2011 Thailand – Susy Park

Face Like A Flint

 

Don’t know about you, but it feels like this year of 2012 is pregnant with the promises of God: a year of increase, promotion, establishment, and breakthrough. So, naturally, I was very excited to go on New Philly’s first mission trip in the year of increase. I believe this mission trip to Thailand was the culmination of the question that had been pounding in my head for the last few months since getting to Korea: “How bad do you want it?” God has been honing in on many hopes and dreams I’ve had for a while, and now He challenged me to contend for these things, calling me to disregard the million “What if’s” swimming around in my mind, to plunge on ahead with faith.

How far am I willing to go to see the Kingdom break through?

Isaiah 50:7 says, “But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”

With this verse in mind, I put to death the nagging thought of, “What if I look the fool?” and set my face like flint to test the goodness and promises of God. I decided to put myself out there, knowing there’s nothing to lose! I talked about Jesus and offered to pray for an older gentleman on the flight to Thailand, talked with strangers in the subway in Bangkok, approached English-speaking foreigners on a beach in HuaHin, evangelized with high-school students in an outdoor market in Chainat, joined the team in hugging our way into the hearts of old ladies at church, and spent the entire trip with a stubborn determination (like the other members) to bless our teammates to pieces. We struck up conversations with food court vendors at a mall, had strangers read Thai tracts along with us, hugged as many kids in the government schools we went to as we possibly could, and made sure we gave people the contact information of the long-term missionaries and local ministries we partnered with for follow-up. It was a whirlwind 10 days of ministry. There are too many moments and people to talk about, but I will mention just two.

On our first night of ministry at a small church in Bangkok called Plukjit Laksi Church (“Church of God of World Missions”), as our team filed into a half-filled sanctuary, we saw out of the corner of our eye a old man sitting on the front row with his wife, and a walker perched in front of him. Our first thought was, “Awyeah, it’s going down!” As Pastor Marcus led us into a time to pray for healing before the sermon, I found myself naturally gravitating towards this man. It turns out he had been in a bad motorcycle accident five years ago, and the whole left side of his body was paralyzed. As both Pastor Erin and I lay hands and prayed for healing, what struck me the most was this man’s openness to receive prayer. Throughout the last five years, who knows how many times he had asked for prayer, how many times he had prayed himself, and yet here he was, as open and expectant as if it were the first time receiving prayer. And that night he received dramatic healing (although not 100%)—at the end of that time of prayer, he could unclench and open his left fist, and he could walk without the assistance of his walker. Honestly, it almost felt like the posture of his heart was a magnet to the Holy Spirit’s healing touch, whether we lay hands on him or not.

But another instance that marked a stark difference, was when, again, Pastor Erin, a local missionary called P. Gorn, and I found ourselves ministering to a blind woman in the marketplace in Chainat, a province of central Thailand about three hours north of Bangkok. She had a mic in hand and radio to sing along to when asking for money, and we approached her just as she was making her way into the more crowded area of the market place. She had her eyes closed for the most part, but when they peeked open at times, you could only see white of her eyes. Now, keep in mind that we were summoning every ounce of faith we had to even approach her in the first place, while curious onlookers hung around.

We were willing to run the risk of looking the fool, as long as it meant we got a chance to pray for her and see her sight restored. Even a 1% chance of bringing healing is worth the risk! After almost twenty minutes of talking about her life and us praying for supernatural peace over her (and she said she felt better after that prayer), and we simply asked her, “Do you want to be able to see?” after a long pause where you could see her struggling in her mind, she answered, “No, I’m fine being this way.” She had become so used to blindness being her identity. We asked a few more questions, in hopes she’d change her mind, but her answer remained the same. After she thanked us for the prayer and we blessed her on her way, she slowly walked away, picked up her mic, and began to sing, asking for money. I think it was the most heartbreaking song to hear for me, because I felt God’s heart for her, eager to give her more if only she asked. It wasn’t pity, it was sorrow. At what point does someone let one’s dreams die in order to cope and live with something? Not to say that God fulfills every whim of your heart, or operates on our terms and our timing, but the question remains: at what point do you decide to stop asking from God?

With these thoughts in mind, I can honestly say our team poured everything we had, ministering to hundreds of kids and preaching the Gospel, seeing God minister physical healing and also inner healing to church people, saw teenagers empowered to lead their friends to Christ, saw people being filled with the Spirit, saw long-term missionaries getting prayed over and blessed to tears… and I come to the realization that just one person getting saved, just one person getting healed of something as “trivial” as a headache or unforgiveness, that’s worth praying for in faith every time, even if it takes 100 to get to that one. That’s that it means to contend for the Kingdom, and set our face like flint, with the assurance that those who put their trust in the Lord will not be put to shame. This is how a person comes to Christ, and this is how you see a whole nation come to Christ.

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