Saturday, 15 October 2016

Provision for Missions

One of a couple of things I felt God wanted me to do in the Philippines was teach the young people how to believe God for finances for missions.

Many young Filipinos felt called to overseas missions - but how would they ever be able to afford it, being from a developing country.

I'd invited a Pastor from Bacolod, Negros, to visit me in Cagayan de Oro city, Mindanao, where we were experiencing true revival.

A Pastor-friend of mine invited us both to his city one Saturday about 2 or 3 hours away, from where we would travel together with him to a mountain, and my guest and I would preach in an open-air crusade in a village.

The night before going, I invited anyone from our city-youth group who wanted to come to meet me early in the morning in front of a well-known bakery.

Several youth showed up in the morning, and we boarded the long-distance bus.

A couple of kilometres down the road, the conductor started down the aisle selling tickets, as was the custom.

It suddenly occurred to me that since I'd invited the youth, true to culture they were probably expecting me to pay their fares too - but I had just enough money for myself, and only one-way!

I asked the youth, "Who has money for their fare?"


Then one of the youth said it was okay: she had money for everyone - and produced a 500 Peso note.

I said to her, "God will give it back to you."

We bought one-way tickets for everyone: I didn't even think about how we were all going to get home that night.

By the time we arrived at our first destination, the youth were all hungry - and of course I felt it was up to me to take care of them.

While I was wondering what to do, another Pastor from our city turned-up unexpectedly, and he reassured me: it's okay - let them eat.

So we went to a restaurant; and I invited the youth to go ahead and order whatever they wanted.

While the youth were happily eating, I still wasn't sure how the bill was going to get paid! I trusted God - but was also thinking that maybe the Pastor who'd reassured me was prepared to pay for everyone.

Being fresh out of revival, the youth started laying hands on the restaurant-staff during the meal. The staff started crying and shaking under the power of the Holy Spirit.

When the restaurant-owner saw how the staff were blessed, she requested that the youth follow her out the back and pray for all her own family members. They each started crying and shaking too, as the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them.

Then the owner said, "You've blessed us spiritually, so we'll bless you - you don't have to pay for the meals".

The family had once been members of the local church, but had stopped attending - but after that blessing, they started attending again. Being business-owners, they started helping the church financially too.

When the Pastor who'd invited me saw I'd brought a large group of youth with me, he said he was only expecting me, and didn't have a vehicle to take so many to the mountain - the youth couldn't come.

The youth were so disappointed! One of them complained out loud: we've come all this way for nothing!

I could understand how Moses might have felt when the multitude complained to him in the wilderness. I looked to God.

Then the Pastor who'd unexpectedly turned up said he would come with us and transport everyone, as he'd happened to come in a 15-seater!

When we arrived at the mountain-top, the youth were hungry again. I was wondering what to do, when a man from the village approached me, enthusiastically asking us all to follow him to his house - he'd killed an animal, roasted a meal - enough for all of us.

Nightfall came, a crowd gathered and we preached the Gospel. The youth shared testimonies, and we laid hands on the sick. I saw one of the youth getting a person walking who I assumed had been crippled or partially so. People accepted the Lord as Saviour.

I was given an honorarium, as the guest speaker that night. From it I gave a 100 Peso note to a little boy in the crowd: "Take this to your mother" I said. His face lit up.

The Pastor who'd turned up unexpectedly from our city offered to drive us all home afterwards in his 15-seater. God had provided everything!

"Turn on the light!" I said to the youth, on the journey home.

"At the start of the day, none of us had enough money for the day, and God has provided everything.

But each of us do have something. God doesn't expect us to have enough - but He does honour it when we give what we have," I said.

"Let's take up an offering. Ask the Lord what you should give."

I took my Bible out of its cover, and zipped-up two sides of the empty cover to make an offering-bag. We passed it around.

The youth started putting what money they had in - and I put in what I had left from the honourarium I'd been given.

I asked them to check their heart, whether they'd given exactly what they felt to give. A couple of youth put a few more coins in.

Then we counted the money straightaway - it added-up to the exact amount of the youth's bus fares, plus a few extra coins. All the youth were in awe!

I handed the whole offering to the girl who'd paid for the youth's fares in the morning. God gave it back to her, just as I'd said.

And I said to the youth, "You watch, what you all just gave, God will also give back to you."

Then I felt led to take up a second offering. We had a guest-speaker with us, and the "labourer is worthy of his hire".

I said, Let's take up an offering for our guest-minister.

The girl who I'd just handed the first offering to, gave the whole amount in the offering.

Then we gave it to the guest-speaker who was sitting in the front with the driver.

He could hardly believe a group of mere youth gave him such a big offering!

Then I felt led to take up a third offering.

"It cost money to put gasoline in this vehicle we're being driven home in," I said.

"Let's take up an offering for the vehicle-owner."

The guest-speaker put the whole offering we'd just given him, in the offering.

Since the vehicle-owner was the girl's father, I handed the offering to her and told her to give it to her father when she got home.

That was an important lesson to the girl. She'd always wanted to become a missionary. Her father was happy to provide well for her, but she felt he would have expected her to work in the family businesses. Now God was showing her that when she steps out on mission for Him, He can provide for her to actually pay her father.

Despite starting the day with none of us having enough money for the day, by the end of it we'd all travelled to a distant city, had lunch, travelled to a mountain, had dinner, shared testimonies and healed, given money to a poor child's family in the village, returned the money to the girl who'd paid the youth's fares, given an offering to our guest, and collected money to pay the vehicle-owner's gasoline costs!

The next morning was Sunday, and at church the youth started telling testimonies of how God had already given back to them. One or two of them - what they'd given in the offering the night before, was actually all they had to pay a Jeepney-ride to get to church the next morning: but one way or another God had already given back to them or provided in some extraordinary way. The youth were overjoyed!

I said to them, "If this can happen on a mission-trip to a neighbouring part of the island; it can work on a trip to another island."

Later I led a mission-trip further away to another province, another island - the youth saw God provide just the same.

Then I said, "Since God can provide for a mission-trip to another province, He can also provide for an overseas trip."

Some months later I returned to Australia - and the morning I ministered in my home-church on the Gold Coast no less than five youth from the youth-group in the Philippines were with me ministering.

How God made that financially-possible is a story.

What was unthinkable had happened!

"And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing" (Luke 22:35).

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