Friday, September 30, 2011

Waiting for the call...but still currently in training.

I'm excited about my first missionary quest, but I have no idea when or where it will be...
That may sound like a strange statement for a person so adamant about sharing the Good News, and I'm a little disappointed, honestly, that my first travel abroad for Him is yet to happen. But, I have extremely been focused on what I believe is the ministry where God wants my energy and attention. Disappointed might be a strong word...maybe understanding is a better one. 

I'm convinced God has put on my heart where my work abroad (and in person) will be in His name. While a mission trip to Nicaragua will probably be my first opportunity in the next year, my plans are already being made for a much different destination. China.

Christianity is spreading at a rapid pace in the socialist state. While tolerated as a benign religion by the state, the Chinese people are starving for the Hope we have to share in the message of Jesus Christ. God put this on my heart about 8 years ago. I don't find it a bit coincidental that one of the first people I met in my current job 6 years ago was a Chinese immigrant who runs the company IT Department. He was only a few years in this country then. Over the past 6 years, we have had extensive conversations about faith and the role of religion in his country. Educational conversation.

While my co-worker and friend remains a devout atheist, I find it a blessing to have the opportunity to minister to him 5 days a week. Just this week we had a funny exchange that is typical of the dynamic of our relationship. I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation for a series I'm speaking in at church on the historical reliability of the Bible. I had printed the slides with my notes at home, but I initially failed to change my printer settings from our work copier/printer.

The next day when I got to work and plugged into the work network, the queued slides started printing on the office machine. I was in the bathroom at the time (takes a minute for things to boot up), but when I emerged, I see my friend standing there looking at the printing slides...

Co-Worker (in his broken English): You print Bible stuff?
TonyC: I did at home last night. My computer should still be booting up. If that's printing, you'd better cancel it or you'll get 25 pages.
Co-Worker: You not printing this?
TonyC: No, I used those last night. I have no idea why they're printing (which was true at the time).
Co-Worker: That very weird (looking at one of the pages).
TonyC: Maybe that's intended for you. God works in mysterious ways brother.
Co-Worker: So does our network!
TonyC: (laughing)You'll need to take the network issue up with the IT Department, and that's a long wait from what I hear.
Co-Worker: (repeatedly pushing buttons to cancel print job) Stop. Please stop!

I'm paying attention Father and should be well prepared when I get Your call...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flying Here and Flying There...

There are lots of ways to view Christian Missions. I left a church a few weeks ago and there was a sign on the way out of the parking lot "Entering the Mission Field!"

In November it will have been 12 years since I went on my first mission trip to Brazil.

In April of 1999 I met a Brazilian pastor in Hyannis, MA. He is now my good friend Carlos. You can read some of that story HERE. Through him many doors were opened for me to minister in his community both here and abroad. He was my faithful interpreter and has seen me through the good times and the bad times.

The real story of Brazil starts in January 1997. I received this prophecy from a gentleman named Denny Cramer.

"I will give you a heart for nations as well, says the Lord. And you will travel from coast to coast. And you will learn what I am doing upon the earth. You’ll pick up this truth and that truth. I see you going to several major conferences. I see several airline tickets being purchased. I see you getting on a plane-- flying here, flying there, flying here, flying there."

Regardless of how you feel about spiritual gifts, let me tell this was all very exciting; yet bewildering. After all, I am afraid of heights, I don't like flying and had a fear of being in a country where I don't speak the language. It rocked my complacent, little, religious world.

Not long after I met Carlos, he introduced me to a couple of other Brazilians, in particular; one named named Lessak. Pastor Lessak did not speak English at all; therefore, all of our conversations were translated. He was convinced that the power of God was not something you could actually experience - just something to have faith in. He told me me, God was not going to knock him down, and no minister was going to push him either. Though falling in the spirit is not an essential Christian experience, I had seen it happen one quite a few occasions over the years. He stood there and challenged God like Gary Sinise atop the mast of the shrimp boat, in the movie Forrest Gump.

He readied himself like a linebacker before the call to "set." So I gently touched two fingers to his forehead and simply asked Holy Spirit to come. The power of God came like a shotgun to challenge his beliefs.

As he lay on the floor across the room he began to prophesy in English-- "Dav- i - G (the sound of my name in with a heavy accent) will be a minister on our team in Brazil. He will come with us to Brazil."

Wow! Ummm I mean, thanks but no thanks. I like it right here in the good ole' US of A. Carlos was trying to make sure that I knew what he was saying. I heard him loud and clear in English. Carlos assured me that he did not know any English.

The word of God is like fire in your bones. PS Lessak's words resonated in my spirit, but I was scared, Brazil was really unknown - well except for all that bad things on the news. What was going to happen to me in a foreign land? What if it was too hard, or something happened to me? What if I was imprisoned or got sick? How would I pay for it? What if I couldn't get the time off from work? What if...

The wheels of the Kingdom began turning. Not too long after, I decided I would go to Brazil, though I had some real concerns. Making the decision was hard - it was way, way, way out of my comfort zone.

After I had a chance to minister in a couple of dozen Brazilian churches here in the states, I started to become comfortable with the culture and the language. I had a few friends - and well, it didn't seem so unbelievable after all. I thought: "If I am with Carlos, and Lessak, I can trust them." The what-ifs seemed to lessen a little...

Carlos set up an itinerary for me in three cities in southern Brazil.

Funding the trip was going to be a problem - and I sort of felt that if God would pay for it, then I should really go (that was my out). The two Brazilians and I went to the beach and prayed for about an hour. We prayed about it on a number of other occasions too.

In the midst of all this, I was asked to participate on the ministry team of a Refresh conference, through a friend. In the process, one of my teammates wrote me check for $1000. That was enough to buy tickets for me, and help the others.

One obstacle down.

I also needed to get time off from work, so I went to the owner of my company. He needed me there, so 21 days was going to be significant. But he gave me the time off with pay!

Two down!

The next step was to get a passport. I thought this would be easy, but it wasn't. Check out Part II.

Yesterday I had coffee with the neighbor across the street. He is a Brazilian and we had a wonderful talk about his country. You know, maybe I will get a new passport.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You a Missionary?

The Great Commission found in Mathew 20:18-20, tells us to go to the world, obey God’s commands, baptize and make disciples. It’s a word for every Christian so why aren’t we seeing it happen? Or maybe we are, but our definition of a missionary is different than another. This week, the Kingdom Bloggers are discussing the questions: what is a missionary and are you a missionary by your own definition?


I grew up in an era when missionaries who went into the field, went for long-term service. They would return every few years to North America for furlough. More often than not, missionaries would come to our Sunday School hour and share stories and testimonies of their adventures with the classes. Some children may have been inspired by the adventure, but not me. I prayed to the Lord, “Please, don’t give me ‘the call’ [to be a missionary] and never, ever send me to Africa.” Because Africa was the only place people were called to.

I’m a comfort girl – always have been. I didn’t like camping in an RV trailer for a week with my family, let alone living in a hut in Africa. I didn’t want to be concerned with contracting malaria or yellow fever and I never, ever, wanted to eat a cricket. I didn’t want to find a snake in my bed, or a lion near the outhouse. I didn’t want to use an outhouse, period (lion, or not).

I was anxious about getting ‘the call’. As the missionaries described it, it always came when they were busy doing something else – you know, like living life in a carefree, easy way. But God demands obedience and he tests our obedience by asking us to do the exact opposite of what we truly wanted to do. I loved God and wanted to be obedient and it was a terrible wait, waiting for ‘the call’. The fact that I was 8 or 9 didn’t matter, I knew the verse in Matthew 18:20, ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...’

As I got a little older, I learned a loop hole – we could be a missionary right where we are. That was good news and I breathed a little easier (but I never fully relaxed). As I matured in faith and broke through the lie that God was a punisher, I now realize that God works with us to walk in his will. He’s not a dictator, but a loving Father who knows our temperament, skills and passion and provides opportunity for us to express them for his glory. A true missionary is someone who has a mission and lives it.

I’ve just returned from my first “official” ministry trip. I didn’t have to eat any bugs - in fact, the beef roast we had for dinner was exceptionally good, as was the huevo ranchero burrito we had for breakfast. We ministered to a group of people that were hungry for God in their region and we shared testimony and imparted knowledge and prophecy among them. We prayed for the sick and the injured and saw healing occur; mostly, we encouraged them to step into faith as sons & daughters of a Heavenly Father. All of those things is like a fresh drink of water – I love doing them. I could do it here, or there, I could do it anywhere. In a house, with a mouse; in a car that travels very far or a boat across the moat.

In the comments, share how you define mission work.

Friday, September 23, 2011

To know him is to…really want to write a book or two.

I’ve not read any of the post here this week for a reason because you see, we’re roasting my good friend David Johndrow on Kingdom Bloggers this week, and I didn’t want to taint what I have to say…

And I have a lot to say!

I met David in the blogosphere in 2009. He first commented on my personal blog at Tony C Today on January 8th of 2009 on a post about the futility of atheism. Apparently, it was part of some kind of New Years Resolution he’d made about attracting more readers to his own blog at Fire and Grace. He must have read an article or book or something…anyway it worked, and we started a relationship of mutual snarky comment remarks that's lasted to this very day.

Now he’s taking a God-led hiatus, and quite honestly, I have mixed feelings. Paul talks a lot about this in his Epistles. Exactly now where do I go with my sarcastic comments motivated by the flesh?! Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely love Joyce, Tracy and Andrea, but my southern heritage along with my former officer and a gentleman indoctrination via the USMC (oorah!) practically forbid me make snarky comments on their blog post. Hey…call it sexist if you like…but you just can’t make a coconut cream pie with apples!

So I don’t know where I’ll sarcastically remark now that you’re quitting David. Guess I’ll go unload on Appling over at the Church of No People and get lost in 700 or so remarks he generates with each post. My apologies for the Comment envy Matt…

Anyway, mutual comments lead to a Facebook friendship which lead to telephone calls and text messages which lead to praying together and for each other…and before you know it…there’s virtual holy kisses of greetings going on all over the place! Thanks to DJ, I clearly understand that’s scriptural now.  I believe you’re onto something Joyce with your doctorate dissertation hypothesis about social media connections.

David and I are very much kindred souls despite the Mason/Dixon line that separates us. We’re both married WAY up, love Jesus first and foremost, both have three daughters and look or have looked like a Hollywood celebrity. Come on! Look how much Johndrow looks like James Woods! They’re practically twins!

David JohndrowJames woods

So what celebrity do I look like? Depends on where we are in my timeline…




You can stop laughing now…

Seriously, I love my friend David Johndrow who has helped me be a better light for Jesus. Through his words of encouragement, dissection and analysis of the Word, and love he shares with so many others, David is following in the very footprints left by our greatest teacher and Savior. I know in my heart that he is following where being lead…and that too is yet another lesson to be noted by all of us.

God bless your mission in His name my friend. Mwah!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pieces & Phrases

When I think of David the following pieces of thoughts and phrases come to my mind:
  • All consuming passion
  • Fire in the belly
  • Sarcastic and funny
  • Prophetic words
These are the things most David to me.

The passion that burns strong in David, that drives him to seek God and His work above all else, calls out to the spark in my own soul, and stirs it up. Watching David continue through the hard times, through rejection, and times when life didn't make sense, has provided me with a picture of what the Spirit's fire in a person produces. Getting to enjoy a laugh or two, and a different perspective, all curtsey of David; well, it just makes life more fun. David's helped me learn what an asset a real prophet can be to Kingdom Living, and caused me to question those religious ideas I've lived most of my life around.

I'm grateful that I met David in the blogoshere, and that I've had the honor of getting to write alongside him here at Kingdom Bloggers. I'm excited about all the doors God is opening for David and I look forward to hearing more about all God's blessing to, and through, David.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blessings & Honour

Joyce Lighari, co-writer on Kingdom Bloggers is completing a dissertation and is conducting research to answer the question: can Facebook build Christian community? I don’t know if Facebook, in particular, builds Christian community but I know that Christian community can be built and strengthened on the internet simply through virtual association.

The reason I’m certain is because that’s how I met David, and subsequently the other Kingdom writers.

I’m fairly new to the blogging world (about a year) and somehow I stumbled upon Matt Appling’s blog, The Church of No People. Like most blog readers, I stalked the site reading the posts and comments. What I noticed that David was among of the first few to [almost] always make a comment, and I liked what he said. So much so, that I began to read his blog, Fire & Grace, every week.

I commented on his blog and we started a mutual (I think) respect for each other’s views. One thing lead to another and bidda-bang, bidda-boom - we’re running off to be married – just kidding. That’s not even remotely true (I’m checking to see if people actually read the posts).

This is Google image #6 for David Johndrow.
Seriously, I’ve never met David personally but I can say with certainty that he is a man of God, chasing after God’s own heart. David honours his wife and his family; he honours his church and ministry. David has a heart for revival and empowering the church to live and be ready for the harvest. David is a prophet and a teacher, and a good one at that. His ability to teach Biblical concepts in short blog posts is what impressed me most.

When he announced to the other Kingdom writers that he was taking a hiatus from blogging, I wasn’t surprised. God is opening opportunities for David and David is following them – exactly as he should.

I want to bless and honour David for his vision and contribution to Kingdom Bloggers and I want to release him to move forward in what God is doing through him. David has impacted me and I know I’m not the only one. I’m honoured that David suggested I take a lead role for Kingdom Bloggers; it’s been his vision and letting go can be bittersweet, no matter the reason. David may guest post occasionally, so I look forward to hearing from him when that happens.

David admitted that he isn’t a ‘words of affirmation’ guy, so even though he doesn’t need to hear it, scripture says that if we honour a prophet in the name of a prophet, we receive a prophet’s reward. So really, this isn’t about David at all, I just want my reward.

David, I leave you with one verse, Philippians 1:6, being confident of this, the he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Blessings, my friend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From Glory to Glory

Wow - hard to believe I've been contributing to this blog for almost two years now - I came on in December of 2008 - my first blog KB blog is here.

It was David who reminded me of how many words have been spoken over my writing a book. I still haven't written it... but that's another story.  However, David believed in what God had spoken long before I did.  He encouraged me to write.  And I have.

A picture David took (stole it from his website) of me praying in Norway.
Unfortunately, he's not in the picture though... good times!

I never thought that of all the people that we went to Norway with in 2002 that David and I would be the ones who remained connected.  I don't know if he is still connected with anyone else from that trip - other than our leader and his wife, I know I'm not connected with anyone.  Even that connection is very superficial - life does move on.

Ahhh, Norway.  What a trip that was - so many things to say, so many memories.  All of them good!  except maybe looking at pickled herring at breakfast.  You'd think I'd be used to that growing up in a Norwegian home.

I'm sad.  I'm really sad that David is moving on.  Oh, I know we'll stay connected.  But somehow, change, even when it is for something good, is something that makes us sad.  God has kept His hand on David - forming, molding him, changing him, and now releasing him into greater things in God.  For that I rejoice with him.

I know you'll miss him too.  I think today of a verse that seems appropriate for those of us carrying on with KB:  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6 NIV).  God used David (and Tony and David T) to start this good work - He'll complete it... As David moves on to greater things in God, my prayer for him is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18 And David, who with unveiled faces reflects the Lord's glory, continually being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (Paraphrase mine :)

From Glory to Glory David - 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The End of One Season Always Leads to the Beginning of the Next

Family Photo With Required Goofy Expression
One day Dave T, Tony C. and I were on a 3-way call. I was sitting in the parking lot of McDonald's (I have since been asked to stay off the property - more in a in a bit). It was the beginning of Kingdom Bloggers in October of 2009. Our vision was to tell personal stories about how we engaged the Kingdom of God. HERE is my first post. We weren't really teaching, but giving testimonies about our doubts, our fears, our favorite verses, and the predicaments that we found ourselves in where God showed his faithfulness - even ones where we heard his voice. If you look back over the years of posts, you'll get to know a lot about the virtual church here at KB and the people in it. Our Christian lives are not theory, not about what we know, and certainly not about being perfect (I'd like to cite Tony C. as an example) but how we live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ on a day-to-day basis.

What's all this season stuff about? Well, Kingdom Bloggers is not going away anytime soon!

David, however; is taking a new direction in his walk with Christ - no I am not going to become a Buddhist or a recluse, praying night and day, I am being promoted. The Lord has called me to some other areas of the Kingdom which have been on my heart for many, many years. Like any good web site, no one wants to read all the fine print, so here are some FAQs:

Q. Are you leaving KB because of some un-named incident?

A. No, in fact, I have already been asking God that when I die, I get to live on the same street in Heaven as Tony, Joyce, Dave, Michelle, Stephanie, Tracy and Andrea. I did ask that Tony be at the end of the street - I heard he snores. I love these folks and they have been powerful in my life, very powerful. In fact it is easier to get them to pray then some of the folks I have come across at the local church. I'm just sayin'!

I have often taught, you train people to take your place in the Kingdom; you model it, you encourage it, and when they step into their destiny, you can be promoted. Tony, Tracy, Joyce and Andrea have become seasoned and committed bloggers. You can count on them to be consistent, thoughtful, sensitive to the Spirit, heart-felt, and best of all: real. Those are the qualities of great Christian Bloggers; it's not about visitors, page views and popularity.

Q. Are you quitting blogging?

A. Mostly, yes.I have been writing blogs since 2005, and there are now over 1000 of them floating about the Internet. I am sure you haven't read them all. In addition to my weekly contribution on KB, I have written personal blogs on Fire & Grace, and recently posted a few wise cracking blogs about weight loss on

Q. What will you be doing with your extra few hours a week?

A. It's a good question. I am devoting more time to teaching and ministry (conferences), which; is a great honor, privilege and joy. I had a prophetic word about returning to my second love (ministry over a year ago), it is just time. I have written a second book which is out for editing (the first one is free online HERE). I hope to publish it as soon as I can afford to do so.

On a personal level, I am taking care of my health, my marriage, and my family. The heart trauma put stress on every area of my life. I now get up and run 2 miles pretty much everyday, and have dinner with my family every night. It's all good - we'll be just fine.

I will be posting on KB as I have time. This is a great crew and a wonderful expression of the Kingdom of God!

Q. How can I find out all that is going on with David?

A. You can follow me on Twitter DSJohndrow or Fire & Grace, that is the best way. I am going to be writing 140 character blogs on a regular basis to update those who care about my work in the Kingdom, the progress of my new book, and probably what I had for dinner - I often post grill pictures! Facebook is a good option too- but that is more about posting pictures of my family with goofy expressions.

Q. Will you miss blogging?

A. Of course I will, but what I loved about it the most was the people, not the words. Please stay in touch, and be blessed. As soon as the Lord gives me a street address in Heaven, I will be sure to post it. Until then, you can find me at

Q. Is there anything else?

A. Yes, the teaching and ministry requires travel, and I could use your prayer support. A couple of people asked if they could give financially, and the answer is yes. I need a plane ticket for late October. Let me know if you want to be part of what is happening!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Don't be an idiot...

You can find my letter to a younger Tony C over on Write Down the Revelation, the personal blog of Andrea York. Be sure to look around her blog while you're'll find more than a blessing or two.

By the way, there's a picture of the teenage me too...and yes, it's black and white.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Night Before the Big Move

Dear Joyce -
This is your last night in your blue and white striped with accent daisy room... you'll miss this room more than you can imagine.  Tomorrow you fly away to Missouri.   You think you're off on an adventure to leave your beloved Brooklyn behind and move to Central Missouri.  You think it's going to be fun.  The Viking in you loves travel and exploration...BUT you have no idea that in a year from now, you'll be married and pregnant at 16.
For the rest of the story head over to Write Down the Revelation and read on....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter to My Teenage Self

Youth is a beautiful thing; it’s a time for experimenting, learning your voice and making mistakes. Okay, the rest of your life is also for those things too but people expect you to have more wisdom later in life. This week Kingdom Bloggers are invading my (Andrea) site. We’re writing on what we would say to our teenage self, knowing that we’ve gained some experience and [hopefully] wisdom. David normally begins the week and introduces the topic but because we're posting on my site, I get to do the honours. David will be writing on my normal day – Wednesday. Click here to link to my site and enjoy the week.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Be very careful when you turn down a Facebook Friend Request...

My names Tony C and...okay...I'm a social media geek.

Now I'm not saying I need a 12-step program or anything like that...just yet...but there are few days that go by that I'm not in touch with someone via one or several social media tools.

Come to think of it...I'm using one now.

Read the rest of my post on Abundant Living, the personal blog of Kingdom Blogger Tracy Chiara. She is a terrific writer, compassionate about the Kingdom, and always has the best graphics! Come check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

If Mennonites take pride in anything (which they don’t because pride is a sin), it’s being known for being people of the Book. And by book, I mean the Bible. They also might be a wee bit prideful (but in a humble way) of their green and luscious lawns. Seriously. I don’t know how they do it but almost any Mennonite community has perfectly kept and manicured yards.

I digress, back to the people-of-the-book thing. I grew up thinking the only way God would speak to me was through the Bible and only if you were super, super, super holy did the Lord speak to you in words that was meant just for you. Like Abraham, or Moses; sort of like David but he had his own prophet so I don’t know if that counts.

I wasn’t used to hearing God; I also wasn’t listening for it either - except of course, when I read the Bible. It worked and I believe that God speaks through his written word but I’ve learned there is a difference between logos and rhema.  Logos is the written word, the Bible, if you will and rhema is the applied word – the fresh word from God. Theologians and linguistics may explain the differences better than I, but no one can explain away the first time I remember hearing specifically from God.

This week on Kingdom Bloggers, we are guest posting at Tracy Chiara’s site, Abundant Living. Click here to read about the first time I heard God.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is That You?

This week's round of Kingdom Bloggers is over at Abundant Life!

Get ready to hear personal stories from the Kingdom Bloggers about how God speaks to us. They are as personal as our relationship with the Lord; no pattern, no formula, no cut and dried, sure fire way to know that it is God. However; as His sheep, we have grown accustom to hearing his voice.

Here is what happened to me:


Friday, September 2, 2011

God created Fall because He loves me...

What's not to love about Autumn?

I thank God daily. I'm especially thankful in the fall of the year because I live in one of the most visually stunning places on the planet...the Appalachian Mountains.

Read the rest of this post over on Sounds of Hope, the personal blog of Kingdom Blogger Joyce Lighari. Check out some of her post'll be glad you did.