Myanmar Mission Trip, 151216-191216 (Part 3)

Part 1 can be read here.

Part 2 can be read here.

DAY 3

Woke up on Day 3 morning with very beautiful skies at the roof of our hotel.

Us preparing to help ourselves to the buffet. I need coffee omg look at my tired face….I looked so done even before the day could begin…😂

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Rice, egg, veg for breakfast. Was fillingg~

My breakfast table!

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It consists of Aunty Julie, Aunty Geok Har and Stacy. So glad to know all of them better and whats a better way than to chat over coffee and food! Geok Har & Julie talked about how they have been to Israel and the Jordan River (where Jesus was baptised) and the whole trip cost them about $4000. It was organised before by the church. What an inspiration….

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I actually LOVE hearing travel stories & couldn’t help hearing their Jordan & Israel experiences! Listening to them fills my soul too and they described the trip super vividly for me. I almost teared because I believed them when they say how real God’s presence is over there (and I do believe when you see the exact places Jesus has been to, in real life, you couldn’t help but gaze in awe and wonder how that space transcends a time span of 2000 years). If anyone has doubted, being to those places struck you with the realisation that HELLO GOD IS REAL. All the doubts in a Christian’s life seemed foolish. I listened to their stories and was just really….happy that they get to visit such an exotic place & my heart flipped with joy and anticipation.


THE RIDE THERE

Head off to the village after breakfast! Here are some sights we passed by during our bus ride there.

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ARRIVAL

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Arrived at Minkan Asho Chin Baptist Church. It’s just a short bus ride away from our hotel.

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Our bus parked outside.

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Lovely kids greeted our sight upon our arrival.

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MEDICAL TEAM

Today is the day the medical team starts work so there was a lot of hype, especially during last night’s briefing. We set up a waiting area outside the doctor’s hut.

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We also set up a station to measure the height and weight of the patients, basically the “reception counter”. That station is also the place to note down any needs and current medications the patients are taking, before letting them see Stacy (my awesome roommate who is the doctor whoop whoops).

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So this is the hut/house where Stacy renders her service..

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Many of the patients were anaemic and most of them suffered from high blood pressure. It is largely due to the food they eat & their lifestyle, which makes 140-160 bp really normal to them. Stacy said with these conditions in Singapore, some of them would be warded already. I wonder how they are doing now.

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We gave them about 3-4 weeks worth of medicine and the most we could do is to persuade them to go to the hospital for further treatment. Who knows, they might not even go due to the cost of healthcare and many of them couldn’t afford it. We are not staying there for long, and there is only so much we could do and so much medicine we could bring past the customs. For some conditions, there’s not much Stacy could do either, for example, loss of hearing, etc.

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After seeing Stacy, they proceeded over to the last station “pharmacy” where Uncle Felix, Pastor Bar’s wife along with other helpers are stationed to collect their medicine.

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Aunty Geok Har preparing and packing the medicine!

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And yes, I did help sort the medicine out hahaa.

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Lastly, there was also a prayer station where Pastor John (& sometimes pastor Bar) would pray for the patients before they leave. It’s very encouraging when some pre-believers also came for prayer & we are glad we can bless them this way.

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LUNCH

Who knows such delicious and great food is cooked in a place like this?

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This is where they cooked our lunch. Lunch! Helen & wendy saw that + the whole process of cooking and they said the flies were swirling around the food like mad during the preparation. PS/ oh yes the flies there were crazy. Not that I counted but its approx. 50 plus flies with great determination to land on your food 😕

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After they finished cooking and brought forth the food to the dining table, there were flies in this area too wtf and all of them swarmed over….the villagers were very nice and considerate though they took fans and fanned the food repeatedly to chase the flies away AND THEY DID IT CONTINUOUSLY FOR ABOUT AN HOUR……as the food was prepared early and we weren’t done with our activities yet. As much as the flies were successfully chased away, fanning like this would also mean that the food would get colder sooner…

No wonder Helen & Wendy didn’t dare to touch the food at all. They ate very little because they were the only ones who witnessed the food preparation at the backyard and was traumatised by it. Hahahha meanwhile I ate…too hungry to bother.

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While we are eating, the kids were playing outside and peeking into our tour bus parked there!

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And also, during our lunch break, we had lots of free time first so we went around taking pictures and playing with the kids!

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We also went around the church compound taking pictures!

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Top and below are actually my 2 favourite pictures of the trip—when Helen, Wendy & I went to the back of the church to see the other people having lunch too. The kids whom I taught earlier, the adults whom have been to Stacy’s medical team…we saw the food prepared and saw what they were eating were so different from what we have on our tables. They served us like kings and queens (corn soup, veg, meat, rice, at least 5-6 dishes) and given us a dining table to eat on while all their people did in the meantime was have simple lunch (just bread, sweet soup, etc) on the floor outside the church. I was amazed by their hospitality. It’s something practiced among God’s people and they actually considered our needs above theirs when we are the ones travelling there to serve them. I respect them for this.

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MEDICAL TEAM PART II

After lunch, the medical team moved outdoors beneath a huge tent to continue their services.

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I went to help Joshua at the station where he was measuring the patients’ bp before they see Stacy. I was bored with the kids ministry for a while so I took over Julie (Joshua’s helper at that time) and let Julie rest instead. It was so refreshing!! Although I felt dumb most of the time because I didn’t know how to spell most of the medical terms, let alone what they meant. I didn’t even know what’s the normal BP reading HAHAHAH shame on me. It was enriching to catch a glimpse of the medicine industry…

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Prayer station. hahaha.

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I even helped with prayer!!

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Then came forth a little boy with very bad skin problems….we discovered him amidst the other kids when we were handing forward sweets. He stretched both of his hands out and to our dismay, we discovered that his whole skin was cracking really badly. IT MUST HURT A LOT 😦 Brought him to see Stacy immediately.

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We also called his parents over in the end. At that point, many of us were reminded of this person who had leprosy in the bible, also disease which infects the skin. In that bible story, Jesus performed a miracle & healed him by asking that man to wash himself in the Jordan River.

“Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying,”Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.”” —2 Kings 5:10

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So, Pastor John thought of something. He took a bottle of mineral water, prayed over it, and asked the mother to bathe/wash him with this everyday. (and of course, to bring him to see a doctor lol) I do believe it would work because all it takes is faith. Sure, to the world it may seem foolish.

We also washed his hands on the spot using that water. That little boy had tremendous faith—washing himself with the water eagerly and he even reached for more to put on his face, etc….it reminded me of the woman believe she will be healed just by touching Jesus’ cloak. That hunger & that belief is what created miracles.

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At the end of the day, Stacy said she broke her record of seeing more than 120++ patients in a day! She do feel tired but she’s amazed at how God sustained her throughout and provided with the strength to carry on. (of course la, she bought 5 cans of Nescafé’s black coffee in) All of us felt emotionally satisfied & fulfilled.


CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

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Wendy, Helen, Mag & I are in charge of the children! Here we are before the programme starts, trying to brainstorm some games and stuff for the kids. We are required to tell simple stories to the kids + teach Christian songs. Honestly, it is indeed testing my Sunday school memory. And no, all this were NOT PLANNED. It was impromptu, including the invention of the games…

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Look! Before the kids came, Helen and Wendy even tested the game first hahaa. This is the game where they have to pass a ping pong ball using a spoon in their mouths (no hands allowed).

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I am ready…I am ready……..

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The kids started flooding in……

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No….I am not ready for this……

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This is really my favourite part of the trip. There are about 80 plus children and we just started playing games with them. We also taught them simple Christian songs in English like “Give me Oil in my Lamp” and “With Christ in the Vessel”. (yes we selected these 2 in the end) Thankfully, the children picked up the songs and actions quickly.

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Mag also told some simple bible stories to the children, like David and the Goliath. She conveyed the story in the form of a simple skit (also impromptu I swear Mag is such a clever person) and pulled in some kids to act it out!!

Look at all of them listening to Mag’s story so attentively haha. We also had help from the Pastor Bar to translate the skid into Burmese for the children. I could tell they enjoyed it so much.

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Yeeyen, my friend who’s working full time with kids in Singapore told me, “Kids are very rewarding, if you high with them they will confirm reciprocate one,” its true!!!! We gave out goody bags to the children and prizes for the games. This was the day that most of our loots were given out. So secretly glad to drop all the baggage man. Thinking about how “travel light” the return journey would be makes me sooooo happy.

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Not long after the singing session and storytelling session, we set up the “booths” and started the games. There were about 3 booths and the kids were grouped into 6 groups to compete against each other.

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This was musical chairs!! Fighting to sit down….hahaha we had a Burmese uncle play the guitar for them (no radios there) and he was really talented. Knew how to play lots of songs and all. And even stopped when we signalled for him to stop.

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O yes! This is something I have to recount. Helen & I nicknamed Mag the “discipline master” because she was especially strict when dealing with the kids. She kept scolding them whenever they were caught cheating in the game. (is it they didn’t understand rules??) When a child flouted the rules, Mag would be strict and she would drag the kids back to the starting point and ask them to play the game all over again. Whoever flouted, they have to redo….

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Helen & I found it funny but at the same time we also felt a lil sorry for the kids HAHAHAH.

Look at how chaotic the scene is when they are playing HAHAHA. Like a whole marketplace.

“I want them to learn some lessons from the games,” she said. “Values like to be honest and not cheat, to play by the book and learn how to listen to instructions,” Mag continued. I would say it made sense. Yes…Helen and I might laugh hahahha but in fact we really do agree with Mag’s discipline.

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We ended at about 5pm. Gave out goodie bags to the kids and all of them were lining up one by one excited to see what’s on the inside. I think we gave out about 100+ goodie bags in total.

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It was really busy in here and I really felt like I’m working in some rationing company or perhaps a marketplace HAHHAA.

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It is my first time dealing with kids and working with them, being a teacher is honestly no easy feat esp when they are always running around. You’ve got to have some stamina! I was legit drained. Kids are always so tiring to interact with but somehow they give you a sense of satisfaction. I didn’t know that!


SUNSET

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It was the most magnificent sight I have seen in my whole 19 years of living. Never have I seen a sunset like this back in Singapore.

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Jumping for joy, praising God, a gesture of victory, triumph, vigour, enthusiasm to serve and live to glorify His name.

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Smiling is the best filter!!! Not only that, natural sunlight is the best filter too!! Prepared to see my selfies spam haha this is the only time I took lots of selfies during the trip. I’m so amazed how??!?! did this radiant look come from without any filters at all (I swear I didn’t brighten or anything‚ it is as it is)

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PS/ Just threaded my brows & did lash extensions hence this “cleaned up” look…I really meant it when I said I didn’t do make up during my missions trip in part 1 (just to clarify in case people thought i lie or something HAHHAHA)

PPS/wearing coloured contacts ehehhehehe

Also salvaged some bad lighting pictures!!! SORRY the foreground looks so grainy because I brightened it….I realised these 2 pictures looked like I’m in front of a green-screen or wallpaper….LOL

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Most of the pictures took were my silhouette! Like this~not too bad either. I really enjoyed myself because of the view that evening.

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Also took a picture with some people from my team + villagers! These 3 women are in charge of the church and they really helped us a lot—from translation, to organising the kids…they treated us like one of their own people. I’m really thankful if not I wouldn’t know what to do!!


DINNER

Today was the day that Stacy and I held our pee for the whole day! Idk why I can brave the toilet during Day 2 but not during Day 3 lol…..we waited all the way till dinner at a fancy restaurant then we finally relieved ourselves there. Everyone was letting us go first in the queue because they knew 我们憋尿憋了半天!!

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It was a very pretty restaurant, with dim lighting; all of us were so excited to unwind after one of the most hectic days.

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This restaurant served beer and the team was joking about getting alcohol. Uncle Felix, Helen & I really wanted to order hahaha but Lucy didn’t allow; she said, “If you’re drunk then we can’t do debrief later,” LOL!! But I do really miss alcohol, although I wouldn’t mind not drinking it for one night. At that time in Myanmar, the last time I touched alcohol was 4 months ago in Hong Kong.

“LAY DOWN YOUR RIGHTS!!” Uncle Felix said. The whole team erupted with laughter again because the way he puts it is so funny & he repeated this line for over 10 times during the whole trip already HAHHA.


DAY 4

RISE AND SHINE

Had a nice morning of worship at the roof of the hotel +breakfast.

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Pastor John acknowledged me that day! We were standing with Lucy outside the tour bus, preparing to go to the church when he came and told me, “I told Lucy I knew you when you were little, she didn’t believe me. Last time when you are small, you’ll always call me ‘Uncle John, Uncle John’, why, now big already never call me!” he joked. I was so happy as if the knot in my heart was just untied. “Uncle John!” I laughed.

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CHURCH SERVICE 

We went back to Koe Thoung Asho Baptist Church for their church service in the morning.

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Church service was in Burmese and translated. We got to see how they usually conduct their service. Pastor John also gave a short sermon. He talked about the true meaning of Christmas and shared about Christmas in Singapore, how it is commercialised along Orchard Road via sales and decorations and Santa Claus etc.

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The Burmese congregation singing hymns & church songs. (PS. It was superb even tho I didn’t understand a single thing).

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As promised yesterday, I shared my salvation testimony during church service on Sunday, Day 4…..

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It was my first time sharing and I thought I did okay only but when I came down from the stage, everyone kept thanking me and Lucy looked at me as if she was so proud of me. I was so encouraged!! Then individual people from the team came up to tell me I did a good job—I honestly felt so appreciated and blessed, I was overwhelmed 🙂 Praise the Lorddd

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

The usual children’s ministry again! We played games with the kids at the backyard while the medical team was conducting check ups for the adults.

CHRISTMAS SKIT

Spot me!

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The whole team finally did the nativity play of the Christmas story. I was one of the wise King, remember guys? HAHAH. The whole skid went successfully and we also sang Christmas carols between certain scenes, it’s almost like a musical. I have never participated in a Nativity skid before and now, bucket list checked! Hehe 🙂

Backstage pictures!

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Helen the great angel! Haha.

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And we got the children to act as the sheep and other animals in the stable where baby Jesus was born. They were super excited when we dressed them up and so heartwarming to see them being a part of the play.

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All the sheep getting ready!

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My favourite sheep…this is the girl is white shirt that kept hugging me and following me since Day 1…..she doesn’t look hyper but she’s really clingy okay. In a cute way 🙂

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LUNCH

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BEST PART OF THE DAY….去吃饭咯~

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It’s really oily but very nice. I love it so much

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Look at my happy face after lunch.



2ND LOCATION

After that, we moved to another village not far away in the afternoon. The village looked something like this…..

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Spot me in the far distance HAHHA

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The tent and decorations were already set up when we arrived, they’re having a Christmas party & we’re coming to host it…

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Yup so this was the tent and the kids are all gathered inside. They all gathered around the front so Wendy, Helen & I took the mic and went up there. We played some games with the children. They didn’t take long to warm up to us.

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Our view when we went up to the front. Most of them just kept staring at us with curious eyes.

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Can you spot us in front? We also did what we did previously, Mag told simple stories in English and Helen and Wendy helped me teach them to sing English songs. They were so participative! Many of them even stood up to imitate our actions.

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In fact I was so amazed at the energy that we gave away all our prizes and goodie bags to them.

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This was also the village that has a toilet was built on stilts and just a few wooden planks put together to form a squatting toilet. I was turned off immediately HAHA. They even had a really deep well (and it’s my first time seeing one irl).

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Meanwhile, the medical team operated as usual. This is the waiting area.

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^ Joshua & Julie’s station where patients go to before seeing Stacy.

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Next…they went to the “pharmacy” to collect their medicine, the same system as the previous day.

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I went to check on them and helped with prayer. Helen was helping reaaaally diligently in prayer hahaha.

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After we are done with kids ministry! It’s honestly very tiring………大功告成

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Aunty Lucy talking to the kids.

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Us fooling around! Sunglass gang~

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Then we took pictures in front of this huge ass wooden house (made and built by the villagers)

At this point the party had just ended and they were carrying lunch & food from the kitchen house to serve the villagers. The mood was really high because we had just given out goodie bags. Everyone was either dancing, eating or clapping along and there was loud music blasting in the background when we took these photos.

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Mag (green shirt) giving out goodie bags.

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This is the food they were serving & having~~

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The best pictures were taken that day because it was our last day with the kids. When we got on the bus preparing to leave, the kids waved and waved and we waved back through the windows till they were out of sight. Many thoughts ran through my mind then because I know I will never see them again, especially the girl I loved most. I might think about them 5 years later and wonder how they are doing. I will probably have no idea. That’s me haha, always torturing myself with the concept of time lapse.

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Also, I will never forget my lovely team.

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And of course Pastor Bar!! I will really miss him and his wife. They are the most respectable and loving people I’ve ever met. It is rare to meet someone as genuine as them in my city. After we wrapped everything up, we checked out of our hotel and began our 6 hour bus journey back to Yangon.



PYAY > YANGON

The bus ride home I sat with Joshua. We rode from dusk till the sky turns dark. We talked about music, design, movies, & Disney and all was fine until he asked me if I’ve watched Enchanted. I said no and that I didn’t know Enchanted was part of Disney then he replied saying, “Grace you’re no Disney fan,” OUCH HAHAHA. I will remember that line forever because (1) Disney has been really important to me so I took it as an insult HAHA and (2) I was scolding “shame on me” in my head for not knowing that enchanted belongs to Disney. How could i not know!?!?!??!

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After a while, we stopped talking and so I tried to sleep. Halfway through I was woken up by the loud eruption of laughter in the bus. “…what are you all laughing at..?” I found out that they were placing bets on what time the bus would reach Yangon, winner gets to skip the de-briefing. Uncle Felix bet 10.30. Joshua said 11.11. I joined in and said 10.45.

“Now, now, winner really don’t have to attend debrief and is allowed to sleep straightaway,” everyone laughed.

“Hey. I’m the scribe!!” I practically shouted, and the team laughed harder.

(For those that don’t know, the scribe is basically the note taker that records down what is being said and discussed during the debrief. By saying that, I’m saying that I have no choice my presence would be needed at every debrief and it won’t matter even if I won the bet or not.)

Joshua and I started talking again. This time, we talked school and discussed different fields. I would tell them about the design industry and he told me about medicine, his course at school. I usually wouldn’t mind talking about work, if it’s interesting enough. Then we started talking about our recollection of memories from childhood and it got better HAHAHA.



SUPPER

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About a few hours of riding, we all realised we didn’t have dinner and we were all so tired. We all begged to take a break, so the bus pulled up at a dingy roadside shop and we went in to have supper. All of us alighted and of course, we took some time to decide where to eat because that shop was so dimly lit and there were people drinking (more like a bar than a food place).

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However, we ordered fried rice there and boiled eggs because we were really too hungry to bother ahhaha. The food turned out surprisingly good!! I know it doesn’t look like it in the picture but…ITS REALLY GOOD DAMN EVERYTHING THERE IS TASTY

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We ate a lot. Chatted a lot….this is really starting to feel like a family.

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I was so so tired. Immediately lifted my legs up to lepak

Arrived at Yangon at about 11.10pm. Joshua won the bet!!! Checked in to golden guest inn guesthouse and I would say its the most cosy guesthouse ever. I crashed straight after, it’s my favourite place out of all the 3 hotels we have stayed in Myanmar. It’s not far from the airport too. Would definitely come back here next time if I ever come for holiday. What’s awesome is that they even provide a complementary breakfast which we can customise the following day.


DAY 5

Go home day!! Stacy wasn’t feeling well today. She felt nauseous and was in the toilet all morning. She didn’t come for breakfast, she asked me to leave the room first. Was a little worried but nonetheless left for breakfast.

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The breakfast that I customised the night before. French toast and scrambled eggs! Even comes with coffee and juice.

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They have this large dining table in their main lobby (I wouldn’t really call it a lobby tho since it’s a guesthouse) but everyone just gathers there to eat. Feels really homely 🙂

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Uncle Philip with the owner of the guesthouse.

The night before, Stacy told me a story which I will always be inspired by—of how she became a doctor. Wouldn’t go into details here because I’m sure it is quite personal to her, but how God spoke to her in the church immensely encouraged me. She told me each time she encountered difficulties in medicine, she would doubt if this is the right path God wants her to take. However, she hung onto God’s promise and He brought her through.

At this point I was listening very carefully. I was wondering why Stacy was telling me all this. “If you truly seek God and open your heart up to Him, He will speak to you,” her voice softened. “He will,” she emphasised once more. I don’t know what to say. I think for a start Stacy reminds me that God’s promises are real.

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Above is how Golden Inn guesthouse looks like on the outside.

We checked out and took a taxi to the airport.

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Bought these little gifts, coasters, snacks for my family & friends!! Also bought matching bracelets for my school’s clique of 10 girls. hehehehe.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, this trip is one of my richest trips. I reaped most in terms of spiritual growth and knowledge. After the trip, Stacy texted me saying, “I pray that God will reveal to you His plans for you after you graduate! Hope to go for another mission trip with you again!” Although short, it really warmed up my heart. I’m writing this down because it really touched me and I don’t want to lose this memory, ever. (in case my whatsapp’s wiped out one day or something..) I do certainly hope to go on another trip with Stacy, she’s an awesome roomie. Hopefully I can update Stacy on what God has revealed to me already.

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Lucy also texted me, saying, “No worries, will pray about your mum opening her heart more! That God would reveal to her about what is missions, and why are we doing this, Grace, for God knows the desire of your heart.” idk why but the last sentence made me feel super encouraged and not all hope is lost. My mum is against me doing long term missions and honestly speaking, I’m trying to figure out how to honour my parents without obeying them because I’ve learnt that honour does not equals complete obedience at times. Sure I may depend on my parents on a lot of things but I am going do missions and I am going to buy my freedom without their help or not. I am not afraid of failure, I am only afraid of living an unfulfilled life. Lucy’s words really comforted me that God knows my deepest desires, and if these desires are in line with His Will, He will open a door even if my parents disagree.

So long, Yangon!

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