from Helen Oh
Several of you have asked about my trip to Lummi, so I wanted to give a response.
I thank the Lord for his great provisions and allowing me to participate this year. I was a late-comer to the team. I decided to go this year because I began feeling sad about not going again this year. Then I realized that I had no good excuse not to go. Also, I wanted more than one member from last year to return. And then everything else fell into place.
I had a great time with the Lummi people, the other missionaries there and my own teammates especially. People just seem to bloom on these trips. It was good to see other believers from around the country, of different age groups, ethnic background and socio-economic status. It’s one of the experiences that I enjoyed most. It’s also very encouraging to see the same people returning. Their commitment and love for the people there is evident.
We did a lot of painting on Helen Lewis’ house and deck in the morning and afternoons after lunch. She is the head cook of the senior center. Her grandkids were there too from Alaska, so we got to hang out with them a little. Her house happened to be located right on the bay, overlooking the water, the nearby islands and the mountains. So we had a spectacular view while we were working.
We did manage to take some breaks by the beach area, although not as often as we had hoped. Helen was very appreciative of our work. I’m not sure that she had a clear understanding of why we were there. Hopefully, as the relationship continues to grow with the missionaries each year, her and her family will someday learn why we come and embrace that knowledge.
We ate lunch at the senior center each day and spend time with some of the seniors there. Not all of them were appreciative of us being there, but we dealt with that as best as we could. After lunch, we held a short worship service for anyone who wanted to come. We didn’t have a huge turnout, but we were able to spend some quality time with those who did come. After worship, we did crafts and they enjoyed that a lot. We made gift baskets and things to put in the gift baskets. I think that was a big draw. Many of them who wanted to stay couldn’t because of transportation issues. However, one woman, Rosalee, chose to miss her ride each day we were there so she can spend time with us. She remembered us from last year. She’s a very sweet woman who was just so happy to have visitors. She smiled all the time. On the last day at the senior center, she asked us to pray with her, holding hands. That was very special. We gave her a Bible to replace the Mormon bible that she had. That same evening, she came to our dinner where we invited the Lummi people. During the worship and sharing time, she said that she saw two angels flying over us in the room. I’m not sure that they were there, but I’m sure God’s presence and protection was over that place the whole time we were there. She shed a tear for us that night before she left.
The Lummi people definitely expressed more appreciation and warmth than they did last year. More people turned out for the Friday night dinner than before. Also, they were more vocal about expressing their appreciation. However, there is still a lot more work to be done there. They seem to have developed a level of trust in us, although still guarded, over the past 6-7 years that the teams have been going there. So I am very glad that I was able to return and witness the positive changes. Hopefully, in the years to come they will begin wondering more about why we come and about our message.
During our free time, our team had a chance to drive into the mountains. We went sledding in our shorts in the middle of July on Mt. Shuksan, near Mt. Baker (which still have 75 feet of snow, by the way). How cool is that! We also got to briefly spend some time in Vancouver and Seattle.
As part of my quiet time during the trip, I decided that I would concentrate on a particular passage for the whole week and just see what I can learn from it and how it may apply to the trip. The passage I chose was Ephesians 1:1-14. So each morning and each evening, I read this passage several times and prayed about it. I found myself reading certain sections of it over and over again and learning something new from it. (Now by this point, I hope you have all turned to this passage.) I’m no theologian, so this is only my reading of it. God’s revelation to us of his will (Christ) was according to his kindness and in accordance with what was suitable for the times. So I began thinking about God’s will for me. I know that we all wonder or have wondered about that at some point in our lives. Sometimes we think that we know and then that all changes. I realized that God’s will for me will be revealed when it is “suitable to the fullness of the times” (verse 10), not just when it was suitable, but suitable to the “fullness” of the times. So what I know now is all I need to know. Everything else will be revealed to me accordingly in God’s perfect timing.
I love that word “fullness.” That knowledge is comforting. I have this thing about being where I’m supposed to be, and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. (That feeling is the strongest when I go on missions.) Generally, I feel that the Lord is pleased with me, but not always. I still need lots of improvements. I’m learning how to give 100% to the Lord — my career, finances and my own desires. I can’t say that I’m there or even close to being there. So I’m learning to be patient and to just concentrate on the task at hand, anticipating the “fullness.”
Secondly, the passage has an element of the “future” as well as the past and present. We all reach a point in our lives where we feel that we need to move on to the next thing or the next stage. Since I don’t have a family of my own, I find myself looking forward to my next planned trip or just the next adventure or challenge. During this trip, I realized that the ultimate adventure that I should be looking forward to is heaven. So, each day here, I need to be preparing for that trip. Why is it that I don’t do that? Definitely areas of improvement for me.
So how does this apply to the trip and the Lummi people? Mission to the World (MTW) has been going to Lummi for the past 6-7 years now. Now, they expect us and even look forward to us coming. I got the sense this year that more people wanted to be just “associated” with us because of the work that is done there. But they are still not understanding the message, and only seeing the physical labor. But I know that that will come too when it is suitable to the fullness of the times. I don’t know whether we will be a part of that in the future or not. I’m just glad to have had the privilege to participate these past two years. As to the future, I leave that up to the Lord and put the Lummi people in his capable hands.