Thoughts Along the Way – Reflections from Thailand and Indonesia
Dan Hitz is the director of Reconciliation Ministries. This article is a reflection of things the Lord spoke to his heart during a 2013 missions trip to Thailand and Indonesia. The lessons learned can be applied to many aspects of our journey through this life.
My recent missions trip to SE Asia was a tremendous blessing. Both the participants and the ministry team members were strengthened and encouraged during the recent leadership retreat for the Indonesian Living Waters teams in Jakarta and the Living Waters national training in Bangkok, Thailand. A team of nine foreigners from the US, UK, Canada and the Philippines ministered to 26 Living Waters leaders from various parts of Indonesia. The theme of the conference was “Connection, Reflection, and Integration”. The participants were blessed by teachings to heal, equip, and help them connect at a deeper level with the Lord and with each other. Team members also received personal prayer ministry focused on removing obstacles between them and the Lord. From Jakarta, we flew to Bangkok for the Thai National Living Waters training where we were joined by other team members from Canada, the Philippines, and Thailand. There were over 50 participants at the training from Thailand, Southeast Asia, and beyond. The Lord moved deeply in their hearts for personal healing and at least 22 leaders were released to leadership positions on Living Waters teams or to coordinate their own programs. Those who were not released to leadership positions may have attended the training for their own personal healing, or may need additional healing before being ready to lead their own groups. The participants were taken through the main points of the 23-week Living Waters program in a single week. They received deep healing through the large group ministry times and through their eight small group sessions. The work that the Lord did during this intense week of training will continue to bear fruit not only in the lives of the participants, but also in the lives of their families and those they minister to in the future.
I kept in touch with the Reconciliation Ministries intercessors via email throughout my time in SE Asia. One of the intercessors posted that it seems like this trip has impacted me more than my past trips. While every missions trip is different with its own impact, blessings, and challenges; I have noticed some significant differences on this trip. I initially shared my thoughts with our intercessors group so they could see on a deeper level how the Lord answered their prayers. I also wanted to share my thoughts in this newsletter so you can see an example of the deeper issues the Lord works in our hearts beyond the obvious tasks during missions trips. I would encourage everyone to prayerfully consider going on a missions trip at least once in their lives.
More than any other trip, I knew that the Lord was specifically sending me on this one. Unlike the other trips, my heart was not burning with an intense passion for the people or the mission. Contrary to how that sounds, it is actually a good change as I'll explain. I do have a love for Thailand, and the Thai people have a special place in my heart. I realize my Heavenly Father is calling me to step into a deeper level of maturity to do what I do out of a deeper relationship with Him and because it is the correct action to take in light of eternity, rather than being led by good, godly passion, emotions, or excitement. He is calling me into a season of deeper learning from Him as my Dad who loves me, and He desires to teach me from His heart as a loving father teaches his son.
In light of that, I can look back on this trip and see some wonderful things He has done. It was a blessing to reconnect with some old ministry friends from Thailand and meet many new ones in both Thailand and Indonesia. It was a blessing to minister in each country and see the Lord touch many hearts. I did many things well. I also made a few minor mistakes which were an opportunity for learning more about the culture, ministry, and more importantly, myself. I was corrected with love and compassion which provided the opportunity to grow. I have a deeper appreciation for the men and women who have poured out their lives in a foreign field and have learned many valuable lessons through the years.
I also noticed another deep personal change during this trip. Most of my life I’ve wondered – maybe even focused – on the future. What is the next step God has for me? During this trip I found myself enjoying the present. It was a joy to simply “be” during my days in SE Asia. The Lord is calling me to quiet my heart, observe Him in the present, and lean on Him for the next step of my journey.
It has been a joy to share this journey with you. Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support that made this trip possible. I wish I could say that I will be posting many pictures on Facebook like I usually do. That was another change this time around. Some members of the team minister in restricted countries and need to be careful about their pictures and information becoming too public. I hope that this letter gives you a glimpse beyond the visual to see how the Lord has answered your prayers and touched the hearts of many. I am thankful in how He has touched mine.