Refreshed and Renewed!

By Jasmine

It was another holiday break for many university students. While some have chosen to work and others a holiday trip, I have decided to do something different this year. To partner with Generation ACTS club to go to Jemara to help the local coordinators to launch the education centre for the children on the island. Before the trip, my heart was filled with apprehension because there were many uncertainties and language barrier was our main concern.  Nonetheless, the team went with an open heart, ready for changes and ready for challenges.

There and then, I truly realized what it meant by “action is louder than words”. The simple act of appreciation through smiling explained it all.  The launch of the education centre was a success. But without the help of the local coordinators, it would not have been possible.

I re-discovered things about myself and life through this trip.  One such event was when the local coordinators invited our team to watch them roll in their fish net for harvest. They did it with such deftness and competence! To be honest, I was pretty awed by the fact that they are able to do that despite being people around my age. Although we may seem more educated and have more to give, they taught me something that night. It does not matter how much you have or who you are, as long as you are faithful with your talents, the potential in you can surely be unleashed. There is something precious in everybody!

I never regretted going for the trip because I was totally refreshed and renewed. When people asked me how the trip was, I would always hesitate because I could never find the right words to express myself. The trip was just too overwhelming. Simply sharing with people about my trip would short change them with the first-hand experiences they would otherwise have if they were there. So the answer is: “You must go!!”.

The Best Way to Learn – Have Fun!

By Eugene

Jemara, an island off the shores of Batam, Indonesia. Small and unknown to many, yet this small little island has so much to offer us. It made a lasting impression on every single heart of my team members.

Our team set out with the objectives to establish goodwill with the villagers and kick-start the education center with the Hope For Kids Programme. Essentially, we seek to help the children in Jemara discover and develop their strengths through the use of toys! Although we held the programme for a mere 2 days, we were simply amazed by the enthusiasm the children had towards the programme, and how the programme is benefiting them tangibly.

On our last day in Jemara, we even organized a family event, carnival-style, inviting all the villagers to a memorable time of games, fun and laughter. More importantly, it was a time of bonding, where relationships between family, friends or even strangers were forged and strengthened, and all language barriers and cultural differences ceased to exist then.

Personally, this was an intense learning journey, not only in terms of the intimidating physical preparation before and during the trip, but also how urgent it was for me to step out of my comfort zones, such as leading, teaching, and even interacting with unfamiliar people. Taking those steps out was difficult, but in return, I have learnt to appreciate the people and things in my life better. The challenges might be demanding, but the fruits were undoubtedly sweet, and I’m just glad that I didn’t let this opportunity slip passed me.

Phew… My Malay 101 Class Helped!

By Seow Wei

The trip was far more rewarding than what I had expected. Exposed to many new things and experiences. I got to experience a simpler life. One that does not have the sophisticated technologies; One where enjoyment comes from things that are created by the hands of the Creator (the scenery, the fishes, the stars, the breeze).

I was mostly involved in the kid’s programmes. It was my first experience with kids. We did not have most of the details and we had to do plenty of improvising and changing of plans during the trip itself.

During the first few days, I could only see the kids getting rowdier and more out of control. I really couldn’t see how our plans would ever work. However, every day we evaluated and came out with new plans to improve the programmes.

Towards the end of the trip, we managed to hold the class in an orderly manner and certain values such as courtesy and cleanliness were instilled in the children. I am very thankful that for some other reason, I had taken Malay Level 1 this semester. It turned out to be pretty helpful for this trip! I could converse simple sentences with the children, and also help out a bit while teaching English to the English teachers over there.

During this trip, I learned that the work on Jemara needs to be sustained. I hope to be able to contribute more in the future.

Coloured Like the Bandung Drink

By Darren

From this actspeditions trip, I have learned to humble myself through the involvement of building works for the education centre, as there are fewer chances to get involved personally in my working environment. Instead of managing workers on site as an Architect, I got my hands dirty and got to do all the scrapping, painting (beautiful colour just like that of thee ‘Bandung’ drink) and wiring myself. Also, I gained cross-cultural experience working together with people from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities to achieve the same purpose of helping others who are in need.

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Mission Impossible Made Possible

By Mei Teng

The actspeditions trip to Jemara was indeed a personal spiritual breakthrough for me in the year of 2010. I must say that this service learning trip was more memorable than my previous experiences. The purpose of the trip is to rebuild the Jemara education centre. It involved many hands-on building works and also teaching English to the children, something which I have not done before.

Teaching

I must admit that I did not prepare well due to my busy schedule at work. Many things I have overlooked, believing that I had the experience from my past mission trips; so I should be able to handle it. However, on the first day at the rebuilding site I was so distressed to find the education centre in a worse condition than I expected. Looking back at the days we had to complete the project, the task seemed so impossible to me.

Before

Rebuilding in Progress

However, despite the discomfort from the low water supply, non-existence of electricity and toilet facilities, we managed to pull through the impossible and it is all worth it.

After

Children's Drawing

The restless children in the village reminded me about how blessed I am. They had no proper education, malnutrition, and their physical hygiene was lacking, i.e. bare footed & dirty clothing. However, as I looked into their eyes, I saw the hunger to learn. While we were there, the children were eager to interact with us despite the language barrier. We spent much time mingling with them and the smiles on their faces warmed my heart.

This trip has challenged me to greater levels of sacrifice for those around me.

Love Matters

By Lux

The trip to Jemara was my first actspeditions trip and I am immensely thankful for it. Above all else, I learnt that it is love that ultimately matters.

The local coordinators/teachers’ lives were powerful testimonies. Their perseverance, sincerity and love in serving the community in Jemara challenged me to not take lightly the transitional time that I have in Singapore for love is needed here as well.

I went out of my comfort zone by taking charge of organising activities for the children. At first it was a struggle, but gradually as I learned to lay down my fears and insecurities, the time with them transformed me. Their joy and love for life blessed me deeply. Above all, through this time I cultivated within my heart a love for the children. I realised if I was not placed in a situation where I would come into contact with them, I would have stayed at a distance and never got to know them better.

I am glad I could be involved in this project to bless the community on Jemara!

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