Originally posted Jan. 26, 2013, at On the Far Side of the World. Republished with permission of the author.
A note from Rebecca, who is spending a year in Malaysia as a volunteer in the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program: As some of the people reading this may know, my parents had the chance to visit me in Sabah about a week ago. We spent time in Kota Kinabalu as well as Tenom. My mom and I had the idea of letting her share a blog post after the visit. My parents have a unique point of view. They’ve watched this whole process of going to Malaysia unfold and they’ve been there as I’ve discerned my path in ministry. But they also got to see Sabah with a new set of eyes. I’ve been here a while and things have become routine for me, but everything was brand new for them. So, without further ado, here’s what my mom had to say about Malaysia.
I really did not know what to expect when I traveled to Malaysia to visit. I had read and had heard from Rebecca that it was tropical — like South Carolina in late June. I had heard Rebecca talk about various people she had met and things she had done. But even with all of that information, I still did not know Malaysia. And even after spending 10 days there, I still feel like I am only just beginning to get acquainted with Malaysia. However, I feel better about Rebecca being there and am proud of what she is doing.
I am Rebecca’s mom, and like most moms, I worry about my children even though they are adults and perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. That’s just part of being a mom. So, when Rebecca sent that one-word text back in April 2012: Malaysia, my “mom-antennas” went up. Malaysia? Why that’s on the other side of the world. That’s about as far away from home as you can get! However, over the following few weeks, I realized that not only did Rebecca want to go, but that Rebecca needed to go, and I knew that I needed to let her go. So, I did, but only because I knew that I would somehow go there to visit.
First impressions: hot and humid, tropical and colorful, a place of contrasts.
As time went by, the people are what impressed me the most and is what will remain with me. Especially the people of Tenom. The people I met in that congregation are very caring and hospitable. They had welcomed Rebecca and welcomed Kevin and me during our visit. I know now that I need not worry about Rebecca (Well, OK, I don’t worry about her as much; remember I am still her mom!). God is watching over her through the people in Tenom — Auntie Saimi, Helen, Ina, Pastor Lucy and Pastor Wong, and the list goes on. God is providing for her a wonderful learning experience that will go with her for the rest of her life. He is at work shaping her and molding her in ways we may not see right away, but will in the years to come. Her path has crossed the paths of the people of Tenom, and for a little while, they are walking together, learning from each other.
Yes, Rebecca is on a grand adventure, and I am thankful to have been along for a short part of the journey. Thanks be to God!
Find a link to Rebecca Wicker’s On the Far Side of the World at Lutheran Blogs.
You might also want to read:
Speaking the language of faith
The evolution of a call
Creative ways to learn about the global mission of the ELCA