Testimonies from Pattaya Mission Exposure 2022
I have always been an aloof and somewhat of a taciturn person. Over the past two years in polytechnic, these two traits that I had has somewhat affected my social life as I never bothered making friends or establish acquantainces with anyone in my class. Talking to my friends that I made back in secondary school has been my only moments of social interaction and it diminished my social skills as well. However, after attending this trip, I managed to make new friends that I would have never thought of making in my life, and we all connected differently through all forms of interests but the one thing in common we had was that we all believed in God. This comes to my second point, I never really had any faith in God for fourteen years of my life and this trip has honestly changed my view on him. I always expected him to perform something grand for me that would make me believe in him but I was never shown it at all. My parents has always said that I was born because of God's intervention as they were already quite old when I was concieved and this furthered my disinterest in him as I disliked the idea of relying on some higher being that we can never see in our lifetime and have blind faith that he will deliver us from our problems that we caused ourselves. The fact that people who caused certain issues in their life by themselves suddenly pray to God to help them with their situation made me feel annoyed or people that pray to deliver them from something inevitable like cancer is hilarious to me as they know deep down that nothing would happen. All they would feel is a small comfort that would disappear and cope with a loss by saying that it was God's plan. However, after talking with the friends I made and my group members, I came to see the appeal of accepting God in my life despite how illogical he is. Being able to trust in a higher being that has never proved his existence is still very weird for me but knowing that he could exist and being able to tell him everything that I would not even spill to a therapist or my best friend is a level of comfort that I needed to better my life. After comtemplating about it during the trip, I have also realised that all the good luck I had in life and coincidences that has benefited me could be God telling me to have faith in him and belive in him but I have always just chalked it up to me being a lucky person and that my past actions caused these coincidences to happen. But during trip, as I was still deciding to open myself up to giving God a chance, a video of a youtuber that I am following came out and it was talking about the importance of religion for a man to do well in life and at that point I seriously questioned whether or not God does really exist and he has seen the indecisiveness in my heart. I am not saying that I fully believe in him but I am able to at least open my heart to him and give it shot.
- Matthew Ma, 18
The trip meant a lot more than i expected in terms of understanding myself and my relationship with God. There was a lot more time dedicated to reflection and prayer than i had expected. Personally, the adoration and confession struck me the most. It was the first time that i had sat down and quietened my heart to really listen to what God had to say. I think my biggest takeaway is that God loves each one of us and he is there every step of the way, we just have to take a leap of faith and trust him cuz sometimes we are too wrapped up in our own emotions to see that God is there for us. Hearing the sharings from others really made me realise that God wont let me down. Before this i felt that i couldnt give up my control and let God take the lead. Through the mission trip, i realised that its more of trusting in his plan and knowing that he would always be there for me rather than him controlling my life.
- Hannah Choi , 17
Overall, I found the mission trip to Pattaya extremely enlightening. At first, I was reluctant to go because I felt lazy, and the mission trip initially sounded boring. I was not a person who thought of God or prayed to him regularly. However, I eventually went for the trip, and throughout the journey, through interactions with different people from Pattaya such as children from the Children's Village, students from Father Ray School for Children with Special Needs, to the nightly reflection sessions, it opened my eyes to truly understand how lucky I have been, with God giving me so many opportunities to thrive back in Singapore. With the frequent praise and worship sessions, as well as the daily mass, it also made me get much closer towards God as I realised how much he had done for me, and that we were only too focused on the negative impacts we had been facing. This trip truly allowed me to understand God's goodness, and if I had a chance to experience it all over again, I would definitely go for it :)
- Janelle , 14
Coming into this trip as someone thats not catholic, i didn’t have much expectations of what was to come since what i am mostly familiar with is only mass. We got quite a bit of reflection time during this trip which i really liked, but I’ve never been a person to talk about my issues or myself in general. During this trip, i think the people around me really made me feel safe enough to share about my worries and it was something i really needed for myself at the time. I’ve never really had a relationship with god aside from the times that i decided i would need the help like praying before exams and i’ve always believed that there was a god or higher being but i’ve never bothered much about it. From all the experiences, going to the different schools, sharings, and everyone i met being so supportive and understanding, it made me have a better understanding of why people have such strong faith and the different ways that god brings comfort to people.
- Bernice , 17
When I went for the trip, I was hoping to strengthen my relationship with God as I felt more distant from him. It is the same hope I had whenever I went for different retreats and church activities, but I never felt that my relationship with God actually strengthened as I did not feel like God was truly present in those moments. However, this trip was different. Throughout the whole trip, be it during the sessions that the facilitators have planned for us or even just interacting with the people there, I truly felt that God was present and he was guiding me every step of the way. Especially on the second last night when Father Sikstus prayed over us, I could feel the change in atmosphere after he prayed over everyone and I felt the holy spirit rushing through me to proclaim God's word. I never thought I would sing Praise and Worship with so much passion, but it did happen on the trip. Through this, I have learnt that with God, anything is possible and I hope I am able to at least maintain the relationship I have with God right now.
During adoration, I managed to have a proper conversation with God without any distractions in 2 years. They gave us a quiet and private space, which I would never have at home, to give all our attention to God. I think that was needed in order for my relationship with God to grow as I need to get to know him on a more personal level, just like how I would get closer to any other human being.
One thing I learnt on this trip is to be more carefree. When I interacted with the people there, they always had the biggest smiles on their faces and brought joy to everyone around them. Even when they lost in various games we played with them and had to do a forfeit, no matter how weird or awkward it was, they would do it willingly while experiencing pure happiness and did not care about what others thought of them, which is a trait I truly admire. Although we are more fortunate and have many expensive goods like phones and have more opportunities to do various things, I don't see many people feeling the same level of joy the people in Pattaya are feeling. Therefore, I think we need to learn to be more carefree and not let other people's judgement affect the way you usually behave in order to experience real happiness, not superficial happiness that money buys you.
My favourite God moment was when we did P&W together on the last 2 days, and everyone praised the Lord with their whole heart, filling the whole Chapel with our voices. Through that, I saw how God managed to touch most of our hearts and how he has changed everyone for the better. It was then when I realised how powerful our God truly is and I am grateful that the mission trip managed to help deepen my relationship with this extraordinary, wonderful, forgiving and ever-loving God.
- Tricia Fok , 14