2017 Indonesia – Jake Murphy

Qualified by Grace

“And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” This I said, “Here am I! Send me.” – Isaiah 6:7-8

“Here I am, send me.” These words have always come out of my mouth whenever there was an opportunity to serve. At the altar for full time ministry or for a missions trip, I would respond, “Here I am, send me.” For high-school short-term mission trip, again, “Here I am, send me.” My whole life, for any opportunity to serve or evangelize, I have been the first to volunteer. I grew up in the church, have followed Christ from a young age, and was called by God to the ministry when I was young. Thus I was zealous to respond to any opportunity to serve or go out into the mission field. However, as missions sign ups opened in late 2016, things were very different. When Lisa, the New Philly Missions Director, asked me about missions there was a hesitancy within me. Rather than saying, “Here I am, send me,” I found myself dragging my feet along the whole way.

You see, 2016 was a very long and difficult year for me. It was a year where I confronted personal issues in my life and worked on restoring a deep intimacy with God. But because of this, I believed myself disqualified from serving in the mission field. Even before I left for missions, I didn’t feel like I should go. Throughout the training and team meetings, I found myself questioning what I could bring to the team. I asked myself, why was I placed on Team Manado and what was God’s plan for me in all of this? All I could see was my sin and failures, and even though I had been through a process of restoration, I continued to see myself as disqualified.

Once our team was in Manado and doing ministry, I would continually wonder what I was doing there. While we were ministering to people, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the members of this team walked in so much power and authority and how I felt out of place- disqualified by those same struggles which had disqualified me from the previous missions season. This feeling came to the fore after one of the most uncomfortable car rides of the trip. We spent four hours driving through the hills, which left members of our team feeling nauseous. Then we learned about these local beetles, which come out in swarms every full moon. That night at the service, we had to pick beetles out of each other’s hair and dodge them as they flew towards us. To make matters worse, when we arrived, we found out that our local contact, Pastor Daud, and the local church wanted to have a seminar and a time of Q&A with our preacher rather than a standard revival service.

Our team was sitting on the side as Pastor Paul, our team preacher and campus pastor of New Philly Sydney, began his seminar about Jesus. I was then reminded of one of his first messages on the trip. He preached that it’s not about us and that, without Christ, we are not that special. Sitting there, I began to remember that even before my struggles of a year ago, I was disqualified from serving God by my sin and it was only by God’s grace that I was able to be here in Indonesia serving Him. It was only through Christ that I was able to stand here with this team. In my own strength there was nothing I could offer. I remembered that my identity was not in this world but in who God says I am. This shifted my mindset from believing myself to be unqualified, to believing that I was called here to bring the love of God to the people in Indonesia. As we sat, listening to Pastor Paul pushing through the heavy atmosphere with the Word of God, I realized all I could do was to push past my discomfort and begin praying over the service and for the hearts of the people that were there. Pastor Paul finished his powerful message about the supremacy of Christ, and it finally came time for the challenge to accept Jesus as Savior. But no one responded. Immediately I started to pray, “God, just one. Even one person coming to you. Let one person come to know Your love.” When I opened my eyes one person had raised their hand to receive Christ, and before we knew it, 41 people raised their hands to accept Him as their Lord and Savior! It was at this moment that I was able to put my insecurities and feelings of shortcoming aside and focus on what God was doing in front of me.

In the remaining time we had left, I was able to form deeper connections with the college students of that church, believing that God wanted to love them through me. At our final ministry, we washed the feet of students from the West Papua region of Indonesia. This was the completion of everything that God had been doing in my life and showing me on this trip. It isn’t anything that I can do that qualifies me, nor can I earn merit with God through my own strength. It is only when I am able to humble myself and realize that it’s not about me and that I am not special, that I am able to fully serve the people of God.