Prior to coming to TCM, I had no experience in ministry or serving in general. My knowledge of ministry were from friends that served and their experiences. I found stories from missionaries during my church’s mission month very moving as I heard how God was working through them and growing them. They were blessed and were blessings in the place they were sent to. Their faith and passion to serve were strong even in the face of obstacles and challenges. However, after every message and every sharing, my go-to response would always be, “this kind of life is not for me”. Why? From a logical job standpoint, it seemed that serving lacked a certain financial security due to salary being reliant on financial support of others. Also, the work was constant, tough and unpredictable circumstances can (and will) arise. The big question I had at the end of all of this was “is all the effort, energy really worth it?”
After my first year of teacher’s college, I was deciding what kind of work I wanted to do over the summer. Ultimately, I was planning to go back to a previous job that I had because I could spend more time with friends, family, and hobbies. However, one day, a member of my small group mentioned there was a summer internship program at TCM and that I should apply quickly since there were only a few spots left. The initial reasons for giving the summer internship a try was:
Curiosity – wanting to try something new and seeing where God would lead
To broaden my teaching experience
See God working in the low-income areas of Toronto
I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t get the summer internship position. My thought was if it was aligned with God’s will then it will happen no matter the circumstance.
After that first summer, I finally understood the enormous blessing of serving. I witnessed God’s work in the Flemingdon Park community as well as in my own faith journey. It wasn’t about the pay or the quantity of work at hand. It was about wholeheartedly serving, surrendering to God, and relying on God at every moment. It was about the team members edifying each other, community, bonding, and growing spiritually together. Despite the daily hectic-ness and long days, I felt joy, contentment, and peace in serving. It was truly a blessing to be able to witness God at work in the kids.
There was one 7-year old kid who was so earnest in knowing who God was. During small group, he would ask lots of questions (eg. Why is God so mean? Why do we need Jesus?). Through reflecting and research, God revealed the importance of the Gospel to me and implicated the importance in my own life and the world around me. I had a few other kids who would never pay attention during my Bible lessons (they would say they’re bored and started to goof off), but during odd times of the day, they would make comments such as “Oh! I remember we were talking about this during small group!” or “I have a question about the thing you said”. I know God has sown the seeds of curiosity in those kids because their curiosity was growing day by day. In His timing, they will grow. At the end of the day, it was the relationships built with the kids that was the most meaningful.
James 2:14-26 talks about faith without works is dead. If we were to live on faith alone, your relationship with God will never grow because the works is what continually drives the faith in the long run. Faith is active. When you work (serve), your faith will grow because you have ample opportunities to witness what God is doing within a place and in yourself. Partaking in works from faith will shift your view from a worldly one to a Godly one. The world says to seek comfort and stability, but God says to seek His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
The world says that getting is better than giving, but God says that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Serving at TCM has blessed me in many ways and some things are easier to experience for yourself than to explain. It’s not about the financial security, but given the opportunity to serve -to be blessed and be a blessing. At the end of the day, it was definitely worth it for me, which is why I’m back for another year of summer internship.