The mission trip has injected variety into the program, packed with activities that offered rich spiritual experience – prayer walks, ministry in villages, prayers for healing and deliverance, New Rice Festival celebrations, birthday party, luncheons with the locals and the bible students. Our host sister, Nancy, has even topped it up with some sides as pleasurable rewards for the team on a few days when pockets of time allowed – Elephant rides, coffee stops, local lunches and visit to the famous Singha Park and a quick stop at a souvenir shop.
God’s favour was upon us by blessing us with amazingly good weather. Contrary to the weather forecast of rain during the period, we did not have to face wet weather, save for one afternoon on 11 November during lunch in a village church. That made our rides and walks along mountain bumpy roads so much convenient and safe.
The programme was well-coordinated and our team leader, Daniel, whose strong leadership enabled the team to participate with incredible unity. Every day, Daniel & Megan briefed us on what was to come and ended the day with reviews and feedback.
Engagement & Interactivity
Engagement with the locals at the Akha Outreach Foundation (AOF) was plenteous. We were not hampered by the language barriers because God’s love and presence transcends beyond boundaries, race and culture. The interpreters were helpful to bridge the gap. God’s presence enabled us to deliver words of knowledge in ways that we could not imagine.
I recall I was praying for one Ahka’s woman and interpreters were busy with other prayer groups. God had impressed upon me about her spirit of heaviness and her plight of lacking in supply. As I laid hands on her and prayed in the spirit, tears kept flowing; and not only her but me as well! Later, when Nini (interpreter) joined us, I was able to speak prophetically about God’s provision for her and the family.
What most satisfying was the immersive experience I have throughout the trip. First, our prayer walks in the village was joined by a dozen bible students from the AOF. Most were either in their teens or twenties. Our prayer walk was greatly boosted by their powerful incessant singing of praises and worship. It paved the way, broken down walls, pushed back the darkness. The words that came to me then were “And the gate of hell shall not prevail against the people of God”, “And all the trees of the field will clap their hands”.
Another beautiful experience was the opportunity to be back-benchers watching the AOF leaders in their meeting. I was both humbled and inspired by the experience to pray for the leaders. At that moment, God has impressed upon me and I saw a vision of the latter rain on the AOF’s leaders in the room. Later during lunch with the leaders, each of us were given a publication entitled “Akha Rain” and I was astounded at how the vision gels so nicely with the title of the book!
Prayer is Key
One highlight of the trip was the constant prayers for the congregation, pastors, children and the villagers; nothing should take the place of prayer! I was greatly encouraged by the simple faith of the locals. Although we did not witness instantaneous healing, I believe God in His sovereignty will bring healing and restoration in His time.
We also became active participants by prayer walking around the village churches and the adjoining compound, praying through every block at the AOF’s premises – boys’ and girls’ dorms, assembly hall, House of Joy and the playground. We claimed victory over these areas and God’s anointing to fill every inch of the compound.
Celebrations and Food
We often read about celebrations, dancing and singing and feasts in the Bible. This came alive for us at the celebration of the New Rice Festival with the locals. It was a whole new experience for me to see the Akha in their tribal costumes lining up at the entrance to welcome our team. They brought their first fruits of the harvest – rice, grains, nuts, melons, ginger, pumpkins, and even chickens(!), placing them at the altar area of the church. Towards the end of the celebration, God impressed upon me the fragrance of flowers and petals from heaven falling upon the church.
Spiritual Experience and Transformation
Every day, God drafted me for something new and unexpected. Just as the locals who were ministered by us, I was also deeply ministered by them in return. Their spirits, love, and faith in God propelled me; I was experiencing spiritual transformation. Each night, after ministry, I went to bed feeling a deep sense of joy that could not be explained.
The hosts, Pastor Aje and sister Nancy, amazed me. They are great role models of true disciples of Christ, full of love and sacrifice, with a passionate heartbeat for the lost and disadvantaged. I was greatly motivated by their commitment to the Great Commission. This has spurred me to be a vessel of love for God, to minister to people in my community and to take up the challenge to go for the next Cornerstone Couriers trips in the near future.
THAI 01, 2017
Chiang Rai, Thailand
One week after Kingdom Invasion 2017, I suddenly woke up in the middle of my sleep, and I heard God’s gentle whisper in my heart, “Ask of Me… Ask of Me…” Without thinking, my half-dazed response to God was, “Ask for what, Lord? … Lord, I ask for NATIONS!” The verse Psalm 2:8 immediately rang in my heart,
“Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” (Psalm 2:8 NKJV)
In Psalms 2, after God notes the rebellious state of the world and ridicules their pride, He affirms Jesus’ Kingship and Sonship, laying out this grand Messianic promise for the great end-time fulfillment – nations will be reconciled to God and the ends of the earth will come to know Jesus as Saviour and King. This theme of “Nations for Your Inheritance” rings consistently throughout the Bible – the Abrahamic promise in Genesis 12:3, to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, and through to Revelations. God is knocking on our hearts, calling for our attention to His great promise for the nations. Are we responding?
The exciting news for sons and daughters of God is that we are seated “together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Guess what, God is inviting us to be a part of His plan in bringing the nations back to Him for His inheritance! We don’t need to sit on the sidelines with popcorn and soda, watching this great promise unfold, and miss out on the epic action. God is calling us to ASK, contend, play our part to evangelize, and disciple the nations alongside with Jesus! What a privilege and honour He is offering to us, His children!
Missions to the nations have always been the core of who we are at Cornerstone. Right from the beginning, God laid on Pastor Yang and Pastor Daphne’s hearts that Cornerstone is to be a missions-sending church. Over the past 8 years, through our flagship Cornerstone Couriers annual programme, we have sent almost 3000 people on over 400 short-term mission trips around the nations, reaching tens of thousands of people, preaching the gospel, praying for and healing people, training up leaders and encouraging various local ministries.
This year is no exception. We are launching our Couriers programme this April! You can be a part of Couriers, as we plan to send out more than 400 people on 51 short-term trips into 11 nations. You can sign up by visiting our Couriers booth after our weekend services, or online via missions.cscc.org.sg/couriers. You can sign up either as an individual or as a cell group. Be a part of contending for the nations, for Jesus!
Besides our Couriers programme, we are introducing 3 new mission programmes to deepen our missions scope in Cornerstone:
1. Builders: For mature Spirit-filled believers with a passion for nations. Sign up to be a Builder to a specific nation or ministry, join a core group of Builders, and commit to 1-2 short-term mission trips per year for the next 2 years. Come alongside our nation pastors and local churches to build and strengthen the local ministries, with the various ministry and practical gifts God has put in you. As you go on our Couriers trip this year, do seek God about being a Builder to a nation in 2018.
2. Apprentice: Formerly known as “Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Programme” (COVP). For mature Spirit-filled believers with a call to long-term missions. Go, serve in one of our local ministries in a nation, for a time period of 3-12 months. Learn from the local ministry leaders and experience what life as a full-time missionary is like. This is a key stepping stone to answering the full-time call to missions!
3. Heart: Calling all medical practitioners in Cornerstone – doctors, dentists, chiropractors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Go, bless the local communities through our short-term Heart medical clinics on the fields, alongside our prayer and evangelism teams. “Bless Santiago 2016” has been a successful example of the power of combining God’s supernatural and medical healings in community outreaches, where hundreds of people encountered and received Jesus while being physically healed at our medical clinics.
God’s nations call to Cornerstone is loud and clear, through Heidi Baker’s New Year message and the various messages over Kingdom Invasion of Singapore’s destiny as “Antioch of the East”. It’s time for us to get out of our nests and soar into the nations, to ask, contend and disciple the nations, for Jesus and His inheritance!
God is calling. Are we responding?
Cornerstone Community Church
The God of Small Things (Dental Missions)
By Joanne Hioe
You wouldn’t have guessed the person looking at your teeth, dressed in scrubs, would be half of a modern-day Priscilla and Aquilla – until you’ve met Jeremy and Ker Shin. This couple with the beautiful smiles love God, love missions, and best of all, they aren’t afraid to deal with life’s realities of head-on – such as pulling teeth.
Both dentists, who met at university (though they were not seeing each other at the time), regularly commit their time to serving God in the mission field through their professional skill – dentistry. Their willing hearts have brought them from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and most recently, to Santiago, in the Philippines.
“What impact can a short-term mission trip make?” ask many medical professionals, especially as one-time treatment for chronic diseases may do more harm than good. But for Jeremy and Ker Shin counter one question with another: “If I can help one person, why not?” Dental missions can still make a positive difference, the couple affirms, because what you see as a small investment may be of great help in the long term.
“There are people we serve in Cambodia who tell us that the last time they had a dental checkup was when we went one year ago,” said Ker Shin (possibly more often than many Singaporeans…).
Ministering as part of the larger body of Christ
For the duo, the experience of Bless Santiago was unlike any other. First of all, this massive team of 80 meant a greater capacity to reach out together. Unlike previous trips, where teams were sent out specifically for dental missions, Bless Santiago put the dental team in close contact with other ministries in the church. “The hands and legs team was amazing,” enthused Jeremy. “We only needed to explain what had to be done in the sterilization room in the morning, and by evening it was automatic.”
Each of the “body” complemented the other. With cross-ministry teams, the Singapore team could love the Filipino community in a holistic manner – body, soul and spirit. “Even while waiting for the doctor, the freedom ministry was on standby to pray for the patients,” Jeremy said. It helped to have the cheerful, irresistibly warm volunteers of the freedom ministry break the ice when a person in dental scrubs could appear intimidating.
In between moments of extracting teeth, there still were rewarding opportunities for dentists to minister Christ. “When we pray with them, we can share the gospel,” Jeremy said. Such spiritual deposits last longer than the effect of a checkup, because the person you share the gospel with will remember the work you have done later on, he added.
Going on mission trips helps Ker Shin rediscover her God-given passion for the profession – helping others, and education. “Going on mission trips helps me to remember the root of why I do what we do,” smiled the mother of two. Wanting to inculcate her passion for missions in her children, she is looking forward to bringing her elder six-year old daughter on a mission trip soon.
God is in the details – of teeth, children, and little seeds we sow for His kingdom. Nothing is too small for Him to use.
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”
– 1st Cor 3:6
What can I do?
Are you a dentist? Go! Given the technical expertise needed for dental missions, your willing hearts are most welcome.
You’re not a dentist? Don’t fret – there’s still much that you can do.
1. Public health. With training, you can teach others the importance of oral hygiene and tooth-brushing techniques.
Oral hygiene is not highly valued in developing countries because of the urgent need for money to satisfy one’s day-to-day needs. On one particular trip, Ker Shin found that tiny toothpaste tubes they bought were out for sale in the market the next day. With your help, we can put a stop to this, and make oral hygiene a priority.
Dentists need far more equipment than doctors, including their chairs and tools. Thus far, Cornerstone has been supportive of the purchase of dental equipment. With your giving, it could go even further.
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!