I couldn’t eat anything despite being hungry. (Mind you, I’m someone who loves munching on one thing or the other 24×7!) Every so often, I had to pay a visit to the washroom too. My friend, with whom I stayed the night before I travelled, noticed my peculiar behaviour, and realised how anxious I was. She was rather surprised as this is a side of me that many don’t get to see, let alone know about. Going to a function where I don’t know most of the people, is bad enough. I have wriggled out of so many social activities when I find out there would be mostly people I hardly knew there! Imagine going to a residential course for 10 days! What will these people be like? Will I fit in?
Perhaps a part of this apprehension is due to my moving about from country to country, city to city – always being the outsider, never quite fitting in. Being a third culture kid is hard, but being exposed to more than 2 cultures while trying to conform to contradictory value systems, is ultra tough and draining. After a while, you begin to wonder who you are, as you can soooo lose your identity! Rather than being the unique individual God has created you to be, you end up trying to meet other people’s expectations instead.
“Ouch!” My body greeted me when I woke up. “It just can’t be happening… I so want to get the maximum out of this training program. How will I be able to fly and then sit through 10 days of courses? I can’t bear the thought of lugging about my laptop and the power pack with this back problem. Shall I just leave it behind?” My mind was working over-time analysing – it seemed to pal up with my emotions! I whipped out my cell phone and sent out “SOS” text messages to a few friends asking them to intercede for me. “Lord, if you have allowed this disc problem to flare up again, I pray for Your grace and Your strength to carry me through. However, if this is the work of the enemy, I rebuke it in the mighty name of Jesus.” As I surrendered the situation to God, I knew God would give me the strength to manage my luggage too – including the laptop!
After all, wasn’t registering for this magazine training a miracle to begin with? In April 2011, I felt God leading me to take the next step. He had placed the vision for a magazine on my heart almost 5 years ago. Starting off with zero finances, I knew I had to put my hand in His hand. He has seen me and my meagre ministries through as I lived and continue to live by faith these last 5 years. How much more would He make provision for this magazine ministry that has the potential to reach out and touch many?
A couple of months later, I heard about the MTI magazine training. Call me ignorant, but I hadn’t even known that magazine trainings existed in the first place! It was to be hosted in neighbouring India. Given the timing of this course, I knew that this was no accident. I began to ask the Lord to open the doors if it was in His Will, and emailed my prayer support group too. It was going to cost quite a bit – the airfare, visa fee, course fees, accommodation etc. A month or so went by. Nothing was happening and I was beginning to get disheartened. However, I still continued to tell people, “In faith, I know I’m going”. Yes, God did pave the way.
It was all worth it. Not only did we learn much (and have so much of content yet to be digested) during the training, the bonding that took place slowly but surely was just incredible! People from different ethnicities all with a common purpose and similar passions coming together was truly a wonderful experience. We laughed, we giggled, we argued, we cried, we hugged… The ten days sped by and thanks to Facebook and Skype, we are able to remain in touch. I have never been to a Christian retreat or camp or training program whereby such a sincere bonding took place. It made me understand what Jesus meant when He said that His family are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice. We were all there to equip ourselves to serve Him better, which made a world of a difference.
A number of us are very much in touch. We share what’s going on with our ministries and we try to help one another by giving feedback or a word of encouragement. The fact that we will be meeting again next year keeps us going. In fact we have already started to plan our social calendar while we attend the MTI training program next year. And once again, in faith, I say, “I know I will be going”.