2017 Vietnam – Matt Ko

A Trip of Completion

The story that God has been writing in my life over the past two years came to a climax during my week in Vietnam.

In the weeks leading up to our departure, I felt a lot of resistance in my flesh. There were all kinds of things vying for my attention (as is always the case, huh?). But I found the distractions intensifying that much more especially with regards to this missions trip. One week before our departure, our team went on a media fast. This helped, but it still didn’t feel like it was going to be enough. In the flesh I felt nothing but lack. I prayed, but I felt like I hadn’t prayed enough. I set expectations, but I felt like I needed to have more. I was under the impression that I hadn’t been “holy” enough to be sent out on missions.

Yet I felt God continually speak to me that He had already prepared me for what was to come. At that point I had a choice: I could either be shaken and continue to be anxious throughout my trip, or I could take God at His word and trust that whatever comes, he had already equipped me. And so, as I had shared in my support letter, I went to Vietnam with the expectation that I would be able to rest in Him as He led me day by day. And as God put the youth of Vietnam on my heart, I carried that with me as well.

Day One started simply with getting situated in Vietnam and getting a few shots on my camera of the day’s events. In the evening I was feeling a bit bad because, again, in my flesh I felt unprepared. I had forgotten to print out a copy of my testimony. However, God put it on my heart to at least connect to the wifi briefly and have a digital copy of my testimony ready, just in case. And ‘lo and behold, on Day Two, Pastor Anna asked me to share my testimony to- you guessed it- the youth. So throughout the day I rewrote my testimony onto paper, and as soon as I finished writing it out, I felt a strong urge to tweak it and perfect it until the evening service started. But God reminded me again that I should just rest in Him, so I asked that the teammates travelling with me in my car simply pray and worship as we neared the church. As I went up to share, I found that I wasn’t nervous (yes, I still get nervous speaking in public), and people were able to connect with my story really well. On top of that, it fit very well into Pastor Anna’s message on being bold with our faith. I was able to leave that service satisfied knowing that if God was leading me, He would also take care of the rest.

And so the trip continued, with a continual push and pull of anxiety, followed by trusting that God was leading me and my team. I felt this tension most as I performed my duties as the team videographer. But in the midst of this there was so much grace! I felt like I learned when to film and when not to. I found that I was okay with “imperfect” shots. I found that I was at peace even when I missed some moments. I remember in the past always being too caught up in myself to really rest as videographer. But this year I could see how God was leading me even as a videographer!

However in the back of my mind I had another concern lurking: I hadn’t prepared a sermon. I wanted to have one prepared before leaving, but I had nothing more than an outline in my head. As a result I tried to come up with various reasons why this was okay and why I wouldn’t need to or be able to preach in the field. There were only a handful of ministry times, there were others who needed an opportunity to preach, and besides I was busy trying to film for our missions documentary. Yet in the midst of all this God still kept nudging me and speaking to me about the outline that I had in my heart and in my mind. Thus it should come as no surprise that on the evening of Day Five, Pastor Anna let me know that I would possibly be preaching the next day. Again I resisted, but with the help of the amazing brothers I had with me on the trip, I sat down and put my sermon to paper. I took all of the things God had spoken to me before the trip, the passage He showed me on the plane, some of the things that didn’t fit into my testimony, and basically the story that God had been writing in my life for the past two years.

Throughout the day I would write a little, rest a little, listen a little, and to be honest, it felt like it was coming together but at the same time it wasn’t. I felt at rest, but I was so tempted to stress out. In the midst of it all, God kept affirming me that I was on the right track. He spoke to me through the clouds and the rain that day. He spoke to me in the fact that the testimony my teammate Danielle would share was perfectly in line with my message. And as I’m writing this testimony, it’s becoming exceedingly clear that I was exactly where He wanted me.

God had me preach about striving in the flesh versus walking by the Spirit. I focused on the revelation I was experiencing that God was more concerned with me following His lead, and less concerned about having perfect performance. All that I did and was doing on the trip, everything in the weeks and years prior to it, had prepared me for that evening. I was as prepared as I could be in the flesh, but more than anything, I was trusting the Holy Spirit right where I was. And as I was preaching about walking by the Spirit, I was doing exactly that. It was really cool to hear the testimonies afterwards of how people were truly blessed by our team’s prayers. But the coolest thing to me was that, even though I could easily pick at the numerous flaws in the message I preached, I was able to be at complete peace knowing that what was said was what needed to be heard, and God did what He wanted to do.

So I pray that as you read this testimony you would be encouraged to do likewise. Don’t be anxious in your weaknesses, but know that God is with you. He loves you, and He is constantly preparing you for what you have in front of you. Let Grace abound to you!