My Own Walk with God
When we started to hike we were still loud, laughing along the way. John and I talked about how God sustained Israel in the wilderness for forty years. They lacked nothing in all that time. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. We conversed about what it was like to travel and pitch tenets in the wilderness with their babies and toddlers.
But a few hours after, I was becoming silent. No, I did not run out of topics, I was only grasping for strength and gasping for oxygen. During those silent moments, I asked God to reveal to me the significance of that journey.
I have been a born again Christian for eleven years now. I got saved on March 12, 1992 when I was 15 in junior high. I was water baptized on June 14 of the same year amidst persecutions and rejections even from family members. Three months after, I graduated from my first intensive leadership training that became my launching pad for ministry.
I have decided to follow Jesus and there was no turning back. Oh, yes! There have been a lot of times when I wanted to turn back, give up, or call it quits. But God has me in the palm of His hands; He’ll never let me go. He has already made such priceless investment in my life – His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He’s not letting me go.
As I continued my walk with God, I realized these truths. My life didn’t start with me. I entered the world in which the essential parts of my existence were already history. My identity did not begin when I begin to understand myself. There is something previous to what I think about myself and it is what God thinks of me.
Before I was born, I was already enlisted on God’s side. I wasn’t given a few more years in which to look around and make up my mind which side I would be or even whether I would join a side at all.
I was given a spiritual shape even before I was given a biological shape. I may fail but it doesn’t make me a failure. With all my frailties, flaws, failures and frustrations, I couldn’t get away with God. Before I got it all together, I was already given away. I must fulfill my purpose for which I was created. My life is for others.
I faced many trials, challenges and extreme exhaustion to the point of almost giving up. I have experienced what it is to be insulted, mocked, belittled and accused – not much compared to others though. I have been on my wit’s end, almost losing my sanity, too many times.
The Things I Have Learned
The trails I trekked to reach the Batak tribe were pretty much a representation of my Christian journey. There were uphill ascent and downhill descent. There were times that I have to walk, ran, hop and cross barriers.
There are the things I have learned during that trek. Whatever it takes, however hard it is, I have to reach for my destination. Pastor Jelon taught me a very significant lesson. He said that in order for me not to give up and lose strength especially in the uphill climb, I should not think about how difficult the journey is but I should think about how wonderful the rest will be when I get to my destination. True!
And a significant way to the Promised Land is by the wilderness. No short cuts.
In addition, there are those who come behind me, who look up to me in one way or the other. When I stop, they, too, stop. So, I have to keep walking and not easily give up. When I get weary and heavy laden, I have true friends who help me finish the course. They constantly encourage me, correct me in love and see me beyond my weaknesses. They are those who watch my back instead of judging, criticizing or condemning me.
I have learned this: venturing on a long journey, leave the heavy luggage behind and bring only those that are needed for the night. I have realized that the lighter my load, the better I walk. To walk with God is to get rid of excess baggage in my life: sin, bondage, and self-interests. “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
Worship in Batak
We arrived at Pastor Jojo’s abode about half an hour after six in the evening. We rested for awhile but Pastor, his elder and the tribal chieftain prepared dinner for us. We ate sauteed kangkong leaves and wild boar. According to Pastor, when the Bataks serve you wild boar that means you are special. So, that says it.
About quarter before eight, Pastor sounded the bell, an indication that worship is about to start. One by one, family by family, we all gathered in their medium-sized nipa church to worship the Most High God.
Have you experienced worshiping the Lord under a star-studded sky? I have and it was so awesome! There was no electricity, no air conditioning units, no plastic chairs, no instruments except for the two native guitars, no microphones, but they all worshiped the Lord. The lack of instruments or facilities did not hinder them. They simply came before God in worship.
Dodging some sticks and Scooping Water out from the Canoe
Leaving the Batak tribe, we traveled by canoes. We traveled under the heat of the sun and the downpour of the rain. The canoe experience can never be exchanged. It’s an experience of a lifetime!
Crouched on the canoe, Eric and I conversed about Moses and how he was put in a basket as a baby and was laid among the reeds along the edge of the Nile River.
After four days, the missions trip was over. No more tribal dance to see and enjoy; no more tribal language to hear and learn; no more tribal food to taste and savor; and no more tribal lodging.