2015 West Papua – Jung Mi Park

Empowering

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25

Leading up to missions season, God had been challenging my faith in His word, reminding me of how faith should be followed by action. He specifically asked me about my faith regarding the Great Commission. As a response, I chose obedience to His word and signed up for missions. When I found out that I was being sent to West Papua, I immediately started praying into it. God specifically spoke that He is already moving, and that I am being sent to witness. That was the beginning of missions for me- walking in obedience and keeping my eyes on how God is moving. I had no idea what that meant, but it turned out to be one of the most powerful ways God could ask me to partner with Him.

Going to West Papua, our team understood that the ground had already been broken and that God’s heart was to empower the local pastor there. This was definitely the theme for our trip and it’s what we saw happening.

One moment that stood out to me was when Pastor David taught on Spiritual Warfare to the leaders of the local tribes and various churches. That morning we had a prayer meeting where the leader called for intercession against corruption, immorality, and other sins the people had been struggling with in the area. The local pastors knew that they had to pray and warred on behalf of West Papua, but as Pastor David spoke, they were getting insight on how to warfare more strategically. And as they let out a cry after the teaching, I understood that these people now have been empowered to pray and tackle strongholds effectively. Their cries were louder, more confident, and filled with faith. Their understanding of prayer and warfare reached a new level that day. As I asked God about this moment, God shared with me that His heart for the leaders of West Papua is for them to be empowered in prayer, for their hope to be found in prayer, and for them to sow in continuous seeds of prayer for the region.

Another special moment was when we gathered with the leaders of Makarismos Church, led by Pastor Tandi (our local ministry contact). Our team leader Delia challenged the church leaders to shift from thinking “why me” every time God calls us to “why not me.” As she was sharing, the countenance of both our translator and Pastor Tandi started to change. Afterwards, they both shared on how they were in a period asking God “why me.” However this word built them up and they were encouraged. Pastor Tandi made himself very vulnerable in front of his own congregation and asked for the leadership to step up as well. He was very grateful to our team for bringing a word that would have been more difficult for him to release as the lead pastor. Furthermore, this was definitely a word that allowed Pastor Tandi to lead his church to a new season. I felt God’s honor over Pastor Tandi, and that God had given him the people that are going to honor him properly and be the pillars of Makarismos Church.

Although these two moments were highlighted to me, the memories closest to my heart were the times when Pastor Tandi would wrap up each session, building upon the word spoken by the speaker, empowering and challenging the congregation. Having the privilege of having been raised in Indonesia and understanding Bahasa, I was able to see firsthand how the local pastor was encouraged by each session, and what he said to build the congregation. Our team speakers spoke on Father’s love, identity, the importance of names, spiritual gifts, and many other topics. And every time, Pastor Tandi would summarize the message and emphasize to the congregation how important and foundational the teachings were. I also had the honor of serving as the VBS director, teaching children’s ministry dance songs to people of various age groups. It was a beautiful experience as I got to see how people’s walls would come down instantly through the dances.

This trip shifted my mind and humbled me as God allowed me to partner with Him in perceiving beyond the moment and seeing Him move on a larger scale. God’s heart is for His people in West Papua, and He sent our team to encourage them. To the tribal elders, God was releasing encouragement to go deeper in prayer. To the women, encouragement was released to hold on to God’s promises. To the youth, truth was established that they are set apart. To the children, truth was established that they are the bold ones to bring light to West Papua. I leave West Papua knowing that God has used us powerfully, but that He is the one who will being each seed to fruition.

Please continue to pray for West Papua. Pray that God set up leaders who will boldly take their place and live a life of radical obedience. Pray for the people of West Papua to go deeper in their identity as children of God, and that from that place they grow in the Word and in maturity. We must keep the greater nation of Indonesia in prayer, with full faith that He who has begun the good work will bring it to completion. God bless you!

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