2015 Jakarta – Minho Baek

Still a Boy

With butterflies in my stomach, at the airport: 1 coffee, 2 hours wait, 3 months of preparation, 7 hour flight to Jakarta. This is how missions 2015 started. I decided to title this testimony as “Still Just a Boy.”

Our team was made up of ten members, including Lydia and myself from ECF. Ten people from various walks and seasons of life coming together to bless Jakarta- a part of me felt like we were the Avengers, or something of the kind. Our team name was Cha-Yiel, which means valor, bravery, and wealth. I still remember the first day of ministry, walking into IKAT Bible College just ready to be God’s warrior. However, little did I realize how much I would be humbled through and through.

Over the course of one week, we visited 2 high schools, 1 primary school/kindergarten, around 5 churches, a rehabilitation center for the mentally disabled people, and we spent a lot of time at IKAT Bible College. Only as the trip progressed, did I realise why we spent so much time at IKAT. It is because these students are the future leaders of the Christian communities, and many of the leaders of the local schools and churches we visited were alumni of IKAT. God’s plan was indeed strategic and squeezed every bit of efficiency from us. Sure we were physically tired, but we were spiritually eager.

So back to being humbled. This trip really exposed to me what Christianity looks like in a Muslim nation. How humble these believers are to the Lord, and how their faith and how their heart burns for the kingdom! As we visited church after church and school after school, it was evident that the teachers and staff and leaders all had such a passion for the next generation. It only takes a short conversation to realize how much these believers have to endure, but also to hear how expectant they are for the future of Christianity in Indonesia. As our team visited, these believers were so eager to make time for us in their busy schedules and curricula. It was such a contrast to the western world today. While we sometimes panic and are discouraged at the decline of Christianity, it was so encouraging that in Indonesia there is an explosive surge of God’s army being raised up. As we visited the churches, we always ended our services by honouring the generations before us, and empowering the generation that will rise up after us in Indonesia. Needless to say, these were powerful moments; moments I think we don’t have enough of back in Australia. For our faith to persevere, we need to have more hope and passion for generations to come.

One of the divine relationships I will never forget is with our “translator” Pastor Tarigan and his wife, Mama Tarigan. They came from Medan (another island of Indonesia), just to translate for us. I say divine because the members of ECF were originally assigned to Team Medan. Thus meeting the couple who would have hosted us in Medan, but in Jakarta, was truly God’s work. They were such an inspiration to our team. When Pastor Tarigan translated there was such passion, belief, and heart. It was like he was preaching spirit for spirit, not word by word. Someone with over 40 years of ministry serving us as a translator was a humbling experience to say the least. The more we spent time with Pastor and Mama Tarigan, the more I began to realise how much of a bubble I was living in. Their experience in ministry was beyond what I would consider “suffering” and “living in fear.” Beginning with threats on their lives, to having to bury martyred friends, to escaping towns and cities, I was immensely honoured and humbled that here we were ministering together. I heard on the radio the other day that courage isn’t an absence of fear, but the ability to acknowledge the fear and overcome it by acting accordingly with God, as pure absence of fear can be simply defined as stupidity. From this trip I can confidently say Pastor Tarigan and Mama Tarigan were and will be two of the most courageous people I know.

In 2013 when I went to Borneo, Malaysia for missions, everything happened too quickly for me to fully comprehend what had happened. Prior to this missions season, I wasn’t in the greatest spiritual state. I wrestled with God even to decide to send in an application. But as we prepared, I saw my spiritual and prayer life strengthen, as well as my heart. Still, until the moment I met my team in person, I had the biggest case of butterflies. When I look back, it may have been just that my soul was waiting for a crazy jump start. God placing me on this team was so divine. Opening my eyes to the passion of the next generation and ministering together with Papa and Mama Tarigan are just the beginning of what God did in me. I now see how I had been walking my Christian life, and the greater level of boldness and maturity that the Lord is calling me to now after the trip. I now see the devotion and sacrifice with which people follow Christ in the mission field, and I realize that I have a ways to go. I still feel like a boy yet to learn the ropes. Yet I have full faith that the Lord is leading me step by step to get to where I need to be.

There are so many Bible verses with which I could finish this testimony, but I chose a verse from the passage that our team shared together on field. “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:9). I give all honour to You and all glory to You for everything.

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