2017 Myanmar – Mina Kang

We Are Made for Worship

As I was heading to Myanmar, I was extremely nervous about my role as the VBS leader, which stands for Vacation Bible School and means that I lead children and adults in singing and dancing to Christian songs. Not only was I worried about my role, but I felt like I was the weakest part of our team. I had been fasting, but I hadn’t been praying as much, and I felt as though I lacked the maturity that all of my other team members seemed to have. Being one of the youngest members in the church, at least the Sydney campus, I’ve struggled to ‘fit in’ and I was worried that this would happen in Myanmar as well. At first, it was a little awkward. But by our first day out on the field, we saw the supernatural team unity we had been praying for coming into place. I fell in love with my team members, even though I felt like they oftentimes invaded my personal space, I learnt to receive it and love and respect them for it.

I was immature at times, but by God’s grace I felt that I was able to be myself, especially during our revival services and whenever I talked to my team members. By ‘being myself’ I mean that I was able to be just me, not 18-year-old Mina, or VBS leader Mina, but just Mina. This is something one of our team members named Kimberley said about me in an affirmation letter that she wrote at the end of the trip, and it had allowed me to realise that this was true. Because I was the VBS leader, I had to kind of… come out of my shell. I had to let go of my pride and just do it. I had to lead the kids and adults with confidence and humility. I think that was the starting point. You see, I don’t usually sing praise extravagantly. I don’t usually put up my hands during worship nor do I jump up and down during the fun songs. However, because of my role, I developed an appreciation for those who do praise extravagantly, who let go of their pride and self-consciousness and sing and dance to the Lord as if no one is watching. With each service I found myself letting go of my pride and self-consciousness and praising God more and more. Through VBS and singing praise songs, I was able to realise that we are indeed made to praise our God. This was further affirmed in one of the passages we read for devotions: Psalms 145:10 “All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you.”

Through our altar call ministry, which is when we ask people from the congregation to come to the front (the altar) to receive prayer for a certain issue, as well as all the times we prayed as a team prior to the trip and throughout the trip, I was able to become more sensitive to what God was nudging me to do or say. Like I said, I hadn’t prayed much for this trip because I had been busy, and this mission trip had been one of the last things on my mind, up until one week before we were supposed to leave. This was when I began to feel truly anxious for the trip. So, I contacted Graciela, who is the photographer and intern pastor on our team as well as the only other Sydney member. We met and shared how we were doing, and then prayed for our trip and each of the members on the team. As we prayed for them, Graciela encouraged me to share any word or images I got for the members I prayed for. I did get images for the team members who at this point, I had never met. We shared the words and images we had gotten for the team members and many were blessed. Throughout the trip I was able to witness some of these words and images make sense. One example would be for our videographer Ye Eun. I had an image of a blooming flower for her and on one of the last days of the trip she shared that she felt like she had in fact grown through this trip, like that flower. Same with our treasurer Kimberley. I had an image of a ribbon formed into a bow. I thought that this image meant that she would be vital to our team’s unity and she definitely was.

As a team we contended for our health as well as our unity, because our team preacher Pastor Marcus and Graciela shared that during their previous trip to Myanmar they had struggled greatly with these two things. As we were being sent off by the Sydney campus, one of the leaders shared that he felt that our team will be thickly covered by the Holy Spirit and protected from illnesses and spiritual attacks. And guess what? It became true! We didn’t struggle with any sickness other than mild headaches and indigestion which broke off quickly when we prayed against it.

During our altar call ministry, I witnessed many people fall down to the ground because Holy Spirit encountered them. Many people were healed and experienced the Holy Spirit, and what was most revolutionary to me was that I was helping with this ministry. God worked through my prayers and my touch to heal and encounter his people. After my first encounter with the Holy Spirit when I was saved back in 2011, I was so on fire for God and I wanted Him to encounter everyone around me. But over the years, I developed fear towards rejection, and encouraging people at church to be on fire for Him when I wasn’t anymore, had become a burden. Because of this, even though I was back at church I felt unworthy of God’s love and very numb and apathetic in my interactions with Him, whether it’d be through prayer or even through worship and fellowship with other church members. But as I watched God work in Myanmar and felt Him use me to do this, I felt like I had a purpose and that I was of worth. I know that in feeling this way I should be careful not to let this turn into pride, and I felt God speak to me about this too. God was definitely with us in this trip.

Particularly, on the Friday night our team didn’t have any services so we spent our time at our hotel room worshiping God and mediating on Psalm 23. Through this simple act, our team was able to powerfully and intimately encounter God. I personally felt anger towards God. In tears, I complained to God about the times I had felt so numb towards Him, and the things I had suffered. I blamed God for these things. As the passage was read out to us again and again, I found myself disagreeing with things like “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters, He restores my soul.” I knew these words are true, they must be true because they’re in the Bible, but still I felt like they were lies. I think this anger I felt was healthy for me. Then Pastor Marcus taught a powerful message at the church of Pastor Khaungze (our local contact) about the importance of emotional health. He used the story of Moses, who had shown many miraculous signs and wonders, but was unable to enter the promise land because of the emotions he had not dealt with, such as the grief of Miriam’s death or frustration with the Israelites. Pastor Marcus spoke of how God continued to bless Moses with signs and wonders like the water which came out of the rock that he struck, but because Moses had not dealt with the issues within him and which had hardened his heart, he was unable to enter the promise land. Likewise, I felt as though God was beginning to work in my heart to reveal the issues that were bubbling inside of it. I think my anger was a sign of this. Even prior to my trip, I felt God telling me to confront certain issues in my heart, such as my unforgiveness towards my dad, as well as certain sins. But what was different back then was my lack of emotion. I had felt numb before, but during this trip I experienced anger, as well as awe and joy. This I know is a good sign, because God is leading me on a new path of not shoving aside my emotions, but facing my emotions- untangling them and inviting Him into them. I want God to use me not only to lead and perform miracles. I want to learn from the example of Moses and have soft heart so I can enter into the promised land.

Overall, I was tremendously blessed by this trip. I was able to meet wonderful people and go to a beautiful country and witness God working in it. I was able to realise the importance of worship and dealing with my emotions. I was able to grow closer to God and realise that as long as I abide in Him, He will provide. Thank you once again for sowing into our trip and praying for our team. God did so much not only in the mission field, but is also doing so much in the hearts of his missionaries. God bless you!