Hand in Hand Blog Digest
Here you will find stories from the global church by ELCA global missionaries, scholars, and churchwide staff, brought to you by the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship team.
Rebecca Wicker is spending a year in Malaysia as part of the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program. Teaching English is among her volunteer activities. The program relies on coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a coordinator, go to www.ELCA.org/missionarysponsorship.
Someone was incredibly ambitious and scheduled the youths (I work with) to go caroling at approximately 80 homes over the span of a week. I had no idea that the church bus could handle so much off-roading. I also had no idea that we could squeeze 25 people inside, but hey, everyone just yells “BOLEH!” (“can”) and makes it happen. So as Extreme Caroling Day Five comes to a close, I wanted to share some thoughts.
The youths have brought an incredible amount of love and enthusiasm to every house we’ve gone to. No house is too far out or too isolated for us to reach. At every house, we share a mini-program with the family complete with a greeting, prayer, a couple of songs, a Bible passage, and “Selamat Hari Natal” (aka “We Wish You a Merry Christmas) in Bahasa Malayu, English, Chinese or Murut. Even though we’ve done this routine at least eight times each of the past five nights, the youths come and share as if each house is the very first house. This incredible love has been met each time with an incredible welcome. Some places have electricity while others are lit by lantern. But all the people receive us with joy. People invite us inside and sing along to the music.
Tonight, one instance stuck out to me. At about the fifth house, we climbed up inside the common room of a home where at least nine people lived. The place was lit with just one electric lantern, and we needed our flashlights to see the music. During the first song, I saw one woman sitting with her eyes closed, singing along to the music and swaying to the rhythm. The look on her face showed she was savoring every moment. When we shook hands to leave, she held everyone’s hand just a bit longer. It hit me then that this was far more than just a 10-minute program for her. She was holding each second and fully taking in the time we spent there. I can’t speak for her and say what that moment meant, but there was something in that time where the love of the carolers met the love and welcome of the people we visited. It’s one of those times when you put every ounce of love into what you do and leave the rest up to God. My hope is that as we’ve gone out this week, we’ve been a blessing to everyone we’ve met. I know the people I’ve gone with and the people I’ve met have been a blessing in yet again helping me experience those God moments.