still, ask that out of spite or without waiting for an answer?
In the simple but genuine faith and hospitality of villagers we met.
In little children, illiterate yet able to memorize so many action songs, full of joy at celebrating their faith,
In the 20-over people we didn’t know but bonded with like family after five days of sharing one bathroom and learning to cook entire meals with just two rice cookers,
In the two nights I was blessed to sleep and pray in front of the tabernacle,
In the silence of a graveyard and the surprised faces of passing cows who stopped to stare at me, In the clear, starry skies and a purring kitten curled up at my ankle,
In the struggle of hiking up and down the same sunny hill the villagers climbed everyday,
In the laughter and joy, struggles and discomfort, stillness and the meditative chants of Taize (all things you can still find in the city),
God was there. Whispering His magnificence through all of creation, if only we would stop to listen.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as.” Luke 18:16 — By Samatha Ho
Appeciate the little things in life
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” — Mother Teresa Encouraged by Mother Teresa’s love for the poorest of the poor, I have always dreamt of being a full time missionary when I retire from the corporate world. But to know whether I am being called for this vocation, I needed to experience it first hand and the opportunity to serve in the Orang Asli settlement in Mantin for three nights was just timely and the duration was perfect.
So, without any expectation and just having faith and trust in the Lord, I began my faith journey, together with 18 other pilgrims.
The moment I was greeted by the warm smile of the head of the Chapel, uncle Langkap and his family from Kg Belihoi, all my worries and fears just disappeared. I had been more concerned about having to eat their local food (eg. babi hutan and other wild animals), sleeping on hard cold cement floors and doing ‘business’ in the open. Instead, our meals were all vegetarian (in the spirit of Lent) and the Orang Asli were generous enough to share their local dishes with us as they insisted that we eat with them as a family. Sleeping in front of the tabernacle in the chapel was the best place anyone could ask for. There was even a proper toilet (four walls and a door), so what had I to worry and complaint about?
I was more touched by the Orang Asli’s strong faith in the Lord. Amazed, that both the adults and children know all their prayers by heart and could sing and dance to every action song with us. The adults could even give testimonies of their encounter with the Lord and participate in our Bible sharing, taize prayer and Stations of the Cross. Despite their simple way of living, they are rich in faith and mercy and this shows that God is present in their lives. Knowing that a few of the children have stopped schooling, due to personal reasons, broke my heart and I pray that they will have the opportunity to go back to school one day. I am happy to know that the children of Kg Raya are all schooling. I trust that the Lord will continue to provide for the Orang Asli of Kg Belihoi and Sg Raya and I pray that they will be blessed abundantly with His grace. I ask that you keep them in your prayers as well.
This mission trip was truly an inspiring and humbling experience. The Orang Asli have taught me to appreciate the little things in life and also that I do not need to worry, for God always provides. This mission trip is definitely not the last for me as I will continue to discern God’s calling. — By Patricia Choong
A call to go out into the deep
The call to mission was never an easy decision for me. As a city kid, the thought of the discomfort was always something that deterred me. I hated the discomfort. I hated the trials and the obstacles. But, as God called Samuel, He called me too. That is what I firmly believe.
The trip to Kg Belihoi and Kg Sungai Raya, Mantin was the affirmation I needed to this calling. To do work for God is the only way I can truly understand my role on this earth. I have always understood that mission was going to be difficult. Obstacles such as cleanliness, language and food. But it is only through obstacles that we see the presence of God, where we feel his infinite mercy and where we experience the love He has for us.
This entire experience only affirms the call He has sent me. By stepping away from my comforts, I realise how different the Orang Asli have it. They have so little compared to what we so abundantly have, yet they are so much more content. While we were silently complaining about the hunger pangs and our food, they did not have a problem coming back for our “missionary meals.” At this, I kept wondering to myself, just pondering on how the simple things have made them so content and I realise our lives are drowned out by noise. Noise that falsely calms the yearning in our hearts, that blocks out the calling from Christ Himself. In our hearts, we know that we are missionaries, working for the greater glory of God. We are all here to fulfil his mission. I am here to fulfil his mission.
At the end of the mission exercise, our mission does not end. The calling is far greater than you and I. And I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that we all hear His call.
I would like to thank Asayo Kuala Lumpur and Gregory Pravin Rajah for the opportunity to visit and live with the Orang Asli, to be given the chance to experience their lives and to be given a chance to spread the joy of the Gospel. This has truly been quite an experience and I would not hesitate to say yes again. Yes to discomfort, yes to roughing it out, yes to mosquito bites, yes to not showering for two days, and Yes, now and always. — By Isaiah Augustin
An inspiration to me
“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you” – John 15:12 First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity to join the mission.
When I entered the village, it reminded me of my hometown. I was so happy to see all the kids. I was happy to play and sing together with them. I was surprised by their deep fath. I was very excited to see that they are better in singing spiritual and action songs. They were also able to share openly from the Bible. Here was a source of inspiration for me in my efforts to be closer to God.
We came prepared to cook simple meals which we rationed for everyone. But when we came to Kg Belihoi, all that changed — they cooked lunch and dinner for us. However, we still cooked and served them like one big family. Happiness is only real when we share.
The thing I like is that this Orang have a good relationship in the neighbourhood. Their house doors are always open and their neighbours can just go in. The relationship they have with each other is very strong. Though they live a simple life, they are happy. Why can’t we also be like them? — By Martian Judith Andrew