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Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 9 July 2009, Thursday

After about 5 hours sleep we left at 7am to catch our plane back to Kuching. Thankfully it was non-eventful and we are able to have a debriefing time and celebration dinner (and send the blog updates to Serene who had been very kindly helping us).

Pastor Greman was very grateful for our visit. He particularly mentioned the time we spent with the women as often they are neglected at the expense of ministry to the men. This would not have been possible without Monica’s sacrifice in leaving her children and husband in Sibu to be with us. We are so filled with joy and excitement at what God is doing amongst us.

Thank you for being interested to share the journey with us. We also THANK everyone who prayed. We have no doubt that it would have been impossible to have such a fruitful trip without your contribution in prayer. Also a very special thanks to Serene Ng for doing such a wonderful job updating and coordinating the blog. This is just a snapshot of our time here and just a few photos. We would be very happy to share more with you in person upon our return.

leaving sibu

leaving sibu


prayer

prayer


Pastor Semilan & Monica

Elder William, Pastors Semilan & Monica from Sibu Jaya Baptist Church

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 8 July 2009, Wednesday

What a full on day! We cooked three meals for everyone (about 40 people) plus supper! That in itself was an exercise in faith and multiplication of the little food we had bought, but thank God there was enough. In addition, the Charmaine, Deborah, Julie and Megan did another womens’ ministry all morning, while the men went shopping! They went by boat to get petrol and some supplies. They also checked out the site where they are building the new ministry centre, where Pastor Greman wants to train the chiefs of all the longhouses in the ways of God. Currently the land has been cleared, so there is a long way to go. (It would be a wonderful way to contribute to the Kingdom of God if you felt inspired.)

This longhouse had about 20 women, many were new believers, and some others who didn’t know the Lord. During the women’s ministry the team each shared a verse of scripture to the group and explained why it was important to them. We particularly addressed fear which is prevalent in the community. The ministry time took a few hours as we spent time to individually pray to the ladies. There were some wonderful testimonies. Many women were healed from aches and pains and one lady was freed from addiction to a local painkiller. Usually she takes 3-5 packets per day, but she rededicated her life to the Lord and after prayer she was freed. In the evening she came again to the meeting and amazingly had no withdrawal symptoms all day. Praise God! We also prayed for a little boy with a fever. In the evening the mother came back for the night meeting and both her and the boy’s grandmother gave their lives to Christ. Her son had no more fever!

In the evening, around 30-35 people gathered together. Deborah shared her testimony and Raymond gave the word of God. He very sensitively addressed some of the negative influences in the Iban culture (e.g. drunkenness and having many wives). At the end of the message 10 adults came forward to receive Christ. Our host, pastor Greman was so moved he prayed with them in tears. Charmaine led a team including Ming Fung and Elijah (Raymond and Julie’s son) to do Sunday school with the children. They also asked them who wanted God in their lives and all of them accepted and prayed very sincerely. Praise God! We also ministered to a few people after the message, and one lady had her eyesight restored, previously her eyes were in pain and vision was blurred. We are very thankful to God for such a fruitful time.

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 7 July 2009, Tuesday

After breakfast and a short devotion, we held a ladies ministry while the men and Ps. Greman drove out to visit other longhouses. Most of the Iban women stay back in the longhouses to work in the nearby fields and raise the children while their husbands worked away from home. Deborah shared her testimony and Megan shared from Psalms 84, about God wanting to bless us even as we choose to draw close to Him when we are tested. Julie shared about the role of women in God’s kingdom and challenged them to claim His faithfulness and His promises for the generations in their family.

Before prayer, we worshipped and were touched by the Holy Spirit’s presence. About 8 women came forward and we were able to minister to them one at a time. The Holy Spirit revealed that most of the pain/illnesses e.g. asthma, gastric, headache, etc. had roots in the use of witchcraft and generational curses, especially the Iban’s spiritual bondage to headhunting. The team was able to break these off and also lead the women in emotional healing from unforgiveness, anger, etc. Praise God for He has plans to raise up many leaders among them! The Holy Spirit also released many gifts e.g. prophecy, evangelism, healing, etc.

We took a short car ride and a 15 min sampan ride up River Rajang to the longhouse called “Rumah Ugap”. This is an older longhouse, only 30 meters from the riverbank and consists of around 8 extended families. A wonderful lunch awaited us, with lots of local vegetables, kampong chicken and even some local river snails (“my goodness!” says Charmaine).

In the evening we had a gathering of around 35 people. Raymond and Megan shared their testimony and Ming Fung gave the main message about being desperate for God. He used a very amusing analogy describing his desperate attempts to access the locked toilet in the middle of the night without a torch and (almost) uncontrollable diarrhea (thankfully he recovered quickly). I think they got the message!! Pastor Greman shared from his heart about his vision he has for the Iban people to rise up as a community. They constitute the majority of the people in Sarawak, yet are the second poorest group in the land.

At the alter call for healing most people came forward, in fact only 3 people were left sitting down. We praise God as a lot of healing took place.

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 6 July 2009, Monday

After a 5 hour long ferry ride from Kuching, we arrived at Sibu (Sarawak’s second largest city!), and we were met by the local Iban pastor, Pastor Sembilan. He and his wife Monica are from Sibu Jaya Baptist Church. Over the last 20 years, they have been evangelising and ministering to at least 100 longhouses within the 40 km radius outside of Sibu.

Monica brought Megan and Julie to the local market, where they purchased enough food for 30 people and for 3 meals! Besides contributing to the meals at the longhouses, this ensured that we had food in the event that we couldn’t stomach authentic Iban dishes! Monica was a real Godsend. She acted as translator, intercessor and friend to all of us, especially the women on the team.

Our first longhouse was called Rumah Salleh, a 30 min drive from Sibu Jaya. This was a relatively modern longhouse with a cosy looking veranda. Fifteen families lived there and the majority had become Christians in the last four years. The ladies got right down to the business of preparing dinner in the communal kitchen while the men chatted in the common corridor (ruai). Our contribution – rojak prepared by Megan!

Evening session: Ps. Sembilan led the worship and we sang in Iban. Some of the songs had very cute lyrics and melody e.g. “Sa-api begulai sa-ati… oh oh oh” (translation: let’s worship with one heart)! There also were songs translated from popular English hymns e.g. “I exalt thee”.

Charmaine shared her testimony before Raymond preached about our role as ambassadors in spreading the God’s Gospel of Kingdom on earth. This can be seen in the Lord’s Prayer, “… Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”. About 30 people came forward to ask for healing so we conducted mass healing that night. We also taught the spiritual heads of the longhouse to lay hands and command. One man was healed from deafness and another lady was healed from knee pain. For the past two months she had been unable to get up without help. But after prayer she was able to get up easily (this was also confirmed the next day). Many other aches and pains were healed, glory to God!

Our hosts were very keen to celebrate and to express their welcome that they brought out the TV! The men and women danced to traditional Iban songs; and the women in particular were eager to get Megan to show off some moves!

worshiping

worshiping in longhouse


Cute!

Cute!

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 5 July 2009, Sunday

The worship in the morning Sunday service was very vibrant and uplifting. Pastor Albert shared on vision and overcoming the ‘giants’ in our lives and ministry. We ministered to the wife of one of the church leaders. She went out in the Spirit shocking Deborah as she was praying at the time. Afterwards the lady shared (through an interpreter) that she had a great release from her burdens. We went for lunch with the pastors, rested and prepared for the evening healing rally which will happen tonight!

Tomorrow we are off to Sibu by boat accompanied by the local Iban pastor, Pastor Greman. Now the hard work begins! Gone are the hot showers and other condo comforts, welcome the mosquitoes, mud and wooden floors. We will visit two longhouses, which are home to around 20-25 families each house. People from the surrounding houses have called the pastor to ask if we are still coming! Some will walk for days in order to attend the gatherings.

There won’t be internet contact there but if there is a chance we will post a short blog after we reach Sibu tomorrow. Thanks to you for your support and prayers!

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 4 July 2009, Saturday

In the morning there was another Elijah Challenge teaching session. Raymond was called up impromptu to testify his previous experiences where the Elijah Challenge training was conducted in India for the local pastors. In this session we learnt how to free people from spiritual bondages, and also how to command for healing at a distance (when you can’t personally be with the sick person).

The teaching session was followed by a fantastic lunch cooked by the church members. We ate all types of local and Iban traditional foods, including fried fish, special tomato chilli chicken, steamed fish, cucumber leaves, some jungle fungi and two types of  belacan: one mixed with the seed from a large prickly fern (something like a barawang – very sour!), and another made with prawns, anchovies, chilli and lime (see photo: cooking Iban food).

In the afternoon, we were again blessed by a friend of Aunty Peggy, Michael Tan who showed us around the local markets, eating local mangoes, dragon fruit, green oranges and tiny golden bananas. To add to the tropical flavour, they got caught in a big downpour, and pictures of the flash floods appeared in the paper the next day.

In the evening there was a healing rally which was very well attended, over 200 people. At the end of the message, the local church members did the ministry and we were set aside to deal with the “tough” spiritual cases, but it seems that the local people were so effective we had very little work to do! We heard in church the next day that over 30 people testified to receiving healing, including two partially lame people, two deaf people and one lady could speak again after losing her voice for over two months.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 3 July 2009, Friday

We had a free day today! Most of us caught up on sleep, some swam in the condo pool, and we spent quite a while finding a valid internet connection to email the blog post! It seems internet cafes are not as frequent in this part of the world.

In the evening we went to the church to continue the Elijah Challenge Training with the local believers. We learnt about how to heal the sick using the authority we have in Christ Jesus. Not to pray but rather to command as Jesus has given us the authority and commission to heal the sick. A military illustration was used: if a commander teaches the recruit to go to war, and then when the soldier is on the front line of the battle line he doesn’t phone the commander and ask whether to shoot the enemy. Rather he just launches into battle as he has been trained. So too are we to exercise our faith to command the sickness or disease to leave.

After teaching they called people forward to be ministered to for healing. There were about double the number of the previous night, probably 30 people. After ministry there were very few people left who had NOT been healed. It was great what God did. The ministry from our team resulted in one lady being healed of gastric, one lady of back pain, another lady was completely healed of sinusitis, and one lady with neck, back, knee and something else pain etc etc.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | Leave a comment

Sarawak Mission Trip Diary – 2 July 2009, Thursday

Team members:
Raymond Seow
Julie Seow
Elijah Seow
Charmaine Beh
Deborah Ang
Megan Griffith
Ming Fung Yong

Our first impression of the “Land of the Hornbills” – orderly roads, modern shophouses and neat rows of terraced houses framed by mountains!

We left Melbourne in two groups, one transiting in KL while the other in Singapore. Our journey was not without drama – last minute ticket purchases and constant prayers that we would not be delayed by the H1N1 quarantine measures. Two team members had been experiencing flu-like symptoms in the past week.

Miracle no. 1, Kuching airport – When Charmaine and Deborah submitted our Health Declaration forms after ticking the box for “experiencing cough, etc. in the last 7 days”, the officer just muttered (behind his mask), “… Australia… ok, go”! We were not even asked to have our temperatures checked! Compare this with Raymond’s group, who were stopped for temperature checks despite being symptom free! Praise God for sending His angels to clear the way!

Elijah Challenge session 1
at Baptist Church of Christ, Kota Sentosa
Speaker: Ps. Albert Kang (The Elijah Challenge – Coordinator for Asia).

We visited the local Iban church led by Ps. Greman Ujang and were warmly welcomed by a large number of Iban youth. After a Spirit-filled worship session, Ps. Kang started teaching about restoration of power to the church in the end times as well as the difference between gift of healing and having the authority to heal. The audience learnt about exercising “kingly anointing” – to know that we have the authority, to be bold and fearless when healing the sick.

Deborah

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Sarawak Mission Trip 09 | , | 1 Comment