2015 Jakarta – Jasmin Agese

Comforted, Confronted, Inspired, Humbled and Honoured

A little confession. When I was placed on the Jakarta team I was a little disappointed. I really wanted to be on a trip with a focus on children’s ministry. This was because this was my first missions trip, and everything else felt so much more than out of my depth. But as I started training and praying for Jakarta, I started looking forward to the trip on which God very intentionally placed me. So I followed the training process wholeheartedly.

But before I go on, I would like to share a bit of context so you can more fully understand the deep work that the Lord did in my heart through this trip. During the missions preparation process, there were many times when I would struggle. My grandma had passed away in December, and I was sad in a way I couldn’t express. You see, my grandma had courageously fought a stroke for more than 14 years. She was an inspiration to many because her attitude towards the cards she was dealt. My grandma never once gave up on believing for her healing. She also never complained, and was thankful to God for all that she had. She was the kind of person who always found the light in any dark place. She was able to unveil the darkness of any situation, and it was all done with such humility that you couldn’t help but listen and love her. So when she passed away, I was happy for her to be with Jesus, but sad that it would take some time to see her again. I was thankful for the legacy that she left behind, and guilty that I didn’t adequately mourn her passing.

So when my grandma was scheduled to be buried on the 22nd (4 days before the Jakarta departure date), my mum offered to buy my ticket home for the week. I said no because going and coming back would compromise my ability to be fully present in the mission field. Therefore I told my mum that I thought grandma would prefer me to be on my mission for the Kingdom than at her funeral. And once in the field, God in His grace allowed me meet Pastor Tarigan, who flew in from Medan to translate for us. He joined us with his wife, and when I met Mama Tarigan it felt like I had met my grandma. Mama Tarigan was so gentle and humble like my grandma, and their aura was so similar. It wasn’t until the end of the trip that I realised that God had planned for me to meet this couple so I could say goodbye to my grandma in a healthy way. For the first I was moved to tears thinking of my grandma.

I was really grateful for this breakthrough because it actually leads to my second testimony. Up to this point, even if I was moved to tears, I still refused to cry. When other emotions I was processing at the time started to really rock me, I still refused to accommodate this level of vulnerability. You see for about 3 to 4 years now I have been praying for God to restore my ability to feel more deeply again, especially matters of His heart. I prayed that my heart would break for what broke His, and that I could be excited for what was exciting to Him.

If you know me, the first thing you may notice about me is that I am a vessel that carries a lot of joy. At New Philly some may refer to me as “Joy Bomb” and outside New Philly I am “Happy Virus.” So I didn’t really have trouble getting excited about things. But it was the “negative emotions,” I didn’t really know how to process in my heart. Whenever I was forced to encounter negative emotions, they would just go through my head and be resolved there. But one day an unbelieving friend pointed out that the reason love was so powerful was because it is the only emotion that encapsulate all emotions but geared towards one thing sometimes together and other times separately so if you cannot be jealous then you haven’t loved, if you cannot be joyful you haven’t loved, if you cannot be happy you haven’t loved and if you cannot be frustrated you also haven’t loved. This became so much clearer after observing the relationship Love itself had with its object of affection throughout history. First the Jews then the gentiles.

So back to mission. Since I was unable to process the turmoil in my heart I did choose to do the best thing at the time and spoke to my leader which really helped me to settle the issue at hand but on getting back and reflecting God confronted me. He said Jasmin are you really ready to get your emotions back? And I was like yea of course and suddenly a flash back of how I processed my emotions in Jakarta was before my eyes. And then I said, well God that didn’t have anything to do with your Kingdom and I don’t want to be weak. And there began the dialogue. Long story short, God said I am part of his Kingdom and if I didn’t allow my own experience to stimulate healthy responses then I will be unable to be moved by the things that break his heart for as his heart was breaking for me and I couldn’t allow myself to see it not to talk about process it. The next was that tears were not weaknesses but an outlet to help you process things better. Sometimes to the point that your heart can express what your mind cannot convey. Then God showed me where these lies had stemmed from. As the tomboy of my house and my Mother’s oldest child, I felt I needed to be more masculine than feminine and this translated to me not wanting to cry for it meant you are too soft. In Nigeria you are thought as a young child and men don’t cry. Couple with the dealing mechanism I created at 11 to never show my emotion unless they are ‘positive’. I always blamed the latter for this state but during this trip God unveiled another layer after I was confronted.

Now the nation of Indonesia really inspired me too. Although, I was aware that this country was similar in weather to Nigeria my beloved country, I was still so taken aback to find out just how similar they were. I was inspired at every turn at how much variety they had created with their diverse gifts. I was motivated and rejuvenated to see what I had dreamt of for my country and while all this excitement was going on we were called to minister at a mental institute. You see many others who were on this trip will also testify of God’s Love, Presence, Favour, Protection, Grace, Provision and Joy that filled this place up and I will agree and say there was more. But for me it reminded me of what I had envisioned as a child when I witness social injustice to the disabled both physical and mental in Nigeria and the possibilities that could open for them should a person truly submit to the Lordship of Jesus and answer their call when God prompts them. I was really moved in this place and in Awe of just how God choose to open my eyes whilst on missions.

Another thing that shook me in this trip was the honour aspect of the trip. I have admitted several times how awesomely awesome my trip to Indonesia was but I also have to admit how ignorant I was about Indonesia. You see I thought we would be going to a poor and broken people (not the nation) to lift them up and charge them with kingdom culture and to students who needed to be stirred up for Jesus and Pastors whose feet we could wash so they will know that they were honoured by God for He had sent us to them. So you can imagine how much my perspective had to change when we arrived and we were learning the Kingdom culture of honour and hospitality from them, when I was lifted up to new levels of Joy and purpose and when they washed our feet with so much love and honour that by day 4 phrases like ‘Indonesia has blessed us more than we can ever hope to bless Indonesia’ became cliché but Pastor John kept repeating this phrase because it was so true and so humbling. I can truly say I lived out this scripture (Romans 12:9-13). It was then I asked God why on earth He will send me to such a wonderful missions. Knowing even if we emptied ourselves we still would have lost in the honour competition. And then God lead me to my final confrontation and realization. I am a vessel in His Household to be used at the appointed time (now) and that I wasn’t emptying myself but that the master was using me, for of my own I can’t empty myself even if I tried for I am the vessel not the User. Then He went on to ask “so Jasmin after this trip what kind of vessel would you like to be?” Then I said “a vessel of Honour of course!!!” Then He said “what is a vessel of Honour to you” To which I answered “I think they are the special glasses or china ware that you only keep for special occasion, like Christmas or a house event.” Then God asked me about my Mum’s tea cup that I bought for her on one mother’s day. He said between this cup and a fancy china she keeps away which would she rather not lose. I said the tea cup because of how much my mum uses it and protects it from everyone including me. Nevermind that she has forgotten I bought it for her. Well He said that is a vessel of Honour, a vessel that you are unwilling to do without, a vessel that is constantly used by him and daily being refreshed and washed and reused over and over again. In this way missions is like the Christmas Event at home. It is special and public it is wonderful and leaves you with warm fuzzy feelings but how much more precious it would be if you were this zealous every day and not just on the missions field. If you were so comfortable with being used every day and that you were with me always so close and familiar. Wouldn’t you want to be that type of vessel? And I was a little taken aback at the definition of Honour but it made all the sense on the world. 2 Timothy 2:20-21.

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