2015 Cambodia – Tine Heenop

Walking in Pure Grace

“Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit.” -Zechariah 4:7

I love going on mission trips. It challenges you, it grows you, and opens your eyes to see how powerful and on the move God is. This was my first mission trip with New Philadelphia Church, and I had a feeling that this trip was going to be very unique and special. I thought I knew what to expect from this trip, but from the moment I stepped foot in Phnom Penh, God blew my expectations away and began painting a new, breathtaking picture. Looking back, there was one main theme that God highlighted to me every day: No matter the circumstances, or how things might look in the natural, the most important thing is to be yourself and to abide in the love of God.

Our team’s first night in Cambodia, my team leader and preacher approached me and asked me to lead some time the children’s ministry time. I was assigned to be the team “Skit Director,” but I had no idea that I would be leading a portion of the children’s ministry. Now, I’m the type of person that likes to prepare in advance for everything. I love being ready, knowing what I’m going to do, and how I’m going to do it. So my first thoughts were, “God, I didn’t prepare at all for this. I’m not ready. How am I going to engage them without knowing what to expect?” But just as all these thoughts flooded my mind, I heard Holy Spirit saying, “Tinè, don’t worry. Watch and see how I use you,” and I was filled with immense peace. God placed a situation in front of me where I had to trust in His power and His grace. I always heard that we need to trust and rely on God to roll with the punches, but this time I actually had to do it.

Every day as we approached churches filled with children and orphans, God would connect me and my team to the children in supernatural ways. There was not a lot of time to prepare before the services, and we didn’t know these children beforehand. But we could feel Holy Spirit connecting us, and as we engaged more with the children, we were releasing His heart. There wasn’t a day that I felt unsatisfied or felt like I could’ve done more for these kids. God was taking us in deep, sweet intimacy with these children. There were no awkward moments or times of feeling disconnected. At the end of each day I stood in awe of how Holy Spirit was moving through me and connecting me with these children. I never knew I had this much energy, joy, or new ministry ideas in me. It was supernatural. It was truly not by might nor by power, but by His spirit.

Each day, I took a moment in the morning before we arrived at the orphanage or church and simply asked God to highlight a child to me that He wanted me to invest in and give most of my attention to. As I saw all these beautiful faces in front of me, I could clearly see the ones God was highlighting to me. At first I thought I might have heard wrong because as I would approach these specific children, and all of them would run away from me, reject me, or just show no emotion whatsoever. But God would still keep on highlighting specific children to me. There was one little boy that I approached, and he would literally punch me in the stomach constantly. But, God kept saying, “Love him, love him. Don’t get offended.” So, I found a way to take hold of his arms as he was punching me in the stomach, and got him to jump up and down with me. After a while, I let go of his arms, and he surprised me by grapping a hold of my hands and started to play with me. By the end, he was clinging on me and wouldn’t let go. In that moment, I could feel God’s love for all His sons and daughters in Cambodia. I got the revelation that no matter how much they “punch Him in the stomach” and reject Him, He will never give up on them. He will come after His children, and He will pour out His heart on them. There is so much more that God wants to pour out on Cambodia, but this was just a small glimpse of His heart.

On the first day of the New Year, our team went to New Hope Orphanage, which is one of the most beautiful orphanages I have ever visited. As I walked through the gates of the orphanage, I was amazed by the thick presence of God’s peace and grace. I saw a group of kids storming toward us with open arms and embracing us like family. These children didn’t act like orphans. They are so open to receive love, but even more to give love. God is on the move and he is not just healing, but bringing freedom and establishing His orphans in homes. He is raising up mighty, powerful warriors that will impact His kingdom and establish more orphans in freedom. Our God is the true living God and after experiencing a greater level of the Father’s Heart toward Cambodia, I can’t help but be filled with hope and faith for the future of this nation.

God gave me the promise of Zechariah 4:7 “Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit.” God is faithful and He always keep His promises. And indeed His spirit worked in the hearts of all that we ministered to in Cambodia. God is a father to the fatherless, He settles the lonely in homes, He is their protector, and He leads all of them to prosper. God is calling us to partner with Him, and not be shaken by what we see in the natural. Rather He is calling us to depend on His Grace and stand on His promises. For it is by His spirit that He will lead us to establish His kingdom. May this be the case all across Cambodia, and across the nations!