2017 Nepal – Jisu Choi

Sola Fide, Solo Christo
(by faith alone, through Christ alone)

One morning during our team devotionals in the field, our team was reading through and meditating on the Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew. After I read the passage a couple times, my eyes wandered to the top of the page, where Matthew describes Jesus’ ministry after He calls His first disciples. It says, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and He healed them” (Matt 4:23-24). I remember staring at these two verses, stunned because our team had taught seminars, were scheduled to preach the Gospel through home evangelism, and had seen and prayed for people with each of the symptoms listed above. And we didn’t just see people getting instantly healed through our prayers: we learned that these things happen regularly in Nepal. As the field report described, about 90% of Nepali believers we encountered shared that they had given their lives to Christ because God had supernaturally healed them or a family member. Our local contact pastor shares a similar story. This only starts to demonstrate the two greatest personal revelations for me on this trip: we live by faith alone, and through Christ alone.

I realized that sometimes in order to grow our faith, God puts us in situations where we have no choice but to fully rely on Him. On our first day of ministry, three of our team members, including me, each taught a seminar for church leaders. My seminar was on prayer and was planning to end by praying for leaders who wanted to receive the gift of tongues. I’m the type who likes to make sure that I am fully prepared before I do any form of ministry, but for some reason I wasn’t able to do so beforehand. This bothered me throughout the whole seminar and got worse as I was closing with a very abridged explanation of the gift of tongues. I felt that the ministry time would have been a lot more powerful if only I had been better prepared. We began to pray and our team began to lay hands on the leaders when I felt God asking me, “Didn’t you just teach that faith is all you need in prayer? That it’s not about a method or a formula? Do you really believe that it is only by your faith and not preparation that I will move?” After the prayer time, three people testified that they had received the gift of tongues instantly. Afterwards our local contact pastor Saul, who was translating, shared that he had been reluctant to ask for the gift of tongues due to previous experiences, but he was now open to receiving it. God moved powerfully through the seminar and prayer time not because of my eloquent words or preparation. In fact, it was in the lack of these things that God was glorified and the power of Christ exemplified. Not being able to put my faith and assurance in what always seemed to work, compelled me to solely depend on God.

And not only is faith a key factor in seeing God move, but there is power in the name of Jesus as well. On one of the last days of our trip, one of my favorite days actually, we were able to see this truth at work. We began with home evangelism, went back to our hostel for team devotionals, and then ended the day with a prayer walk through the city of Bhaktapur. We broke up into groups to visit the homes of people with whom Pastor Saul and his church members had been building relationship. These people wanted to hear the Gospel so our team was able to share the Good News, a testimony, and pray for those who wanted to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. We emphasized that those who decide to follow Christ cannot worship idols or turn to other gods. It was such a privilege to witness and celebrate a total of 7 salvations, and to know that these brothers and sisters are now in the care of amazing shepherds and church communities. We came back to our hostel and had our team devotionals, where we exalted the name of Jesus through our praise. It was such a pivotal moment for us as we were gathered in the heart of Bhaktapur, a city with more idols than people, declaring the supremacy of Christ. We then walked through the city, declaring this truth over the streets. There may be temples, altars, statues, and wooden engravings of thousands of gods at every corner, but there is only one true God- One who has no equal nor rival. Only Christ can instantly set someone free from 22 years of demonic oppression, of incurable diseases, of years of untreatable physical pain. Through this trip our team witnessed that indeed no idol or god can even come close to what Christ has done for us on the cross. No god, person, object, success, or methods offer true freedom and the eternal relationship of being fully known and fully loved. Salvation is through Christ alone by faith alone.

I’ve been on many missions trips, but this was the first time I felt like I was right there with Jesus during His public ministry because of the supernatural moves of God. After the trip, I expected to return to the same life I had put on hold, but I noticed that all the fears, self-centered goals, and worries I had prior to Nepal have already been fading away. I believe that anyone who tangibly experiences the preeminence of Christ, the desperate need to preach the Good News, the burning love of the Father, and the undeniable power of the Holy Spirit- cannot help but be left radically transformed.

I hope that reading my testimony has challenged or encouraged you in one way or another. Even though we can’t always go abroad on an official missions trip, it is my prayer that this year you will have a continual revelation of who God is, so you have the strength to live by faith and through Christ alone.