2015 Borneo – Emilie Boivin

Partnering with God to Write His Story

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Col. 1:27 (ESV)

Family, Relationships and Kingdom Connections

This is my personal testimony of my experience of being sent out, along with my seven other team members, on a missions trip to Borneo, Malaysia. Our main purpose was to take part in Pastor John’s ministry by building relationships with the longhouse community, praying for the sick, and holding revival services. Pastor John was our local ministry contact through Native Partners for World Mission (NPWM).

As with most of my peers, the preparation for mission season was proving to be more challenging than I had expected. The amount of work involved surprised me. But mainly missions prep called for a major shift of the false mindsets and misconceptions I had held on to, especially when it came to fundraising. Also, it was hard for me to pinpoint exactly what we were sent to do. Moreover, it was even harder for me to grasp that we, or rather, I, was truly being sent by God. I had a lot of disbelief as well, particularly in the areas of praying for the sick and ministering during altar calls. To put it simply, I felt very inadequate.

Kingdom Connections & the Hope of Glory

Our first two days in the field were fairly uneventful. Flying to Borneo took a long time, but we made it safely to our destination. The second day, we had lunch with Pastor John and Pastor Peter at a local restaurant. The food was really tasty. There was a lot of joy. Pastor John loves taking pictures. His heart for people is palpable.

After lunch, we went to visit a Bible college directed by Pastor Peter, the brother of Pastor John. There, we met with Pastor Morris. We had an interesting conversation about some of the problems the college has to face because of the government’s pro-Muslim agenda. We also talked about their continuous need for funding, workers, and teachers. We prayed for Pastor Morris and his staff and then it was time to be on our way to our first longhouse.

Little did we know that we were in for a big surprise. The indigenous people of Borneo live in groups of around 10 families in one longhouse, which has several homes lined up next to each other, sharing one common roofed porch. The house was absolutely gorgeous! I was expecting a house marked by poverty, not this lavish spacious longhouse. I think it’s fair to say that we were all stunned.

On this trip, I was particularly blessed by the connections we made with the people. Everywhere we went we were received like royalty. I rarely felt this honored in my life. I felt so blessed, so privileged to have been there, sharing their lives. I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving. I couldn’t believe God had purposed for me to experience something like this. I felt privileged just to be there.

One afternoon, our team was invited to Hendry and Helia’s residence to pray for their family. Helia is a vibrant young woman who served as our team preacher’s translator for one evening and Hendry is her equally bright younger brother. A couple years ago, Hendry met with Jason Bongiovanni, a young man from our church who was part of a previous mission trip. He connected strongly with Jason. Looking how events were unfolding up to that point, I don’t believe it to be a coincidence that Hendry was placed on our path again. As we prayed and prophesied over the whole family, it became clear to me that God had big plans to use them for His glory, especially the children. It was as if we were witnessing a part of history being written by God, right before our very eyes. God showed us a glimpse of what He was about to do in Malaysia. Something mighty, what “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Co 2:9, ESV). I believe God is about to expand His Kingdom and take over the land, one family at the time. He is mighty to save. Things are set to happen because of Christ in them,” the hope of Glory”(Colossians 1:27).

Overcoming Disbelief

At some point, I came upon my first hurdle: praying for people. I felt incompetent and dull. My mind was blank, with the exception of doubt; doubt and crippling insecurities. It’s as if these lies were tattooed to my brain. Try as I might, I was not able to overcome them. Well, certainly not that night, and certainly not for while either. I couldn’t shake the feeling that my prayers were weak and ineffective. I felt like I was letting everyone down: the person I was praying for, my team, and God.

It wasn’t until our fourth or fifth night that I experienced my first breakthrough. During a team debrief, Todd, our team preacher was exhorting us to not be deceived by what we saw, as God was “watching over His word to perform it”(Jeremiah 1:12 ESV). Right then and there, faith rose up in my soul. It was a turning point. From then on, I was getting bolder and bolder in my prayers. I was able to declare things according to what I believed Holy Spirit was inspiring me to declare. I wasn’t so conscious of forming the perfect prayer. I was now convicted that as I declared in accordance with God’s word, God, who is was faithful to His word, would be watching over it to perform it. There was no longer anything to fear, praise God!

From Glory to Glory

Overall, I can say that this trip was marked by relationships, deep key connections breakthroughs. In retrospect, I felt extremely privileged to have taken part in this trip. Sharing the lives of the people of Borneo, even for a brief moment, was such a great honor. Much was exchanged between our two cultures. I am coming back different, more confident than before. My mindset is forever changed, and it’s the most powerful thing. The fullness of what I received in the field has yet to unfold, but I know I am not the same.

At the beginning of our trip, during one of our team meetings, our team preacher asked us to close our eyes, silence our mind, pray, and listen or look for the first words and/or images that came to our mind. The two words came to my mind were “partnering” and “love.” Through the course of the week, with every person we came in contact with, every family we prayed for, these words were fleshed out by the special connections I felt towards my new family in Borneo. It brought me so much joy! When we visited each family, I felt particularly emphatic to what was close to their heart as they were sharing their prayer requests. Some of the legacies I received from this trip are a greater appreciation for family and relationships in general, a new boldness and confidence in my prayer life, and an increased hunger to partner with God to expand His Kingdom (Jer.1:9-10, ESV).

The Longhouse community members hold now a special place in my heart. I invite you to partner with me once more, by keeping this community, the NPWM pastors, and their ministries, in your prayers for the following:

  • For the new believers to continue growing in their intimacy with the Lord
  • That they would trust the Lord as their only advocate, as some members have to ward off land disputes and other issues with the Government of Malaysia
  • For the NPWM pastors to experience increase, favor, and blessings over their health, their families, finances, and ministries. Pray for them to constantly be refreshed in their spirit, soul and body, so they operate from a place of peace and rest.
  • For the Christians gain favor and influence in every level of Government in order to aid the growth of God’s Kingdom.

Partnering with God to grow His Church in Borneo, Malaysia has been an amazing experience. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported the project whether financially, in prayers, or both. You have helped us to further expand God’s Kingdom and write a part of His story in Borneo. I am confident that the seeds we planted will come to fruition, all for His glory.

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