Monthly Archives: November 2012

Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you.

“What will you do when you get old? Where will you get the money from to live? Who will look after you?” These are the questions that probably prevent many promising young people from stepping out for God. They ask, “Shall I empty handed be when retirement I see?” – replacing “my Jesus” with retirement…

It is a legitimate question. But let me share my own experiences with God along those lines. However beware; my experiences with God should not be considered a road map for others to follow. You make your own arrangements with God.

On my way from Canada to India in January 1976, I stopped over in Germany to visit my family. They thought my conversion to Protestantism was madness and going to India on my own without the backing of an organization was even madder. When one of my brothers inquired how I would live, I told him, “hopefully by gifts from friends.” Aghast he asked, “How can you take money from people without working for it?” I remembered his question many times afterwards as I fell into bed (or on the floor); weary after working eighteen to twenty hours. I grinned weakly, whispering to myself, “How can you take money without working for it; how can you?”

Since my conversion in Nov/Dec 1964 I always worked to meet my needs be it going five years to Bible College, or the Summer Institute of Linguistic at the University of Washington in Seattle, or Jungle Camp training in Mexico and finally flying out to India with Wycliffe. I worked as a carpenter and even for a spell cleaned floors or toilets at a department store. I lived by the Scriptural injunction of “no loaves for loafers”, (II Thessalonians 3:10 – Frank’s Version).

This of course was not possible in India. A different arrangement had to be made. After returning to India on my own in January 1976 I made a pact with God – if a mere mortal can dare such a thing, I told God, “Father you supply and I promise to stay broke!” I was going to be a mere channel and not a lake or a reservoir. I was not going to hoard his provisions for my old age but pass them on as soon as I received them to the object of my ministry. I did and – sometimes sooner … Yet supply he does. With supplying he gave me this promise; that he gave the same to Moses doesn’t negate this.

“… and your strength will equal your days.”

And this he too did; he provided not only strength but comforts to match my decreasing ability to handle stress, tension and discomfort. My present place is a far cry from the hut in the middle of the field I started in. It is simple but don’t equate that with primitive; it contains everything to make me comfortable from a nice reclining chair to air-conditioner, book shelves, a fridge that holds all the things, I should not eat, a clean kitchen, two bathrooms and now added to it – an exercise bike…

The old Remington typewriter has made way for a powerful PC plus a laptop and an iPad 3 64GB WI-FI + 3G. Add to it a couple of printers etc. Not boasting just enumerating.

As for transport; the cycle I used for many years, till we moved out to this place in April 1982, made way for a motor cycle and then a car … plus a driver…

These are personal blessings apart from those bestowed upon the homes i.e. the society.

But the best … When I came I was like a man standing with his arms tightly wrapped around himself; that makes for a very small circle. Then I opened my arms wider, wider and wider till they encompassed more than a 1200 people – or more. Not very much but it beats the small circle that was just me. From that circle hands reach out to me to help, to comfort, to make life easier and loneliness bearable. And the channel – tapped into God’s resources – provides for them all – at no cost to me, the channel.

Looking at life from the vantage point of age of 77, which can be considered old, I can boldly say I proved my God. He in turn vindicated my trust in Him and his promises to me beyond all measure!

“Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you.”

Isaiah 46:3, 4

Has this answered your fears?

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The Changing Face of International Missions

I am one of those people who will not and cannot do the bidding of another man unless it is in line with my own bidding. Dr. Roger Stronstad in the Foreword to my autobiography, Fearfully and Wonderfully Mad, aptly wrote: “For example, while he is a good team player he is always fiercely individualistic and independent, and should circumstances bring about a conflict between the two his independence wins out.”

But this is a characteristic common to all missionaries or anybody for that matter, who accomplished things for God; should they not be given the space to follow what they conceive to be the will of God, they will part ways with whatever organization or mission board that tries to control them.

Hudson Tailor founded the China Inland Mission because he needed room to grow, to do what he believed God wanted him to do which — at his death included 205 mission stations with over 800 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians.

William Carey finally quit the mission organization which he founded because he refused to be micro managed by somebody in England.

The biggest obstacle to the progress of missions is a strong missions board that stifles the progress of potentially great men and women and great endeavors by dictating what they can do and cannot do on the field. They would do well to peruse the biographies of missionaries and immerse themselves in the history of Protestant mission and learn from them.

Those missionaries who refused to submit themselves to such pressure and follow the conviction placed upon their heart by the Holy Spirit will thrive; those without courage will not follow the leading of the Spirit against the wishes of the Missions board and, succumbing to the pressure exerted upon them, remain mediocre; their full potential unrealized.

It takes courage and the conviction that you are in God’s will and that regardless of what will happen he is with you. To fail to believe that is to fail; to depend on your own, abilities, wisdom and strength is to fail.

Once a missionary receives his mandate from the sending organization (or directly from God) he does not need supervision; a missionary to be successful must be autonomous, unshackled from the control of others. He should be in control of his own affairs channeling all his energy into the fulfillment of his mandate. He should be able to initiate any project that falls within the purview of his mandate.

It would be outright dishonest to take all the credit for the things I accomplished. The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada’s International Missions Department has helped me in many ways and so has Childcare plus through it sponsorships of many of our children.  It is therefore a just demand to request progress reports from me and so keep the sending organization up to date on his activities.

International Missions is not dead but changing. Therefore, “With malice toward none, with charity for all” … Those missionaries who need control and supervision, reconsider,  stay at home; why waste a lot of money and two men – the missionary and a director – to do the job of one? The mission field is often tough. Remember there is no such thing as a painless sacrifice and frequently despair lives next door to your heart.

Frank

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