2017 Sri Lanka – Heidi Chae

Entering Into My Father’s Field

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

From 26th December 2016 till 1st January 2017, I was sent with 10 others from New Philly to the nation of Sri Lanka. Our team partnered with Pastor Sarath who was our local contact through Native Partners for World Missions (NPWM). Our team was fortunate enough to partner not only with Pastor Sarath and his family, but also with his ministry team. We were amounted with so many ministry opportunities, fellowship times, and the sharing of God’s testament in our lives. This was one of my most favourite, humbling, and inspirational mission trips with New Philly.

The most memorable time for me on the trip was when we held a one-day youth revival rally in the capital city of Colombo. Youth from the ages of 12 to 30 years old were present, as well as local pastors from churches all across Sri Lanka. There were around 40-50 people present, and most of them had left their villages at the wake of dawn and took 5-7 hour bus rides just to attend the rally. Only a few spoke English, and the rest their native tongue, Sinhalese.

Before heading into the trip, there were two specific personal prayer requests I presented to my prayer supporters. The first was that I would grow in having a deeper conviction and revelation of the Gospel. The second was for boldness. 2016 was marked, left and right, with being challenged to break out of being my timid and soft-spoken self when it came to leadership, especially in public positions.

In light of these prayer requests, my role for this mission trip was to be the team photographer. As the photographer, it can be so easy to hide behind the camera and not participate as much in the ministry with people. When our team arrived at the rally however, Pastor Myunghwa assignmed me to be one of the youth team leaders. This threw me off and immediately I thought, “You would, God. You would.”

As the youth were divided up into the different groups, it is safe to say that I had some of the most shy and timid people on my team. Even during our debrief time Pastor Sarath came up to me to say, “Heidi, you had a challenging team.” After a series of high-energy activities, I felt physically tired. And in that moment, our team preacher Pastor Myunghwa asked me to share my personal testimony. I said, “Yes,” and walked right to the bathroom and prayed, “Lord, you are really challenging me, but all for Your glory!”

The youth were quite sleepy by then because we had been exerting much of our energy in games, and the room was hot. As I looked around the room, I was tempted to think, “God, my testimony seems so plain. How is it going to speak to the youth?” However, I felt God’s assurance that He was with me, and the youth. After sharing, it didn’t seem as though much had happened externally. No one was particularly crying, or manifesting physically. However, I felt like it was a powerful moment for me because God began to say, “Heidi, don’t hold back your testimony. You’ve held back sharing your testimony over the years. By not sharing, you’ve doubted what I’ve done in your life, and in turn, doubted Me. Don’t hold back your testimony.”

This was a marking moment also because I had the privilege of having Pastor Sarath translate right beside me. Right off the bat, he was someone I was able to connect with with such ease and comfort, like a father. There were times here and there where it surprised me also as to why I was so eager and happy to spend time with him. He frequently shared with us the desires and burdens of his heart for ministry and about the various church plants he was overseeing. Whenever he had the chance, he also poured out an endless stream of inspirational stories about how God had moved in his personal life and family. I felt honored and grateful to have been able to share the stage with such a powerful minister.

Then on the last day of the trip, as Pastor Sarath again shared with us testimonies and stories, I began to cry overwhelmingly. God began to speak directly to my heart saying, “Heidi, this time last year was a shocking time for you but today I am restoring that memory. I am not only going to be a good Father to you from here in Heaven, but I am going to physically manifest myself to you through fatherly figures like Pastor Sarath. I am never going to leave you.” This was a deeply healing and restorative moment as I realized how this trip was not only an opportunity for me to serve the ministers in Sri Lanka, but also a gift from God to me.

This missions trip exceeded my expectations above and beyond. God used this trip by enabling me to be a witness, and to partner with the local pastors, ministries, and the Sri Lankan youth. He also brought closure and healing to my heart by reminding me of the tangible love of the Father. In doing so, He deepened my conviction in the power of the Gospel and freed me to be a bold minister for God. I am leaving the field humbled and grateful to be part of a house like New Philly where we are being used to encourage, support and help build up the global Church. Thank you so much for your support whether it was through finances and/or prayer. This testimony of God’s faithfulness as a Father is also for you to keep!