April 2008: The Man On The Bridge

"Konnichi wa!" Our "Hello!" this month is in the Japanese language.

. . . 'eTouch' is designed for anyone who has been 'YWAM-touched', anyone who has ever served in Youth With A Mission, or anyone who just kinda likes to hang out with us . . . We want to be a blessing and an encouragement. This is our way of saying "thank you" for your part in missions.

Please send us names, cities & email addresses of people you know who would like to receive this little monthly communiqué. Peter Jordan, Editor

1. Matters that Matter ~ The Man on the Bridge

2. Profound & Pithy ~ Dean Sherman-isms

3. This 'n That

4. Donna's Corner ~ A Letter from China

5. Renewal Gatherings ~ Israel 2009 . . . and More



1. Matters that Matter ~ The Man on the Bridge

Begging has been with us for centuries, and in some places it is almost an art form, if not a necessity. King David acknowledged that it existed; "I have not seen the righteous . . . or their descendants begging bread." (Psalm 37:25) Jesus met many beggars and Peter & John had a remarkable meeting with one who was lame, just outside the temple (in Acts 3:1-10).

Growing up in China, I saw beggars as part of the fabric of society ~ they were everywhere ~ and their methods were heart-rending and varied. Today beggars are officially banned from the streets of China, yet a few seem to persist despite occasional harassment by authorities.

The Man on the Bridge

Recently, in a very large city in China, daily ~ and sometimes several times a day ~ I passed by a shirtless, one-armed, one-legged man, bent over and sitting on the pavement. Every day he staked out his same little piece of territory on a busy pedestrian overpass, high above a major downtown street intersection; all day long he repeatedly plunged his torso up and down, up and down, his face always pointing to the ground. Two rusty tin cans sat beside him to receive any charity that passersby would toss in. Barebacked, he was there all day and into the evening in cold, rainy weather and in blazing heat. He was anything but emaciated ˆ he had a brawny body.

You may imagine my emotions and the questions that came. What had happened to him? How long had he been doing this? How did he manage to get up the 40 steps each day ˆ and then down again at night? What was he thinking about all day? Was he in a self-imposed trance? It was all I could do to not turn my head away each time I passed him; pity and compassion warred inside me against cynical thoughts that told me that he was just a slave to a beggars' syndicate, making some fat cats rich. A friend of mine even bought and gave him a jacket on a cold day, but he never wore it.

Flash back 23 years with me to India, and two large cities that Donna and I and our son visited in that land of mystery. Madras (now named Chennai) was our first stop.

The Boys on the Beach

Scene: an open air tourist market on a wide and spacious sandy beach (it was like a flea market). While Donna 'window shopped' with friends, I stood idly watching the ebb and flow of the crowd. My attention was drawn to three young boys about 10 or 11 years old. Two of them were obviously trying to persuade their friend to do something. Abruptly the two boys yanked his shirt off and horrors, he had no arms at all ˆ they had been cruelly hacked off at his shoulders. Now I am all eyes.

Egged on by his accomplices, the armless boy positioned himself right in front of the little knot of people who were with Donna. It was a painful moment for her as local friends gently shooed the boy away, explaining that in desperation, parents sometimes maim a child in order to create a means of income for the family.

The Girl on the Train

Scene: a commuter train in Calcutta (nowadays Kolkata). A group of us was seated in the corner of one of the carriages, talking and laughing. Diminutive but dynamic Wendy, the local base director, was with us. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turning around I was faced with a teenage girl dressed in what can only be described as rags; still clasping my shoulder, she held out her other hand which was cupped in the classic begging gesture and started emitting the most agonizing and plaintive wail that sounded like, "Pa! Pa! Pa!" She was focusing only on me, ignoring the others.

Embarrassed, confused and not knowing what to do, I looked pleadingly at Wendy for help. Imperceptibly, she shook her head yet pointed to the little bag of peanuts in my hand. I turned and offered them to the girl and was shocked by her response. Utter loathing shot at me from her eyes and her whole face screwed up into a grimace of pure hatred. She turned, refusing the nuts, and was gone in a flash, jumping off our carriage and moving swiftly across the station platform, slipping nimbly through the closing doors of another train, presumably to continue her mission; a mission as it was explained to me, that was controlled by unscrupulous gang leaders.

Are beggars only those with their hands out in a public place? In the West, are homeless people, the beggars of today, where homelessness has become a very real challenge? I read some years ago that if every church in the West would support and disciple 12 'welfare' cases, there would be no need for the government to get involved. (My train of thought just took a wicked little detour; if the church was doing its job and eliminating welfare, the politicians would probably spend the extra money on aggressive actions elsewhere. But no; my train of thought got back on track when I realized that if the church was really doing its job ˆ looking after the poor ˆ then it would have enormous spiritual influence over all of society and the government would have no other choice than to be righteous.)

Begging is an attitude and sometimes I think that loose in society there is a 'spirit of begging,' the mind-set that says to everyone, "Poor me; you owe me." Somehow, vision for life has been lost. Solomon said, "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained." (Prov 29:18) For many of my young years, I was in a sense, homeless; but my missionary parents whether they knew it or not, had instilled vision within me.

Perhaps the government has fostered this begging spirit by trying to be and do everything for everybody. Could this 'spirit' have infiltrated the church, by what seems to be an insatiable craving by some congregations that bigger and bigger is best? And in order to accomplish 'bigger,' the beggar spirit pops out. We've all heard the appeals for money that can so easily ring in our ears like the beggar's banging of his tin cup on the pavement, dispensing condemnation, almost demanding that you give.

Even missionaries can succumb to this spirit. I shudder a little when I open a newsletter that starts off, "We're so sorry we haven't written lately . . ." You already know what's coming further down the page ˆ an appeal for finances that almost sounds like the beggar's tin cup. (I'm often tempted to write back and ask, "And what percentage of your income do you give away?") What happened to regular communication with friends who love you and probably want to support you? Do they have to wait until you're desperate to hear from you? With email, text messages, social networks, telephones, letters and more all available, just regular friendship communication should be every missionary's priority.

There's a lot more to this, but the bottom line is that Jehovah Jireh is our provider, and we don't need a begging spirit when we go to him with our needs; he already knows those needs and being the father that he is, he may be waiting for some kind of obedience or a change in heart attitude . . . or maybe just regular communication.

You can ask, but don't be a beggar.

Till next time ~ be blessed,

Peter



2. Profound & Pithy ~ Dean Sherman-isms

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The devil wants to take you out. And I don't mean on a date!

Cut off the enemy! Pray down the Kingdom!

Friends, can you say 'sex' and 'God' in the same sentence without sinning? I can.

EVERY problem in the world is a relationship problem . . .
So go to church! Do the cross! Do the truth!


3. This 'n That

I recommend to you, Jeff Fountain's Weekly Word. Jeff is YWAM's European Director and writes intelligently and frequently about the history and the current state of Europe. You can subscribe at www.ywam.eu/news/word.asp
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The, 'Don't Judge a Book by its Cover,' Dept.
Landa Cope has written a brilliant book about you and your role in discipling nations. Yes, you. The title is "The Old Testament Template" and I confess to you that as a non-intellectual I would never have picked it up to read and did so quite by accident when I had no other books close at hand. You can get it from YWAM Publishing for under 12 bucks http://ywampublishing.com/s-392-landa-cope.aspx
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Hands up those who know who gave Mission Builders its name? John & Donna Briggs head up this great 'ministry of helps' that offers opportunities worldwide to serve short term in any number of ways, not just with building skills. Go to www.Missionbuilders.org and pray about how and where you might make a difference.
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Physical Freedom for Those with Disabilities
Disabled Adventures Hawaii has been started by Jean Hartley, a polio survivor and a 20-year YWAMer. After an amazing Tall Ships crewing experience, Jean acted on God‚s next step for her ˆ to give others the opportunity to experience life more fully, to feel the exhilaration of going beyond old limitations and to know the joy of setting the spirit free. She has launched www.disabledadventureshawaii.com a free on-line ministry that connects disabled people with ocean and land sports on the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.



4. Donna's Corner ~ A Letter from China

Dear Friends,

I am in China right now. The needs are so great, the challenges are enormous and the people are so hungry spiritually. The way Peter's father laid down his life for the Chinese for 43 years has become more of a reality to me after spending time in this great nation.

Yesterday I sensed the Lord wanted me to remind you that, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:7-13)

Please use whatever gift God has given you to serve others as you walk with Him. He doesn't want to use you; he wants to walk with you.

Whatever you do, do it for him, not for men. (From Colossians 3:23-24)

Don't waste one day, but include Him in all that you do. Be led by the Holy Spirit who lives within you (From Romans 8:14-18). He will lead you into all truth (Read John 16:12-15) and he will lead you to people who need to hear truth and be encouraged.

Please listen to his voice; love God above all else and walk in obedience (John 14:15-21). Live for eternity when you will see Him face to face (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

I believe Peter and I will be returning to China more often, as an answer to his father's prayers for this nation and its peoples.

I love you,

Donna


5. Renewal Gatherings ˆ Including Israel 2009

Coming up quickly . . .

June 8-14, Chico, California ˆ Speaker Donna Jordan, "Listening to God"
Contact Dave McPherson: ywamassociatesus@aol.com
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Europe 2008: contact Roy Jones via the contact page at www.intouchcamps.com for full details on all European Camps.

July 6-12, Choose from two in Norway (same week for both)

     *Grimerud, Speaker Dan Sneed ˆ with Peter & Donna Jordan
      Contact Lidvard Andreasson: Lidvard@online.no
     *Land of the Midnight Sun Camp, Borgen, Speaker Al Akimoff
      Contact Roy Jones: info@intouchcamps.com
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July 13-19, Restenas, Sweden, speakers Derek and Trich Dodd, YWAM Ireland
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Aug 2-9, Paris, France, speakers Jeff & Romkje Fountain, YWAM Europe leaders
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Aug 24-30, Chatel, Switzerland with Gary & Bev Killingsworth from YWAM Scotland
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Sep 26-28, Franklin, NC right by the Smoky Mountains; speakers Bob & Kelly Parr Contact Dave McPherson: ywamassociatesus@aol.com
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Mar 8-14, 2009 . . . Israel; details coming in May's eTouch



And until that 'next time' here's a parting thought . . .

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

Many Blessings,

Peter

Feel free to use anything from 'eTouch,' in whole or in part, in any way that will glorify God and advance His Kingdom.