The Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Program (COVP) has two candidates that will be going out to the fields in the first half of 2016. Timothy Weerakesera will be heading to Uganda for 10 months, while Serene Tan will be spending almost 3 months in Miri, Malaysia. Tim left for the mission field earlier this week, while Serene will be going out in the month of April. Look out for more updates on their experiences right here on the Missions Blog.
Timothy & Serene
We recently conducted a two-week training course to prepare Tim and Serene for their time on the field. They received training in many subjects, including missions strategy, cultural sensitivity, and acclimation to life as a missionary. The training included live teaching, reading, and also videos, with interactive sessions with experienced missionaries. Tim and Serene also completed studies of great missionaries from the past, as well as a nation study of the country they are going to, and gave presentations on these topics. Moreover, they met with different departments in Cornerstone to learn how they can more effectively serve the local church in specialized areas in their country of attachment.
The entire time of training was capped off with a time of Holy Spirit empowerment, where our CSCC pastors laid hands, prophesied, and prayed over Tim and Serene.
Prayers of Empowerment for Tim & Serene
We thank God for the commitment and willingness that Tim and Serene have to serve, and look forward to the great stories we are going to hear of their time on the field! If you are interested in joining the COVP and going on the mission field for a period of three months to one year from July 2016 and beyond, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Missions Department with Tim & Serene
Reflections of Couriers Trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 3-7 Dec 2015
“If God’s love is for anybody anywhere, it’s for everybody everywhere.” – Edward Lawlor
IND 06 Missions Team
Complete with gorgeous street art and lush beauty, Yogyakarta is the heart of Java’s finest arts. Despite the modern outlook of the city, it is highly rich in culture and tradition. It attracts many aspiring students all over Indonesia who would flock here for their higher education. For that, Yogyakarta is known to be an intellectual and cultural hub of the Javanese.
As a team of twelve, we are sent to Yogyakarta for a five-day trip. There are three main objectives: ministering to the young leaders, establishing support to the churches in the region, and helping CSCC Yogyakarta to reach out to the lost in their Christmas service. Arriving on Thursday, 3rd December, we were briskly introduced to Ps Sarlin and Ps Yan of CSCC Yogyakarta, and had a hearty lunch with them along with the key youth leaders.
Fellowshipping with Ps Sarlin and Ps Yan – with great Indonesian food!
It was indeed a blessing of the Lord to be able to serve in the mission field, as God began to show us a glimpse of what He was doing in the nations. For an instance, it was evident that God had released a sweet anointing of praise and worship in this nation. Here, people highly valued their praise and worship to God. It is not uncommon to break into songs throughout the service and the tangible presence of God was perpetually felt in each worship segment. Due to such a powerful anointing, it was effortless for us to flow in the Holy Spirit to worship God in unison, despite the language barrier. We held an expectant heart, waiting for God to move in this nation.
On the first night, we went to a new believer’s house, and Regena shared on the ‘Glory of God’ to the leaders of the church. With an emphasis on forgiveness, it was truly a ‘Rhema’ word, as many seeds were sown on that night. It was later discovered that one of the members had serious difficulties with forgiving his family members, and the message that was shared had allowed him to find peace to move on.
On the second day, we went early to Mt Kaliurang to minister to a Bible college, followed by a campus meeting in that evening. During the campus meeting, Shu Shan delivered a powerful message on the ‘Presence of God’, and the Holy Spirit broke out mightily in the room. Students responded to the message and desired to be ministered by the presence of God. Many began to weep uncontrollably, with some even breaking into tongues. This was an unprecedented event, as most of the students are orthodox Christians, who had never experienced a manifestation of the Holy Spirit before. The God of the Bible ceased to simply exist as merely ‘head knowledge’ that night. It was through their brokenness, they each received a personal touch from God.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” – Psalms 34:18 (NKJV)
We started the third day, splitting into three teams to minister to some believers in their household. It was an impactful session, as there are several testimonies that were shared to us. There were three exceptional highlights:
Chikoon, Yinghan & Zhengyu ministering to believers in their homes
A new believer shared how she was domestically abused by her husband before having a relationship with God. Upon becoming a Christian, God changed the couple’s hearts. Even though he is still a Muslim and has yet to accept Christ, he is slowly being influenced and has regularly been attending church. The change in the husband has been so noticeable and he has become a better husband to her: even to the extent of addressing her as ‘honey’ often!
A believer was unable to control his digestive tract and to worsen matters; the doctors could not detect any physical anomalies in him. Believing that he was stricken with black magic, we prayed for him and he immediately felt relief in his body. In addition, we prayed for his wife, who had a hearing problem in her left ear. Instantly, heat was felt on that very ear, and she could also hear a constant blowing of wind. Truly, our Lord is indeed Jehovah Rapha, a Lord who heals.
Lastly, there was a church leader who had lost her husband 8 years ago, and was stricken with financial difficulties. She had to take care of her brother, who was suffering from a stroke. Despite the problems, she inspired us with her positive and steadfast attitude to the Lord. Even though her brother was not healed as we prayed for him, he started tearing. We believe in faith that hearts were softened and God is going to do something miraculous in their lives.
During the fourth day, we spent the afternoon preparing for the Christmas service that night. During the Christmas service, we sought to expound the goodness of God over mankind by sharing a testimony and sermon. Despite the language barrier, God moved mightily and seven people responded for the salvation call that night. It was an amazing night where friendships were forged and seeds were sown on that night.
Candle Lighting Ceremony – One of the highlights of the Christmas Service
As we departed for Singapore, we could not help but stand in amazement at the goodness of God in this nation. As we blessed, we were blessed in return as well. Indeed, our hearts were changed and impacted by God, and we continue to believe that CSCC Yogyakarta would grow to be a powerful voice to the nation.
Praise God for such a fruitful trip!
Written by Gary Low
It’s Friday again! And this is a continuation of our missionary’s call to pray for her field of harvest, to learn to persist in keeping the vision of the harvest, by beginning to serve in her home Church, and to prepare her bosses for her eventual departure. The missionary also emphasized the need to develop strong relationships with her Church leaders as they will be integral to her success on the fields. Learning to listen is a vital skill and posture to have on the fields. However, just as important as listening is our need to open up our lives to one another.
Some people are great listeners, but never open up to share their own life. This is an unnatural conversation as well because, sooner or later, the person you’re talking to will begin to feel like it’s a counseling session. If you can’t be open with people, you will never be able to connect with them in a meaningful way. So get comfortable with opening up your own life to others, even ones you don’t know that well. Because your personal testimony is almost always the thing that leads others to Christ! It is a sacrifice to make yourself vulnerable, but with God’s help it’s possible and so effective. For example, because of my past in overcoming depression, I was able to reach several precious people in my target country who had dealt with the same thing. One new believer told me, “I used to feel like I was being put into a box inside a box inside a box. I could physically hear the locks clicking. Now (after calling on the Name of Jesus), it’s like several boxes have just melted away!” Praise God! So listen and also don’t be afraid to share your life with others!
Here is a message from our missions pastor as we step into the new year; to remind ourselves of the privilege of what it means to partner with God for His glory in the nations. If you would like to know more about what God has done through Cornerstone in the past years, you can view the missions report.
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be in ministry. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be a pastor. I grew up with a godly family in a good church and I always envisioned myself serving the Lord. However, one thing I did not want to be “when I grew up” was a missionary!
I imagined missions to be a life of terrible drudgery, away from the familiarity and comforts of home. I thought of missionaries as being people of great, solemn sacrifice, who surrendered all their joy and happiness in order to reach the fields. I admired their sacrifice but never wanted to be the one who had to follow in their paths! For me, I thought I would be quite happy to pastor a church in my hometown.
Imagine my surprise then, when at the age of 20 and while attending Bible school, I realized God was calling me to be a missionary. After several months of struggle, I submitted to God’s calling and told Him that I would go as a missionary, thinking that I was signing up in obedience for a “death sentence” of pain and separation. I have since spent most of the last 17 years in Asia, living in India, the Philippines, and Singapore, and ministering in countries around the world.
The great discovery I have made in these travels is this – the life of a missionary is not primarily one of sorrow, but one of delight! I have had a tremendous time on the mission field and don’t for one second regret the choice to obey the Lord. Yes, there are great challenges to face in missions (and many missionaries face far, far greater challenges than I have), but the joy of the Lord is our strength, and He gives extra grace and takes special delight in those who leave their homes for the sake of the Gospel. It is not primarily a burden to be involved in missions, but it is a privilege. God chooses and enables us to be part of His great harvesting force!
Isaiah 52:7 is an amazing Scripture: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” The thought behind this Scripture is of someone who is going with a message, who is carrying good news from one location to another. God declares that those who go with the message of the Gospel have “beautiful feet.” The Gospel makes your feet far more beautiful than any pedicure ever could! Declaring God’s salvation in the nations is a privilege that He has given to us, and we should always rejoice in our opportunity do so.
There are people around the world who need the message that we have. God is waiting for us to reach these people, for us to make our feet beautiful through our acts of love, words of truth, giving and prayers. What an amazing opportunity God has given us to be His hands and feet – He didn’t choose angels to preach the Gospel but gave that privilege to us!
Not everyone reading this is called to full-time missions, but all of us are called to be involved in missions – building the Kingdom of God in the nations of the earth and reaching the unreached with the truth. Never let involvement in missions be something you do out of a sense of guilt or obligation, but let your missions participation be something you look forward to with joy and gusto. I am so thankful in my own life that God opened my eyes to the truth of missions, and has given me a part to play in all that He is doing through Cornerstone in the nations. My prayer is that each of you will also make this tremendous discovery – God wants you to have beautiful feet, and you are given the opportunity to serve Him in the nations! Take the opportunity and run with it, with thanksgiving in your heart!
Pastor Cameron Walcott
Cornerstone Community Church
Here is Samantha’s reflection on her Couriers trip to Myanmar on Dec 1-8, 2015.
It was not until Pastor Yang preached a message on Missions during one of the Sunday services that a fire for the nations got freshly rekindled in my heart. It acted as a timely reminder of my dream in going to the mission fields to film documentaries. It was like an “ekballo” call and my heart was stirred to go forth and make an impact in any ways I could. So off to Myanmar, I went.
The nature of the trip was to minister to churches in Yangon, visit orphanages and the villages. One thing that impacted me most was the visit to the orphanages. One could not stay satisfied in one’s love for God after coming into contact with their simple and child-like heart towards the Father. It definitely challenged me and birthed a new desire in my heart to come back to the heart of a child, in pure simplicity. There was something they carried with them that portrayed their assurance as a son and daughter of the one true King and it was truly heartening to see how the Father was restoring orphans back to Himself with His love.
I was very humbled when the children in the orphanage came to pray for us, some with tears streaming down their faces. It was a very memorable time for me when their unfiltered authentic prayers were uttered. Although I could not understand what they were saying, I genuinely felt such love flow through them to me. It was a very special moment indeed.
I remember my team and I coming together before the trip to prepare our hearts and to sow in prayer. The one thing we wanted to do was to give nothing short of our hearts to bless, serve and love the people there. However, on the flip side of the coin, we were on the receiving end. We definitely received more than what we could give and one of which was the simple and childlike-ness the children taught us. It was definitely a fruitful experience to witness what God is doing in the hearts of all people in the nations. “This is the best time to be alive” and I can’t agree more to that!
By Samantha Sng
It’s Friday again! And this is a continuation of our missionary’s call to pray for her field of harvest, to learn to persist in keeping the vision of the harvest, by beginning to serve in her home Church, and to prepare her bosses for her eventual departure. The missionary also emphasized the need to develop strong relationships with her Church leaders as they will be integral to her success on the fields. Today, we’ll consider our need to learn to really listen.
Good listening is the key to every relationship. This is especially true on the mission field, where there is already a communication barrier because of language/culture. So while you’re at home, learn to connect well with people by listening. Learn to really listen. Put down your cell phone. Don’t cut people off. Force yourself to slow down and follow respectfully even those who speak more slowly than you. Give feedback such as “Yes,” “Mmm,” “I understand what you mean.” Look at them in the eye. Practice reading body language. Know when to repeat and when to stop talking. The way you communicate (not just what you say) can be a powerful witness to love of Jesus in your life. Learn to love through listening.
It’s Friday again! And this is a continuation of our missionary’s call to pray for her field of harvest, to learn to persist in keeping the vision of the harvest, by beginning to serve in her home Church, and to prepare her bosses for her eventual departure. The missionary also emphasized the need to develop strong relationships with her Church leaders as they will be integral to her success on the fields.
Any time someone is sent to the field, it really involves the whole church. And for the church to get behind you, you must have leadership support. If you are not close to your cell group leaders/pastors, you should begin to build those relationships. One of the best ways is by serving in church. But you also must be willing to be open with them about your own life as the relationship grows. Many people are scared to connect with leaders, but they are just people too. And most will appreciate your treating them like a normal person. Think of how you can give, not just what you can gain from the relationship. And pray for them and their ministries as well. You will find God doing a work to knit your hearts together. And when the time comes for you to go out, they will be there for you. Most importantly, they will lay hands on you and commission you, like in Acts 13:1-3.
Caleb and Evan Walcott (8 and 6 years old, respectively) just returned from a mission trip to Miri, Malaysia. They were accompanied by their parents, their little sister, and one of their favorite “jie jies,” Sarita. They visited CSCC Miri, led by Pastor Sabrina Low. If you enjoy this article, you can also read Caleb’s blog post from last year, when he visited Surabaya, Indonesia.
I had a great trip to Miri, Malaysia last week. My family and I went to the church, Cornerstone Miri, and to a village called Rumah Ampik.
I felt happy on this trip for many reasons, such as getting to see the church there. When we went to Rumah Ampik, we gave sweets to the children at the Longhouse. They were so happy to receive the treats. We also had a great time fishing. I caught a catfish and a tilapia! I will never forget going to Rumah Ampik.
Another thing I will always remember is seeing my Yee Yee (Aunt) Sabrina (who is the pastor of CSCC Miri). We went to two services, Saturday evening and Sunday morning. In the services, I played the guitar and sang “O Happy Day”. When I was singing, God strengthened me a lot by helping me not be nervous and helping me to overcome fear. It felt great.
Daddy preached about rising again when you fall down. The next day, he spoke about the blessings of obedience. People got prayed for after the messages. I think they were all blessed.
My brother Evan was also on the trip, this is what he experienced:
Evan: “I went swimming in Miri and to Rumah Ampik. The hotel was very nice and I got to see my favourite Yee Yee (Aunt), Sabrina. Daddy preached about obedience.
I saw a lot of poor people in the village. I wanted to be kind to them so we bought some snacks and sweets and gave them out to the children in the village. It was very fun there and the church was awesome! I also went fishing and caught a super giant catfish. It was a great experience! I hope to go to Miri again!”
I would highly encourage everyone to go there, because it was a wonderful place and it is great to see God working in other countries. You will learn lots of values if you go to Miri. I had an awesome trip! I feel like God is changing Miri by touching the people there.
By Caleb Walcott
It’s Friday again! And this is a continuation of our missionary’s call to pray for her field of harvest, to learn to persist in keeping the vision of the harvest, by beginning to serve in her home Church, and to prepare her bosses for her eventual departure.
Just as it is important to set and manage expectations of how long you could serve in your home Church, the same principle goes for the workplace. You must prepare your bosses that you will be leaving, and plan strategically so that someone can cover your roles. Some people are concerned they might not be promoted if they tell their boss they won’t be there forever, but being honest in this area will also help keep you accountable to really go. And it’s only fair to them. My boss appreciated that I prepared her long beforehand. She also had me write a manual of how-to’s for everything I did! But it helped – later I had to do the same for the ministry in Thailand. Your testimony in your workplace is a part of your ministry as well. This also applies to your church pastors and overseers. Prepare them.
It’s Friday again! And this is a continuation of our missionary’s call to pray for her field of harvest, to learn to persist in keeping the vision of the harvest, by beginning to serve in her home Church.
Luke 16:10 was the verse most often quoted by my mom: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.” Of course, she was referring to making my bed but the principle was there – I had to complete many small tasks well before the Lord could entrust me with work on the mission field. So I learned to be (mostly!) faithful in my chores at home. I also volunteered at my home church. Since I was interested in helping children, I took a job as the children’s ministry intern. It was the most boring thing I’d ever done. Most days were spent alone in a room copying coloring pages and vacuuming the carpet. I wanted to quit after the first week, but my mom encouraged me to stay, probably quoting Luke 16:10! So I completed one year. During that time, I also taught Sunday School to 3-year-olds. I remember after one lengthy discourse on Noah, complete with felt board storytelling, I asked them all who built the ark. “God,” one cried out. “Jesus,” another offered. “She bit me,” a third one wailed, pointing to a cherubic blonde with a mean bite. My official recommendation at the end of that year was that 3-year-olds stay in the nursery.
In additional to Sunday School, I was a student leader in the youth group, and I helped out with various events in church as needed. I enjoyed being with people and learning to serve. The relationships I built and the skills I learned during this time were truly priceless. However, one thing to remember is that while serving at your home church first is important, it is good to manage expectations of how long you can serve. From the start, you should let people know your intention to go to the mission field, and you should always be training others up to take your place.