2016 Vietnam – Claire Ramsey

The New Has Come

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

For 10 days, God had me on an adventure in Vietnam with a New Philly missions team. We spent our time in 5 different cities and provinces partnering with local ministries. God brought us to reach many, particularly youth from as young as 5 years old to young adults in their twenties and thirties. This was my first time serving on a missions team doing the work of worshipping, preaching, sharing testimonies, and praying over people. It was very clear from the beginning that God had brought us here to do and witness something very special and new. The Father’s love was moving powerfully wherever we went. The times I especially felt God’s love move was when false identities were broken off of His people and the true identities as beloved children of God were firmly established.

One of the places where God released His love and true identity was in a Presbyterian church in Quang Nam, a province outside the city of Da Nang, which is itself about an hour long flight north of Ho Chi Minh City. Our team had traveled here specifically to minister at a joint youth revival service and Sunday service hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Quang Nam. It was during the Sunday service that I witnessed a very special moment of God’s love healing someone deeply. Before the service, I was feeling this heaviness and resistance in my heart. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was, and whether it was affecting just me or the whole team. Were we exhausted from the service and fellowship the night before? Had our expectations for God to move in power started to wane? Regardless of how we were feeling, though, God was getting ready to encounter every person in the room. Pastor Myunghwa, our team preacher, was sharing a message about the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15. She shared on how the Father’s love for us is not based on our works. About midway through the message, I felt a significant shift in the atmosphere and in my heart. When Pastor Myunghwa really started going deeper into the truth of the Father’s unconditional love, there was a tangible feeling of everyone being locked into the message and all heaviness being lifted. The best way I can think to describe it was a peaceful stillness. God was preparing the way for His love to fall on every heart. And not only that, but through this process, He was sensitizing me to how He was moving in the room, and leading me to grow in discernment.

After Pastor Myunghwa finished giving the message, she invited people to respond if they wanted to experience the Father’s love. Being the perfect Father that He is, God did not hold back or disappoint, as His children were hungry for His love! The team went around and prayed for every person in the room. One young boy with a cleft lip, about 12 years of age, had been highlighted to me since early on in the service. He radiated such pure joy, but he was also quite shy and reserved. There was definitely a lack of confidence that seemed to weigh him down. When I went to pray for him, it was very clear what the Holy Spirit wanted me to pray. This boy had been told lie after lie of who he was, mostly because of his appearance. I felt that many negative words had been spoken over him, including “dirty,” “worthless,” and “not enough.” I declared that these were all lies, that he was a child of God made to do mighty things. He lacked nothing in the Father. He was more than enough and he was worthy of the great things God had in store for him!

A new identity was being established in this young boy! As I spoke these truths over him, we both began to weep. God’s love for him was so tangible and real. God had not once overlooked him. God was breaking off the false identities that had been put on his life; likely from his home environment which we later found out was not very good or stable. Through this deep experience of the Father’s love, his boy’s true identity as a child of God was being rooted in his heart. After praying for him, I noticed a definite change in the way he carried himself. He was much more joyful than before! You could see that the shame and insecurities that had been weighing him down had been lifted. He seemed to walk with a lighter, more confident spirit.

But God didn’t only minister to him in that moment. Through this moment and many others to come, God was doing a mighty work in my own heart. Throughout the beginning of the trip, I was struggling with feeling like I didn’t belong on the team. I felt like I was falling short, especially with the way I prayed. My words never seemed eloquent enough or fully led by the Holy Spirit. But as time went on, God was speaking to me through my teammates and my experiences that my prayers are indeed very powerful! And not only were they powerful, but they were clear, precise, full of authority, and releasing His Kingdom. I felt new confidence rise throughout the trip. I was learning to trust God to work through my prayers and celebrate how God created me to pray. And as I was obedience to silence the lies and hold fast to truth, I was able to grow in my spiritual gifts. Praise God that He is always moving to raise us up to beyond what we thought we were capable of doing!

This story is just one of many that we witnessed where we saw the Father’s love changing the youth of this nation. He is removing lies and false identities and replacing them with truth. God is ready to do a new thing in Vietnam, and there are a few ways you can pray for this nation to help usher in the fullness of what He has in store next. Pray that the Holy Spirit will seal the new things God has established in each heart we ministered to on this trip. We do not want the enemy to steal or snatch away any part of the work God has done. Pray that the youth will cling to the truth of who they are in God. Pray protection from any lies and false identities. Finally, pray that God will raise up this new generation mightily and establish them as oaks of righteousness who will rebuild, alongside the older generations, what has long been devastated in Vietnam (Isaiah 61:1-4). The Lord has already started a good work in this nation through the powerful local ministries, and surely He will bring them to completion.

As a team, we feel incredibly honored and humbled that God used us to bring the Father’s love to the people of Vietnam. It was clear that God sent us to release many people from the bondages of sin and lies so that they could experience the Father’s love in whole new ways. The phrase “the old has gone; the new has come!” resurfaced in my mind over and over again throughout the trip. God desperately wants to heal this land and His people, and He is setting up His glory to be revealed through the young, new generation. My faith and walk with the Lord has been forever changed after seeing the way God is desperately longing to transform His children with His love! Thank you once again for making this trip a reality, and God bless you abundantly!