Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
I am an introvert. Naturally, I find it uncomfortable when I have to meet new people. (I would say that it has gotten better over the years, because of the practise I had with presentations, language classes, choir… these are all situations that God has led me through, to prepare me for the trip, but that is a topic for another day.)
I remember on the Friday that I had to fly down on my own to meet the team. I was anxious about meeting the others.
I knew I didn’t fit into the mould of what I thought the typical team member. The usual demographic was an American high school or college student, studying in a fundamental Christian school. If the person was older, I figured he or she would have had studied at such a college, or would be working there.
But my initial conception of the typical member was a student – someone in their early twenties or younger.
I graduated in 2016. Not only did I not study in America for any length of time, I did not study at a Christian college. I studied at a local, secular university. My course of study had nothing to do with missions, or did I take any Bible classes.
Naturally, I was worried about how I could fit in. This was despite the encouragement by the pastor leading the team to join.
It fear that lingered throughout 2017, from when I accepted up until the day I arrived there.
(I did know one person from my home church in Singapore, but she was studying in the States at the time. I figured she had more in common with them than I did.)
When I arrived, though, things were nowhere near as bad as I had thought.
As it turns out, this team would be the most diverse team so far. Apart from me and the other Singaporean, there were members from Canada and New Zealand. There was even someone from Micronesia.
I was also not the oldest. I am not entirely sure, but there were at least 3, if not 4, who were older than I was.
But all that didn’t matter, because I know that God saw fit to bring each and every one of us there. He brought us all there together, and He gave us the unity.
This unity was truly was a gift from God. It is not something that happens to every team, from what the others who have been on multiple trips have testified. It’s even more amazing that this is possibly the most diverse team Pastor L has led. Pastor L would mention that when he makes the initial introductions. it was truly something that only God could have done.
It was most amazing was how we got along with each other so easily by the end of the day.
I have found an almost-magical experience when meet other believers. It is so comfortable, so natural, to talk to them, as though we have been friends all our lives.
This was not my only experience. I did experience this sort of immediate bonding before.
There was the time when I was an exchange student in Switzerland. The people in that small church welcomed me. One family invited me for lunch one Sunday, not long after I had joined. I didn’t know them that well, and yet, they were willing to show hospitality.
After I returned home, I met up with some Singaporeans who used to attend that church. They had lived in Switzerland, but before the time I went there on exchange. Mostly, it was to collect some Chinese bibles to bring over. That was in April last year.
We met over an afternoon dim sum meal. There was that instant bond, talking as though we had been friends for the longest of times.
In our normal lives, I sometimes wonder if we get so used to things, to people, to the usual, that we forget to extend a hand to a new visitor. I know I am guilty of that.
When I see the kind of love that these Christians show, I know that it is right, and this is how true fellowship is meant to be.
I know how far I fall short of showing the kind of love that I should — to love my neighbour.
I can’t forget this supernatural unity. It was a taste of how it will be like in the future, when the redeemed from all nations will worship Him together.
9After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.