2015 Borneo – Todd Baty

Demonstrations of God’s Spirit and Power

In the summer of 2011, I went on my first missions trip with New Philadelphia Church to Borneo, Malaysia. Having recently experienced the power of God’s love in my own life for the first time, I had been very expectant to see God’s Spirit do miraculous things on the trip. And sure enough, He did. My team saw more than eighty people get healed through the laying on of hands, and we witnessed the fire of God fall mightily as well. By the end of the trip, I was at a loss for words (and if you know me, you know that’s rare!). Overwhelmed by all that He had done through our team, at the end of the trip, I asked the Lord to send me back to Borneo to preach at revival services in the future. I felt so honored to have witnessed what I did, but at the same time I was hungry for more. I knew God was doing something special in Malaysia and I wanted to be a part of it!

As the years went by, however, I slowly forgot about that prayer. I went on two other mission trips to Thailand and the Philippines, both of which were incredible in their own right. Then, in the fall of 2014, I got assigned to the Borneo missions team—this time as the team preacher. Immediately, I was reminded of that simple prayer I had made at the end of my last trip. I may have forgotten, but God had heard and seen the desire in my heart, and His faithfulness made it come to pass. I was going back to Malaysia, and this time to preach!

But I knew that this trip would be very different from my previous one. Before, I was a passionate but inexperienced rookie; I was just happy to be in the room when Holy Spirit ministered. This time I was being sent as the team preacher, responsible for ministering, shepherding, and leading the team spiritually. The task initially seemed overwhelming and my mind was flooded with a thousand different questions and fears: What if I pray for the sick but no one is healed? What if I preach but no one responds? What if I try to lead the team but no one is inspired? What if I ask Holy Spirit to come, but He doesn’t? What if, what if, what if?!

Then, one day as I was reading 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV), I felt the weight of the trip ease. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul writes,

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

I could definitely identify with Paul—I felt a lot of fear and trembling as I was preparing for the mission trip—but I was encouraged that “my speech and my message” were not the key to having effective ministry in Borneo. Demonstrations of God’s Spirit and power—two things I could not control or produce on my own—were to be the foundation of the team’s ministry on the trip. As much as I felt responsible as the team preacher, my yoke was easy and my burden was light (Matthew 12:30 ESV). I had to trust in God’s love: His love for me and His love for the people of Malaysia.

And of course, God is always faithful. He graciously watched over his word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12 ESV), and by His Spirit, the team ministered powerfully in Borneo. We witnessed countless healings and miracles in the name of Jesus, including blind eyes that saw, paralyzed limbs that moved, and shriveled hands that opened. We witnessed broken hearts healed, generational curses broken, and parents dedicate their families to serving the Lord alone. God is good, Amen?!

For me personally, the highlight of the trip came on the last day of ministry, a Sunday. Although we had already seen incredible demonstrations of God’s Spirit and power each and every day of the trip, I felt like this final day was “D-day.” The team would be ministering at a combined Sunday service of three different local congregations, and I knew it was going to be something special. Before leaving on the trip, I felt like the Lord had promised me in prayer a great outpouring of His Spirit, and I felt like this was the day He wanted to do that.

Expectant but also a little nervous, we arrived at the little church building and I immediately went out back to pray alone. As I often do, I began pacing back and forth, praying over the order of the service and asking the Holy Spirit to have His way during my sermon and altar call. But all of a sudden, I had an unexpected prayer partner. Lawrence, a little boy whom I had befriended earlier in the trip, began to follow behind me as I paced and prayed. At first, I wasn’t sure how long he would be interested in going back and forth over the small patch of concrete I was traversing monotonously, but to my surprise he stuck with me for a good stretch of time. Then, as I finished praying and turned to look at him, he took my hand and began leading me around the church building, smiling and giggling as I stooped to accommodate his short stature.

As I was led along by this small but precious child, my heart burst. I felt like I got a glimpse of what we do as ministers of God. Here I was, a grown man much stronger and bigger than this small child, but I willingly followed his lead out of love and trust. Our Father in heaven is not too proud that He won’t go where His children are going or do what His children want done. Once we have His heart, taking the time to walk in His shadow and learn His ways, He is happy to follow us around as we seek to do His will.

I’m not trying to create some new doctrine, or suggest that I or any other human could ever control or manipulate God. I’m just trying to put to words what I felt like I was learning in that moment—that our Father in Heaven is such a good daddy. Before the trip, I was afraid that God might not come if I called. I was afraid that there would be no power to my ministry, no punch to my words. But now I have more faith than ever in what Jesus said in Luke 11:13 (ESV), “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

During the service, I preached from Joshua 24:14-15, challenging the families of Borneo to choose whom they would serve: the occultic gods of their forefathers, or the Lord God in Heaven. At the end of the service, I invited everyone to come forward to receive the Holy Spirit, our Helper in living for the Lord, and more than seventy-five people responded! Then, I quoted Luke 11:13 and told everyone to ask the Father to give them the Holy Spirit. Before our team even began to pray for people, the fire of God fell and many began weeping and crying out to God. Our Counselor, Helper, and Friend came, just as Jesus had promised.

Like my first trip to Borneo, I left Malaysia in awe of our amazing God. I can’t wait to be sent back to continue the good work that the Lord has started in those people. But there is much that you and I can do right now through prayer. Would you take time briefly right now to partner with me in prayer? Here’s how we can pray for the people of Borneo:

  1. Families: Pray that the families of Borneo would choose to serve the Lord. The government in Kuala Lampur has declared that Malaysia is a Muslim country. Although the people of Borneo are mostly Christian, they are under increasing pressure to convert or disavow their faith. Pray that they may choose the Lord!
  2. Wisdom: Many of the families living in the long-houses are having their ancestral lands seized by large corporate farms. Essentially, these corporations are preying on the locals’ ignorance of the law and robbing them blind. Ask the Lord for wisdom for the long house leaders so that they might know what is best for their communities.
  3. Finances: Pastors John and Peter, the Native Partners for World Mission (NPWM) contacts we worked with on our trip, are trying to raise $500,000 to fund more than sixty Christian pre-schools in the area. Their goal is to reach a new generation for Christ at an early age.

I want to say a special thank you to everyone who helped make this trip to Borneo possible. Thank you to those who fasted and prayed for this trip. Thank you to those who gave financially. Thank you to those who encouraged me when I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Father, may each person receive in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over that which they have given. Amen!

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