2015 General Santos – Andres Park

Encourage One Another

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Going on missions to General Santos was not what I had expected. This was my first chance to go abroad and visit local churches in a country that was completely new to me. While preparing for the trip, I was struggling to understand God’s heart for General Santos, and I especially struggled to understand what exactly it was that God wanted us to achieve in the mission field. After coming back to Korea and having time to process, I now understand a bit more of God’s heart for the mission field. God wants to use His people to encourage one another and build each other up, using every resource that has been provided by Him, and with faith that He will move supernaturally through every situation. This was what was revealed to me during one particular visit to a small village.

On the 4th day of missions, our team visited a village called Riverside with many children and adults. Just as we arrived, it started raining. Our team preacher, Pastor Marcus, told us to start praying for the rain to stop, but even as we were praying, the rain started to come down stronger. After about 5 minutes of striving in the place of prayer, we were dismayed to see that the rain had not stopped, and that it was in fact getting worse. I remember looking out to the crowd and feeling sorry for not being able to share a time of worship and fellowship together. They had set up a stage in the middle of an old basketball court and there were about 30 children protecting themselves from the rain under it. Then, one of our team members, Eunbi, suggested that the kids should pray. And Pastor Clar, a native pastor, began to say a simple prayer and asked all the kids put their hands together and pray with him. Even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, it seemed to be a simple prayer that went along the lines of “Dear Father, please stop the rain. Thank you.” As soon as they finished the prayer, the rain completely stopped and we were able to continue on with the service. To say that I was amazed would be an understatement. Even though I’ve been a believer for 3 years now, I looked up to the sky, thinking “God, you really are there!”

For me, this was God’s way of showing the greatness of His heart for the church and especially for the children. It also gave us the assurance that we were there simply to point to Jesus; it was not about us being superstar missionaries. Our team had travelled from Korea to empower the leaders. And in the midst of the children’s prayer I understood that our mission to empower the local leaders also included raising up the new generation of leaders. Personally, it gave me a stronger understanding of how to minister to others. I always thought that if I was only capable enough, I would be able to bless others. However, this event completely shifted my thinking into realizing that instead of me being capable, it is about showing others how to connect and relate to God.

Throughout this missions trip, we prayed with faith and hope for healing and for strength. We worshipped God with all our hearts, we shared our testimonies without fear in front of people we had just met, and we even prophesied and encouraged one another. And as the week progressed, I understood that the main purpose of our trip was not to heal all the sick people in the villages, but to encourage the local leaders and members to rise up in authority and pray for each other. The native congregation was not blessed by how accurate and coordinated our dance moves were, or by how anointed our worship leader was. I believe that what they saw were 12 young members of a Korean church who would step out boldly in faith to pray for healing, to share without restraint how God had moved in their lives, and also to encourage one another. As we moved from the local churches to the villages, even though there were sick people, I did not see lack in the local members. I could only see the hope that God had in store for a fiery nation that worships God with all their hearts, the glory that God had in store for youth that would even leave their families to serve Him wherever He called, and the joy that was released throughout this process.

Even now, I feel so much respect for the local pastors and leaders. I want to ask you to partner with me to pray for faith to build up in the churches in General Santos. I ask for faith to build up so that members might seek Him and ask Him to be their provider, their healer, and their shepherd in all situations. Pray for the congregation to be protected against any attacks of the enemy that might discourage them or make then feel that their prayers are not being heard. Pray against any attacks specifically of futility that might come against any leader. Finally, I would like to ask that all of the seeds that were planted throughout this missions trip might bear good fruit, and that the local congregation will step out with faith and boldness to encourage and pray for one another.

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