by Cecilia Yeung
The short-term missions trip in 2017 was my fifteenth year of missions with China East, one filled with the fruit of God’s lessons and blessings. Joining the team was no longer just a two or three-week involvement, but a whole year of waiting and listening to God’s guidance, preparing ourselves spiritually and physically like an athlete preparing to run a race, looking forward to get a prize.
Being with China East has taught me what a team is and how to be a spiritual comrade. Before the trip, we engaged in team life through planning, scripture and devotions, praying, and discussion and while we faced struggles with the health of family members, we supported one another through it all. We asked God what He wanted to accomplish through us. During the trip, we practiced team work together in our specific assigned roles; praying, witnessing and supporting each other. Morning devotions shaped the day, and we carried God’s word in our hearts each day, we were greatly encouraged, knowing we were not alone. I have learnt that a team is not about what I like or dislike, but about what God wants us to do as a team, and to understand His heart in China. This year I saw God work among us to iron out issues beyond our own understanding and wisdom and teaching us to submit to Him. I had two goals this year: learn to relax by trusting the Lord in everything, and to experience God’s great work. On our arrival to China, I went to bed at 2 a.m. that first night. For the first time in all my mission trips, I was able to sleep well and be relaxed and joyful. It was an answered prayer; amazing God.
In the places we visited I witnessed God’s great work. There has been an increased understanding of the importance of child and youth mental health along with preventive intervention. I was impressed by the operation of the community mental health in both Qingdao and Longyan. The Longyan child and youth mental health department had just opened four months prior to our arrival. They have already begun doing what I am doing in Vancouver (School Mental Health) in speaking about mental health to students in schools. Students can now seek mental health intervention. Changchun and Longyan mental health hospitals do an assessment and intervention for people with autism. Even in Canada, working with autism and other mental health issues is not prevalent in schools.
While we worked in the community, God revealed his presence in three wonderful Christian women. The first is a social worker running an autistic centre in Changchun, even while pregnant with her second child and having experienced symptoms of potential miscarriage early in the pregnancy. Her dedication and loyalty to the life of autistic youth in the centre and teaching her own four year old child truly touched my heart. The second, a university professor, gave an amazing testimony on how God spoke to her to prepare the place above her husband‘s dental office to support families with autistic youths. Her faith and submission to God’s calling witnessed God’s mighty work in her life and to those parents coming to her parent support groups. The third lady runs a counselling centre in Longyan. Her vision to consolidate and build family relationships through workshops on various topics have been well received in her centre. The Gospel of salvation transforms lives through our own submission to God and submission to each other, as seen by the results in and the lives of each of these three women. Praise the Lord.
In Changchun and Longyan, there is increased awareness and acceptance of autism in the community. Parents with autistic children and youth openly shared their success and struggles in support groups. The parents are amazingly open and accepting of autism. This and their receptiveness to community support and mutual support affirm my vision of my personal ministry in Vancouver.
My life has been transformed by this trip. Thanks be to God and Praise Him for giving me a rich experience and encouragement in my spiritual journey with Him. Honour and Glory to Him. And now that I am home, recalling how great, faithful and close God was to us through the trip, and through the year leading up to it, brings me so much joy.
Cecilia has served with the EMAS CANADA China East Team since 2000.