2016 West Papua – Anna Isabella

Just Look Up

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrew 12: 1-2, 28-29

Indonesia is my home country but this was my first time going to the region of West Papua. Our team went to the capital city, Manokwari, which is only a few hours away by plane from Jakarta, but it is a completely different environment. But from the first day when we arrived until the very last minute before we departed, the team was overcome with kindness and hospitality from the local people. In total we had three hosting families: the first was the family of Pastor Tandi, our local contact through Native Partners for World Mission (or NPWM). The second was the family of Papi Stefanus who works at the Love Papua Center, which trains up local believers to do the work of the ministry. And finally the power couple of Pak Man and Ibu Vera. Our Papuan family loved us extravagantly and always wanted to be first in taking care of our team. We were very blessed and inspired by them. They treated us like their own children, and I really feel like I obtained 3 new fathers and 3 new mothers.

Even though I was born and raised in Indonesia, eyes were opened (both in the natural and in the spirit) on a whole new level to just how much God loves my country, and specifically West Papua. Seeing His vision, His heart, and hearing the prophecies over my country scares me. It scares me because His plan is so big! It is literally impossible for humans to accomplish. But this is why we must walk in faith and trust in His love. God really opened my eyes to His overwhelming love and His great plans for Indonesia.
On the third day of our trip, our team preacher, Pastor Paul from New Philly Sydney, preached about identity in Christ. In his sermon, he used an analogy from the movie “The Lion King.” Excluding our team, only three local people had seen the movie, so Pastor Paul reenacted it in front of the congregation and brought so much joy. Pastor Paul preached that we are like the main character, Simba. Although we are born a prince, we are meant to become a king. Remember who you are. Remember who our Father is. We are supposed to be kings!

Through that sermon, the youth was able to see who they really are in Christ Jesus. That night so many insecurities and lies from the devil were broken. God began to release the truth of complete freedom in Him. The Holy Spirit ministered so powerfully, breaking bondages for not only the youth but also the elders and the inland tribal people. So many people were vulnerable to open their hearts and receive the Holy Spirit. The team was faithful to do our part, but ultimately God took over.

Left to our own devices we would not be able to do much. We know full well our limitations but we are not on our own. Christ is in us. We were created to be co-heirs with Him. Our team contended many times for the youth even before our trip and it was really encouraging to see God release transformation in them. On our fifth day of ministry during a youth revival service, the youth who were too cool for school during our first worship time broke free and worshipped extravagantly. The prayers that Holy Spirit led us to lift up so many weeks ago in Korea were bearing fruit right in front of our eyes! God is so good! We all then ended the victorious night with a spontaneous dance party in celebration of what God had done!

Through this trip God really established in my heart that I have a Master. His name is Jesus Christ! I have a Father, the Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in it. I belong to Him and I listen to His words only! We should not listen to how the world defines us, and we should not even listen to ourselves. W should not be limited to what we see in the natural, or what we thing our shortcomings are. We should respond only to God’s commands and whom He says we are. We take every thought captive to obey Christ! It is not about what we see in the natural nor about what we feel at the moment.

Truly God is doing His amazing work for the youth in West Papua and our team feels honored that He used us to be His hands, feet, and mouthpiece. On the missions field, we really felt covered by the prayers of our supporters. We felt so much grace every day. We kept God’s love in our hearts and knew that we were fully covered. This energized us and enabled us to be used according to His will. He equipped and recharged us every day to do His work.

Sometimes we tend to switch our gears to striving. We strive and fight to become better, but that is not God’s original design. We were created to rest at His feet. At one point in my life, I learned that I should not compare myself with other people. If I’m doing better than yesterday, it means that I’m progressing and that is good. Through this trip I realized that we should not compare ourselves to anyone. Instead we should look up, look at what God is doing, and keep our eyes focused only on Him. Don’t look left or right, don’t look inside, just look up. Look longer, harder, and deeper into our God. We run our race looking to Jesus for the joy that is set before us! God, bring us that horizon. Fill us with Your Spirit so we will be able to finish this race with 100% full strength. I would like to close with a favorite passage that I would like to pray over West Papua.