2015 West Papua – Anna Kim

Supernatural God

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work….Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12

I had the pleasure of joining New Philadelphia Church on their 2015 winter mission trip to West Papua, Indonesia. Because there was so much that happened and every moment was worthy of a testimony, it was difficult for me to pick just one to share about. After a few cycles of analyzing, re-analyzing, and over-analyzing of my time in West Papua, I realized that the one theme that kept resonating with me was how it truly had to be God working through our team. It is only through God that we were able to do what we did, and do what only He could do through us.

From the very beginning, there were many factors that could have played a part in hindering the team’s unity and ultimately, our ministry at West Papua. The team consisted of ten members. Three of us were not from New Philadelphia Church, and the remaining seven were from varying campuses. We were in different stages of our lives as our ages ranged from the teens to the thirties. We were culturally diverse as we represented six different countries. This was the first mission trip for many of the team members, and a missions homecoming for another. We had met some of our members for the first time three days prior to the mission trip, and another at the airport in Indonesia. Speaking of airports, apparently our team had the longest commute of this year’s winter mission trips; after two days of traveling and three flights, we’d be starting our ministry a few hours upon landing in West Papua. So, a group of ten, with differing backgrounds, in varying stages of life, and lacking adequate sleep? There was no physical way we could have done anything in unison as a team. It was clearly through the grace of God, and His Spirit working in and through us, that we were able to even begin our ministry as a team.

At the airport, we were greeted by New Philly’s main contact, Pastor Tandi, and some of his staff members from Love Papua Center (LPC), a prayer and evangelism training ground for local pastors and leaders. LPC was closing up the first portion of their leadership training course and our team would be leading the remaining sessions for their second portion. Though we were ministering to pastors, we began with basic teachings on sonship, where we established each participant in his or her identity as a son or daughter of God. This teaching was foundational and our team built upon it with teachings on forgiveness, faith and prayer, spiritual warfare, spiritual gifts, and the Holy Spirit. Because the first portion of the trip required our team lead three to six events daily, we didn’t have a lot of time to collaborate beforehand. There wasn’t sufficient time to pause throughout the day to check in together as a team. So we went from event to event, trusting that God would be leading every member separately in his or her various roles, so that corporately as a team, we would all play a part in contributing to what God wanted to do through us.

By the end of the LPC training course, it was time for Communion and Celebration. Pastor Tandi had previously expressed to our team that in the past, due to feelings of immense guilt and shame, there would only be two or three training attendees that would participate in Communion. Furthermore, though the training commencement was meant to be a time of great celebration, it would usually end somberly, as the pastors would leave feeling unworthy. This year, however, it was vastly different. Every LPC training attendee participated in Communion, and the commencement ended with great celebration. This was a testament to God moving through our team in West Papua.

Of course, there were questions in my mind: Was it really our team that impacted and changed the way the LPC training courses went? Perhaps this group was not like those of the past, and God would have been working in their lives regardless of whether our team had ministered to them. While this group was extremely special, and yes, God was already doing something great in them, it wasn’t until our team went up to the prayer mountain that I realized what God had really done through our team.

During this year’s training at LPC, there was a man named Paulos, who was a former witch doctor. He was the most powerful witch doctor in his village, and when Christianity was first introduced in his village, he felt a conflicting authority in him. He knew that he would not be able to conquer it, and for the first time in his life, he thought he was going to die. He recognized that God was much more powerful than the spirit in him, and he converted to Christianity. He was extremely wealthy and had many wives at the time, but he decided to live for Christ. He is now committed to one wife, and had dedicated his mountain to the church. This mountain, though once cursed, is now a prayer mountain, in which many of his village people can worship Christ. It was on this same prayer mountain that God revealed to me how the LPC attendees really were transformed through God using our team.

As our team arrived at the prayer mountain, we were welcomed with singing and dancing. As we got out of the bus, the women graced with us gifts, showering us with flowers and love. They immediately linked arms with us to include us in their joyful celebration. The remaining village people and children were also chanting along in their songs, jumping in excitement. I also joined in their jumping, pausing every now and then to catch my breath. There was one instance that I looked over to the woman next to me, and she was giving me a certain look. It’s the look that mothers give their children when they do something wrong. The woman next to me gave me that look and then pointed her eyes downward. I followed her gaze to see that I had been standing on her foot the whole time. I gasped loudly and smiled apologetically. It was no wonder why the ground felt so crooked! I kept my eyes down to make sure I wasn’t landing on her feet anymore, and in some time, I noticed that everyone was barefoot, landing on sharp rocks, weeds, and thorns. When I looked back up, I was surprised to see some of the LPC training attendees rushing over to us in their tribal wear. They weren’t in their usual button-up shirts and slacks. Rather, they had headdresses, were bare-chested with body-paint, and armed with weapons. I looked over to Pastor Tandi, who was equally surprised, and perhaps a bit shocked. I realized that though he made the visit up to the prayer mountain often to minister to these same people, this was the first time he encountered the tribes perform this type of celebration. This was their native environment, and they were opening their homes and hearts to us. They were inviting us to see them for who they really were, in the most honest and open way possible, and this could not have been experienced, if God hadn’t worked through our team with that same transparency.

I’m still in awe of what God had done through our team. All of the great things that happened in West Papua during our time there could have been attributed to the team having worked together for a long time, or from coming in with the same background, or having the same heart and knowledge of West Papua- but this wasn’t the case. The way our team operated could not be accredited to any human factor. There were too many things that could have distracted us if God wasn’t moving in us and through us. In knowing all of our “disadvantages” and in factoring all of our differences, I can’t help but conclude that our team was truly a demonstration of God’s Spirit working through us.

My prayer for West Papua is that God would continue working in supernatural ways- in ways that people confess can only be done through God Himself. As was the case for Paulos, who was confronted by God’s power and could not deny God’s authority and supremacy over all. And as was the case myself, not being able to deny God’s anointing in and over our team. Thus my prayer for West Papua is that God will continue to work in this region in ways that only He can. I pray that God’s Spirit will transform West Papua, and that the West Papuans will boldly testify of God’s works not only to those in their region, but eventually, to the ends of the earth.

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