2011 Thailand – Emily Suen

Mission Accomplished

“God has anointed me…to bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:1, 3). That is the verse I got for you!”

This line was written at the top of my letter from Pastor Christian. I read this on the plane thousands of feet in the air as I headed for Thailand. God quickly translated this verse to me as my mission statement for this trip. And truly, each time that I remained faithful to it, I felt like God turned another page of a thrilling story.

I consider this to be my first mission trip. And I felt like my heart was prepared for everything: the possibilities of poor living conditions, conflicts between team mates, or falling ill…you name it. But nothing of this sort happened. Three words that summed up our team were 1. healthy, 2. loving, and 3. unified. The days leading up to our departure I also felt rested, healthy, and mentally strong. But suddenly as I set to bed early the night before, my Tinnitus (a constant ringing in the ear) from a past accident began to flare up. Just when I felt like I couldn’t pray myself out of it any longer, I grabbed my roommate who in turn grabbed Pastor Christian and Pastor Erin (with whom I am currently residing), to come pray for me. Pastor Christian commanded my ear to be healed in the name of Jesus. The ringing died down to its normal pitch but for the rest of the night my sleep was disturbed with anxiety and bad dreams. But right before the break of dawn, I had a dream that Pastor Christian had come in to say bye and put his fingers into my ears and when he had taken them out my ears were healed. Although it was a dream, when I woke up I actually thought it had happened! For the rest of the day, I stubbornly refused to be distracted by the enemy, and left for Thailand determined to bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes.

On our first day of ministry our team leader Lisa asked me to share my testimony. I would be the first to take the pulpit for the entire trip! But that wasn’t what made me nervous. What made me nervous was the request for me to share my salvation testimony. I specifically did not write out my salvation testimony because I felt like I had lost my passion and zeal in sharing it. While my testimony is one of a miraculous salvation where God rescued me from death- a testimony that amazed many, to me it began losing significance. I cried out to God and God reminded me, “Bestow a crown of beauty upon my people.”

Soon I began to realize that my testimony was not limited to a miraculous salvation. As I re-told my story from the pulpit, God started to deliver me from a powerful enemy: a self-hating, ugly spirit. I grew up with constant lies telling me that I was hideous. But as I delivered my testimony, I felt God’s mission being accomplished in a new way. I saw a crown of beauty placed on each face staring at me with their tearing eyes, but I also saw God place a crown of beauty upon my own head. In the midst of my testimony, something broke within me and all of a sudden I realized that I was beautiful. I don’t think that truth has ever been able to penetrate my heart. I even mustered up the courage to ask the audience in a playful manner, “I’m healed. Aren’t I pretty?” But this time I was asking this question not to receive affirmation, but to declare the truth of my emotional healing. That day my testimony had stomped on the enemy with the most power that it has ever had.

On our way to our home from this revival service, my fingers brushed by my right ear and my ear began to burn. The numb feeling started to travel into half of my face. I quickly shot up out of my seat and waved my arms for Pastor Erin to come. She sat with me as half my face lost all feeling. We both knew that God was healing so we just sat there, allowing God to do his thing without rushing Him. Pastor Erin then told me that she saw a vision of God putting his finger in my ear. She said, “Maybe God is tickling your ear.” As soon as she said that, I immediately remembered my dream of Pastor Christian putting his finger in my ear. Later on that night, I looked up the passage on God healing the deaf man. Somehow I managed to miss the detail about God sticking his finger in the deaf man’s ear to heal him. I had no idea that this is how God healed! This confirmed that all this was from God. And I was healed.

On our way to central Thailand, I was in a state of immense peace. No more ringing in my ear! As I reflected on my healing I couldn’t stop connecting it with the crown of beauty upon my head. As I reflected on this verse on the bus, I realized this doesn’t just belong to women. But how could I take this mission statement and bestow a crown of beauty on men? Suddenly, I got a clear vision of a man with a bright yellow shirt, black pants, wavy black medium length hair, watery hazy bright eyes, gruffly shaven facial hair with the possibility of his name being P’Dong. I also got two Bible verses for him along with a word. The word was that he was not meant to rise and fall with the sun day after day without dreams but he was meant to dream dreams and marvel at God’s glorious light. The vision was so clear that I wrote down each description, the date and time. I tucked away this note and wondered would I ever have a chance to show this piece of paper to this mysterious man who could be named P’Dong?

As we were midway through our mission trip we lead a revival service at a church called Nakornsawan Church located in one of the Chinatown areas of central Thailand. There were many native Chinese church members there and being Chinese, it was liberating to finally be able to fellowship without a translator. I walked downstairs after fellowship, and suddenly at the bottom of the stairs appeared a man who fit the exact description the Lord spoke to me on the bus ride: he had on a bright yellow shirt, black pants, wavy black medium length hair, watery hazy bright eyes and gruffly shaven facial hair! Excitement shot through my body like electricity when I realized that I had found my treasure. I quickly grabbed Pastor Erin and a translator to release God’s word over this man but as soon as we approached him, the translator realized that the man was deaf. Eyes bulging, Pastor Erin and I looked at each other and knew exactly what we had to do. Not only did God desire for these words to be spoken to this man but he desired for his ears to be opened in the name of Jesus.

With my own testimony of my ear being healed just days prior, I knew it was no coincidence and it was time to impart healing. We were in a rush to leave and not wanting to be that member who stayed back to heal, I prayed quickly for him, made sure we would see him the next night, and left. All night and all day I contended for this man’s healing. When I found him again the next day, before praying for him again, I asked him, how does your ear feel? He said better! Although I contended multiple times after that and even got permission to lay hands on his head aka stick my finger in his ear (?), we saw no further significant healing. But nonetheless, I got a translator and we motioned God’s words to him and I know he was crowned not with a crown of ashes but with a crown of beauty. I still contend for his healing today and I know God will do a mighty work in him.

During this trip, I was also asked to preach. I always imagined that for my first time preaching I would have days to prepare and that I would preach in a church sanctuary. But God’s agenda was very different. I would have no time to prepare and I would be preaching not in a sanctuary but at a Buddhist school. I stood behind all the students as our brother Young shared his testimony before me, and I was a bit nervous. But all of a sudden the Holy Spirit came upon me and God told me, “Bestow a crown of beauty upon each of my children.” At that time I got a vision of the entire room of children raising their hands to receive Christ in their hearts. To be honest, I didn’t believe that this was possible. I thanked God for filling me with boldness and giving me such a high target to dream for but took the stage hoping just for a chance to preach the Gospel.

As I preached, every sermon point was aimed to bestow a crown of beauty upon each of the heads of God’s children. I was encouraged as the supervising teachers kept on stepping out of the room, and thus I was able to release more and more of the Gospel message. At the end, I began picking children out and by the grace of God began prophesying to them in their own native tongue; Thai. I will never forget the look upon one young girl after I called her out by name and told her that God thinks she is the prettiest girl in the whole entire world. At the end of my sermon I felt again like God’s mission was truly being accomplished. Noticing that the room was empty of supervisors, I seized a divine opportunity. I asked the students, “Who wants to love Jesus?!” I was awed as hands went up all across the room. Every child raised their hand, expressing their desire to know and love Jesus Christ. In front of my eyes I was able to see the “impossible vision” God had shown me just moments prior to taking the stage. I was in shock. God really spoke to me and romances me. Not only did I receive my own crown of beauty, but God used me bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes upon everyone I encountered.

After 3 hours of serving that school, as we left, our team was bombarded with children approaching us for pictures and signatures. When young girls who were touched by my message came to me with admiration in their eyes, it reminded me of when I used to do beauty pageants. Back then, young girls used to ask me for my signature with their jaws dropped at the sight of a “real princess” when I wore a pageant crown on my head. The young girls coming to me in Thailand had the same expression and admiration without me wearing a physical crown. This was proof that God has bestowed an eternal crown of beauty upon my head. Confident in wearing this crown of beauty allowed me to in turn, place a crown of beauty upon those who had seen only ashes. Thailand: mission accomplished!

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