Everything is providence

“Everything is providence. Every smile, every meal, every person we cross paths with, every kind act that we receive or offer to someone. This is how God provides in our everyday.”

Nov 25, 2022

The missionary team pose for a picture with Sr Margaret from the Sisters of Providence and a local priest

                                   Word Made Fresh Nicholas Lye

“Everything is providence. Every smile, every meal, every person we cross paths with, every kind act that we receive or offer to someone. This is how God provides in our everyday.”

Indeed, these words by Sr Margaret from the Sisters of Providence came alive during my recent mission trip to Thailand. How I even came to be involved in this mission was also providence.

As part of the outreach efforts for the ICPE School of Mission that I am currently involved in, we were praying and interceding for God’s direction as to where He might be sending us to share God’s message of love and truth. During our intercessory prayers, orphanages kept coming up in our prayer impressions. When I happened to mention this to a group of friends over dinner one evening, one of them expressed that she was going to an orphanage in Thailand for a mission trip with two other friends. When I enquired about the dates of the trip, it so happened to fit nicely into the schedule of our planned outreach. It also proved to be very timely and providential for my friend as they really needed the extra help to conduct an English programme for 55 girls in the orphanage run by the Sisters of Providence.

What proved even more amazing was that this same friend had once asked me about a year ago if I had wanted to contribute to a sponsorship programme for this same orphanage, to help fund the school fees for some of these girls. Back then, I had been financially blessed by God through generous participants of my prayer workshops and retreats, and so I felt inspired to pay it forward by sponsoring some of these girls for their academic year. Never would I have imagined to get the opportunity to actually meet some of them in person by going on this mission trip.

When I finally arrived at the orphanage that is located in the district of Chiang Saen in Chiang Rai, what moved me throughout my time there was seeing God’s providence truly at work in every person and situation I had encountered.

One of the first things we did upon our arrival was join the girls in walking to the nearby village, and praying the rosary in one of the houses of a Catholic family. This was an initiative by the Sisters to encourage the Catholic families to pray together, and to involve the girls in praying for these families. In return, these families also blessed us with their food and hospitality. It was such a beautiful sight to see God’s love and providence being shared with one another, regardless of each other’s life situation.

For the rest of the week, we had planned various activities like photography, videography, dumpling making, music and art, as well as movement and dance to help the girls learn and converse in English. Through these activities, we not only got to encourage the girls to speak in English, but also witnessed love being exchanged as we saw the girls helping and encouraging one another. One of them expressed to the Sisters how she was so sad that she never put in effort to learn English well, and now she struggles to understand what we were saying in English. Yet, our presence and activities had somehow also inspired and motivated her to want to put in more effort to learn English.

During our stay, we also got to meet an American who had been in Thailand for 40 over years, and had gradually lost his Catholic faith, and even found himself seeking peace in a Buddhist monastery. Yet on Christmas day last year, the Sisters of Providence went to visit the abbot of the monastery. The American happened to meet the Sisters there, and something moved him so much that he eventually felt drawn to return to the Catholic Church. Now, he goes to the villages with the local priest to help reach out to the villages and share God’s love with them. Such a story and witness truly touched us, and once again revealed the power of God’s timing and providence.

When it was time for us to leave the place, so many tears were shed that spoke of the impact that our presence had brought to them. Sr Margaret shared with us that even if our language may have been broken, but as long as our hearts were full of love, that was enough for God’s providence to flow through each of us.

Indeed, my time with the Sisters and the girls had taught me so much about God’s providence, and how nothing is too small, too short a moment, for God’s immense and providential love to flow and touch hearts and change lives. This is what each of us is called to, and how each of us can continue to be God’s love and providence to one another.

Nicholas is a creative missionary who delights in responding to God’s invitation to go to various places and people in order to share and receive His love and providence. If you would like to find out more about the Sisters of Providence, or contribute to their sponsorship programme for the girls’ education, you may write to him at lye.nicholas@gmail.com.

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