Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.
Kendal was one of my best friends during my college days at Houghton and I am so excited that he agreed to tell you all his story!
Hello Dishwasher Revolutionaries, Palmolive Pirates, and Electrasol Guerillas!
I am not Tyler or Ryan, just a friend of theirs and Tyler asked me to write a guest post for this page about the ministry I’m involved in.
So, blog title fun aside, I think I’ll start with a short testimony about how the Lord led me to where I am now and then I’ll close with some ministry details.
Ok, so flashback about 3 years and I’m in my last glorious semester of college and life is very very good. I have oodles of free time, tons of good friends around every corner, I’m well connected, and I know the ins and outs of most everything that happens on campus. Then I graduate, and like probably 60% of the other graduates on stage, I find myself fairly clueless about what to do next. I felt like one of the old parolee ex-cons from “Shawshank Redemption” because I almost wished I had failed something so I could have stayed at least one more semester.
The upside of that time was the knowledge that though I did nothing to deserve it, the Lord had completely transformed my entire life during those 4 years. When I first arrived at college I really wasn’t sure who I was or what was important to me. I was a good kid who grew up in a Christian home and was a pretty typical product of what you’d probably automatically associate with that background, but deep down my faith really wasn’t my own. I was dead on the inside. I pretty much just woke up every day, did the stuff I was supposed to do, then went back to sleep the next night without much thought or connection to anything more.
Thankfully that all changed during my college years as God used an amazing combination of great blessings and difficult trials all mixed together to bring me to life in Him. That is another story for another time, but the end result was that I began to live every day for my heavenly Father and started to truly surrender my life to Him. I probably didn’t look all that much different from the outside, but on the inside everything felt different in the most wonderful ways.
So while I graduated without any clear path ahead of me, I knew that my Father loved me and had everything in His hands so all I needed to do was put my trust in Him. The only piece of guidance I had from the Lord at that time was a draw to missions work. I had been on many short term missions trips and felt the Lord calling me to something more in that direction. So the summer after graduation, I lived with a friend and worked christian athletic camps while I sought out longer term missions opportunities. By the end of the summer I was excited to have a couple adventurous and very enticing possibilities opened before me. But as I continued to seek the Lord’s guidance in prayer, I was admittedly disappointed when I felt Him telling me that none of these opportunities were the right direction. Instead, I sensed Him leading me to move home with my parents and wait on Him. That is something I really didn’t want to do and it even scared me a little. I love my parents very much, of all the incredible blessings the Lord has given me in my life I honestly think they are at the top of the list. But there was no job waiting for me there, no grad school, no close college friends nearby, and I had long since drifted from my old high school friends who, as far as I knew, were taking their lives in directions I didn’t want to follow. The thought of moving home literally felt like dying to me. Yet the more I prayed, the more right that decision felt… so, come August, that’s what I did.
It would be nice to say that as soon as I settled in, God opened the floodgates of awesome in my life, but that just wasn’t the case. It was really hard for me living at home in all the ways that I had anticipated. No friends, no job, and nothing to do. All the while, my college friends were getting married, starting promising careers, or beginning graduate programs. In some ways it felt unfair, because I had moved home in obedience to what I knew was God’s guidance so I felt like He should start making stuff happen, but in all the ways I could see, that wasn’t the case. However, beyond what was outwardly apparent, God really was working deep in my heart and preparing me for His purposes. For years I had tried to be consistent each day with my devotions but it never happened until this time at home. There were also long term personal struggles that God brought great healing to. And I think that choosing God’s path instead of my own desires really set in my heart that no matter what, I’m going to seek the Lord and do whatever He asks me to do. Looking back now, I am so thankful for this trying time where God asked me to really slow down and focus on Him. I can honestly say it was one of the hardest times, but the blessings in who I am with the Lord are priceless. One of the best lessons I learned is that if I am truly following God, His purposes will be served regardless of whether I am instantly seeing the fruit or not.
After I had been home about 7 months, I got an opportunity through a friend to go teach English in Asia. I immediately began praying about this possibility, and quickly felt God saying it was the right step for me to take. So within only 2 months of hearing about the opportunity, I was on a plane high over the Pacific. I spent the next year and a half teaching English at a crazy but lovable public middle school… a proposition I would have burst a lung laughing at previously because English was always one of my worst subjects and I had no experience or training as a teacher. But in the midst of my inability and weakness was God’s strength and provision. He led me to teach there, so I trusted him to provide everything both in the classroom and in my daily life… and that’s exactly what he did, to an extent that would have been selfish of me to expect beforehand. My time spent teaching there was a tremendous blessing where I saw many of the amazing practical and spiritual ways that God can provide when we are trusting Him to do so and seeking His purposes.
It was also while teaching there that I got connected with the ministry that I am now so blessed to be a part of. I took a trip with this group and heard they were praying for someone like me to join their team. After several months of prayerfully seeking the Lord, I felt His peace about making the decision to join them. This was confirmed when they felt the same guidance. So now, I live and work in Asia with a ministry whose purpose is to support house churches through any direction the Lord leads . Currently, we provide financial support, pastoral training, supply Bibles, do community projects, and disaster relief. But we are always open to whatever doors the Lord opens. Personally, I’ve already taken part in meetings we’ve gone into thinking they would have a specific purpose… but by the end God has lead us into totally new, unforseen possibilities that could turn into huge blessings for the Christians we support. The funding for our group is largely western, but the leader of our ministry takes an inspirational direction in that area. He doesn’t do anything. He focuses on the people we are supporting and trusts God to provide for everything, which He has been so faithful in doing… above and beyond our needs.
I’ve been extremely blessed to have already taken many trips to see house churches where I’ve heard incredible stories and witnessed firsthand the faith and passion those people have for Christ. They tell tales of persecution and difficulty where God has protected them and provided in miraculous ways. It is an amazing experience to spend just a few hours with a group of these people, and thanks to the Lord, I get to do this as my job… incredible!!!
So that’s pretty much where I’m at. Trying to live for God everyday, amazed by where He has lead me and the things He continues to do!
All things, everyday, for the glory of Jesus Christ!!!