Mission to Pensiangan

From the 23rd of April – 5th of May, 2017, the Catholic students from UiTM Pasir Gudang and Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan (PIS) organised their 2nd mission trip during their long semester break. While there was much initial enthusiasm in the few weeks before the trip as the members did their fundraising, the team experienced a setback due to last-minute withdrawals.

Nevertheless, the team of five sensed God’s perfect plan for us to come in spite of it all.  Brisco from PIS shared how it was a challenging for him to come on this trip as he had to sacrifice a family gathering. Another example of God’s providence, was the help we received at the very last minute from an alumni of MJD Campus Ministry, Julian Oddell who helped drive us from Kota-Kinabalu to Keningau.

Dcn Adrian Ng, head of the Campus Ministry of Melaka-Johor and Adrian Lasimbang joined us five participants on the first day of our mission, at Tatal Retreat Centre where we were briefed about what it meant to be a missionary and the background of the Murut villages in Pensiangan that we were about enter. After the explanation, we were stirred and eager for this mission.

We first arrived at Pekan Pensiangan, a Catholic village further down the river and spent the night there. Here at St Michael’s chapel, they had a raised a large illuminated crucifix that was quite a sight at night. We took a walk through this abandoned British outpost as this was one of the southern-most villages near to the Indonesian border. The children were initially rather shy but by night time, they were eagerly singing one Christian action song after another.  

The next morning, we proceeded to Kg Tinanduk which was about half hour away by boat. The task we were given was to paint the Community Learning Centre (CLC), which was started by Sr Dorothy FSIC; and get to know the villagers in the routine of their daily life. Indeed, our fondest memories of the mission is when we spent time with the villagers especially during evening. We even had a volleyball match against the villagers. "My highest moment was when we spent our time together with all the children and we solved our problems issues together without any obstacles" said Wesley Joseph, a graduating student from PIS.

Throughout our mission trip, we discovered that how fortunate we are to be living in the city as we learnt how hard it is to live in a rural village. By learning the true struggles faced in Kg.Tinanduk, we became more grateful for what we had back in our own lives. Eva, the only girl on the team shared, "The difficulties that I faced during 10 days in that village also taught me to stop complaining about the small problems that I faced at my own home".

Our greatest moments where we had encountered God. Most of us felt the presence of the Lord in the prayer sessions we had before we went to sleep. We also experienced God during our moments with the community especially while we served. "I experienced God when I made my decision to join this mission trip. I also experienced God when I had to change the ungrateful feelings and be thankful for what I received during the mission trip as well as be thankful for everything especially the water supply in Kg.Tinanduk" said Kevin, a student from PIS.