2015 Myanmar – Jungmin Cho

A Golden Myanmar

From January 30th to February 6th, New Philly sent me to the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Pyinoolwin in Myanmar. This was a trip that made me realize how much I am in love with Jesus. Even as a team, we could tangibly feel the Lord’s joy over us. But before I talk about what actually happened in Myanmar, I want to share what my expectations were for this trip.

My expectation actually was that I had no expectations. Our team was a part of the very last wave of this year’s mission trips, so we had been praying and fasting for a couple of months. During this time of preparation, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to see through my time in the field. But I couldn’t figure out what my expectations were. I was frustrated. When the team members were sharing their expectations, I had nothing of my own to share. I was seriously thinking about not going on missions this year, but my support raising was moving along quickly and I did not want to disappoint my supporters. Until the departure day, I had no expectations and I was a bit sad. But God is an incredible God. We had a long layover in Hong Kong and our team leader, Jane, asked us to have small group time. As a small group, we started to share about our expectations and I started to pray to God. “God, I am halfway there. If You don’t let me know why I am here, I will be so lost.” As I was honest with God, I felt like He was asking me a question. “Why are you so worried? You don’t have expectations because I gave you none. I will show you different things for each ministry, so just relax.” After hearing His voice, my immediate response was, “God, don’t you know that I am choleric? But ok, I trust you.” If God spoke to me like this last year, I would have been offended. But God really stretched my faith at the end of last year, so I just decided to give all control to Him.

Our first day of ministry was with Pastor Zam, our local contact through Native Partners for World Mission. Pastor Zam is a local missionary in Yangon, which is the capital city of Myanmar. I had the privilege of sharing my testimony on Sunday with Pastor Zam’s congregation. Normally, I get nervous about public speaking. But because I had an amazing testimony that could touch everyone’s heart, I was excited. I was fully engaged during the VBS children’s dance ministry time. Then it was my turn to share my testimony. But as I was walking towards the stage, the Holy Spirit moved on my heart to not share the testimony I had prepared, but to speak on a different subject. I thought, “No way, this cannot be God!” Within 30 seconds, I had to choose between sticking with the testimony I had prepared (about how God had healed me from depression) or change the testimony on the spot. But as I was thinking this, the Lord started to speak to me, “Jungmin, if you share what you have prepared, many people will be touched. But it will be a temporary emotion. However if you share your testimony about joy, people’s lives will be changed today.” So I decided to trust God, as from the first day I had made up my mind to let go of control and to instead move with the Holy Spirit. I am the first Christian in my family and I started to share about my salvation story instead of my original testimony. I shared about God’s faithfulness: four years ago, my mom started to go to church. Three years ago, my sister started to go to church. And one week before this mission trip, my grandmother received Christ as her Lord and Savior. As I was sharing this on the spot, I felt the joy of the Lord. And guess what? Right after my testimony, Pastor Myunghwa, our team preacher, preached about the joy of the Lord. We had not talked about what we were going to share that day. But we were truly following the heart of God.

My biggest personal breakthrough on this trip came in the city of Mandalay. Our team had to take a flight to get to the city, and we only had one night service there before taking a bus to Pyinoolwin. Pastor Piang, our local contact in Mandalay, has a beautiful church. The moment I walked into the building, I felt in my spirit, “today is the day.” As I was playing with the kids, I felt like God was asking me another question: “Jungmin, are you ready for today?” I replied, “Yes, I am so ready!” To which God said, “I will break your heart for what breaks my heart. But do not worry, as I am doing a new thing, and hope will rise today.” So I prepared my heart. Pastor Myunghwa preached about “Golden Myanmar.” She was speaking with boldness about idolatry in the cities of Myanmar. As I was listening, my heart just dropped. I felt a glimpse of the sadness in the Father’s heart, watching His people bowing down to Buddha. And I remembered that even a couple of years ago, my own family used to take part in ancestor worship. It was my mom and I who fought against it, and God won the victory for us. Now our family no longer does ancestor worship, but instead we have a memorial service to worship the Lord. My heart started to burn for the city and people of Mandalay, and I started to declare the Lord’s plan for the city. The fire of God fell that night. People were falling under the weight of God’s glory, left and right. God was there and He moved powerfully to mark His people with His burning heart for Myanmar. Hope was restored and people were set free. After the ministry time, I prayed to God, “Make today into a video, so when I go to Heaven I can watch the whole day with Jesus.” It was so beautiful.

Throughout the time, our team was ready to move with the Spirit. Our team was marked with God’s love and joy. My own personal theme verse for this year was Isaiah 43:18-19. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” I was so surprised that our team verse for this trip was also Isaiah 43:18-19. Yes, God is doing a new thing in Myanmar! Chains have been broken and freedom is coming to Myanmar through name of Jesus Christ. God never gives up His people, and Myanmar is His. We call this nation Golden Myanmar because God is the King of the land!

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