HOW MISSIONS BECAME PERSONAL
I of course had heard plenty of sermons and seen numerous presentations regarding Missions, but it simply had not touched me. Sadly, I do not have one recollection (to my shame) of anything Missions related in my first three churches. Everything changed when we accepted the invitation to take the pastorate in Sydney. You, will see perhaps in hindsight as you remember my past blogs in this series, of the pointers regarding Missions in my life and ministry. I had mentioned that with a change of Government in late 1972 the incoming government threw out the “White Australia Policy” which had kept Australia very much a Caucasian nation for many decades.
When we arrived in Sydney, there was already a Fijian family worshipping in the congregation. When the Singaporean previously mentioned came to the church everything began to move into overdrive, with him hassling me about “What are we doing about Asia and we need to send teams over there”. It was agreed in early 1976 to send the first team called “Together 76” to Singapore & Malaysia. Remember I was encouraged to take a world trip to see what was happening in parts of the church, so my first two nations (ahead of the team were Singapore and Malaysia to meet with denominational leaders regarding the team’s upcoming visit , I was exposed for the first time too:
THE SIGHTS, THE SOUNDS, THE SMELLS AND THE SINS OF S.E.ASIA
It was the start of something that has changed my life forever, on the return leg of the world trip I had three days in Fiji on the way home, and again my heart was stirred. You may remember I felt to go to New Zealand and see for myself the Charismatic renewal that was taking place there, again the ethnic Maoris as well as the white population and other Island groups were greatly touched by this move of God.
Then I was invited (with Margaret) to conduct an Easter Convention in Port Moresby P.N.G. and again the New Guineans hunger for God so impressed me. Some eight months later the Lord moved us on north of Sydney to another church, where very soon I was promoting teams to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, these team trips were simply life changing especially as we became involved in a pioneer church that grew to twenty thousand in Bangkok, and before the year 2000 had planted a church in every one of the 685 provinces in the nation. During 1984 a Principal of an Indian Bible College situated in the state of Andrah Pradesh ministered in the church and invited me to come and teach. I went with a team in January 1985 an d also to teach at another School in Hyderabad. I had never seen so many people in my life there are some 1.3 billion people that make up the nation today, 82% are Hindu, 13% Muslim and about 1% Christian. I was overwhelmed, and really wondered if India could ever be reached for God. We met for some prayer before we boarded the plane in Hyderabad to go to the other College in the same state. I had a vision which changed my life. I knew in a moment of time:
JESUS CHRIST SHALL BE LORD OF INDIA
This revelation is of course for every nation in the world, and is the burning passion of my heart to this day. Remember the Psalmist said in Psalm 2:8 NKJV echoing the voice of God saying to His son Jesus Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession. I began to ask for the nations.
I have mentioned the missions responsabilities I had at the College, and the opportunities I had to minister in S.E.Asia during the College breaks, In 1988 I went to Thailand to conduct a Pastor’s Seminar in Chiang Rai, and when taken for a drive one day, we stopped at the market town of Ma Sai and I stood on the bridge looking into Burma and an intercessory burden for the nation of Burma came upon me. On my return home as I prayed for Burma the burden came for the three Indo China nations of Laos Cambodia & Vietnam, and the Lord led me to minister in these nations many times. At the College we began to have contact with missionaries and nations that were behind the Iron Curtain, so when Communism fell in 1989, we were ready to make connections. I ministered in Tallin Estonia in a Bible College that had been a Russian Navy base. We then went onto Kiev and ministered in another new College started by the church that had to remain underground during the Communist regime.
When I moved on to the Hillsong College, I had the opportunity to teach at their College in Kiev as well, and also ministered in Moscow Russia. Then came the awesome experience as mentioned in my last blog that came as a result of Brian Houston’s prophecy over my life. One of the major highlights of that period was the many open doors into Indonesia. When City Harvest Church had to cut back their Missions finances, the great Mawar Sharon (Rose of Sharon) churches opened their doors to me, plus the continued teaching at the 350 strong student body in the College in Semarang.
This is a brief overview of how Missions became personal for me, as I wrote in the last blog, I still daily visit all these places in prayer.
The late Sister Ruth Heflin wrote a song, and I quote the chorus here:
I ask for the nations, I call them by name.
I present them to the Father in Jesus Name
May they not be found naked, may they not be ashamed
When they stand before You on that great Judgement Day.
Thank you Lord for letting me be a part of your great Missions plan for the nations Amen