“Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:19
This was my very first Living Hope Christian Center’s oversees missions trip. In January, God instructed me to get my passport. A few months later, I was joining the Indonesia team for the July trip. I heard stories about other people’s experiences, and I was given talks of what to expect. While it helped to hear, it didn’t compare to the actual experience. The experience was life changing. It was difficult to sum up exactly what I saw and what God showed me. After much reflecting, I can say this trip for me was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
After a long journey, our team finally arrived at the airport in Nias, Indonesia. From the airport, we were taken on a 2 hour car ride to the town of Teluk Dalam. I was instantly overwhelmed by the untouched beauty of the island: the trees, the water, the people. It took my breath away. We arrived at the local orphanage, that our church partners with, and was overwhelmed by the love of the kids.
The people of Indonesia are a humble people. They are not affected by materialism unlike the United States. They do not have the same technology. Their homes are not filled with unnecessary items. They wear modest clothing. They eat at home and steward their finances well making it stretch to cover all their needs. Despite what they may not have according to United States standards, they are not in lack. They are happy. In fact, I saw more happy people than I see at home. They truly are rich!
Observing this humility throughout the island of Nias and Tello, I was immediately humbled. It forced me to confront any materialism that existed in my life and evaluate what truly matters. Having witnessed their lives, I realized that the love of the Father, family, and community is what makes me rich. It is what brings me joy. It forced me to confront the bits of western pride that remained in me still. It truly humbled me.
While I was humbled by facts in the natural, I was also humbled spiritually. God had been dealing with my identity as His daughter the entire year. He spoke to me about my authority that is given to me as royalty. He built me up, and I began to walk in that confidence knowing who I belong to. I expected to enter Indonesia and reign in that confidence. I just knew that my prayers and declarations would be powerful enough to be used for healings and God’s wonders.
My expectations set me up for a humbling experience. The first two nights we were in Nias, we experienced heavy darkness. We visited villages with idols on display and an obvious demonic presence. The enemy sought to distract, bring disorganization, and doubt. I saw people come up with obvious ailments. I prayed with the highest of faith and saw nothing happen. No healings occurred. No evidence of the power of God seen. So what did I do? I prayed harder. I tried making these healings occur through my own strength.
Over the course of the trip, I dealt with so much spiritually. I battled with my thoughts the entire time. I was not seeing what I expected to see. I did not see what God promised to show. Nothing was happening. After two crusade services in Nias, I saw very few healings under my hand. I began to even question if it was me. Was I being prideful and that’s why you were not using me God? Was I praying wrong? Was I the only one not being used? All these questions and more flooded my brain. Over the course of the two weeks, God stayed quiet and wouldn’t address my questions. He allowed me to struggle. He allowed me to strive. He allowed me to question. He broke me. He humbled me.
During the two days on Tello Island, I finally gave up. I was spiritually and mentally broken. My body had been hit with stomach issues and badly sunburned legs that left me in severe pain. My voice was gone from me trying to pray healing into existence. There was nothing left of me. This is exactly where God wanted me. He humbled me. He showed me that it had NOTHING to do with me. It was Him, and only Him, that could heal. It was Him, and only Him, that could set people free. It was Him, and only Him, that could produce the wonders I was desiring to see.
The last night I let go. I stopped trying. I prayed in a voice I would talk with a friend in a library! Haha! And you know what? God healed. God used me to take away knee pain. He used me to take away head pain. He used me to take away back pain. He used me when me, Stephanie Sanchez, got out of the way. That’s what He desired all along. It’s what He wanted to teach me.
“Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:19. On the last night of the crusade in Tello, worship broke out. The people began to worship (the needy). I began to worship (the humble). That was my favorite moment and made the entire experience complete. It was the body together worshiping the Holy One. The One who heals. The One who saves. The One who delivers. The God of Wonders.