For 40 years God has taken care of all our family's daily material needs—even though we went into missions with not a single promise of support. Our extended families, our friends and our church—thought we were crazy to take four young children into the unknown at their tender ages—and gave us little encouragement whatsoever. They loved us, but we felt that many were thinking, “They’ll be back.”
We had no debt, but more importantly, no doubt; we had received a clear word from the Lord to go.
(I should mention that without us having the slightest inkling of their intentions, our little church started supporting us the first month we were gone; and furthermore, that precious fellowship has continued giving to us non-stop for forty years! How about that? Of course, other friends and family have joined in since those early days, plus the Lord is now taking care of our grown kids and their families, two of whom are in full–time missions.)
When I stated that all our material needs have been taken care of, please understand that in our early pioneering days in missions, those needs were sometimes very basic, and boiled down to a squeeze of toothpaste, or 35c to do the family laundry; and once our whole community, lacking funds for food, endured a diet of flavored and nutritional lentils for three weeks (thanks to Graham Kerr, the former Galloping Gourmet). Our digestive systems flourished.
So, on what basis did we step out into the unsalaried world of living by simple faith in God and His promises, and daily direction for the six of us?
Here’s how: would you take five minutes to read all of Matthew 6? This chapter has always been a guiding light for us in the whole area of trusting God with every part of our lives. Especially these verses . . .
What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. [Matt 30-34 The Message]
So jumping ahead, here’s how I feel we’ve come Full Circle . . .
This month, Donna and I received a totally unexpected gift of support from an indigenous native person of a nation sometimes known as the ‘Middle Kingdom,’ usually known as China. It wasn’t a huge amount; it didn’t need to be. In my wildest dreams I never, ever, considered this might happen.
But first, a little background. My missionary Dad, who spent 43 years in and around China, received support for our family and ministry, from a network of churches in his native England. As far as I know, there was never a thought of us receiving missionary support from the very people to whom he was called to preach and teach the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Our Family, home in England on a once-in-five-year furlough. Cute, aren’t I, on my Mom’s knee?
Several years ago a young Chinese woman managed to get a visa and came to one of our schools in Kona. God asked her to stay on and continue her education towards a degree with University of the Nations—and over the years we have bumped into her in various parts of the world. Then out of the blue came an email from her, asking how she could send us a gift.
So, two or three generations after my Dad completed his time on earth, this young Chinese woman has sent a gift to a ‘born-in-her-nation’ Western missionary kid!
In addition to this, a Japanese businessman has financially helped us—yes Japan, the nation that imprisoned our family for three-plus years! Others from Asian nations have also walked with us in helping with our ‘daily bread.’ God is the supply line—and He can supply our needs anyway He wants.
Amazing! My Mom & Dad must be break-dancing in heaven (now there’s a novel thought!). My total inheritance when my Dad died, was $64, and I am convinced that God is still multiplying that amount in taking care of our family today.
God loves family circles, friendship circles and ministry circles, and He wants us to have all of these in our lives. And He wants us to leave a liviing inheritance—a loving and spiritual deposit—in the lives of our future generations. You could call it, 'filling the circle.'
Yet a caution: circles in nations, people groups and even in families, often start well but end badly. Look at the Israelites in the book of Judges, six or seven times over hundreds of years they went from . . .
Peace and prosperity to
Sin and depravity to
Defeat and slavery to
Humbling and repentance to
Salvation and forgiveness to
Peace and prosperity
And then too often, back on the roundabout.
Where would you say that your nation, your culture or your family is in that circle today?
Humility and pride are the elements that either cause God to assist or resist our efforts.
But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for—God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people.
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.
[1 Peter 5:5-7 The Message]
God gives the best to those who leave the choice with him. (Unknown)
And on the lighter side . . .
If you look like your passport photo, you're too ill to travel.
An amazing story of the power of Sunday School songs from Thailand:
“I liked your Sunday School song story (if you didn’t read it click here.) There is something powerful about those childlike songs taught to kids. Jesus did say that unless we become like little children we will never enter the kingdom of God. Let me tell you a Sunday School song story . . . My wife and I are missionaries in North East Thailand, working in rural villages. We target unreached villages to share the gospel and eventually see a church planted.
Peter’s Pet Peeves
“You don't have to apologize, Peter, I've always appreciated, and enjoyed your Pet Peeves. The ones I remember (from the old days), always hit the nail on the head; and once again with OMG! A Bit of a Rant, in the August eTouch. One day I started looking up other expressions like OMG (I call them watered-down blasphemies), and I found they all referred to God. It is amazing how casually many brothers and sisters employ these phrases. The comment, ‘We don't really mean it,’ doesn't wash. If you don't mean it, don't say it!”
Chris Stenquist, NZ
Friends For Dinner
Henk & Irene Wolthaus, former YWAMers, former OMers and former workers with Brother Andrew, wrote and told us about their current ministry in Ottawa, Canada. Take a look: http://friendsfordinner.ca/about-us/
Last month, I attended the ‘YWAM Together Gathering’ in Kansas City; and then I wrote about convergence in God’s Kingdom—the ‘linking-up’ of the many parts of the Body of Christ. Here’s an excerpt . . .
“There is a convergence of ministries, denominations, generations and nations, each person knowing their place and function in the family; and knowing their true identity as sons and daughters. We need each other, no one is better than another; we’re all different, created in His image.”
This month I’d like to present a full report of the event, by Lynn Green, one of the conveners of the gathering. Lynn and his wife Marti have been leaders in YWAM for almost 50 years.
First, Lynn summarized the gathering for YWAMers . . .
Full report : WHAT HAPPENED IN KANSAS CITY
By Lynn green
Love and Blessings,
This summer, my vegetable garden has doubled in size: four compact and raised grow-beds, with land and heavy digging kindly provided by a couple of friends. (There’s just not enough space for farming on our apartment balcony!)
A farmer—a man outstanding in his field—I am not. But my Dad must have put a love of the soil into me; he grew tomatoes in impossible conditions during our family’s sojourn in a Japanese concentration camp in Shanghai during WW2. I love vegetable-gardening, flowers not so much. You can’t eat flowers.
There’s nothing quite like seeing tiny seeds—that you have lovingly planted and watered—pop out of the ground and start their climb toward the sun. Sunshine, weeding, watering and watching them grow, keeps them happy and flourishing until they fruit and you can gather a harvest, and share your bounty with others. Nothing tastes like homegrown veggies. I hope your mouth is watering.
But it’s not quite that simple. Jesus understood and spoke about farming; about soil and plants and weeding and pruning and watering. It was all in the context of how to be His true follower; about the pitfalls of farming and being able to discern between true believers and others.
Weeding is work, pruning is painful but harvesting is happy time.
If I want my garden to be fruitful and get the most and the best out of it, some pain is necessary. The first pain is mine . . . I must get down and dirty and will probably have to endure some back pain! The second is the plant’s pain, the physical side of which I won’t have to endure. But I may feel some emotional pain, thinking that cutting back my precious plants will lessen the harvest.
But that’s not true. As in our own lives, plucking out the weeds (of sin), and pruning back areas of our lives that are hindering our full potential, will result in fruitful lives that are pleasing to Jesus.
Weed and prune and grow!
Till next time,
The Small Print
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