2015 General Santos – InAi Kang

Perfect Timing

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I spent my last week of January in General Santos, Philippines, visiting local churches, remote tribes, and big time corporations. We went as a team to minister to the people of GenSan, but in the end I personally returned with my cup overflowing and without-a-doubt proof that God’s planning and timing on all things are perfect.

It started off at the beginning of our first day visiting villages. The fact that I might be preaching my first sermon that day was hanging over my head just like the rain clouds were; just kind of hanging around and waiting. The original plans we had for the first village changed, and now there was an extra sermon prepared for that day. Maybe I wouldn’t have a chance to preach. I wasn’t afraid at the prospect of preaching, but at the same time I wasn’t heartbroken at the thought of not getting to preach either. I knew my time would come.

We were descending a small mountain after ministering at our second village that day and our team preacher, Pastor Marcus, asked me to give him a rundown of the points in my sermon. He said, “Okay,” and I said, “Okay.” Done deal. I would be preaching at the third and final village of that day, Riverside Village.

On our way to Riverside, the rain clouds that were hanging around all day decided to open up, and by the time we arrived at Riverside, there was a steady rain. We drove up next to the basketball court where the local church had set up a small stage and chairs. The chairs were nearly empty, and those who had come were huddled under umbrellas. But under the stage was a large group of little children watching with curiosity as we prayed and warred against the rain. The rain continued to fall, so at the suggestion of one of our team members, Eunbi, Pastor Clar (our translator for the trip) had the children come together and repeat a prayer asking God to stop the rain. Through the chorus of their innocent voices, the rain began to change to a sprinkle, and by the time their chorus of “Amen” was sung out, the rain had completely stopped! Through this small act of faith that resulted in an undeniable miracle, God was ushering in the unbelievers and Muslims of the community by peaking their curiosity.

As we went through VBS, praise, and worship I felt like I was floating through everything. The crowd had begun at maybe twenty, but hearing the prayer of the children, the rain stopping miraculously, and the joy from VBS and prayer brought the crowd to ninety plus. Even then, I felt no fear, no nerves, and I guess you could say that I was at peace with what God had put on my heart to share. So, finally it was my turn.

My sermon was about how our God is Abba Father and how He will always be our daddy no matter our age or where we are in life. I was going through all my points and making eye contact with the villagers who were listening intently, and then my gaze stopped at a man sitting with four other men. They had been sitting away from the crowd and their body language said, “Ok, show me what you got.” But I smiled at the man, and he smiled back at me with one of the most genuine smiles I had ever received. If you know me, you know that I smile a lot and at pretty much anyone. And if you have ever been to the Philippines you know that the people there are very friendly. But the smile I released was from something that was surging through my body, and I felt so much joy that that man was there. And in any normal social situation it would have been an incredibly awkward, the amount of time that we were smiling at each other.

My sermon ended, and I wasn’t sure if my words had any kind of effect or even meant anything to those who had come. Once again I just started floating through our time of prayer for healing and then floating through the altar call for salvation. It was at that point in time that Pastor Ching, our local ministry contact and a powerfully anointed man of God, rose to say that God had given him a word to share.

The testimony had been about the Father’s love, my sermon had been about God as Abba, and Pastor Ching stood and challenged the fathers of the village to commit their lives to Christ because no amulet or talisman would be able to protect their families from the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (he was referring to John 10:10 which was the verse that I chose as my theme for this mission trip; God is funny). About thirteen fathers came forward, but again I was just floating through it all.

After we had wrapped up and were enjoying yet another amazing array of snacks prepared for us, Pastor Marcus pulled me aside and asked me if I had seen the man with the shirt that had “Abba” written across it. What? No! I was looking at faces, not at clothes! He continued on and said that the man with the Abba shirt had been one of the fathers to come forward to receive Christ. Not only was he wearing an Abba shirt on the day that I preached on God as Abba Father, he had also come up to the altar for salvation, and it turns out he was a Muslim that Pastor Ching had been praying for. Wow!!! As I racked my brain to try and remember where this man with the Abba shirt was, it finally clicked! He was the man I had smiled at and made eye contact with for longer than what social norms dictate!!

God’s timing is perfect. I wish there was some kind of better way, perhaps a gesture or a color, to try and explain how amazing and how big God is. Every minute detail of that day was according to His timing- how the rain fell, how he had the children already gathered, how He held off the rain, how the Muslim gentleman was present and wearing a shirt that said Abba on the day I would preach on Abba Father, and how the verse I chose months ago would also be placed upon Pastor Ching’s heart.

Later on, we would hear back from the local pastor at Riverside that many knew they had seen the hand of God when they saw the rain stop and also after witnessing the salvations and the conviction of the fathers who answered Pastor Ching’s challenge. God is moving powerfully through General Santos, and I know that by the time I get another chance to go there, it will be completely changed.
Pray for GenSan and for continued growth and fruitfulness of the village ministries. While “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” we know that God the Father, Abba Father “came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Thank you!

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