2014 Philippines – Gina Kim

Fanning the Flames

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalms 34:18

Prior to this missions trip, I was brokenhearted and crushed in spirit as I was going through a difficult season of transition. I felt inadequate to minister to God’s people in the Philippines, especially as I myself was feeling empty. However, our team leader Pastor Jamie reached out to me in love and shed light on the deeper issues that I was wrestling with in my heart. Thus I was able to lay down my fears, insecurities, and weaknesses before God. As I surrendered myself to God’s grace, He poured His deep love for the Philippines into my heart and a fresh excitement and zeal awakened in me to be used by Him. The Lord revealed to me that I am not, in fact, empty. Rather I am overflowing, and His grace is more than sufficient.

God moved powerfully on this trip, not only in awakening my spirit but also in fanning the flames that our Filipino brothers and sisters are already carrying inside of them. Our team arrived in Isabel City after a seven-hour trip from Cebu by boat and bus. We spent the majority of our time with Jesus’ Flock Church, pioneered by Pastor Daniel and led by Pastor Jeremiah. It was apparent that although Typhoon Haiyan had shaken up the region, God’s people had not lost their faith in Him. Even the world’s most powerful typhoon could not quench the fire of the Holy Spirit. Our team spent a lot of time building relationships with the local church and it was a sweet time of mutual edification and encouragement. Although we had initially expected to minister at revival services every night, God in His wisdom had a different plan. In addition to large services, He opened the door for our team to minister to key leaders through divine appointments. It was very apparent that God was sending our team to encourage and love on specific people that He had highlighted. And one of these encounters was, for me, one of the most powerful moments on this trip.

While taking the team from Cebu Airport to Isabel City by boat, Pastor Daniel (our host pastor) was asking the Lord about ministry opportunities in Tacloban. This was the city most devastated by the typhoon. Pastor Daniel thought it would be good to spend some time there in addition to our main mission field of Isabel City, but there no specific plans yet. However on the boat ride, a woman named Bess from Tacloban approached Pastor Daniel, curious about his group of foreign visitors. After introductions and some conversation, she invited our team to visit her home in Tacloban! This was definitely a Kingdom connection.

On the day of our actual visit, the team gathered around sister Bess in her living room, listening to her heart-wrenching story of survival and resilience. Pastor David (our team preacher) and Pastor Jamie felt that this was a divinely appointed time for her to hear about God’s sovereignty and to receive salvation. Raised in a Catholic culture and hesitant about having to follow religious rules, Bess was initially resistant. But then Pastor David clarified that Christianity is really about having a relationship with Jesus. This is what her heart had been longing to hear. Bess opened her hands and repeated the Sinner’s Prayer. It was a powerful moment as our team witnessed the salvation of a woman who had many questions and doubts, yet had a deep hunger to know the Lord. And quite divinely, even before receiving Jesus in heart, Bess had already planned to gather 100 neighborhood kids to spend time with the “foreign visitors!” It was amazing that right after sharing the Good News of Christ with Bess, we were able to do likewise with these beautiful children- survivors of the storm and the new generation of hope! This was another reminder that God had already ordained for us to meet Bess and that we were following His divine plan.

This missions trip to the Philippines was such a clear picture to me of how the heart of missions is partnering with what God is already doing in the nations. Our team was humbled and inspired by the unquenchable joy that our Filipino brothers and sisters carry, and we were honored to fan into flame this fire that has already been burning. Although the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan left many crushed and broken, it is evident that God’s presence was thick in that place. Those who are brokenhearted and crushed in the spirit, the Lord is close to and indeed the Lord saves!

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