2014 Chennai – Kathleen An

It’s Not About You!

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” -Joshua 1:6

I had the great honor and privilege of leading my first missions trip to Chennai, India this winter under New Philadelphia Church. When I was first approached about leading a team, I was utterly shocked and thought to myself, “Me?!” I was hit with another wave of shock when I found out that I would be leading the team going to south India! I never had a desire to go to India, and thus I never imagined I would get an opportunity to minister there.
Despite my immediate panic, I knew that my answer was yes. I can’t explain my assurance and peace in any way other than that it was supernatural. I strongly felt that God was calling me to step out in faith and put my trust in Him first, before my feelings or emotions. So I trusted that God had specific purposes for our team and for me personally as well.
Throughout this trip, God shifted my mindset of what short term missions is. And through this process, He surpassed all of my expectations. By experiencing the intricacies of God’s love for Chennai, I got a deeper revelation of how big and tangible His heart is. Before the trip, the Lord highlighted two words to me: joy and healings. Thus I immediately started contending for physical healings, signs, and wonders to be released on this trip. I wanted to see God heal the sick through our team! And by no means is this wrong, but after a while I realized that I was seeking after His hands and not His heart. God really confronted my own heart motives of why I wanted to witness these things, and I had to repent. The Lord was beginning to mature me in what it means to love a country with His love.
Once our team finally landed in Chennai, we met Pastor Mathew Victor, our local contact and the head pastor of New Life Christian Assembly. During a short field orientation Pastor Mathew and his wife, Pastor Jeeva, shared their personal testimonies and ministry vision with us. I began to cry as I was listening to their powerful story of God’s provision, and God made it so clear in that moment why He had sent our team to this place. It was not to pursue our own agenda. Rather it was to honor, encourage, and love the local ministers in Chennai- specifically Pastors Mathew and Jeeva. While our team had a ministry schedule for 10 days, these ministers are the ones sowing in long-term.
On one of our first nights in Chennai, the Lord emphasized the importance of submitting to His plans and His heart for His people. On this night, the team was scheduled to minister at a cell group. This is basically a gathering for Christians who cannot come to church for various reasons. As our ministry was about to close for the night, Pastor Mathew asked us to pray for a woman who couldn’t bend her body. Because of certain ailments, for over 25 years she had not been able to sit, lie down, or walk properly without the help of her elderly mother. The team and I began praying fervently on her behalf and disallowing all infirmity in her body. Then, all of a sudden, we all felt the Holy Spirit tell us to pray peace over her. We were moving together as one unit. And even without anyone telling us what to do, we knew that the Lord wanted her to know that she was loved. As the team was praying peace, all of a sudden we realized that some of the villagers surrounding the lady were crying on her behalf as well. It was a powerful moment. This woman had been living with this infirmity her whole life. But for the first time, the community around her was realizing her pain and empathizing with her. As the team was revealing the Father’s heart to her, it was impacting the community surrounding her as well. While we did not see the lady healed that night, we did witness a community stirred up to contend for her healing with her; to stand with her and believe in God’s good plans for her.
As God used our team to release His heart, He also activated the local ministers on new levels as well. Throughout our week of ministry, Pastors Mathew and Jeeva translated for all the speakers on our team. On our last Sunday, Pastor Myunghwa preached a powerful sermon about how God hates the Hindu caste system. As Pastor Mathew was translating, he wasn’t simply repeating what Pastor Myunghwa was saying. He was preaching on a whole new level of authoriy! Pastor Myunghwa then led an altar call for intercessors of the church to rise up and pray for India. More than half of the congregation stood up to commit to praying for their nation. This was a powerful moment. God’s children were saying no to something that had become very entrenched in the national culture. They refused to accept the demonic caste system as something that they had to continue living with and tolerating. God’s people were rising up to claim victory over their own nation! Pastor Mathew continued to lead the time of prayer with tears streaming down His face.
God wanted our team to partner with Him, with what He is already doing in Chennai. It wasn’t for us to go in with our own separate agenda to do what we wanted to see. God’s purposes for our trip were far greater than our own desires. We did only what we had been assigned to do, and then empowered Pastor Mathew and his leaders to do more! I believe that the seeds that our team sowed in Chennai will be reaped plentifully by the local ministers in God’s timing. It was truly an honor to serve and minister with New Life Christian Assembly. Please pray for intercessors to continue to rise up and take their place, that they will see the revival of India with their own eyes. Also, pray for favor and protection over Pastors Mathew and Jeeva, that God will take them to newer levels! And finally, please pray that the testimonies we witnessed in India will multiply on a greater level in your own life. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

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