Can’t head overseas on a mission trip? No problem. Missio Dei Harvest continues to bring the power of God into the homes of those in need, from Myanmar to Indonesia.
By Melissa Koh
Isaiah 43:19 reads, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The works of God cannot be stopped, not even by COVID-19. During this pandemic, many people are cooped up at home, fearing the virus and its impact on their lives. But there is a special group of people still reaching out to others: the missionaries of Missio Dei Harvest.
MDH is the missions ministry of City Harvest Church, and before COVID, they used to send out mission teams every week to churches that are affiliated or associated with CHC. Many of these churches were started or are run by graduates of the School of Theology.
MDH trip leader Alister Ong, 26, told City News that MDH had to go online when COVID-19 cases started increasing and country borders started shutting out travelers. Trips to partner churches —like GKB Eklesia in Malang and Community Harvest Church in Surabaya, Indonesia, and Myanmar Harvest Church in Myanmar—that had been planned a year ago could no longer happen.
While it is not possible in this season to travel to another country unless it’s strictly business, with God all things are possible, including bringing the key elements of a mission trip to the overseas churches.
It was during a Missio Dei Harvest online leaders meeting that Pastor Tan Kim Hock, the pastoral oversight of MDH, shared two verses from the book of Isaiah. “Arise, shine; For your light has come!” reads Isaiah 60:1-2. “And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.”
This was the word that sparked off the ministry’s forage into mission trips online–to arise and shine in the midst of darkness. “We were not sure about how it was going to work out,” Alister shared. “But we received the word and we prayed about it. Our heart is for our partner and affiliate churches, to be there for them in good times and challenging times, to let them know that we are keeping them in prayer. They are also experiencing a new normal, so it must be very challenging for them too.”
The first of these online mission trip took place in April during the Circuit Breaker. Since then, the ministry has seen God move mightily through them.
HOW AN ONLINE MISSION TRIP WORKS
“Online mission trip” sounds like an oxymoron, but Missio Dei Harvest believes that, just as in the book of Acts, the healing power of God does not depend on the physical presence of the believer praying for a cure, but by the Word and the anointing that come only from God. Working with churches the MDH has a relationship with, these “mission trips” happen through Zoom—and yes, God heals through Zoom.
There are two elements to an online mission trip: the house visitations and the church service. During the day, a team of 15 to 20 MDH members in Singapore gather on Zoom from their own homes to pray, while the pastor of the overseas church conducts house visitations. Using two handphones, because a number of the homes they visit do not have wifi, the pastor would speak to the home owner, and share prayer needs with MDH. A MDH leader in Singapore would then lead prayer for the home owner, over Zoom.
Shirley Chew, a MDH member, attended one such online mission trip in June and witnessed a miracle. “We prayed for a 91-year-old grandmother who could not see through her right eye. Before praying for her, one of the MDH leaders, Philip Chew, asked why she wanted to see more clearly.” Her reply was that she needed a clear vision to read her Bible.
The MDH team was deeply moved by her answer. “As we interceded for the restoration of her eyesight, healing started to take place and she was able to read verses Isaiah 53:5 and Psalm 23:4,” says Shirley. “In this miracle healing, what inspired me the most was her love for the word of God. She makes me want to spend more time reading the Bible!” This was one of the two healing miracles that took place in Myanmar that day.
NO PHYSICAL BARRIERS TO GOD’S HEALING
A week before the home visitations, the team gathered for an online prayer meeting and God showed Christine Toh, 42, a vision of a man who was unable to walk and who was in great pain. She kept that vision close to her heart, praying and fasting.
On Jun 20, Mang Thang, the senior pastor of Myanmar Harvest Church visited the home of two church members, while hosting 24 MDH members over zoom. When the pastor turned his video camera on, Christine saw the man, and her heart was filled with expectancy that God was going to heal him that very day.
“When Philip (Chew, an MDH volunteer) was praying, I was full of expectancy for the man to be healed. But the man and his wife were sad, gloomy and lack of faith, they couldn’t even lift up their heads,” Christine recalled. “When Philip asked me to pray for the man, I felt as though I was there in their home. I felt like I could squat and touch his leg, but the vision was a white bright hand and I knew it was God’s hand that touched the man’s leg. Just as I was about to “get up”, I sensed God say that He was going to fill their storehouse and He wanted the man to walk without his clutches. I communicated this, and I was so glad that the man was willing to try to walk without crutches and I was blessed to see his wife stepping forward to help him receive his miracle!”
“The man, Bo Huo Mang had met with an accident on his motorbike, broke his leg and had to rely on crutches to walk,” adds Shirley. “As we kept praying for them, they began to open up, and healing started to take place.”
“We just kept praying and believing that God’s healing would come in Jesus’ name. After 15 minutes of intense praying and confessing God’s promises, the man began to move and walk around the house with minimal support from his wife,” wrote Jeffery Teo, 28, in his report of the mission trip. “The Lord reminded me that He is omnipresent and omnipotent. We may be a thousand miles away from Myanmar, but we can still be useful vessels for Him if we just have faith in Him!”
“More than physical healing, there was a restoration of hope in their lives,” Alister added. “Many shared that after hearing the sermons during the service, faith arose in them. We could see the countenance of the members change even through Zoom, especially after sharing the word, when they were prayed for and during the altar call. There was a radiance in their faces; they had become more joyful.”
The church members overseas may be blessed with healing and encounters, but the members who participated in the online mission trips were greatly ministered to as well—as Proverbs 11:25 says, “He who waters will also be watered himself“. The members in Singapore who were on this mission trip felt their faith arise because of how God moved among His people. Indeed, God’s healing hand knows no distance.
Airlines may have stopped operating, but the work of the Lord must continue. God is not limited by physical distance nor geographical locations. Indeed, if the Lord healed people using Peter’s shadow and Paul’s handkerchiefs, surely He can do something new in this situation to meet the needs of His people. He is a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.