2010 Indonesia – West Papua – Jon Neufeld

Ministering God’s Love in its Various Forms

 

What a privilege it’s been being on missions with New Philly this summer! Since becoming Pastor Marcus’ roommate at the beginning of 2009, I’ve been told many stories about missions teams that have been sent out by our church, and had been looking forward to having a chance to be involved myself. Our time in West Papua was definitely memorable, a time in which God used us in so many different ways to minister His love to the people there.

One of the most prominent ways God ministered His love during our time in West Papua was through physical healings. There were a lot of them, over 100! One that stands out to me was a pastor’s wife who had had back, leg, and arm pain for a long time. Before we prayed for her she shared that she had previously sought healing through black magic methods (which is common in this area of Indonesia), but that she had since repented of that. As we prayed for her, God totally healed her arm, leg and back! She started crying and praising God. And what she didn’t say, but I sensed is that she wasn’t most grateful for her body being healed. She seemed more grateful that God was revealing His love for her through the healing, and that He hadn’t abandoned her even though she had turned away from Him.

Another way that God was revealing His love through the team was through the emboldening of His people there. One example that was especially evident to us was the change we saw in one of our translators, a man named Yusef who was preparing to be a missionary in the mountains of West Papua. For the first half of our trip, Yusef was very timid and seemed disconnected during our times of prayer and praise as a team. He did not seem in any way like someone who was ready to minister in the darkness of the mountains of West Papua. During one of our team meetings however, Lisa asked him how we could pray for him. He shared that he had pain in his chest and an irregular heart beat after falling out of a tree 5 years ago. While we prayed for him the Holy Spirit encountered him and he went unconscious. He was out for about 5 minutes and when he woke up, he had the most confused and startled look on his face. Turns out that he had a vision that he said felt like 2 or 3 days. At the end of it (in the vision), he said that someone reached into his chest and pulled out his heart. He woke up thinking he was dead (it was actually pretty funny – he had no clue where he was or what had just happened to him). But, he was very much alive with all of the pain gone in his chest and his heart beating normally. And he was a changed man afterward – very confident, filled with joy and active in our ministry times. Having been touched by God’s love, he was ready to be used as a vessel of God’s love himself.

And then there were people who were ministered to in ways that we’ll never know, largely because of the language barrier. Many people that we ministered to just seemed so genuinely blessed – their faces told more than words ever could. One person who stood out to me in this regard was a young man who I had the opportunity to pray for during one of our ministry times. I don’t remember exactly what he had come up to receive prayer for. To be honest, I don’t even remember what I prayed for him. I just remember that God touched that man while I laid hands on him and prayed and he began to weep. After the service when I went up to the man to shake his hand, he had one of the most joyful, thankful and life-filled looks in his eyes I had ever seen. And that look is one that will stay with me. God’s love takes all kinds of forms, and He calls us, His children to be vessels of that love. Not to pick and choose how we want to love people, but to understand that God’s desire to pour out His love is far greater than we could imagine, and to enter into His plan for doing that.

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