From Uncertainty To Certainty // 불확실에서 확신까지

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If I were to describe this year’s Albania mission trip, I would say “God did it.” Even from the beginning, God was already at work to send this missions team to Albania.

In the beginning, as we were talking about a summer missions team to Albania, the situation around us seemed like it was not really possible for us to go. We weren’t even sure if many people wanted to go this year for the mission trip. It was to the point that some of us gathered thinking that we might have to go on our own to continue the things we had been doing. As we were thinking of all these last resorts, God made a way for us through which He allowed us to go on the mission trip with New Harvest Ministry. Already with this start, I was so amazed at how God was working to make this mission trip happen. However as the preparation for the mission trip itself and the fundraiser workload was piling up, I became concerned about the possibility of this trip. Once again, God reminded me that He is greater than what I worry about and what I was afraid of. All the preparations came together way smoother than I thought and even the fundraisers we did were such a success! Again, God really was at work with us.

As we went to Albania, we were all excited. About half of our team members had gone to Albania in previous years, so they were excited to see the missionaries and everyone in Albania again. The new members were also excited to meet the wonderful people that everyone had been talking about. The day we arrived, we were stopped by airport security. The reason we were caught was because we were carrying too many products with us. These were things we had prepared for our English camp. Security personnel thought we were going to sell these items in Albania and therefore, they kept us saying that we had to go through Customs. The whole time, I found myself thinking, “God, why is this happening?” Before, when we were preparing, I had been thinking about how this trip might not be possible.

Here at airport security, I was again thinking that this was some way that God wanted to do something. This was my fourth time going to Albania and this had never been an issue in the past. I’m not sure what others would say but I saw something different. I saw that airport security were much more thorough and rigorous with their checks. Since we were carrying a lot of supplies with us, they were apprehensive of whether we would be bringing these to sell in the country. While it was great to see the officials taking their jobs more seriously, this proved to be a stumbling block for us. However, by the grace of God, the chief of airport security eventually let us go with just a warning. But through it all, I thought maybe God wanted me to see that Albania is changing.

We had such a blessed time at English camp the first week and in Presentation Night + Worship Night the second week. God was really using each of our members to perform to their maximum capacity in order to serve the Albanian kids and to really serve one another. One other thing I was so thankful for and so surprised by was how our team was so full of love and so understanding with each other. God really worked in each of us for us to have humble hearts, willing to serve one another.

At first, this past mission trip was so uncertain and looked like it was not ready, but God ended up powerfully using us to do His work. I pray that just as God was faithful with our team, He would continue to work with the Albania missions team and continue to develop through what we did there this summer.

 

올해 알바니아 선교를 떠올리면 “하나님이 하셨다”라는 생각이 든다. 하나님께서는 처음부터 알바니아로 선교팀을 보내는 계획을 가지고 계셨다.

여름에 선교팀을 파송하자는 의견이 있었지만, 거의 불가능해 보이는 상황이었다. 지원자가 있을지 여부가 확실하지 않았고, 불투명한 상황가운데 몇 년 동안 지속해왔던 사역을 진행하기 위해서 선교의 이름이 아닌 개개인으로 방문할 계획까지 고려하게 되었다. 여러 가지 방법을 고민하던 중 결국 하나님께서는 New Harvest Ministry(영어장년부)을 통하여 선교의 길을 열어주셨고, 이렇게 시작부터 하나님의 계획이 실현됨에 놀랄 따름이었다. 하지만 선교여행 준비모임들과 기금마련 행사를 앞두고 내 마음에는 이 여행이 가능 여부에 대한 의구심이 다시 생기었다. 하나님께서는 이 가운데에서 모든 걱정과 두려움을 내려놓고 그분의 위대하심을 믿으라는 메시지를 주셨고, 곧 모든 준비과정이 순탄하게 진행됨을 보며, 하나님께서 일하고 계심을 깨닫게 되셨다.

알바니아로 향하는 발걸음에, 우리 모두 설렘으로 가득하였다. 이전에 다녀갔던 팀원들은 그곳 선교사님과 주민들을 다시 본다는 기쁨이 있었고, 처음 가는 팀원들은 지난 해의 이야기를 듣고 첫 만남을 잔뜩 기대하고 있었다. 그 땅에 발을 내딛자마자 우리는 공항 검열에 걸리었다. 그 이유는 너무 많은 물품들을 지참했다는 것이었는데 이는 영어캠프를 위해 준비한 재료들이었다. 검열관들은 우리가 상품을 팔러 왔다고 의심하여 세관 검열을 요구한 것이었다. 이 일을 겪는 동안 나는 “하나님 왜 이런 일이 생기는 거죠?” 하고 불평하기 시작하였다. 사실 이런 나의 생각이 지금 생각하면 흥미롭다. 준비과정에서는 선교여행 자체가 불가능할까를 염려하면서 하나님의 은혜를 맛보았지만, 공항 검열에 걸려서야 비로소 하나님께서 간섭하시고 일하고 계심을 깨닫게 된 것이기 때문이다. 열심히 일하는 직원들의 자세와 행동을 통하여 네 번째 알바니아 선교여행 동안 한번도 문제가 되지 않았던 부분에서 비록 사건이 발생하였지만, 이 일을 통하여 우리는 하나님의 은혜와 알바니아가 변화하는 모습을 직접 경험하고 목격할 수 있었다. 결국 우리는 큰 문제 없이 세관을 무사히 통과하였고 이 과정을 통해 하나님이 알바니아의 변화를 귀띔해 주시는 거라 생각된다.

첫 주 영어캠프는 은혜 가운데 잘 진행되었고, 둘째 주에 계획한 찬양과 프레젠테이션의 밤도 멋지게 이루어졌다. 하나님께서는 팀원 한 명 한 명의 능력을 충분히 발휘할 수 있도록 도우시어 그곳 아이들과 팀원들 간에도 섬김의 은혜를 부어주셨다. 팀 멤버들의 마음에 간섭하시어 겸손히 그리고 기꺼이 서로를 섬기도록 해주셨음을 체험했다.

처음에는 선교 여행 여부조차 불확실했고, 준비가 충분히 되지 않은 것처럼 보였지만, 하나님은 당신의 사역에 필요한 한 사람 한 사람을 모아 결국 그 뜻을 이루셨다. 신실하신 하나님이 앞으로도 알바니아로 선교 팀을 지속해서 보내셔서 이번 여름에 하셨듯, 그의 사역을 지속하시길 기도한다.

 

Photo Credit: Ahmed Rabea

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