2014 Cambodia – Julie Byun

Immanuel God

As I look back on the details of the winter 2014 Cambodia Missions trip, I cannot help but be amazed at how much God had His hands on every single aspect of the journey. From mind-blowing healings during our slum outreaches to the littlest details such as roommate assignments, God orchestrated our trip precisely in a way that challenged, empowered, and blessed each person to the full extent.

Even from the very beginning, God had His mighty hands at work to allow all the conditions for me to go on this trip. When sign-ups for winter missions started, I was on a business trip to a remote countrysides of East Timor. Usually when we are on the field, internet service is a rare commodity and we have to go without internet access for days. When I saw that our base camp did not have a shower facility, I was sure that I would not be able have internet access. However, it was because we had no shower facility at our guesthouse, that we had to drive to our field office every night, which had limited access to internet! If God had given me even a slightly more decent base camp, I would have missed out on the missions announcements AND the due date to sign up for the trip. But God orchestrated the situation perfectly so that I would see the announcement at just the right time and have just enough internet access to sign up through email.

However, I actually did not realize that it was God’s precise hands that were at work back then until after the missions trip. Before the missions trip, I was so caught up with my responsibilities at work and everyday obligations that I was missing out on the bigger picture of what God was trying to do in my life. I realized this at one of our first team meetings when Pastor Emily, our team preacher, asked our team about our expectations for this trip. While most of the other members talked about miracles, healings, empowerment, and other ways that God could use us as powerful tools, my biggest expectation was JUST to be able perceive and understand what God was doing in Cambodia and in my life.

The first thing God did to meet my expectation was to rip me away from the thing that was tempting me the most to divert my attention away from God– my work. As the day of departure came closer, I started to feel anxious and nervous about being out of the office for a whole week. So I emailed our team leaders as to whether I could bring my labtop with me to causally check my email before going to bed maybe once or twice during the trip. I was shocked when I received an unexpected answer from Pastor Emily saying that she was going to “disallowing it out of love.” I felt very troubled– after all, how harmful would it be to check email once or twice while in Cambodia?

I now confess that I was actually tempted to resort to sneaky email checks in my room if I had to, but guess who God placed as my roommate? Pastor Emily. Yes, God had His fingerprints on every corner of this trip. I now testify that this decision was the exactly what enabled me to fully taste and see God’s glorious presence in the field- to be sensitive to each moment and actually be aware of God’s heart behind His works. During the sweet ten days of being alone with God, not a moment was wasted, as God used it all to pinpoint which areas of my character he wanted me to deal with. God spoke to me about the areas in which he wanted me to grow spiritually. He spoke to me about which of His characteristics he wanted to remind me of, while also releasing confirmations on the plans He had for my life. As I was dwelling on God’s presence like never before, God went a step further to tell me through one of Pastor Emily’s sermons that He was with me, working through and protecting me, even when I was sleeping. The Lord has blessed us with sleep just so that we could put our faith in God as our protector.

In addition to these small coincidences, sometimes the Lord also showed His presence in a very powerful way. As the team was heading back to our van after our first slum outreach, we heard one woman calling out to us desperately. She was sitting on the floor of her home and explained that she had injured her hips and legs two months ago. She had not been able to stand or walk ever since. Our entire team gathered around her, stretching out our hands and praying for her healing. When our team leader Danny asked her how she was feeling after our prayer, the woman immediately stood up and burst into tears of joy! This was the first time I was able to see God’s miraculous healing power. Our team then prayed for the lady a second time, this time for her to be able to walk. After our prayer, the woman started walking around and jumping up and down- her face filled with awe, thankfulness, and utter happiness as our translator Bora burst into tears along with her. We had just witnessed the power of God Almighty. I knew my life would never be the same.

Experiencing Immanuel God in the Cambodian mission field has changed my life forever. Before this trip I was always living with at least an ounce of nervousness and anxiety in my heart. Now I live with an indescribable peace because I know that the same omnipotent God that was guiding me, teaching me, and courting me in Cambodia is still with me today in my everyday life back in Seoul. I have so much faith that He has His good hands on even the most seemingly insignificant parts of my life. I am now freed from fear of having spiritual attacks in my sleep because I have full faith that God the protector is with me during my sleep. Furthermore, I am now able to rise up from my narrow day-to-day life view, to now a place where I can perceive and understand where God wants to take me in my life. Although my expectations for my first missions trip were very modest, our good and faithful God has not only delivered but has also blessed me with huge personal breakthroughs. I now have a deeper revelation of who God is, and therefore who I am in Him.

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