Monday, October 17, 2016

THE ADVENTURES OF THE PACIFIC HOPE - MARINE REACH - DAY 4

TALKING TO GOD, THE GANG AND GLASSES
Tuesday September, 2016 5:00 pm



After once again jumping into the tender I arrived on the black sand beaches of Tanna.

It is mildly amusing to me that the area of Tanna that is called White Sands has black sand beaches…but I regress…

Once again I’m standing on the beach, among the hollowed out wooden canoes, ready for all that the Lord has in store. Little did I know that this day was set aside to meet the people of the crew who I needed to meet. 

Meet Mike, a man who is known as the director and yet is so much more. His awareness of the Spirit of God, voice of God, and direction of the Holy Spirit is very encouraging. Together with Christian, the guitar player from day one, we joined our hearts together on the grass to seek the Lord and pray people through to coming to the medical centre. Mike even prayed to the Lord that the crew would be allowed to travel to the top of the volcano for free…and guess what? As I was typing this message this news just in… everyone is going to the top for free! Praise the Lord.

Meet Christian, a young Maori (from New Zealand) man so filled with excitement and enthusiasm that he constantly goes spiritually into the place where you would think he should not go. He speaks the words that others would not have the courage to speak and pray in a way that others would find difficult to believe or agree with. With the guidance from Mike he has begun his walk in the spirit. Praying in tongues, moving in the spirit and seeing the hand of God move in his life.

Meet Layla an English YWAM member who is filled with life, and enthusiasm, ready to tackle all that the world is ready to offer. During this day it was Layla that sat with me and asked about what made men tick? What do they think like? What motivates them? Why are they the way they are?

Slowly as the conversation progressed, we two turned to three, then four, soon five and finally seven people talking and sharing all about communication and how relationships are to work according to the plan of God. In the midst of this discussion one father stood listening and finally in a moment of silence spoke up and confirmed all that was being discussed. This was reassuring to myself but shocking to his daughter who finally saw her father for all that he was. A man of God.

Lastly, we once again joined the glasses crew as the people were once again crowding around the table seeking help and appointments to see the optometry crew and receive their eyes check. So from prayer to parenting, from Spirit to sharing, from the gang to glasses God has been working through all of us today as we bring hope to a people who needed to have a hand up after cyclone Pam, La Niña and the volcano shower ash on everyone and everything here in Tanna.

Pray for rain, lives are counting on it.

Monday, October 03, 2016

THE ADVENTURES OF THE PACIFIC HOPE - MARINE REACH - DAY 3

YU SEE GUD?



Monday, 2016 9:00 pm

After a hearty breakfast it was off to Tanna, and the optometry clinic where we were going to help people see. The lines were large, but as the team noted not as large as in times past. But they are confident that many people are still walking from as far away as two days walk. 

Regardless of the distance to come,  we still served over 50 people today, people with cataracts, eye issues and many with simply short sightedness. 
So I tried to communicate to them using my broken, Bislama… Yu needem glasses lo eye blo yufala? I stumbled and fell through my Bislama and somehow with the grace of God and the patience of the people of Tanna we were able to communicate. 

The day was eventful in the way it began. Jumping into a small powerboat off the side of large ship is challenging at best, but with the additional eyes of the Captain and first mate watching the pressure not to slip or fall was all the more significant. But with a little dexterity and an agile step or two we were able to able to sit down in a place that I was quite sure would be the safest.

Safest, yes… Driest…not so much. The bow of small zodiac ships has a tendency to nose into the water in rough seas. Not so much to threaten the people aboard but more than enough to get all parties on board wet. Especially the person sitting in the safe seat in the bow of the boat centered on the floor.

So with a quick dive the safe seat became the wet seat and with that I started my trek onto the island of Tanna.

The crowd of patients was already waiting as we drove up. Children laughing parents watching and the elders sitting and talking through whatever community news needed to be discussed. We quickly unpacked and the Marine Reach team were excellent setting up the clinic with speed and precision. Soon, lines were forming and people began to file into the medical centre to see the doctors who were waiting to assist them.

What an incredible ministry Marine Reach is. This floating medical centre supplies the nation of Vanuatu with the one thing that they cannot supply for themselves. Good, inexpensive medical care on the remote islands of this Pacific Nation. 83 Island with little to no medical supplies, or facilities desperately need the kind of assistance that the Pacific Hope is only too happy to provide. So people lined up, filed in, and filed out with most receiving the medical care that the so desperately needed.

Meanwhile, back aboard the ship the first patients for the dental clinic were beginning to be shuttled over from the island to cue up on board and wait for the dentist. Over 40 people were cared for today, teeth were extracted, some were filled, while others were able to get more elaborate procedures that they would never have been able to afford had the Pacific Hope had not come. Julie, dressed in her scrubs and looking the part of a dental assistant was able to endure the morning, and by the afternoon was able to really get in there and help. I am so proud of her and her willingness to, “not let fear stop me from trying anything” as she said. She not only tried but succeeded to conquer her fears and tomorrow she has been invited back onto the dental team to once again, assist these wonderful people with their real pain and suffering. Well done Julie.

So now it is night and there is talk that they want my Mormon seminar to be presented to the pastors on the island. I have email Gary and Lori Ellison in the hope that they have a copy of the Bislama version. Once again as I settle into bed I bid you all a fine farewell and a hearty good night, for this Pastor is tired tumas.

THE ADVENTURES OF THE PACIFIC HOPE - MARINE REACH - DAY 2 1/2


I SEE…


Sunday, 2016 1:00 pm

Gather round everyone… we are building our teams. We sit in the meeting room and listen as our names are called. Julie, you’re on the Dental Team. Dave, you’re on the Optometry Team. Everyone’s name is called. Each team is filled and every plan is set.

So now our merry group of buccaneers are dividing into the teams that are preparing to help and minister to the people of Tanna. We have arrived on the backside of the Island, away from the limited facilities that exist in other sections of the island. We have arrived where the people have limited exposure to assistance from the outside world. There is some help but it would best be described as random.

The leadership team departed this morning to speak to the chiefs and the pastors confirming with them the plans and how best we can help. From general medical assistance to primary dental care, from ministry team to optometry many needs are about to be filled, many lives are about to be touched, for everything starts tomorrow.

The people here, who have limited medical availability and even more limited dental assistance, are very excited about the ship as they drop anchor. Many would never be able to afford any medical assistance and the ship comes as an answer to many prayers. So as the teams are preparing their supplies on board, the people on the island are also preparing. Today some will to plan to travel the many miles from their home to the location of the medical clinic.  Most, if not all, are on foot and some will come to overnight, as the distance will be too great for a single days venture.

Julie is nervous about the dental clinic, as she can be quite squeamish with the sight of blood, but I am praying that God will strengthen her, and give her divine courage to be able to do all that God has called her to. She is very strong woman, so I am quite sure she will be fine.

My job? Well I will be giving people glasses to assist them to read and see. The opportunity for hands on ministry is something that I really appreciate. Practical, straightforward assistance will give me a great opportunity just to be Jesus with skin on. No speaking, no leadership, just service. Thank you Lord. May my hands become your hands may my voice become your voice to share with these people the chance once again to see.

As I give out these glasses help me to once again really see you. Help me too, to see.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

THE ADVENTURES OF THE PACIFIC HOPE - MARINE REACH - DAY 2

Smooth Sailing.

Sunday, 2016 12:30 am

So the evening went well, meeting people, listening and telling God stories and hearing the hearts of this amazing crew. Some stories were encouraging and exciting hearing all that God is doing around the world, moving on the hearts of his kids to love, give, serve. While others were heartbreaking as others were walking through the challenge of following a father who promised never to leave us or forsake us, even through the deepest valleys.

But in every story was the consistent love of the father woven into every moment. From the volunteers to the more permanent boat crew each member has a faith that God is leading and providing. Their faith is inspiring to say the least.

I had been concerned about my first open water crossing but the Lord provided a gentle swell and smooth sailing. So, after hearing these great stories for faith, Julie and I stood on the deck and after a few minutes watching the waves lap quietly against the hull of the ship, the "Pacific Hope" came to life. With one long blast from the horn, a momentary shutter and a quick prayer from yours truly, the steel ship moved quietly out of the Port Vila Harbour and we set sail for Tanna.

I was deeply moved as I once again realized the amazing grace of God and His wonderful plan for Julie and my life. Here we are standing on board of the medical ship, Pacific Hope in the middle of the South Pacific off the coast of Tanna, preparing to assist in any way that the Lord and our director Mike wants us to.

The gentle rocking of calm seas encourage Julie and I to settle into our bunks and drifted off to sleep. The gentle rocking along with the excitement of the day provided the background to a restful and peaceful sleep.

How was the sail, you ask? 


How was the overnight sail into the blackness of the South Pacific, you ask?


Uneventful… 


... and that was good.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

THE ADVENTURES ON THE PACIFIC HOPE - MARINE REACH! DAY 1

Jared and his Bounty of Buccaneers

 
Anchors away…


Saturday 2016 1:00 pm

So today is the day. The bags are packed and precisely on time we are picked up from the house on our way to the boat… or should I say ship. For the Pacific Hope is not a boat but rather a ship, ocean going, ship shape and ready for the adventure set before her. The boat is a refurbished Japanese government fisheries vessel. Later in her life she served as a passenger ship although that was short lived and then after resting for a couple of years at anchor she was purchased by Marine Reach, a division of YWAM (“Youth with a Mission”) international, the Christian organization that recruits young people from around the world to have their first taste of missions and international assistance.

After being showed us to our berth and orientated us to the ship and her amenities we met with Captain Roger, an older man who serves the Lord aboard this ship. He joined the Pacific Hope after being the captain of a fishing vessel out of New Zealand.  He is quiet spoken but exhibits the confidence that is vital to complete his duties aboard; a man who is comfortable with his responsibilities and just as comfortable instructing you of yours. It is good to have Captain Roger at the helm.

As I settled down in the staff gathering room where the crew gathers for meetings, eating and just enjoying each others company, today, five ladies from four different countries sit and enjoy their coffee and conversation, while in another section six young people from around the world are laughing and talking. Ni-Vanuatu, Fijians, Aussies, Canadians and Americans as well as others from around the world are sitting on the floor, or on the wall-mounted sofas. Laughter and fun seems to the norm along with a quiet excitement as moment-by-moment more tenders arrive carrying with them even more crew, doctors, dentists and volunteers who are joining us on this voyage.

Christian, a young man from New Zealand, is sitting playing his guitar quietly in the corner providing subtle background music to the room; which somehow rounds out this, my first experience with the crew, leaving me with a quiet peace, and confidence. All seems to be in good order and well prepared for all that the Lord has in store for us in the days ahead.

Julie and I have joined the crew today on the invitation of Jared Waipouri, the Port Vila based Advance Planning Coordinator. After the invitation it was with Julie’s interest and encouragement that I find myself aboard. Julie has wanted to sail with the Pacific Hope for a while and although this experience is certainly one that is way outside her comfort zone, she has stepped over her fears and concerns and climbed aboard into the adventure that waits for her. Lord bless her as she ventures for God and follows His lead.

Jared, our host, is a shorter man (Look who is the pot calling the kettle black!) whose personality does not match his stature. He is larger than life, able to mix comfortably and easily with businessmen, and government officials as with Young People who join the crew from YWAM. His quiet, demeanor combined with his quick wit provides him an ease of communication that takes away any nervousness that any new crew-member might have. His relaxed attitude hides his awareness and control of all that is aboard and all that is about to happen.

As I sit here listening to the hum of the generators, and listen to the laughter and conversations, I notice two young men praying together. In these and many other ways, I am reminded that God has brought this company together for His will and for His glory and He the one who will care for each of us in the days ahead.

So the crew is loaded and settling in, friendships are renewed, others started and God has begun the process of bringing His will into clear focus. Enough typing, time to grab a coffee, join the fun… after we have our orientation.  ALL ASHORE WHO IS GOING ASHORE!

Photo Credits to Sharney Chapman.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

He's Already There!

Have you ever wondered where is Jesus? Where is Jesus when the foundations that you have depended on in your life are removed and you find yourself in a new world? Where is Jesus when you are about to step into tomorrow when tomorrow is not clear and the path before you is dark and unknown? Maybe it is when you have to step into a difficult circumstance or situation that seems so dark and empty of His presence that you have those thoughts of wonder and concern. Those moments when the warm glow of the calling has faded to the dark cold of reality, the challenge of the opportunity and the emptiness of reality?

We have all felt the fear. The fear in the hospital surgery room before you are rolled in, in the court house before the proceedings begin, in the bedroom when the sadness of the day is overwhelming you as you cry yourself to sleep and even in the ends of the earth before you go not knowing what tomorrow holds. 

But the promise that Jesus give us in the great commission is not to go without him, nor is it to go and bring Him and his presence to a location or circumstance. No, the promise that Jesus gives us is far more real than that.

Oh, reader, I wish you could see the smile on my face as I type this... you would see the joy shaking my hands as a type, or the tears running down my cheek and the deep breaths and I am filled by the reality of this next thought...

We do not bring Jesus to the location that we are going... HE'S ALREADY THERE! Moving, touching, setting free, healing, releasing, and above all saving.

All we are required to do is to bring our lives and our hearts into close communion with his heart and He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, to provide, to sustain, to be our Lord.  
 
Like the old song says...

Where ever He may lead I will follow whatever He decides I'll obey. My heart will forever welcome everything that my Lord has to say. For every time I choose not to listen, and each time I demand my own way. His spirit within me suffers and I find that my joy fades away. 

Jesus is not just leading us from an area where is presence is close and reassuring to an world where His ever present help is available but distant but rather He is leading us from the land where we know Him to the land where he is already working, healing, leading and transforming circumstances and lives.

It is with this joy set before us that we pick up our cross and follow Him. May I be so bold today as to suggest that you too choose to follow....wherever He may lead?

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Today is the First Day 

of the Rest of Our Lives.

A wise man once said, that you will never be younger than you are today. With that thought in mind I here to tell everyone that Julie and I are going to Vanuatu. Yup... that Vanuatu. The small south pacific island off the coast of Australia that was clobbered by Cyclone Pam, only a few short weeks ago.

We are going not for a week or a month but to move there and become the Pastor of ICC. International Christian Church, in the capital city of Port Vila. 

This is so exciting as we venture out of our comfort zone into the zone where God wants us to be. 

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Please pray for us as we step out on the water and reach to Jesus... the one who is calling us out of the boat.

I'll have a full bowl...

Have you ever been aware of the truth of the Word of God?  No I don't mean in a passing kind of way...(like) "Wow that's really cool I should think about this some more" "Has the word ever reached out and smacked you in the face? Has it ever spoken so clearly that you would not have been surprised if the writer was sitting across the table from you?... (like) "Ohhh... I need to repent"

Well once again I am aware that the Word is living and active... sharper than a two edged sword... 

Let's look at a verse i was just reading, It's found in Colossians 4:6 (NIV) 

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

Full of Grace? Really? Grace is the unmerited favour of God. Grace is offered to those who do not deserve it. Grace can only be received freely. No effort can earn grace and grace needs to be freely distributed. First year bible school... got it! But do I really?

How often my voice is only seasoned with the salt of Grace. How often I speak harshly, factually, clearly but not graciously. Somehow my personal need to be correct, or to win overpowers the delicate and gentle need to be full of grace. How often my communication contains little grace as I carefully distribute it out as a precious commodity that should be saved and preserved, less we run out.


Wow! Did you catch what I just typed? I did not realize until after I typed it and I went back to the original verse to confirm. The verse does not say, seasoned with grace but rather full of Grace. FULL! not seasoned, not flavoured, not carefully added, but Full. Not a pinch but a pound. Not a spoon but a sea. Not a touch but a ton! How often I have distributed grace out like a salt shaker, a little shake here and a little shake there and the situation or the person I am dealing with will be fine. I could not have been more wrong.

The only other reference I can find to salt is the communication from Jesus where He said in Matthew 5:13  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." You are the salt of the earth... We are the salt... not grace. 

So hearing this statement again, It appears that our interactions with those around us should be full of grace and seasoned with us. How often our communication is full of us and seasoned with grace. I don't know about you but grace needs to be flowing out of my life in a fullness kind of way rather than the fullness that is flowing, the fullness of me.

Lord today, allow me to have the strength to communicate with a full measure of grace and a small measure of me. Lord remind me that I won't fear that I will run out of grace and not have any left for myself but rather that you Lord are the giver of grace and you have enough, even for me.  Oh I know, you may be thinking that that is not really the case, but speaking for my fears... it is true.
I remember back 25 years, to a bible school class, in front of an older Newfoundland preacher, where daily he would would repeat a phrase that at the time I saw little significance in and mostly ignored. Today, the words are ringing down across the years into a heart desperate for the truth they hold. What is the phrase he would say you might ask...? 

"Grace Flows Like a River." 
Dr. Graydon Giles...  
thank you sir.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

There and Back Again...


Have you ever prayed a prayer like this... "Lord, where ever you lead I will follow, what ever you decide I'll obey?" Well I have... many times and each time I have felt like the Lord simply smiled and listened. 

You know what I mean... in the same way that a father listens to his children when they declare that when they grow up they're going to be a Doctor, or an Astronaut or a Fire truck. We smile and nod approvingly knowing that the little guy does not really understand what he is saying or what life has in store for him. Well many times when I have prayed that prayer it seemed that the Lord smiled, and nodded.

But we, as fathers, sit up and listen when our children graduate from High School and declare their intention to start a career. We sit up and listen because we understand that they are finally at the stage of life to make the decision and the maturity level to venture into the area that they describe.

Oh how I understand the heart of our Heavenly Father better now than I have ever understood before. Now when I prayed, Lord where ever you lead...I'm sure he sat up and listened and then simply said.... 

ok.... finally... they're ready...

To Be Continued....




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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I'm just someone who desires all that God has for me. - To follow God with integrity. - To relate to people honestly. - To live a life to it's totality.