Living Moments (Part 29) – My First Mission Trip.

by Patrick Liew on June 20, 2012

Strange things happen in life.

I’m sitting at the window of the Cityview Hotel in Hong Kong. Across the road and in front of the window is a clump of trees covering a small hill.

There is a concrete staircase running up the slope. I know it goes to the top even though I cannot see the peak from my window.

38 years ago, I have climbed it quite a few times. It was during the first time I went to Hong Kong on a mission trip.

I never thought I would be back to this location again. It brought back memories of a life-changing phase in my life.

Let me backtrack about a week back and share with you how I ended up in this hotel before I continue my story.

One of the Personal Assistants in my company was told to book a hotel in Hong Kong. Of all the places, she picked the place where I stayed when I first came to this city.

To be more exact, the location of this hotel used to be that of the YMCA building. In fact, many of the taxi drivers still know this place as “the former YMCA”.

In 1974, the youth organization that I was involved in decided to send me there to understudy Mr David Chu. He was the National Director of the Hong Kong office and it operated from a rented space at the YMCA.

At that point in time, the organization was only prepared to pay for my return flight ticket.

To cover the other expenses, some of the youth that were closed to me had to sell old newspapers. They had to pool the profit and their pocket money to support me.

I am eternally grateful to these young people who believed in me and worked so hard to let me go on that life-changing trip. Many of them have moved on in life and their whereabouts are unknown to me.

This and many other incidents have made me realized that our Creator has constantly sent many ‘angels’ to help and support me. Their contributions gave me the impetus to help others whenever possible to fulfill their dreams.

Mr Chu was an ex-teacher and a charismatic youth leader who was all fired up to transform young lives. Learning from him and watching him in action had planted a seed in my mind.

This seed has continued to grow. It is a seed of belief in the potential of young people to change the world.

We used to say, If we don’t win their hearts today, they will break ours tomorrow. If we mould and shape their lives correctly, they will create a brighter future for the world.

As we were a poorly-funded movement, Mr Chu had to sleep in the office. At the end of every evening, we would roll out a mattress and lay it on top of the office table and we would sleep on it.

Although I came from a poor family and did not sleep in the most comfortable condition, this experience capped it all.

It almost felt like I was learning a special martial art from a legendary master. I had to learn how to sleep lightly and in a controlled manner so that I would not fall off from the table.

One evening, I did fall off from it. I hit the floor so hard that it woke Mr Chu up.

The pain from the fall was soon forgotten because both of us couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

Since then, I did not fall off from the table again. Perhaps, it was a sign that I have mastered the ‘secret art’. Aiyah!

During the day, Mr Chu ran a cafe with other youth workers. Young people would drop in for personal counseling and guidance, or just for fun. I had my fair share of interacting with the teenagers.

Oftentimes, I would go along with Mr Chu as he gave his regular talks to students. My memory of those trips were of him driving like a mad man or a man with a mission.

I couldn’t quite tell the difference.

Mr Chu spoke from the heart and with a fiery passion.

He was one of the first few public speakers who influenced me to pour out my heart to transform lives. I seek to inspire people to serve worthwhile causes.

As I reflected on the short mission trip, barely a month long, I realized  it did more to me than years of formal education.

It secured my commitment to make something good out of my life. I want to give of myself to serve our Creator and to help Him reclaim humanity.

Looking at the hill again and sitting on the same location that played such an important part in transforming my life some 38 years ago, I decided to re-dedicate myself to our Creator.

I endeavor to be His clay so that He can mold me into His image. May His will be done in my life, on earth as it is in heaven.

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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