2017 Indonesia – Rose Balais

Deep Work

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21

Team Manado, consisting of 11 joy-filled leaders from New Philadelphia Church, was the first ever New Philly missions team to be sent to the city of Manado located in the Northern Sulawesi region of Indonesia. Having been given the privilege to be the first ever team sent to this particular city, we fully prepared ourselves for the trip with prayer, fasting and seminars. By the time we departed to Indonesia, we were already fired up and ready to bring the fire of the Lord and powerfully ministry to His people. I went on a missions trip two years earlier General Santos City, Philippines where I saw many people get healed and even manifesting under the glory of God. Thus my heart yearned in expectation for God to do the same or even more on this trip. However, contrary to what we wanted to see and happen, the Lord in a completely new way. Although at first I was disappointed, in the end I learned that God knows what the people of Manado need far better than us, and thus He released His power accordingly.

On our first night in Manado, we gathered and prayed for the first time as a unified team. Our members had come in from Seoul, Busan, and Sydney. Our team leader, Pastor Daniel, informed us that the trip schedule will look different from other New Philly missions trips, as we would most likely be less busy. Despite this, I was still expectant that Holy Spirit will show up and do His thing! As the trip progressed however, I saw that the trip not only had a less crowded schedule, but also far lower numbers of people being ministered to. As the team historian, part of my role was to count the attendance and the number of people responding to the altar calls at each ministry event. As I counted, I was faced with what seemed like very underwhelming results, especially compared to my expectations. After our first day of ministry, I got really confused, thinking, “We came all the way from Korea. We prayed, fasted and trained for months for this trip. Surely, God will and SHOULD move more powerfully in the next few days.”

At first, I thought these expectations were healthy and good because I was trusting and having faith that God would do greater. But little did I know that these expectations were actually hindering me from seeing how the Holy Spirit was moving in the hearts of God’s people as we were ministering to them. Thus on the second day of ministry I was again left disappointed after a youth ministry service. But by the grace of God, He didn’t let me continue to serve with this toxic mindset. That day, at our team’s debrief meeting, we went around sharing and reflecting on how the trip had been for us so far. Michelle, our team’s worship leader, shared about how she (like myself) wanted to see the Lord move in greater signs and wonders. In that respect, the trip had been challenging her to continue to carry these expectations and yet not feel a sense of entitlement for God to move in that way. When she shared that, it finally clicked why I have been feeling disappointed for the past two days. It wasn’t because God did not move powerfully. It was because I was expecting Him to move in a certain way, my way, without having an open heart to discern and flow with how He wanted to move. Immediately after realizing this, I repented and let go of the sense of entitlement I had been holding. Consequently, the next following days of serving felt much easier as I ministered in partnership with His Spirit.

When viewed in the natural, it would seem like the Lord didn’t move that mightily on our trip. We didn’t see that many people attend our services, nor did we see many dramatic manifestations under God’s glory. However, prior to the trip field, Pastor Daniel shared a prophetic word he got for our trip, which was “deep.” He said that God will be doing a deep work in the lives of the people of Manado, and that was exactly what we saw Him do. As our team obeyed the leading of the Spirit, we were able to see key ministry leaders confess and repent deep, hidden sins and bondage. We saw many young people respond to the call to seek intimacy with God the Father. We saw students respond to the call to be intercessors for their campuses, and so much more.

One of the most memorable ministry times for me was our final service of the trip. We were with a Papuan student fellowship established by our local contact, Pastor Daud, for the church-less West Papuan students in Manado. At this service, our team got to pray for 10 students who desired to encounter the Holy Spirit. Our team also got to wash their feet just as Jesus did in John 13. Although we didn’t get to see any of the students fall under the fire of God or shed even a single tear, the sweet presence of God could be felt throughout the room. It was so evident that God was releasing something deep in the hearts of the students. And as our team washed their feet, kneeling side by side, I felt the sudden urge to look around at my surroundings. In that quick moment as I glanced around, I saw a vision of our team crouched down, planting seeds deep in the soil. I believe that this vision I saw is a confirmation of what God wanted to release through us in Manado. I believe that every prayer the team and our supporters sowed into Manado were seeds that God will continue water and grow. I am genuinely excited for the greater things that God has in store for the people of Manado, and it has been a great privilege to partner with the Lord in laying down deep foundations in the lives of His people there.