I call it a rare occasion because the truth is, it was a miracle in itself that both me and my husband can be here at all !
About a year ago my family received an invitation from our competitor who will have a re-opening party for his company. Personally I think this invitation is just a formal announcement to us that our competitor is still a live so I don't think we need to go at all, but my father insisted that we should go if not they will consider us as snob. So here we went, my father, my husband and me.
What's going on there between us and our competitor was not a big deal. Every thing's fine. But when we were there we met Pastor Philip Mantofa who was the preacher in that party.
Just for a background story. Philip's older brother was my classmate in Secondary School and I have met Philip around that time but only for a brief moment when he happened to accompany his older brother to school.
A year ago, my husband who just moved to Indonesia for only a few months has not met a person who he can speak in both Mandarin and English well. So it was very interesting to him to talked to Philip because Philip can speak both languages well. And that sparked his interest to get to know Philip more and to see what Mawar Sharon Church is like.
Around the same time when my husband started to ask me to take him to see Mawar Sharon Church, we were already members of SIC ( Surabaya International Church ), an English speaking church that was lead by an American pastor name Tom Wheeler. Since I am a loyal person, I am not comfortable to leave our current church. To be honest, since the beginning, R already told me that his ultimate goal is to join an Indonesian speaking church. He believes that for him to be able to survive well in a country, the only way to go is by learning to be a citizen of that country. It means, he needs to go to Indonesian church, to hang out with non-Taiwanese people here, to absorb Indonesia's culture, to join local organizations ( now he belong to many organizations already ! ). He said he doesn't need to improve his Mandarin or English anymore, what he need is to be able to speak and listen and hopefully write as well Bahasa Indonesia. His aim is very high, he refuse to learn the local way of talking ( more rough Javanese language/slang are use in Surabaya than the formal Bahasa Indonesia ). He wants to learn the formal Bahasa Indonesia. I can't blame him, because even back in Taiwan, he make sure that he is able to speak and write the formal Mandarin. He cares about his vocabularies very much ! Not like me.... well.. you know what I mean, don't you ?
Anyway ... for the next 8 months , every times he mention about his wish to go to Mawar Sharon Church, I always gave him many excuses, one of my excuse was we don't know when Pastor Philip will preach in the church. So far it works until one day I found that Mawar Sharon just placed an advertisement on the newspaper to tell the public that tomorrow Pastor Philip will preach. Well..... there goes one of my excuse. Since I promise to be honest to my husband, I could have not shown him my newspaper since it is in Bahasa Indonesia, but I did show him the ad. then I tell him if he still wants to we could go to Mawar Sharon tomorrow to hear Pastor Philip preach.
The next day when we arrived at the church since we never been to that church we were a bit confuse on deciding where we want to sit. R pointed at one corner, so we went to sit there. Unknown to us, Pastor Philip came out from that corner. He walked pass us, then suddenly he just stopped and look back at us and smile. I bet at first he did not recognize us. So he walked again but he stopped for the second time and this time when he looked at us, he did remember this Taiwanese man that he met a few months ago at a party. But because he has to preach we did not have time to talk. But after he preached, and he has to pass our corner again to get out from there, he stopped first to talk to us. The first thing he said was " Our church is going to have a crusade in Taipei, why don't you come with us? I hope you can come ! I can give you more information about it, why don't you find me in my office downstairs? ".....
Well .... what can we say. We were caught off guard. When someone asked us something point blank like that we tend to say yes. So we went downstairs to see him in his office and right then he said that actually he is not to sure ( maybe someone remind him of this fact ) if we can still come because the registration was closed but he can give the travel company a call. I gave him my business card so he can tell me if he already has the news.
The next day or so, the owner of the travel agency called me to inform me that at the last second a couple suddenly canceled their reservation and that's why we can go because now she has 2 openings out of 60 people who will go to Taiwan. Later she testified that the couple that canceled was our competitor .... what kind of coincidence was that? The reason why we were in the Mawar Sharon Church that day in the first place was because of the invitation that we received from that competitor. She said God is good, He doesn't want her to loose money so when the couple canceled their reservation, right after she hung up the phone with them, Pastor Philip called her to ask her if it was possible for 2 more people to join the tour group to Taiwan. To show that God has a sense of humor, He makes sure that the second couple who will replace the first couple is from the same industry. Perfect !
But there was still one more consideration, because they have to leave very soon, we did not have much time left to apply for Taiwan visa. This is where another "coincidence" happened again. If you have been reading my blog for at least a year, you will know that I go to Taipei at least once a year and because I never go there again in less than 6 months, I always apply for a single entry visa, it's cheaper that way. But last year, R insisted to get me multiple entry visa. More expensive, but now it came in handy. I am ready to go anytime. So I asked the travel agency owner to just do it and send me the bill. She asked me again how am I going to pay. With US Dollars or Rupiah. I said it doesn't matter, I have them both in my hand right now. Just made the reservation and I will send her the payment right away.
Even until we were in the airport, we still could not believe that we are going to Taipei. We did the packing in a rush. We did not expect the weather will be colder than the usual. It was 6 degrees Celcius in Taipei ! Brrrr.... here I was with my spring sweater !!!
The schedule is very tight for the next 3 days. Every day we got waken up for breakfast at 7 AM. Then proceed with the local tour first until 3 PM. We only have 2 hours to rest before we have to go to the crusade location.
Since we were the new kids in this group. When one of the guy name Rudy ( ehm ! ) asked me if I want to help in any way. I just straight out tell him that I am here to watch. I am bad. When I told R about this he called me chicken. Fine then... I go back to Rudy again and reported to him that pleaseeee gave me the lightest job. He told me I help in the atmosphere prayer team. My job will be just to walk around to pray for every chair in my section. Hmmmm that does sound light to me. OK then ....
By 5 PM, we were off to the crusade location. It was located at NTU stadium on the third floor. Right on the second floor, to my dismay, I saw there was a big show for anything to do with Tibet Buddhist god of money. At first I thought this is not a good sign ....
Once we were in the location, we went straight to our designated location and start walking and praying for every chair. To be honest with you. This is our first time to do this and we feel like a fool. We understand why we need to do this, but everything feel so awkward to us. But we obeyed the command so even though I personally feel funny ( I bet R felt the same ), I tried to concentrate and prayed. Even though I don't have much faith in me having a faith bigger than maybe an atom, but I did sincerely wish that everybody who would sit in those chairs will either receive Jesus or be healed. I felt so bad at that time because I am worry if they did not get either one because of my lack of faith when I prayed !
By 6 PM they opened the door to let sick people come in first. I was surprise since the beginning because even though I went to many crusade but every time I went, I was always the visitor who just came to watch. I am healthy and I am already a Christian. So usually I was there just to feel good I guess...
This time I get to experience a crusade from a different point of view. The DOER, the WORKER. Not the receiver .
When the sick people came and sit. I thought now half of my job is done. What was left for us to do was to pray constantly while we sit. So I was very surprise when people around us ( we sit together with the sick people ) started to tap at our shoulder and asked us to pray for them. To be straight with you. I freaked out! I was so scared ! I can't even speak their language for goodness sake !!!
To make things more scary. None of their prayer request are light. I was hopping for diseases such as flu, headaches, etc. Instead, they asked us to pray for a wife who laid in coma for the past 2 years, liver disease from a mental patient, jeeeezzzzz .....
In my group there were 3 other people beside me. My husband off course was one of them and then a mother with her already adult son. None of us have any experience on serving in a crusade. So when we were surrounded by people who need our prayer. The unthinkable happened. Me, remember? The Chicken ? This big chicken was voted to be a leader. Can you believe that? These 3 other people in my group just look at me desperately and just wait for me to do start praying !!! What choice do I have ? If I refuse or wait, it will look bad on the people who has asked us to pray right? So I just tried to stop myself from shaking and just start praying in English so my husband can translate into Mandarin .... Again, to be honest I don't think my prayer worked at all but later I saw the mental person stood next to the stage, waiting for his turn to testify how God has healed him. .... Well.... I am sure someone else must have touch his head and pray after me .....
Honestly I was hoping I can hide or escape. The most important reason was I seriously think that by being there I think I became a liability. Not holly enough, not religious enough, maybe my faith's size is not even bigger than an atom. But I could not escape, and the more I prayed the more sad I feel because I pitied the people that sat in my section. Maybe none of them could receive any miracle because of my stupidity ( or ours ). I started to feel very compassionate about them. Yes, I still want to run away and hide, but no, I decide to stay and pray for them regardless what the result may be. I couldn't stop my tears too because I really really really wish them to be saved and healed. I think all four of us feel the same. All of us suddenly start to feel compassionate to Taiwanese people, especially the one we saw that night. They really need our prayers, but most of all they need Jesus.
By 7 PM, the crusade began. We sang. Then by 8 PM, Pastor Philip start to preach until 9 PM.
From 9 PM till 10 PM, people who are already healed and then already been examined by the doctors there to certified that these people are truly healed and then who wish to testify the miracles started to make a line up, waiting their turn to go up to the stage to testify. They were suppose to form 2 lines. One on the right side of the stage and one more on the left side of the stage. But there was no space for them to make a neat straight lines so everybody just have to squeeze in.
It was amazing to see how many people was healed that night from all kind of diseases and more. There are many people who came in with their 2 legs were not at the same length ,but they came home no longer walk with a limp because now their 2 legs are at the same length. I saw many people who came with a cane, a walker ,or with a wheelchair but they came home free from them. I saw many people who can't hear and came home with perfect hearing. I saw some people who came with their back hunched but then they came home walking proudly straight and grateful. More people came home free of cancer. More people came home saved. The list just keep on and on...
When they choose to name today event " A Festival Of God's Power ", they weren't kidding . God really put on a massive display of what He can do to people NOW.
It was an understatement to say that most people who came in that night have their mouth hanging open wide too amaze to say anything. Some are crying uncontrollably. Understandably. Some possessed people were exorcised and they are set free from any evil. The whole arena was filled with noises of people shouting, crying, laughing, and singing. It's unbelievable!
On the first day of the crusade we came home around 10 or 11, I forgot. All I still remember was we came back to our home totally blown away by what we have saw. We were so tired because the flight we took to Taiwan left Surabaya around midnight and we arrived around 6 AM. Most of us couldn't sleep in the plane. I just dragged myself to bed and before I can say my prayer " Thank you Looooo...." I fell asleep.
The next day we went to hear Jaeson Ma preached at the same NTU stadium. His preacher is so enlightening. He taught us how to pray for healing. Don't say " Father in heaven, if You allow, please heal ... and so on " but instead say with authority and faith because God has given us the power to heal. So we should speak with more authority, " With the power of Jesus Christ, I command any evil that cause cancer ( name the disease, be specific ) on this man to leave and never comes back! ". He told us that before he had no faith at all but God can still use him. At first all He needs from us is for us to obey. You can be scared ( like this big chicken who type this story ), you can be faithless ( like Jaeson Ma was and this person who is telling you the story ). It doesn't matter. As long as we obey his command. Then He will do the rest. Just pray, and He will take over from then.
To demonstrate it to us. He invited a lady whose one leg was shorter than the other to come up to the stage. Then he invited all the cameramen to come very close and do a close up on her legs. He took of her shoes. Let everybody can see that yes, her one leg is about 2.5 cm shorter than the other. Then he started to pray with authority that only can come from God. Then he command the shorter leg to grow longer until the same length with the other leg. There were 2 giant screens right next to the stage and both of them was showing us in a very close up way that her leg slowly grew until they are perfectly match in length ! What will you think or feel if you are there in that room just like me and witness this miracle happen right in front of your eyes?
Then Jaeson Ma prayed so that Holly Spirit will pour down His healing power on us. When Jaeson Ma yelled. " Here is another anointing from the Holly Spirit for the people who stand on the right balcony! Receive your blessing right now ! ", then Jaeson wave his hand to that direction and suddenly a lot of people who stand at the right balcony just dropped to the floor totally filled by the Holly Spirit. One of them is our group member, a young girl. Later she told me that all of a sudden she just fell down and did not able to move for the next 2 hours ! She finally able to stand up again and she felt so peaceful and she said she wants to have that again!
Jaeson Ma seminar was suppose to last until around 1 PM, but with people laid unmoving on the floor everywhere, the seminar has to be extended until around 4 PM. God is good though, everybody started to be able to move around 4 so that they can go out of the building, that way we can get ready for tonight crusade. Right on time !
That evening was our second day of the crusade. If you think what else can I say here to make you even more amaze, well, let me tell you that I have more to tell for sure...
When Pastor Philip is not on the stage, he will stay in his hotel room to pray and his closest friends would bring him food for breakfast, and lunch. What happened that afternoon in his room was, God spoke to him that many people who came to the crusade came because they expect Philip to heal them. Not God.They came because they want to see him do magic ! So God said to Philip to rest because tonight is HIS night. God will do something that will make people can not say anymore that they were healed by Pastor Philip. Can you guess what God did to Pastor Philip?
He took Philip voice.
Even Philip was very surprise when suddenly he couldn't speak at all ... Like in the movie when the hero suddenly able to speak when he is on the stage. Well ... this is real. This is not TV. So the answer is still NO.
Pastor Philip went up to the stage unable to even say a word. He stood next to his translator and all he could do was just hand over a piece of paper saying what God told him. Since he couldn't speak, he could not preach and he could not sing. The only thing God wanted him to do for the second night was that to make sure that everybody from the ground floor to the second floor to be connected by holding hands. The team has figured out how to keep the chain on hands unbroken. The ushers already stood at the stairs and they become the connector between people at the first floor with the second floor.
Some of us who are his supporter just started bawling because some of us thought that evil has won the battle. But Philip reassure all of us through his hand writing that being read by the translator that this is God's will to show people that He IS God !
So Philip wrote to the translator that from now on we can continue on our own. He asked the song leader to lead us in a song while all of us holding hands. Let me make it more clear. Pastor Philip Mantofa did NOTHING , but GOD DID something BIG. When we started to sing together, all of us in that room can just feel that the Holly Spirit started to touch every single one of us.
From all around the room, I can hear possessed people started to scream horrible screams because the evils that possessed them couldn't stand to be in the presence of the Holly One. I can just feel the hair behind my neck started to stand up.
At the same time, there was a man right in front of me that was possessed as well, he suddenly started to twitched, shake uncontrollably, and then not long after that he just fell down and move like a snake!!! That was pretty scary. By the way.... that man has scary eyes!!!! Yikes !!!
All of a sudden the lead singer was filled by the Holly Spirit and he just fell down to the floor and all of a sudden we were leaderless. Right then God restored Pastor Philip voice and he can speak again, so while the song leader was laying on the stage, Philip lead us to sing and without doing anything else, the number of people who were healed started to grow more and more. All we do is just sing.... isn't that amazing ??? And God DID the rest ....
Again, HE just wants us to obey.
If you think about it. You won't see Pastor Philip specifically pray for everybody. In fact the crusade helpers ( like me for instant ) who laid our hands on those sick people so they can be healed. Do you believe me now that God can use even faithless people like me who was so scared and wish that she can hide somewhere ? It was true then what the scripture said that if nobody wants to serve the Lord, He can even use the rocks that lay on the ground to serve Him. Obviously this cute girl who is typing furiously on her desktop while her husband and her son snore loudly behind her back is better than a rock ! Did I mention as well that the time now is 11:19 PM ? I am on fire now to testify how great is my GOD !
This crusade was broadcast on 6 of Taiwan news channels. They even made a skit of Philip doing a miracle like in Saturday Night Live.
If you become more curious about Jaeson Ma, you can go to Jaeson's Journal.
And if you want to hear more on Jaeson Ma's own testimony on why he called that lady to go up the stage you can click here .
If you are curious to find out more about FKA ( Festival Kuasa Allah ), the crusade organization in Indonesia. You can click here.
If you are curious to find out more about Mawar Sharon Church in Surabaya. You can click here.
Here are the pictures that I took at the crusade. I did not know at that time that I wasn't allowed to take pictures. Someone finally came to tell me not to take any more photos.
On the last day of the crusade even though it was already late, we went to see Cindy Jacobs preaching. Later, Jaeson Ma himself laid his hands on us ( only around 12 or 15 of us ) and prayed for us and to some of us, he prophesied. One thing in common, he said that we will do more crusade in Taiwan more and more and Taiwan will be our second home. I say Amin to that ! Now I have more reason to buy an apartment around Taipei 101, haha !
On a more personal note, I would like to add my own testimony here. For some of you who have been reading my blog you may know that I almost died when I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. Even though miraculously I am still alive and well, I had a problem with my bladder because when I gave birth to my girl, I had a complication called Placenta Percreta. There are 2 definitions that I found from internet to better explain about what Placenta Percreta is all about.
"Placenta Percreta is a placenta that attaches itself through the uterus, sometimes extending to nearby organs, such as the bladder."For more ultrasound photos of Placenta Percreta you can click here.
"Placenta percreta, the worst form of the condition and occurring in 5-7% of cases, is when the placenta penetrates the entire myometrium to the uterine serosa (invades through entire uterine wall). This variant can lead to the placenta attaching to other organs such as the rectum or bladder."
Since the day when my baby girl is born until before I went to Taipei for this crusade almost every week I will have a urinary problem where I will feel like I need to go to the bathroom but I can only producing just a trickle of water. This problem has been bothering me for the past 2 years. When I was still in Canada, all my doctor can do was just giving me an antibiotic for urinary infection. But I don't want my life to depend on antibiotic so since I came back to Surabaya, I never again take any antibiotic.
Because I was overwhelm by the crusade, not once when I prayed for other people I had the time to stop and asked God to heal me from my bladder problem. For some reason I was more concern about other people health problem than my own.
But like what everybody has been telling me that the scripture said when we stopped to think about our problem, and start to think/concern about other people's is when God will think about our problem.
Unknown to me because I have never asked God to heal me. I am healed and I wasn't alone. My other friends who came with us to Taiwan also healed even when they did not ask to be healed.
God kept his promises.
I am going to continue this story to what happened when we were not at the crusade .... here we goes ...
GOD GIVES US BROTHERS AND SISTERS
When we moved to Surabaya, I asked God to bless us with 3 things.
- A church that can help us grow in spirit.
- A church where our talents can be use to maximum. I believe that God gives all of us talents and unless we are starting to bear fruits by our talents He will gives our talents and give them to somebody else who can use them better.
- Good friends, I specifically asked God to make sure that the husband will be my husband's best friend and the wife will be my best friend.
Let me introduce you all to my new brothers and sisters ...
Say hello to Mr. Rudy, Mrs. Fajar, Mr. Adrian, and Mrs. Lely. Hi guys ! I knew you are reading my blogs too now !!!
Except with Fajar who I get to know later in Surabaya because she couldn't come with us to Taipei. The five of us get along great. We get a long so well until some Taiwanese asked us if we were old friends. We said no, we only knew each other for 2 days but since we are all God's children we can get along so well so quickly.
Since the tour company wants to make sure that everybody happy. Beside the crusade, we get the chance to do a city tour everyday. So it was quite amusing for R because he got the chance to be a tourist at his own hometown, and for me, I enjoyed it too because I would like to get reacquainted again with my old Nikon ( I miss you old friend! ). To be honest, my hands are a bit rusty with the camera, but that's why I need to play again with my camera.
We also get to go to some gift stores. As you know, if you go to a gift stores with your tour company, most likely you are paying an exorbitant price for something that most local only pay half of it. But what can you say because time is so limited when you are on a tour. So if you like it and you can afford it, just buy it. There won't be second chance to buy it most of the time. I bought some Chinese dresses for my little girl but I couldn't find my son's size. Too bad. I bought 2 Chinese style tops too. This is my first time to own this type of clothing and according to R, I look nice on them ! Yes !
Because our new friends knows that if they want to know Taipei faster, they have to hang out with the native, in this case is R. So when we came back to the hotel at 10 PM, R's private tour just started until around 2 AM !
We went to eat at the night market. I love to introduce to our new friends the beauty of Taiwanese cuisine. Not long after that, you can see our new friends' hands are full with food. Right hand holding my favorite caramel strawberries on a stick, and their left hand busy holding BBQ corn, hahaha.... sweet on their right, and salty on their left ! YUM !
The crusade actually was only for the first 3 days, but half of us ( 30 people maybe ) chose to stay longer for various reasons. The other half went back to Surabaya.
On our last day together we went to Danshui fisherman wharf to eat good Taiwanese food at Red Castle 1899. For more photos of the food you can visit my recipe blog. Click here.
But before we split up, we had the chance to bring some of our new friends to eat at Jagoya. The famous all you can eat buffet restaurant at Warner Bros Building around Taipei 101 area.
So we moved to my parent in law's home. They were quite surprise and happy to have us visited them. Especially now is still Chinese New Year's week. My mother in law directly busy teaching me a new recipe and she wants to make sure that I came home 2 kg heavier.
Even though we already move in to my in law's home. We still manage to meet up with our new brothers and sister. We even took the Taiwan high speed rail together for the first time to go to Kaoshiung. We met up at the Grand Station in Taipei . The trip took about an hour and a half.
All the way to Kaoshiung, we never stop joking around until all of a sudden we already arrived in Kaoshiung.
We went to the biggest mall there, ate noodles, try the ice cream, and shopped. The mall is quite nice but our time is limited so we couldn't see all.
Pic : The biggest mall in Kaoshiung
Then we went to the famous Love River to see the light show with some dancing, but there were way too many people so we only stayed for a short time. Then while Adrian and Lely stayed in Kaoshiung. Rudy, Richard and me went back to Taipei. And then soon it's time for us to meet again at the airport on the way back to Surabaya.
Just for fun I also posted these pictures below that I took at the airport on the way back to Surabaya.
Pic: I took this photo with the intention to show it to our son.
Red Castle 1899 (達觀樓), 6, Lane 2, Sanmin Street, Tel: +886 2 8631-1168, . A colonial building sits on the hillside, built in 1899. This is the best view cafe in Danshui. They serves both Western and Chinese dishes. The entrance is just east of the Mackay statue, atop a hill reached by 106 stone steps.