2016 Los Angeles – David Chong

Blessed to be a Blessing

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

I embarked on a 14 hour flight from Sydney on the morning of the 12th of January and arrived at LAX airport in California at about 6am on the same day. I had a lot of excitement going into the trip, but at the same time felt a little anxious. This was to be expected as it was my first missions trip and I didn’t quite know what would be asked of me. To be completely open, when I first applied for missions this season, I ticked the box specifying no preference in terms of destination. When I found out I would be going to LA, I was disappointed. I was gearing up to go to some third world country, witness spiritual warfare firsthand, and see the Holy Spirit mess people up. I felt like LA would be a powerful trip, but not one that would genuinely allow me to witness those things. I felt that I would come back encouraged, but not transformed. I was wrong. Throughout the trip, God used our team to engage in spiritual warfare, minister to and pray for people, and establish godly relationships. We saw physical healing, people tangibly encounter God, and people being delivered instantly from strongholds and false identities. Despite what each of us perceived to be personal flaws and weaknesses, God used us powerfully to minister to his people in spite of own shortcomings.

Our ministry trip was relatively slow-paced until the conference started on Friday. We arrived on Tuesday and got to meet with some of the pastors and leaders of HolyWave, which was the ministry hosting the conference where we would be ministering. During our team meeting on the first day we were told that this trip would be more relational than event based. So when the conference rolled around on Friday, I must confess that I kind of strolled in there without expecting to do a whole lot. But serving and ministering at the conference ended up being one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done in my life.

From the first night of the conference, there was a resistance and reluctance in the air that set the tone for the night. Pastor Christian opened up the altar after his message and invited the team to pray for people at the altar. I remember distinctly feeling very unconfident and as I went around praying people. I was trying really hard to seek prophetic words of knowledge, images, anything that would bless these people, but wasn’t really getting anything. Going into the altar call I remember thinking, “We’re New Philly, people are going to be fall under God’s power by being slain in the Spirit, and God will anoint me to speak prophetically into these people’s lives.” But by the end of that night, none of the altar blankets had been used and things didn’t pan out in the way that I had expected. At our team debrief, we were led to pray for a breakthrough of the resistance in people’s hearts that we had felt almost tangibly that night. We prayed that people would no longer strive to encounter God. From this point on, I started praying warfare prayers throughout every message, every seminar, and even every conversation that I had with any of the people attending the conference.

We started to witness people break free from resistance and reluctance over the course of the next two days. This was really evident in how people would respond during praise and worship. But something I was struggling with a lot on the field was ministering with boldness and authority. One of the things that made me feel like I was lacking in boldness was the idea that my prayers were shallow and not powerful. The second session of altar ministry on the morning of the next day was smoother for me personally as I stopped trying to seek out specific prophetic words and just prayed prayers that I felt were a little more general and encouraging. That night, Pastor Christian preached on the fire of the Holy Spirit and invited people wanting to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit to come to the altar. Many came up for the altar call and the team went around laying hands on people and praying for fire to fall. I remember being really stirred up as I prayed for some people and then a little unsure of myself as I prayed for others. No one I prayed for fell under the power of God, but we witnessed many fall as they were baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Later on in the night I ran into one of the brothers who had come up for the altar call in the elevator and he started sharing with me what he had experienced. I had prayed for him for about 5-10 seconds and moved on as by that point a lot of people were coming up to the altar and we had to move quickly. I remember asking God to highlight people that I could pray for and this brother stood out from the crowd. I prayed a simple prayer of “fire” and impartation of the same fire that God met me with when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Although he did not immediately fall, this brother had experienced a turning motion in his inner being that was so uncontrollable that he had to go back and sit down in his seat. As he sat down on his seat, he tangibly felt two hands on his head and fire and electricity course through his body as he was baptized in the Spirit. He shared with me that before he came up he was struggling with uncertainty as to whether anything would happen or not. But through receiving prayer at the altar, he received the most significant and tangible encounter with God that he had ever experienced. For me, it was a powerful reminder that God doesn’t operate in the confines of how I expected Him to move. And even when I feel inadequate, He uses me anyway.

On the final night of the conference, Pastor Erin preached on freedom from bondages and the shames of past sin. Sitting through that message, despite God’s faithfulness the night before, I struggled like I had never struggled before. I remember feeling like I could not go up to minister at that altar call. I was contemplating telling my team leader Pastor Anna that I felt too unwell to minister. I was just remember feeling like it was too hard to pray for people, and that even breaking through my own fears and insecurities to minister at the altar was too difficult. But the passage for that night was 2 Corinthians 5:17 and our sister Jisu had spoken Galatians 2:20 in her testimony just before the message. Throughout the message I just started meditating on those verses and continued to speak them over myself. That morning our team devotion led by P Marcus had been on 1 Corinthians 13, and I had gotten a powerful revelation that I could prophesy over someone with intense accuracy, but if I wasn’t ministering out of a heart of a love, then ultimately nothing was gained. And so as I was speaking those two verses over myself, I just asked God very sincerely to allow me minister to these people with His heart. It was then time for the altar call. I felt completely different as soon as I went to minister. Pastor Erin’s message broke off the final bit of resistance that people had been carrying. As God’s sons and daughters came up to the altar, they confessed their bondages and sins in the presence of a holy God. This time as I prayed for people, I simply declared over them the two verses I had been declaring over myself for the whole message. I didn’t even have to muster up the words. It was as if God was placing things on my heart that He wanted each person to hear, and I was able to pray for people with utmost boldness. I started feeling a righteous anger towards the fact that satan was casting false identities over these people, and my prayers started turning into shouts to demolish the strongholds of the enemy. It was such an amazing blessing to be able to lead people to choose freedom in Christ as they repented of and renounced their old selves.

God used the LA team powerfully to set people free from bondages and release them into the fullness of their identities in Christ. There was such a grace upon the areas we lacked in as ministers, and we were propelled into new levels of boldness and authority just from being obedient. It is undeniable that God loves His people and that Jesus Christ came to set the captives free. When we carry the revelation that we are to love His people by aligning our hearts to His, God honours that humble desire, and He ministers to His people through us with a furious love.

I am so blessed at the outpouring of God’s love upon HolyWave Ministry and all the people who attended the conference. I am excited at the coming transformation in their respective ministries, families, schools and workplaces as a result of being released into freedom. To God be all the glory.