HYC Malaysia Part 2
Arriving in Epoh, our third destination, our team traveled to a kindergarten, where we held another reading program. We entertained a lot more children this time around, which made their unified laughter all the more pleasant. After this, the team spent the rest of the day painting multiple murals throughout the kindergarten, bringing color to the exceedingly white space. That night, we had a delectable dinner on a corner street of Epoh and got to explore the nearby night market.
The next day, our team took a day off from work and went white water rafting in the jungle. Driving on the back of a rickety pick up truck through the maze of surrounding Oolong Tea Fields, the country side of Malaysia completely enhanced my view of this ever enticing world.
We finished the last days of our journey in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. At the Centre of HOPE Worldwide in Kuala Lumpur, we painted more murals, helped clean and organized the HOPE Clinic, and took part in our final reading program. Additionally to our work, we got to hangout with the Malaysian campus disciples, fellowshipping over a delicious meal.
Our last act of service on Youth Core, and personally the most life changing, was when we did food distribution throughout the low income flats of the city. During this time, I met two families in particular, who have forever changed my life.
The first flat we visited was the home of a single mother of eight children. Living in a dark, run down apartment, she had not received electricity in over three months because insufficient funds. Her husband had been in jail for three years, and to add to the stress of raising eight children single handedly, she recently had been diagnosed with breast cancer. When we gave her children the meals we had packed, it was clear that they had not eaten for an extended period of time. One of the young boys actually hid his share, in hopes to ration it for a later time. This boy was no older than three years old. I was instantly overcome with compassion for this family’s struggle and really saw what true hardship looked and felt like. This mother’s openness with me, a complete stranger, is something I will always keep with me and I will never fail to remember the assemblage of waving children at the door, as we left their flat that day.
The second flat we visited was the home of a disabled husband and wife. The husband injured both his legs from a great fall 19 years prior and a much more recent moto accident left his legs completely crippled. Because of his disability, the wife had to do all she could to provide for the two of them, but also was recently disabled by a factory accident. When I asked to take her picture, she was so excited, happy, and honored. I felt so challenged as I left their home, feeling served and loved beyond all means.
After the previous heart-stirring and emotional day of service, we spent our final day in Kuala Lumpur visiting some of the cities finest landmarks. We traveled to an amazing market and traveled up the 300 steps of the Batu Caves. We stood in its warmly lit, cathedral center and looked above as bats flew overhead.
Laughter, memories, and tears were not far from everyone eyes at our last Hope Youth Corps dinner, bringing this wonderfully enlightening journey throughout Malaysia to an end.
I never believed after such an amazing HYC, five days in Singapore would change my life so drastically. The HYC participants and other campus students got to stay in these incredible seaside chalets, while traveling to the Central Christian Church everyday for the International Leadership Conference.
The ILC was such a fruitful time, the lessons, worship, and fellowship was like nothing I have experienced. The Singapore Church is overflowing with talent, and even wrote, produced, and performed an incredible musical. In Singapore we got to see some amazing parts of the city as well, including Chinatown, Little India, and Marina Bay.
The most impactful part of our visit to Singapore was by far the fellowship. The Singapore brothers and sisters are some of the most joyous, encouraging and serving hearts. They took care of our every possible need, entertaining us beyond compare, completely fulfilling the scripture John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples. [by how] you love one another”.
Throughout my time in Asia, I have seen true poverty, real life hardships, and a completely different social and cultural structure. I have seen giant temples, elaborate mosques, and natural landscapes that still leave me in wonder. I felt love, hospitality, and extreme encouragement from people who have known me for such a short amount of time.
I have also discovered how God can change your perspective, revealing suffering and heartache, yet showing you the paths that one can take to change it. To answer my original question, What are we products of?,I have come to learn that we are truly products of God’s creation. God uses all experiences and places on earth to further reveal His plan for our lives, and shape, mold, and create our future. God has constructed everything in this world and intentionally made it all extremely different. I encourage everyone to experience his incredible beauty, whether it is two streets down from your city apartment or across the world, so that along with your transforming perspective you can understand God more through the work that he has created.