2011 Philippines – General Santos – Mina Choi

Heaven on Earth

 

My first overseas missions trip was to the Philippines in 2007. I had just started to renew my relationship with God that year after a long hiatus of living away from Him. I didn’t feel ready, but I wanted to show God that I was serious about our relationship and about making disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19). The trip was a landmark for me and a trip of so many “firsts”. Not only was it my first overseas missions trip, but it was the first time for me to baptized by the Holy Spirit, and the first time for me to receive and use my prayer language. It was also my first sober birthday in over 8 years! Praise the Lord!

This past January, I was able to go back to the Philippines for the first time in 3 and a half years. Our team of 12 went under the theme of “Taking Dominion” (Gen 1:28). Just like God had taken dominion of my life by delivering me from secret sins, taking away my shame and condemnation, and healing me of childhood hurts, our team would also go and take dominion of General Santos. Psalm 115:16 states. “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.” Our mission: To see Heaven on Earth! In Heaven, there is no sickness, sorrow, or oppression. It is a place of full health, love, joy, and security. Our desire was to see Heaven released in General Santos. And this is what we saw!

In total, we ministered at 12 services with a time of preaching/teaching, sharing (testimony), and a time to pray for the sick and bless people. God was moving in different ways, and various Heavenly aspects were released into the atmosphere.

A time that stood out was on our second day. We ministered at a church of about 80 people. Pastor Marcus had prayed for a sign of God’s favor, and before the service started a random dog was walking around in the sanctuary. He took it as a sign that creation was responding and thanked God for His favor ?. Before the message, one of our team members shared his life story about growing up as a missionary kid. He didn’t have the “normal American life”, but rather He grew up very poor as His parents lived with and served the Native American people. He wasn’t sure why God would do that to him, and in response he grew bitter towards God. Instead, he turned to a life of rebellion and instant pleasure. But amidst his choices, God reached out and began to work in His heart. As he spoke of God’s love for him, many people in the audience were crying and being ministered to. They could relate to his story because many of them were also poor. They also could relate because they too had left their homes. Many of them had to relocate and move because of the persecution they faced for being Christian. Though we had no idea of the circumstance, God knew. He is faithful!

Later in the service, there was a time for healing prayer. Several people on the team came up to the front of the room to pray and ask the Lord for what kind of diseases he wanted to heal. Each person shared with the congregation an ailment or a disease that they felt like God was showing them. 16 people stood up in response, and God miraculously healed them all! Pain in the shoulders, knees, and head was gone in Jesus name! Back, stomach, thigh, and chest pain removed! Numbness was gone! Many of them came up to testify and share their stories of their pain and how God healed them that day. Faith was being released all over the room. There is no sickness in Heaven, and we tasted just a little bit of if the day.

On our fourth day of ministry, we ministered at a bible college. While praying and preparing in Korea, I had felt the Lord wanted me to preach a message about spiritual inheritance. On the field, I asked the Lord which service to preach, and I had felt like the message was for the bible school. When we arrived, the president of the school told us that many of the students were not sure if they were going to attend the next semester because they did not have money. Each semester is only $50, but even that amount the students had no way of having. I took it as a confirmation that this was the message that they needed to hear because as God’s children, he gives us an inheritance and a means of provision!

Before the message, our team performed a skit called “Set Me Free”, which shows the reality of Satan and demons who try to kill, steal, and destroy man (John 10:10). It was a powerful time as the students were able to visually see what happens in the spiritual realm. After the skit, the entire team came up and asked God what he wanted to heal people of that day. The team spoke out different things like depression, anxiety, insecurity, and other types of oppression. The majority of the students came up as they were struggling with those things. As we prayed for them, God moved in a powerful way! Many of the students were on the floor crying, praise God, and shaking under the power of God. Callings were being confirmed, comfort was being released, lies being broken off! In heaven, there is love, joy, and security. Heaven was coming down to Earth!

The same day, we headed over to a youth rally. Over 200 youth gathered, and some of the kids had traveled more than 2 hours by foot to come and see. I’ve never experienced worship like that before, but I can tell you it was like Heaven on Earth! The entire place was worshiping, jumping around, yelling, and shouting out to the Lord. It was amazing!!! Pastor Myunghwa preached on our Heavenly Father’s love and how it is so much more extravagant then the love of Earthly fathers. She opened up the altar for people who wanted to know the Heavenly Father’s love, but no one came up. There were many children in the audience who were crying, but there was no response. In response, Pastor Ching (who was translating) started to sing a song on the mic. While singing the song, dozens of children ran up to the altar crying and responding to the Lord. Later we found out that the Filipino people are very private about problems within their family. Rarely are problems talked about, and for people to come up to an altar call would be like telling the world that you have issues you’re your Father. Regardless of culture, the Holy Spirit was moving in the hearts of the children that day.

At that particular altar call, some of the children were wailing and had so much sorrow and grief. It amazed me that even at a young age, kids can feel so much pain. I had grown up with the mentality that we have to keep it all in, but as I watched these kids it was refreshing. The children’s hurts and pain were being released through their tears. And as hurt was being released, God’s love was being poured into their hearts and healing their wounds. It was a beautiful moment of restoration and truth being released. There is no sorrow in Heaven. There is only joy. Afterwards, we had a time of worship again and the praise was in an uproar again. The children who were just moments ago releasing their sorrows and hurts to the Lord were now jumping for joy for the God that cares about each of them.

The healings, signs and wonders, and God moving in power were all amazing and so awesome to witness. It says in the Word of God that we will lay our hands on the sick and they will recover (Mark 16:18). God is faithful and honors His word.

But through it all, the most memorable moments on the trip were when the presence of God was so thick in a place, and I could feel His love in a tangible way. My only response was to be in awe of how amazing His love is. There were times where I couldn’t even sing, and all I could do was cry. It was in those moments that the gospel became real and simple. God had sent His son to die on a cross for a sinner like me. Jesus died, so that I could have a relationship with Him. That’s it really. It’s to get that revelation of the gospel and give it to others. It’s about loving God and loving people. God will be God. He’ll work through us and do the signs and wonders. It’s our job to love and follow Him. Our God is a God of love.

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