2012 Myanmar – Shelli Mitchell

Building Up the House

“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as He said you would.” – 1 Chronicles 22:11

This was my first missions trip with New Philadelphia Church so I truly did not know what to expect, though I knew it was going to be powerful. I had seen videos from earlier trips and could use only those as a reference. New Philly’s previous trip to Myanmar back in 2009 is one of legend within our church. The Lord showed Himself in very extravagant, supernatural ways. Church leaders who had served on this trip continue to look back and hold dear that time of glorious encounter with the Lord. But as 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, we are “being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.” I imagined that on this trip, God would show more of the same glory as He did on the previous trip. And indeed God showed up in glory, but this time in a different way- to build up His House.

Within the first few days of arriving on the missions field, my leader, Lisa Kim (who had also been on the 2009 team) was so pleased with how the trip was going. She kept expressing how she felt that God was so pleased with us as well. I was confused by this because, in my eyes, it all seemed “normal. At New Philly we are taught and trained up in forgiveness, vulnerability, edifying each other, praying for one another, honoring each other and our leaders, and what it is to truly be a family. We were basically teaching and training these Bible college students in the same way.

But I was reminded that God has shifted us from what we like to call “the Davidic administration” into “the Solomonic administration.” We read in 1 Chronicles 22 that while David was a man of war, Solomon was a man of peace. Therefore Solomon was blessed by the Lord to build the Lord’s Temple. Our church’s vision statement is to “Raise up an army of mighty warriors who will go out in the anointing of the Holy Spirit to bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1). We had been functioning in the Davidic administration- the mindset of warring alongside the Lord against the enemy and his schemes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). While this is our mission, there are times when God calls us to focus more on peace and rest for the purpose of building up His Temple. This is called the Solomonic administration, and this is the season that the Lord is calling our church into at the moment.

So whether I knew it or not, this trip had to look different than the previous trips. Our team leader Lisa shared something at one of our team meetings that helped me to understand why this trip didn’t seem to be as “magical” as I was expecting. She said that on the last trip in 2009, God was tearing down and breaking off chains and strongholds that had been oppressing the people in Myanmar. She said that tearing down is always dramatic: like bulldozing a building. It’s loud, powerful, and very quick. But she shared that now that the proper things are torn down, God is calling us to build up the Church as Solomon built the Temple. Building can seem like a slower process, where each step is vital, but not always very dramatic or immediately noticeable. Our team was activating the Bible colleges with truths that our church has already gotten into our DNA. During ministry times we were just being ourselves, but God’s Kingdom being mightily built was the result!

One of the core values at our church is that “the Supernatural is Natural.” When Jesus and His disciples walked around, supernatural miracles were as natural as breathing to them. We are likewise called to do similar things, as the same Holy Spirit lives inside of us. So in Myanmar yes, people were healed of decade-long illnesses. Yes, people saw visions of Jesus on His Throne. Yes, people actually fell to the ground under the weight and the glory of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Yes, people were filled with unexplainable joy of the Lord. Yes, people were challenged and given a revelation of the love and power of the Lord within us! I will never get bored of this. This is evidence of God’s Kingdom with us, which has in a sense almost become natural to me. In Myanmar God was working in this way, but He wasn’t limited to this on our trip. This time around, God’s focus was building up His House.

One ministry time that stands out in particular is when we visited Evangel Bible College in the capitol city of Yangon. This is truly a place of freedom, passion, and extravagant worship! The school theme written on all the students’ shirts is “Shine Your Light” (Matthew 5:14-16). It was a wonderful coincidence, as our church has also been focusing on being God’s light, based on Isaiah 60:1-3. At this college, Pastor Marcus preached that in Genesis 1:16-18, God set up light to govern over the darkness. If there is a lot of light (the sun), there is little darkness. But if there is only a little light (the moon), there is much darkness. Either way, the light is the one determining how much darkness there can be. In the same way, as God has called us the light of the world. I have heard sermons about us being the light of the world so many times that I’ve lost count. But this particular sermon released by Pastor Marcus was so highlighted to me that I know it is one that I’ll carry with me for a long time. If that wasn’t enough, God showed up in a supernatural way throughout the service. There was a thunderstorm taking place outside and the lights would go out in the sanctuary for extended periods of time. We would sit in the pitch darkness spontaneously singing and worshiping God, as we are called to be the light in the midst of the darkness. And then soon enough the light would indeed start to shine!

These days, all I can think about is that glorious night we all shared in God’s presence receiving His Truth and worshiping Him with all our hearts, souls, and might. It was such a beautiful and equipping time together. I see the vision that Pastor Marcus shared for the Church in Myanmar, and I see it for my own life as well. Being the light of the world isn’t a generic term as I had previously thought growing up; it is a mission and a calling of power, strength, and authority all led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. My spirit wants to jump and dance as God unfolds layer by layer the strength and majesty of the House He’s building up in my family, in my church, and in the Church of Myanmar.

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