Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Salvations and Dean Sherman and Miracles Oh My!

Me and Dean Sherman
Hello again from Hong Kong everyone! I hope that this newsletter finds you all in good health and in good spirits! I have been working hard studying about God’s work in Asia and researching the Unreached People Groups I’m so desperate to reach during my School of Frontier Missions (SOFM). Let me assure you that what I am learning is not only breaking my heart for Asia, but encouraging me that God’s will can be accomplished! So far I’ve written 2 Book Reports, completed 10 chapters of an intensive mission methods study book, and finished the first half of a profiling portfolio on an Unreached People Group. Our SOFM community has been growing closer and more trusting of each other, and we’ve truly felt the Holy Spirit fill our classroom! To know and trust that Jesus is blessing us in our work and that He is pleased with us pushes us to go forward in our desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled. God has been using my quiet times with Him to give me encouragements for the future and to remind me to just rely on Him, something that I am learning to do more - I am loving it and I am loving Him.
We were blessed enough to have Dean Sherman come back to Hong Kong this summer. Dean has become very well known in all of YWAM for his teachings on Spiritual Warfare and Relationships. He taught for a week during my DTS, and this time he talked to the SOFM about stronger Spiritual Warfare. He taught about how it is our unresponsiveness to the enemy’s attacks that stop us from going to reach the people of the world who have not yet heard the Gospel. He is such a wise and well-spoken instructor, and having been with YWAM for 42 years, his extensive knowledge on this topic, which amazingly he accredits all to God, was invaluable. His teaching style not only opened our eyes to Biblical truths about spreading the Gospel, but he teaches in such a way that I left his lectures feeling as though I should have already known the things he spoke on. The key to Dean’s success as a teacher though, is his humility, which I experienced firsthand when I sat with him twice during his stay for lunch and just listened to his opinions on topics such as Houses of Prayer and the Old Testament Israel. To have such workers as Dean among YWAM is truly God’s blessing.

My SOFM classmate Michael and I met a Chinese man in our village named Andes. Through a couple of conversations we’d discovered that he was a very bitter man, having lost a child to abortion, and impregnating a woman who was not his wife. However, he was interested in what Michael and I believed, and we were able to introduce him to Jesus. On our third visit, Andes accepted Christ as Lord, and we explained to him about how Jesus loved him, his now ex-wife, his daughter, and newly born, illegitimate son and his son’s mother. I also felt that God wanted Andes to know that his unborn son was now waiting for him in heaven, and that made Andes cry. Michael and I really felt the Lord’s guidance that evening and we really saw a change in Andes’ life. I praise God for introducing me to Andes so that I could introduce Andes to God! On the way back from this meeting though, the enemy struck against me, and my wallet was lost on the bus! I didn’t notice until hours later, and I knew that God was my only chance of finding it. So, after cancelling my credit card, and making a few unsuccessful phone calls, I just began to worship Jesus, and He reminded me that in this line of work, the enemy tries to discourage us in whatever way he can, and that I need to be willing to experience loss in order to experience great gain. I realized then that Andes’ life was worth way more than anything in my wallet, and I praised God for considering me worthy to suffer for the Gospel! The next morning, the bus driver returned my wallet with everything in it, untouched. Not a thing was missing! This is so rare in Hong Kong, and it was such a miracle from the Lord!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Updizzly Dates

Hello again from Hong Kong everyone! I hope that this newsletter finds you all in good health and in good spirits! I have been working extremely hard trying to keep up with all of the assignments I’ve been given during my School of Frontier Missions (SOFM). There is a lot of hard work involved, but so far I’ve loved every minute of this school. I’m learning so much about missionary work, and there is only more to come! I’m also growing an even bigger heart for Asia and an especially big heart for the Chinese people. I’m excited to see how God will use me here in Hong Kong and what it is that He is truly about to show me in the coming months! I’ve also been jumping at a number of opportunities to share with others about what kind of work I’ve been doing, visiting churches and house groups throughout Hong Kong. I’ve even done some ministering over internet chat and phone calls. It’s been great to know that God is still using my recent adventures to reach out to the people He loves so much, and what an encouragement it has been for me to know that my time on my DTS Outreach was not only beneficial for me, but for so many others!

We held a baptism service on June 26th after our Friday morning worship time, not something I’d experienced with YWAM up to that point. I was really enjoying listening to the different peoples’ testimonies and witnessing them make their commitments to the Father, when God started to speak to me about my baptism in 2005, and how I’d fallen away from him not long afterwards. While I was meditating on this, our base directors Joe and Nancy invited anyone who felt like God was calling them to be baptized to come up and do so. Three people lined up, and I began to pray to God in repentance for how I’d dirtied the appearance of my baptism by falling into sin for as long as I had. And he answered me back. He said, “Well, you could always go wash it off...” and as soon as I heard that, they made one final call for anyone who wanted to be baptized to come forward. And so I did, bringing my mentor and close friend Harold with me. After giving a brief testimony of what was literally the conversation I’d just had with God, I made my recommitment to my loving and gracious Father, and was baptized by Joe and Harold! It feels so good to be committed to Jesus Christ!
On one of our last days of DTS Outreach, my Ministry Partners Manuel, Ryan and I were doing some university evangelism. We were waiting under a lychee tree, where we met a guy named Edward. Edward was very open to talking about Jesus, and after getting to know him over a couple of days, he came to accept Jesus! After Edward made his salvation decision, Manuel, Ryan and I suddenly found ourselves very busy and it wasn’t until the very last day of Outreach that we were able to meet with him again and do some discipling with him. When we met him for lunch that day, he came packed with questions about the Bible, about God and about Jesus, all of which we were more than happy to answer. We also taught him about the importance of thanking the Father for the food he provides for us, how to hear God’s voice, and spent as much time as we could just encouraging him and pushing him to press into God as much as possible. Edward felt the desire to bless us that day as well, so he paid for the four of us to go bowling together, and we had an amazing time together, and I recognized during that time that it was actually a way of worshiping Jesus with Edward, by rejoicing with each other in a Godly fellowship. At the end of the day, we sat together in a park and prayed for Edward, getting a few Scriptures and encouragements for him. And then he floored us! As we were about to leave, Edward started praying for Manuel, Ryan and I, and it was one of the most touching prayers I’ve ever heard! Edward truly did receive the blessings of God, and was only too happy to start sharing them!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

God's Smuggler: A Review

I have to admit that I’ve never truly considered the emotional value of a copy of a Bible before reading God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. Sure, I’d pondered the spiritual value of a Holy Book; it is after all the Word of God. I spent a great deal of time thinking about the price of one of these treasures, continually taking one off of the shelf, then putting it back on, trying to decide whether or not the thirty Canadian dollars was actually worth the price of a pocket-sized New International Version translation. But after reading about Brother Andrew’s adventures behind the Iron Curtain smuggling Bibles and living entirely on the faith of the Lord, I’ve come to truly realize how blessed I’ve been. Reading this page turner revealed to me the importance of trusting in God, the true value of a Bible, and that God can take anyone of us, no matter the size of our sin, wash us clean and use us to glorify Him.

God’s Smuggler follows Brother Andrew from his time as a rebellious child in Nazi occupied Holland, to his time as a soldier in the Dutch Army fighting in the Indonesian War of Independence, to reading his own Bible, to hearing God’s voice, to becoming a missionary behind the Communist Iron Curtain. Brother Andrew’s testimony of how his mother desperately wanted him to read his Bible and how it took her death to actually get him to do it was heartbreaking and raw. His adventures and friendship with his pet monkey in Indonesia was a touching display of how this bitter young man truly had a love for all of God’s creation even though he himself did not realize it. And perhaps most poignantly, God’s Smuggler reminded me of how God can take a man who has literally fallen as far away from God as possible, not entirely unlike me, and can him into a powerful worker for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.

There were many atrocities in the War of Independence in Indonesia. There was massacre upon massacre, Dutch soldiers were getting killed off left, right and center and Indonesian civilians were taking the brunt of it. Brother Andrew writes of a time where he saw a village-dwelling mother and child, drenched in blood, killed by the same bullet. The break in his heart was so strong that it cracked his mind, and for his remaining time on the Indonesian front, Brother Andrew wore a bright yellow, straw hat instead of his regulation camouflage armoured helmet. This man was desperate for death, having seen and caused so much of it himself. He turned to booze, to women, to anything. And of course, nothing filled the hole caused by the hurt. The damage was done. And in God’s special way, instead of being killed as he had desired, Brother Andrew was shot in the foot, and transported home as a rejected soldier of a defeated army coming home from an inglorious war.

It was during his time of rehabilitation and searching for a future that Brother Andrew started to read the Bible his mother had given him, and over the course of a year it finally sank in, and he committed his life to Jesus. God didn’t hesitate to put his calling on him, and within another two years Brother Andrew had been called to missions, done his own missionary work at a Dutch chocolate factory and moved to England for missionary training. It was at this mission training facility, known as Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (WEC) that Brother Andrew learned to live on faith. Depending on what he calls “The Royal Way,” Andrew would always be in complete trust that God would provide for him from something as simple as toothpaste to something larger like school fees paid by their deadlines. He gives one testimony about a homeless friend of his who had come looking for him for the same amount of money that Andrew had been waiting on. As they were talking, there on the ground was the one British shilling they were both hoping for and what only Andrew could see. Instead of keeping it for himself however, he gave it to his friend, knowing that God doesn’t need or want us to be digging around in the dirt looking for extra change. He’s going to provide for us!
This would not only prove to be an important lesson for Andrew to learn as it would be the way his entire ministry would be funded and run, but it is also an extraordinary example set in front of those of us also living on faith. Money is an easy distraction, something that the worldly kingdom depends on entirely. It is easy to get discouraged or to even lead ourselves off the path that God has laid out for us, or to not even start walking along said path just because we feel like it isn’t something we can afford.
But therein lays the solution.
The truth is that a lot of the situations God has called us to probably are things we personally cannot afford. But God loves us right? When you’re in charge of a project or you’re a supervisor at you’re job, do you charge your workers the expenses of keeping your project or your store or your whatever running? Of course not! It becomes your responsibility because you are in control. The same goes for God. To quote Pastor Sam Song of Solomon’s Porch Church in Hong Kong: “If its God’s will, its God’s bill.” The beautiful thing about that is that God is the creator of all things, and therefore is the creator of money, and therefore will never run out of money because it’s all His. In trusting in the Father, we will be provided for as His children, so stay in accordance to His will and there is nothing to worry about! Brother Andrew’s life story is a testament to this fact.
Sometimes, when living on faith, we might be waiting for more than just money. Especially as Christians, because we know that true life doesn’t just come from food, money, things. No, we’re actually living off of the Holy Spirit and His guidance. Our personal times with God can keep us refreshed for the entire day, sometimes more. And one very powerful way to seek the Lord’s guidance and encouragement is through His Word; through The Bible.
But what if we didn’t have a Bible? I know that I personally probably wouldn’t be able to keep my faith as strong as it is right now without easy access to a Bible, because it’s not only a way for me to seek the Lord’s guidance, but I also receive a lot of encouragement through this book not only from my own time reading it but through Scriptures that others have read to or over me. After reading in God’s Smuggler of how Brother Andrew discovered the desperate need for Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, I realized that this was actually a weakness in my faith; because I’d been taking for granted the fact that I could read my Bible whenever I wanted.

The story that truly hit it home for me was when Brother Andrew was in a Russian controlled Ukrainian village near the Hungary border, and he was visiting a Baptist church there. When the pastor got up to speak, he first stepped down from the pulpit to borrow a Bible in the congregation to read from! After the service, Andrew met with this pastor and they had devotions. After a reading of the borrowed Bible and Andrew’s Dutch Bible, the pastor, in a broken and quiet voice said, “You know, Brother, I have no Bible.”

I was floored and heartbroken after that. The reason this pastor didn’t have a Bible of his own was because it was illegal for him to have one in the Communist Soviet Union. Fortunately Brother Andrew had one to give to this man, but the telling of this story did not fail to open my eyes to the importance of the Bible and the equal importance of not taking for granted how blessed we are for having such easy access to this amazing Book. It has stirred in me the desire to bring Bibles as gifts to people in all nations who are either in short supply or have none whatsoever, whether because of the government or because of poverty or because of whatever reason. The reason behind someone not having a Bible is much less important than the need it is for anybody who wants to have a Bible to read to have one. My eyes have truly been opened to this, and it is in my prayers and on my heart to become a Bible transporter like that of Brother Andrew and so many others. I just want to see God’s people have an easy access to God’s Words.

The thing that makes sin so terrible is when we realize how much we’ve actually sinned. It is so easy to believe that we’re completely unredeemable, that we’re too dirty, that our lives are worth nothing because we’ve fallen so far away from the Lord and now even He can’t reach us. But of course, this is one hundred percent untrue.

The first four chapters of God’s Smuggler tell the tale of Brother Andrew’s time as a rebellious youth pulling pranks on Nazi’s and as a twenty-something soldier fighting in Indonesia’s War of Independence. Through out the entirety of these four chapters, Andrew confesses his denial of the Lord, seeing how his faithful mother suffered with illness her entire life, and how he had become bitter towards God after the death of his already suffering, mentally unwell older brother. Upon witnessing the atrocities of war, Brother Andrew became obsessed with death, and with survival of skirmish after skirmish after skirmish, he would turn to anything that could distract him temporarily, i.e. alcohol, women, drugs, you name it. It took an injury and the divine will of the Lord for Andrew to lie in bed and read his Bible and upon doing so, after a marvellous revelation of what was actually done on the cross, received the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

In his early years as a Christian, Andrew was called to the mission field, experienced miraculous physical healings and even lead others to the Lord. He was accepted into missionary training, graduated from WEC and immediately began work behind the Iron Curtain, countries pressed down by the Communist Regime. Over the course of the rest of his life, Andrew experienced God’s hand and God’s love for His people, and literally did whatever he could to bless them and help them. Brother Andrew’s testimony is a shining light for all Christians and for me personally, a person who, in no way as extreme as Andrew’s, experienced bitterness and anger and sadness towards God. But if God can take someone who fell as far as Andrew did and turn him into a missionary truly living the adventure of Jesus, then surely He can do the same, if not even more, with someone like me. And that rule applies to all.

God’s Smuggler, in all of its excitement, its heartbreaking or touching moments, or its amazing miracles, is truly just a story of a simple man living an extraordinary life because he gave it all to the extraordinary One. There is nothing ordinary about God; He’s a supernatural Creator, with a heart for all of His people. If we’ll just give it all to God like Brother Andrew did, then amazing things can happen through us, for us, to us. If we just wait on the Lord, listen to His voice, trust in Him and do as He says, then maybe one day we too will write a book as exciting, hard-hitting and effective as Brother Andrew’s God’s Smuggler.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Feet in the Fire

As a kid I always thought it'd be great to be a Musketeer or a Knight of the Round Table or a World War 2 soldier or Indiana Jones. I just thought that the battles were so glorifying and adventurous and that ultimately to die in battle would be an amazing honour. I don't think this way anymore.

I've had to, in what has been a very hard struggle actually, learn to realize that life isn't quite like the way it is in the movies. In life there's no behind-the-scenes filmmaker yelliung "Cut!" as you try the same miraculous escape over and over and over again. In life you only get to try it once, with no "Cuts!"

I mention this because over the last 5 months and particularly within the last 5 days I've come to realize that we're in a war. And it's conscription based, calling even the newborns and the elderly into combat mode. This war is vicious, frightening and life taking. There's only one way to survive the turmoil and it's by calling attention to yourself. The war I'm talking about is the 5000 year long Spiritual War.

It's because of my most recent revelation of this war that my desire to don the leather jacket, whip and fedora is because of how vicious I've seen this war can be. My enemy has worked its absolute darndest to destroy my dreams, my beliefs and my life. My enemy has attacked me through finances, fear and family. The three "F"'s.

My enemy is Satan.

As most of my 4 readers know, I recently finished a 5 month school focused entirely on my relationship with Jesus and sharing it with others. Nothing about this school failed me, as I learned to speak with God, listen to God and about this IMMENSE love that He has for me. I can't put how incredible it was into words, but I have come out of this school a new person with new life and a passion for Jesus Christ that will never die! As the school was coming to a close I began to pray about what it was I should do next, and received the answer on the day I graduated, when I was invited to do another school focussed on being a long-term missionary. Through a short series of amazing events, I accepted the invitation. Nothing in the world could drag me down! God and I were tight!

And so I let my guard down...

I've always felt very attached and loyal to my family, but seeing how it is a divorced family, that has lead to a number of painful encounters. But it never changed the fact that I was dead loyal to the people I loved and that has not yet changed. However, upon revealing to my family that I would be staying in Hong Kong for another school doing something that most of them don't actually believe in anyways, all but two remained supportive of me. Maybe a little bit sad that I wouldn't be coming home, but still supportive. All but two...

The two that didn't are two people who have been quite possible the two most important people in my life. They were always there even when they weren't, and always ready to talk. But they really hate the change in The Sister's Son, and really hate the things that I'm saying now. As my words about God and frankly, Spiritual Warfare, became stronger, so did their words against me and my beliefs, so far as to say I didn't have any but that I was faking all of this. I'm not by the way. The comments they were sending my way became so horrible and disgusting that I've now had to break contact with them temporarily. I did that the day my new school started.

That same day I discovered that two of my closest family members have found themselves completely and utterly seperated. No contact. That sucks even more than the first one did to be honest.

You see, there's nothing in this world that I love more than I love God. But second to Him is my family, and they're hurting right now. Both events took place the same day I started my new school, because God has clearly laid this school out for me. I have been called by the Father to serve the Father and that is an amazing blessing. But it scares the shit out of the Devil, and he wants to stop me. I won't let that happen. Talking with my family, I was able to help clear some of the dispute of the seperatees and will hopefully see a resolve come one day soon. As for the people I've seperated myself from, well, time will tell, but I'm praying everyday that they aren't out of my life forever.

I'd thought my victory in my latest savage battle against Beelzebub had ended that night, but in truth it had only begun. The next morning as I was worshipping Jesus, I received a Scripture from the Lord, 2 Peter 2. It described entirely what was going on between me and the loved ones I'd thought I'd lost, and gave me hope for a future. I also felt an anointing fall upon me, what I'm calling the "Noah Anointing," which basically calls me to preach righteousness to those fallen so far that they actually speak insults against the Lord to others and about others. I know the type, because I used to be one of them.

Then, the next morning, I played on the worship team and felt the Spirit of the Lord fall upon me in such a powerful way that I actually played with an intensity I didn't know I had. It was amazing! The Power of God was working in me!
We followed the time of worship with baptisms for 4 friends of mine (not you 4 readers of course, but maybe next time) and during their testimonies God reminded me of my baptismal testimony: I was baptized in the 12th grade, but in between that time and now I'd fallen so far that I had actually spoken insults against the Lord to others and about others. Hmm... irony anyone?

As the testimonies ended, our baptizers (which I believe is a real word) asked if anyone else felt as though they needed to be baptized. Three people volunteered. So as they were thanking God and giving testimonies I apologized to Jesus for throwing mud in the face of what was my baptism. And this is what He said to me...

"You could always go wash it off..."

Well there it was. And sure enough, as the last of the second three emerged from the Holy Water, they invited anyone else who felt God speak to come be baptized. And in I went. And out I came. Victorious.
When I was told that my beliefs were false, it was also said that I should be willing to "put my feet in the fire." Well, I am willing to do that and a whole lot more.

In order to win this war once and for all, I need to be completely on fire for Jesus. And so I lit that fire, by covering myself with Holy Water. Now I want to be Indiana Jones again, because I want to live the adventure that comes with fighting for Jesus.

My feet are in, and now I'm running. I encourage you... come catch me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iggy Tribute

I really admire and respect this guy. He just won the Mark Messier Award for leadership and the dude thanked God for all of His blessings in front of the entire NHL and the world. I dig dude.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Out of the Chinese Yonder

Rockin' the Indiana Jones at a Mountain Pass
Hello again from Hong Kong everyone! I hope that this newsletter finds you all in good health and in good spirits! I have recently returned from my Outreach in the Chinese speaking world. The last 8 weeks have been an incredible experience of evangelism, prayer walking and travel. I had the opportunity to visit 10 different cities and through my team’s preaching of the Gospel we saw 38 people come to know Jesus! Hallelujah! As for what comes next, I know I said I was thinking about joining a Far East Evangelism Team, but in prayer one day God gave me a clear “No” about doing it. I want to apologize to those of you supporting me for how I’ve jumped from thing to thing regarding what comes next, but please know that I am truly seeking Jesus on what to do next. It was not until I arrived back in Hong Kong that God told me what to do next, when two of my schoolmates at our DTS Graduation suggested the School of Frontier Missions (SOFM) and that same day the Base Director of YWAM Hong Kong invited me to join the school. So it has become clear to me that SOFM is God’s will for me, and I’m jumping right in on June 24!
I was doing evangelism work at a university with my leader Harold and we were finding it difficult to start a conversation with anyone. No one wanted to talk to us for over an hour! But as we got more and more discouraged, God spoke to us about faithfulness and we just continued pressing into Him. As we were praying, we see two girls sitting in a park taking pictures of each other, and we offered to take a picture of them together, which lead us into small talk. The girls didn’t speak much English, so I had a chance to pray while Harold spoke in Chinese. God told me right away that we should share the Gospel with these girls, so I told Harold to go for it. As I continued praying, God told me to pray for three things: An anointing on Harold’s words, openness in the girls’ hearts and for no distractions. So I prayed for only those things for 25 minutes, when suddenly the girls were ready to accept Jesus into their hearts. They even heard His voice for the first time right there, and we gave them each a Bible. So not only did God teach me about remaining faithful to Him, He also taught me about how to pray while I am ministering, and he topped it all off with some salvations!

Our first two weeks of Outreach were spent at a Cultural Exchange learning about the Chinese culture and spending time with the students at a university. My ministry partner during the time was my schoolmate Josh, and we’d befriended a guy about our age named Joe really quickly, and spent most of our time with him. He was a great guy, but a little bit shy and so it took us about a week before we could truly start to share the Gospel with him and teach him about Jesus. After the first week, Josh and I both felt that we were supposed to share our testimonies with him, and in doing that, Joe opened up much more. He shared with us that his girlfriend had recently broken up with him, and that he’d been considering suicide. Well, we reacted very quickly to that and took him to a quiet place to tell him all about Jesus and how He can heal our hurts. We left for our team time after that, and through out the day’s report back and Worship time, Josh and I both felt like we were supposed to meet with Joe again, so we called him and had supper with him. We asked him what he thought about Jesus, and Joe said he wanted to accept Him into his heart. But the spiritual warfare was intense! As we left for somewhere quiet to pray, a Buddhist chant was played over the university’s speakers and it lasted all night, and then approximately 200 students walked into the same place we were praying! But Joe pressed in anyway; He wanted the Father’s love so much! And then he heard God speak, and brought Jesus into his life and into his heart! He said God told him that now healing could come into his heart. Amen.

My Outreach Team

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Here is a little something I like to carry in my pocket:

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him

and show him my salvation."