2015 General Santos – Sarah Gouch

Becoming One of God’s Warriors

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

For the longest time, God was calling me to help spread His word. This year, I finally listened. Missions fell at a perfect time for me, and by the grace of God, my job granted me permission to go. I went into this trip knowing I loved God, and was thankful for all He did in my life. But I came out of this trip realizing that I was made for more. God chose me specifically to be an ambassador for Him. On this trip I fulfilled His calling. God was going to use me to touch the lives of others. You may ask, how did I get to this place? Well that can only be explained with one word: prayer. My local community prayed for me before I went into the mission field and as they did, I felt covered. But specifically I felt covered in God’s armor! I didn’t have any fears going on missions, and I was willing to fight any feeling of doubt or uncertainty. The Holy Spirit was in me, preparing my mind. As I got to the missions field, I carried this mindset. I told God that I didn’t expect anything in return, but His love. I was ready to battle for my Lord.

But although my mind was completely ready, things didn’t come as naturally as I was hoping. Day one was a day to jump right into spiritual action. After a long day of fellowship and powerful worship, Pastor Marcus called our team to the altar to pray the Fire of the Holy Spirit over the Faith Bible College members. It being my first time praying over someone at the altar, I felt a sense of insecurity. I wasn’t sure if I was ready. Honestly, some of these students were very educated! I wondered if they were more Bible educated than me. Then I realized none of that mattered. God sent me here for a reason. So I followed the direction of Pastor Marcus and prayed for people. It felt good knowing that I mattered. I was a part of the team, and I wasn’t on the sidelines. Even though I was slow at first, I was encouraged by seeing others. And then the falling happened! Left and right, students were being hit with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I felt a sense of joy. I knew I could trust what I had gotten myself into, and I felt so blessed to be a part of it. I still wasn’t sure whether my words were hitting people powerfully, but the next day made me think otherwise.

Day two was the day I realized that my words WERE powerful, and I began feeling a lot of love! At the end of the day we held a service at Christ Community Church located in San Isidro. The youth of multiple different churches attended. Towards the end of the service we were supposed to find a partner from another church to pray for. I found a woman and prayed a general blessing over her. While I was praying, she immediately began crying. When it was her time to pray for me, she hugged me with all her strength and melted into my shoulder. She said a prayer over me while hugging me. Her words poured out of her mouth, and into my soul. She said “Jesus thank you for the way you are using this woman!” It was the first time on the trip I physically felt loved. I felt love from her, but also from God. Later the women said goodbye to me and hugged me again for what seemed like 30 seconds. I expected a quick hug, but she wouldn’t let go. She wanted to thank me even more for the prayer I gave her. After I walked away from that church, I had a new sense of purpose. I knew at that moment that I wasn’t just on a trip to learn. I wasn’t just a cheerleader to root on my teammates. I was specifically chosen and put in a place where I would be a vessel to change lives. My voice and my words were encouraging because I was speaking what I felt God would want me to say. And at that moment, I truly felt like a warrior.

On one of the last days, our team traveled to Daliao Faith Gospel Church. It was located directly inside a small tribal village in Sarangani Province. The church was so small that our team took up almost half of the benches. I took a seat next to the wall. At first, I remember thinking to myself, “Oh man, this isn’t a good spot. How will I encourage people sitting by the wall?” Then a voice came into my head saying. “No, God may want you to be in this exact location.” After that, I looked around and saw a group of slightly naughty looking young boys standing right beside me looking over the short walls. As I reached out to give them high fives, every boy turned me down. I shook it off thinking maybe they were just shy or confused. As the service started, my teammate Sarah preached a word about dreaming big. I could feel eyes watching me as she spoke. I began nodding my head and showing interest in what Sarah was saying. As I looked over to my right, two glowing eyes stared back at me. It was one of the boys. I smiled at him as genuinely as I could. Still he looked back at me with no expression. About ten minutes later, I looked up at him again and smiled. His face didn’t move, but his eyes shined with curiosity. I knew he wasn’t naughty at all. He was desiring to feel God’s love.

After the message, Pastor Marcus called for people who wanted healing to raise their hands. Immediately the boy next to me raised his hand. As he did, some of his friends followed. I went the opposite way to pray for people, thinking I could get to them later. But later, I couldn’t find the boy. A sad feeling of regret came over me. Maybe I ruined the boy’s self esteem by not praying for him first? At the end of the service the members all sang to us and shook our hands. Then I walked back to the bench to pick up my bag. As I did, I noticed a young person sitting where I had been before. It was him! The young boy was sitting right by my bag. As I approached him, he leaned over and handed it to me. My heart melted! This young boy came without his friends to interact with me one more time. He didn’t say anything, but I was so honoured by his thoughtfulness. God’s compassion and kindness shined through him, and I was glad to take part in his growth. I told him “Jesus loves you very much” as I left him. Without a doubt, God was using my team and I to sow into future warriors. This boy was only one example.

I am truly thankful I had the opportunity to minister in General Santos. I cannot express how I felt at every moment, but I will say that the overall themes for the trip were joy and love. I felt joy after praying for individuals, and I felt Gods’ love by looking at the children’s smiles, and hearing the voices of the locals. Before the trip, I was preparing to be God’s warrior. Now I actually feel like one!

Coming back to Korea, I feel a new beginning- a new spiritual journey has begun for me. I will end with a quote I wrote down from Pastor Marcus from one of the days on the field: “In Christ, you can never fail. It’s time for you to take your place.” My testimony is not only for me. It’s for everyone. We all have a place in God’s kingdom. So together as brothers and sisters, I encourage you to find and embrace your place. We are all called to be God’s warriors in some way!

Ephesians 6:10-13 (ESV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

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