2015 Manila – Judy Choi

A Culture of Honor

Although I have served as a leader in many capacities, I’ve never felt so much autonomy as a leader. From the beginning, our missions director Pastor Lisa spoke to me saying that she believed and trusted me to lead well. But I continued to ask, “How should I do this, what should I do about this?” so I could do exactly as told. But in the mission field it doesn’t work that way.

In Manila, I met Pastor Ezekiel, whom I’d worked with to plan our schedule and budget for the week. As we learned quickly to communicate with each other, I also began to show my heart, that our team was here to be an extension of the local ministry. While in Korea, Pastor Ezekiel assumed that the team wanted to eat out at food courts and fast food restaurants. But upon arrival, we decided to have our team eat at the local churches. We desired to spend time fellowshipping with the congregations and praying for the church leaders.

As each day progressed,Pastor Ezekiel saw the heart of our ministry. He soon realized we weren’t there to go on vacation, and neither were we there to just pass out candy and donations and leave. Our team was in Manila to walk out in the Isaiah 61 anointing. Most may know about verses 1-3, being about what the Lord has called us to do. But starting in verse 4 it speaks about the people: “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated…” We wanted to be a team that empowers and makes way for “them” to rebuild, restore, and renew the land of Manila. “And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God.” And this is exactly what we saw.

Each day our team sang the VBS, or children’s dance ministry songs. “There’s power, there’s power, there’s wonder-working power… in the blood of the lamb.” And on our 5th day, God hinted that He wanted to release physical healing. So as we set our program, even before the preaching of the Word, Pastor Susy felt that the time was right to ask God to heal. As we made the call, 10 stood up boldly, and we asked for each of them to come forward to receive prayer. The team then began to lay hands and pray.

After some time we asked if they felt any change, and if they could check for healing. And five people came up to testify on the mic! Two shared that there was a cooling in their bodies. A lady who had been hearing a ringing sound in her ears was healed. Two people who had back pain were set free! Some began to move their bodies to do something they could not do before. And one after another, the energy and joy in their voices released more and more faith for the living God that heals.

Later, during the sermon, one of the ladies who had taken off her wrist brace after being healed, brought up a friend to also receive healing. As the church prayed for her, we saw her dark countenance lift. The church leaders then continued to speak life over her. If we had not prayed for healing before the sermon, we may not have seen this lady at the end. And each day, as we met specific families, or ministered to individuals, we could not believe how specifically God was planning out our schedule.

All this time, Pastor Raffy,the head pastor of this local church, was not only translating, but also pouring out his heart to contend for this woman’s breakthrough. He was on his knees as he prayed with us, and then even got up to hug her. We came across pastors like this at each church, and made sure to bless them with our prayers each time. This particular time, God revealed to us in prayer that Pastor Raffy was a beautiful shining light, one who carried a golden trumpet and had great authority for evangelism. We prayed for resources to be made available to him, and for his ministry fruit to increase. God was really honoring Pastor Raffy before his church leaders, and speaking new life over the ministry that he had given his life for. Afterwards, Pastor Raffy shared that he had never received prayer like this before. He was so blessed, refreshed, and empowered. This sentiment was repeated by many of the native pastors we partnered with. And every time, I knew that God had sent our team to honor men and women who had given their lives, even in their youth, serve and build the church where others would not go.

God had sent us as His faithful priests to even the darkest, poorest slums of Manila to serve according to what was in His heart and on His mind. Although the biggest question in my heart was always, “Lord is this what you are asking of me to do?” in the mission field there was no time for me to hesitate. There were many times I had to make quick decisions, and communicate my decision effectively to the team. Each time we had an altar call, or had to decide what our program would be for that day, I had to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. And more than in any other leadership position, I have learned the joy, and fruit of quick obedience. The Lord activated my faith in seeing God move. And as our team stepped foot into the dwelling place of the Lord, we saw the Kingdom of God being established in His churches. As the team leader I saw the team moving quickly, with the footsteps of God, and being attentive to what the Holy Spirit was saying. I am forever grateful to have been taken on this journey to grow in my leadership, and also be a vessel of God’s powerful honor.

Leave a Reply