CAM 03: 3-11 Sept 2016
My team of five other members and myself landed in Cambodia on the 3rd of September 2016, which marked the beginning of a series of events that would leave an indelible mark on many of our hearts. Upon arrival, my team and I quickly took in the sights and smells of this new land before meeting the core leaders of a local church that Cornerstone is connected to for a prayer meeting. The prayer meeting saw a team of Cambodians eager to see God rain down upon their land. This got me excited about what would happen over the next few days; I was certainly not disappointed!
Our team of six people broke into two groups and went to different areas over the next few days; half of the team went to Solomon Independent School, and the other half went to visit Daughters of Cambodia.
Stella Kwan, a teacher on the Singapore team, was part of the group that went to Solomon Independent School. For three days, the team taught the students and trained the teachers. They also introduced Physical Education (PE) to them, which brought great delight to the little children. Being a seasoned school teacher herself, Stella was able to bring valuable insight as to how the school could be better structured so as to provide greater quality education to the children. While her contributions to the school were evident, Stella insisted that she was at the receiving end of the blessing. She recounts that “Phnom Penh has been a place of blessing; from having a cup of coffee while looking out into the green field, to hearing the sound of children strolling into class with their energized smiles. The children in Solomon Independent School are so naive and innocent, and are a grateful lot. They exuded a sense of contentment that was unfortunately uncommon in many Singaporean kids. I really enjoyed my time there with God in the midst of nature and also with the people of Cambodia, especially the children.”
While basking in the wonderful time shared with the children, the seasoned teacher was also able to quickly recognise the needs of the school and how Cornerstone Singapore could better assist them in the coming days. Stella noted that “while the Solomon International School has lots to offer, there seem to be many apparent and great needs too. For instance, while the teachers are doing their best to educate the students, they received little training, lacking the required expertise and knowledge as to how best to nurture the children using the existing resources. The brief time that I had with them made me aware of the need for a trainer to be on site during their school term for an extended period of time so as to better assist and support them in their teaching.” The work done in the past few days had undoubtedly improved the standard of teaching but we believe that more can be done and are excited to see how God will use this school in the coming days to touch the community.
Meanwhile, the other team visited Daughters of Cambodia, a ministry devoted to supporting those trapped in the sex industry of Cambodia, empowering them to walk free and start a new life. Those who were saved from the sex industry were given employment opportunities in their non profit businesses. Some of which included working in a factory that designed bags and handcrafts, and a café. I had the privilege of being a part of this team and to say the very least, it was one of the absolute highlights of the trip. For about four hours at a time, we would sit around and have the staff and volunteers come in one after another to share their prayer needs and praying with them. During the brief 10-15 minutes we had with each of them, Holy Spirit led the prayer, allowing us to minister to their hearts.
I was so excited when I heard what we were going to do because I have always wanted to release the heart of God to people accurately and see God move in the lives of the people around me on a consistent basis. However, when we finally got down to doing so, I had many fears about how it will turn out. And for as long as I felt the pressure to hear accurately from God, I simply could not do so, and it really frustrated me. Thankfully, I was soon reminded that the whole purpose of this ministry time is not about me releasing accurate words of prophecy, but about the people being ministered to and touched by the love of God. I have learned that at the end of the day, the goal is love and not performance.
That reminder radically changed my entire approach to the ministry time. Instead of focusing on receiving a word, my focus shifted to loving and caring for each person the same way I thought Jesus would. I began giving my fullest attention to each person I was talking to, and prayed for each of them by name. I realized that as when I chose to love and fully care for the person in front of me, the words naturally flowed. It seemed as though the temperature of love that I set in my heart was an ideal condition for God to put a small piece His heart in mine. Soon, I witnessed God touching the hearts of the people we were ministering to and healing their bodies.
One lady was healed from pain that she experienced in her ears for two weeks! Before prayer, she said that her ears would hurt whenever the wind brushed against her and that she would feel light headed and weak. After the prayer, she joyfully remarked that the pain had completely left her, no longer feeling light headed but she felt strength come into her! Seeing her face light up with such joy when she realized what God had done for her made me so happy! Another staff excitedly exclaimed that he got healed of a pain in his back that had been there for a long time. Many of the girls we ministered to shared with tears in their eyes about how the words that the team released spoke so much to them as it was the very thing their hearts were worried and concerned about. This experience taught me that love is really the foundation of the prophetic ministry; when we love, we will be able to move in sync with the God who loves, releasing the heart and power of God to the people around.
Jasmin Zhan, who was also part of the team who went to the Daughters of Cambodia ministry, felt that the time spent there was the most significant part of the trip for her. She recounted that “we prophesied, released inner healing, deliverance and the beauty of Jesus into their hearts. I was impacted by the hunger of the people who desired to hear from God with such simple hearts. It was an open heaven experience for me where impressions and visions from God just came one after another for His beloved children. I could not hold back the tears from rolling down my cheeks as I released God’s heart. I am thankful to God for being able to be His vessel that channels His love to my fellow brothers and sisters. This trip has taught me to put my confidence in God and not be afraid to walk in the supernatural.”
I am glad to share that through this trip, Jasmin was not the only one who had overcome the fear of walking in the supernatural. In fact, over 40 missionaries were trained and equipped to walk in the prophetic and to release the supernatural in their various spheres of life. My team and I spent the rest of our time in Cambodia with a group of missionaries from various ministries as we sat under the teaching of Pastor Dian who gave an in depth lesson about the prophetic and spiritual warfare. Through several sessions, many learnt about hearing God consistently and releasing the heart and power of God to the people around. The missionaries in attendance shared how grateful they were to have attended the training, and one of the attendees remarked that it was a wonderful, powerful and helpful session. During one of the sessions, all the participants were randomly grouped with people that they did not know and were asked to prophesy over each other. Many, including myself, received words of encouragement and were touched by God’s love. So many of us left the few days of training not just encouraged, but further equipped to do the work of the ministry.
We ended the trip back where we started – with the local church where Pastor Dian preached at the main service, where once again, many were encouraged and strengthened by the word.
Those few days in Cambodia seemed to have done so much in our hearts; learning more about the prophetic, breaking fear and other limitations that previously held many of us back from stepping out. There is so much that could be shared but suffice to say, I am so thankful to have gone for the trip and am tremendously blessed to have experienced and learnt what I did in my brief time there. Once again, what started as a desire bless the land of Cambodia turned out to have blessed me tremendously instead. God is just so good!
Compiled & written by
Cheryl Lek, Cambodia
Dinner with our COVP missionary, Josephine!
Training with missionaries in Cambodia
Tim, in Uganda through Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Programme, sent us a video of water baptisms from our Cornerstone Community Church Uganda. It is a joyful sight as these individuals dedicated their lives to the Lord and commit to Him wholeheartedly.
Thanks Tim for the encouragement! Keep up the good work!
Tim is currently teaching at our Bible School in Uganda.
Last month, we posted the first part of the interview with Tim as he shared about his life serving in Uganda as a missionary through the Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Programme (COVP). Here’s the last part of the interview as Tim shared about his own struggles on the field, his advice for long-term missionaries and what God is doing in Uganda.
Cliff: What are your struggles and how do you overcome them?
Tim: One of the things that quickly became an issue when entering the Lord’s service, as a missionary, is that He became my Boss. I know, I know, “He’s everybody’s boss” but you know what I mean. It came to a point where I had to seek Him for answers on different things I was dealing with here, and as a result, even though I was communicating with Him a lot, my intimacy with him wasn’t healthy. It became a “question-answer” / “daily briefing” session as opposed to an exchange of affection and love. He is always willing to offer it, but the issue here is whether we prioritise His answers and instructions, or whether we want His heart. I became a bit like a Martha when I really should have done most of my work from the position of reclining on His chest, like John the Beloved.
I’m still working on sorting this out to be honest. Prioritizing intimacy is something that takes time to build, maintain, and return to. In a non-romantic sense, I’ve found that intimacy is like a muscle. You’ve got to work at it, till the working turns to pleasure. It does with time, but the Lord isn’t cheap and the price of being His lover doesn’t come easily.
Pastor Henry (one of our leaders in CSCC Uganda) and Tim.
Cliff: What’s your advice for those who are seeking to be long-term missionaries?
Tim: Don’t go because you feel like it’s something you should do. Go when you feel like it’s something you must do, and if you don’t do it, you’re literally being disobedient. The call to missions, for me, wasn’t a tickle in my heart, a pondering of my mind, or toying with suggestion. It was a straight up instruction from the Lord which he confirmed several times through different people and circumstances.
If you’re seeking, but not sure, be faithful in what God’s given you to do so far. Do that well, let it bear fruit and let the Lord promote you to your next assignment. Being in a foreign country is as significant to the Kingdom as being the salt and light of the earth to the lost colleague you’re sitting next to in your office cubicle. Our job is to radiate Kingdom wherever we are, whether in Raffles Place or in Timbuktu.
If you know that you’re called, follow the protocol. Get under covering, approach your leadership, and WHEN the Lord confirms to them your call, be sent under covering. Ultimately, someone being sent to the field is totally in the Lord’s hands. If you’re meant to go, the only person who can stop you is you.
The local staple in Uganda: rice, matoke (yellow) and pumpkin with a beef stew. Matoke is made out of starchy banana. It is Ugandan’s traditional meal.
Cliff: Where do you see God working in Uganda, in your ministry and/or in your life?
Tim: Uganda is very different from Singapore. Over 80% of the population is Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant. The name of Jesus is emblazoned on every other taxi passing by on the road and every other corner shop selling odds and ends. “Jesus Saves Hardware”, “God is Good Groceries”, etc.
Beneath the overt Christian exterior though is a broken society. Let me give you an example. On my second day here, I found myself on a radio-show and the topic that day happened to be relationships and marriage. Almost EVERY CALL or text we got basically went along the lines of “I’m a born again believer but I am sleeping with my boyfriend. Is this wrong? Why? But I really love him…” Many people profess Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.
Christianity is gradually becoming an industry here, gradually approaching the state of the American nominal Christianity. People go to Bible School because that qualifies them for faith-based employment; there are tonnes of faith-based channels on TV and lots of prosperity preaching. I’ve heard that in some churches that the tithe goes directly into the pastor’s pocket.
I’ve been very encouraged to see that there’s a growing remnant of unknown preachers, men and women, young and older, who understand and preach the true gospel. Their heart is set on Unity and being a blessing to their community. They are known locally as the “Born-agains”. These people have their heart set on Jesus and their numbers are growing. I know that as long as they remain tethered to the Holy Spirit, that their ministry and influence will continue to grow, and that candles that have once been snuffed out because of religion will be rekindled again.
Now regarding my ministry and my life, God is preparing me and giving me a taste of the things to come. Teaching in a Bible school and the constant requests for preaching has forced me to put pen to paper and to develop teaching content in consultation with the Holy Spirit. Esther Boserup said that “necessity is the mother of invention” and I’ve found that to be true. He’s preparing me for life in pioneering work. The work that I’ll eventually be doing in the Congo (if my hunch is right) is both granular and directorial in nature. I won’t have the systems, processes and comforts of Singapore to help me in that. I’ll have to be dealing with drunken civil servants and bank-tellers who think they’re doing you a favour by giving you your money. It’s a different world out there. Uganda is a step down from Singapore, but a step up from the Congo, and I think God’s easing me into my eventual situation.
One of the things Tim, as a missionary, has to learn is to be a good driver as many of the roads in Uganda are in poor conditions.
Thank you Tim for sharing. Please keep him in your prayers as he minister in Uganda. For the latest update about Tim serving in Africa, you can read his blog at http://timuzungu.blogspot.sg/.
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
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
Alicia Chua was the first participant in the Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Program, spending about 5 months in Surabaya, Indonesia from 2011-2012. She recently made a return visit to Surabaya, and her observations are here!
In 2011, I made my first trip to Surabaya. Back then, I went there to serve under the Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Program (COVP). I remember being really excited but also a little nervous – it was one of my first mission trips and I didn’t know anyone there. I hardly knew what to expect, too. Fast forward to 2015, and almost exactly four years to the day I first left for Surabaya, I flew back there for my fourth trip to this place I have loved like home. In comparison to my COVP stint there, this experience was quite different.
One major difference is the relationships that I have built with the locals over the past few years. While I was once a stranger in an unfamiliar place, I now know most of the people serving in the ministry. This gives me a lot more flexibility when planning my trips, especially when deciding what activities I want to do. At the same time, becoming familiar with the ministry during COVP allowed me to discover which areas I enjoyed serving in most. During my last two trips to Surabaya, I was able to focus mainly on spending time with the children, which is always one of my main reasons for going back.
Another difference is that during each subsequent trip, I am always able to see how the ministry there has grown. It never fails to amaze me when I look at the work that God is doing there and how he is working in the people’s lives. So far, each time I have gone back to visit Surabaya, I find out that they have a new community outreach program. This growth is something I would not have been able to appreciate as much if not for the time I first spent serving under COVP, and it is truly a privilege to be able to be even a small part of that work.
If you are considering serving under COVP, I strongly encourage you to do so. Be it in a place you’ve been to before or to somewhere new, it will definitely be a rewarding experience. If you’ve already been somewhere under COVP, I would encourage you to go back to visit. There’s something different about going back to a familiar place, somewhere you’ve served before, somewhere you’ve built relationships. It is a mission trip experience quite unlike COVP or Couriers, and it will definitely show you a different side of the local ministry.