I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:5 MEMORY 1: ARRIVAL AT CINTA KASIH Through this trip to Indonesia, God taught me how to stop striving. He taught me how to let go, and let the God of Wonders be the God of Wonders. Serving as the Missions Director of New Philly has its benefits. I have a beautiful tapestry of memories from almost every nation in Asia. But one drawback is that it can become hard to approach the field with fresh wonder. After planning for so many trips and leading so many teams, I know all the visa procedures, flight itineraries, pastors, and ministry schedules. Even supernatural miracles from previous trips have the danger of being reduced to mere stats. Thus I felt the need to come back to the basics. I felt the need to put myself in a situation where I did not have the option of relying on my own plans or leadership, but instead had to trust fully in the Lord. I wanted to take Jesus by the hand and follow Him step by marvelously new step. After 2 days of travel, I arrived at Cinta Kasih orphanage in Teluk Dalam to join my first Living Hope missions trip. This simple arrival in and of itself was revolutionary for me! I knew no one at Cinta Kasih. I haven’t been in monthly communication with the director about his monthly financial support. I didn’t have a soft copy of his bio-data on file. I didn’t really know anyone on the team. No one was looking to me to call the shots, or to adjust a ministry schedule. And on top of that, there was no agenda for the afternoon. Half the team was ministering at the pastoral seminar. The other half was hanging out with the kids. I have never quite experienced this level of freedom before in the field! So I grabbed a chair and sat down next to a shy-looking girl. I took out my notebook and asked the girl her name. “Setia.” I wrote her name in Korean and smiled at her, explaining what I had written. I invited her to write out her name in Korean as well. We started chatting. I then remembered a praise song I dearly loved from a previous trip to Indonesia. I sang out the chorus to one of the other girls who had come by, to see if she could teach me the rest of the lyrics. She couldn’t identify it, but one of the older boys immediately recognized the song. He took my notebook and wrote out the lyrics for me. He then brought out his guitar and started to sing. Soon more and more kids started gathering around, and soon we had a legitimate praise circle going, singing out one Indonesian praise song after another. This is such a sweet memory for me. In that simple but powerful moment, God was reminding me of when I had lived at an Indian orphanage for 3 months before starting grad school in Korea. He reminded me of how He had given me a heart for missions during that time in India. Looking around at these beautiful faces, I remembered what a big heart I have for orphanage ministry. Singing out these powerful lyrics in Bahasa Indonesia, I was reminded of how much of a heart connection I have to a nation once I am able to start praising in the local language. I could almost feel God smiling down at me, reminding me of all those time of personal prayer when I just start singing simple VBS songs in the different languages I had picked up in the field. In the smallest and simplest of ways, God was romancing me again and bringing my back to the basics in such a meaningfully intimate way. MEMORY 2: TELLO CRUSADE I was standing in the open field of Tello Island, Nias, Indonesia. The first open-air crusade on the island in recent memory. Pastor Benjamin had preached the Gospel. And now we were in the midst of the healing altar call. I have prayed for healing many times for many people, in many countries. I have experienced great joy in seeing healing break forth, but also tangible disappointment in seeing no immediate answer to my prayers. In front of me was an old gentleman who was requesting prayer for his eyes. He had been suffering from bad vision for more than 10 years. The colored part of his eyes had what seemed like a milky film. But I laid my hands over his eyes. And in that moment I felt like God was zooming me out of that situation. The crowd in front of me numbered in the few thousands. It was nighttime. It was hot and humid. The brightly lit stage behind me was illuminating this man’s face. And as I laid my hands on this man’s eyes, the prayer that came out of my lips was that the healing power of God would flow through my hands the way that it had flowed through Jesus’ very hands. And in that moment I was able to see my hands literally as the hands of Christ. I then looked beyond my hands and this man’s eyes to the crowd beyond. “So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan” (Matthew 4:24-25). Indeed that was what was happening in front of my eyes. “And these signs will accompany those who believe… they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18). In that moment I had a new understanding of what it means to be followers of Christ, to do what He Himself had done. And as I prayed for this gentleman, the milky parts of his eyes reduced, and his vision became clear! “I can see more clearly. Please pray for me one more time.” I had never experienced a miracle so dramatic resulting from my prayers. So I went for it and released a final prayer. And this man, who had suffered from incredibly cloudy vision for more than 10 years, was finally able to see clearly again! And just as God gave clear vision to this man, it was as it He was giving clear vision once more to me as well. I had always viewed ministry as an occupation or a goal to attain. But through this trip I was able to understand ministry as a heart posture of constant malleability before the Lord. That’s exactly what Jesus Himself did. Healings do not come as a result of me creating something out of thin air. I minister out of what I already carry within me. And this is something that the Lord Himself has deposited in me. Christ tells me to remain not in my title, not in my calling. But remain in Christ. I bear much fruit by remaining in Christ, and in Him alone. Remain in Him. Be expectant in Him. Know what it means to be one with Him. And in that place, my journey will always be a new and exciting adventure.