Everybody longs for home, for a place where they belong and where they are fully alive. Most picture safety and comfort when they think of home, and they usually have pictures of a favourite chair in their living room, maybe a fireplace, or a kitchen table. They almost always also think of family. When I think of home I think of these things too, but they look a little different to some. I picture my favourite chair on a plane, the fire of God falling on a congregation or a stranger on the street, a table surrounded with new friends whose language and culture I am yet to learn, and my family right there with me. Yesterday my son said to me, “Dad, let me tell you about myself. My name is Sean and I travel around the world telling people about Jesus.”
You see my family and I are ministers to the nations, both our backyard of Australia, and the streets, sanctuaries and backyards of the nations of the world. I used to shy away from telling people how much I travel, as travel in Australia in particular can be seen as some sort of status symbol, and I long for only one status, that of a son of God, but I have now accepted this beautifully complex reality.
My reality is not better than someone else’s, my family isn’t more “special”, and I do truly love sitting by my Aunty’s fireplace and gathering around a table with old friends and family, but I recognize that this is me, a pioneer of sorts, one who thrives off the new and the unknown, and it’s becoming a true joy to own who I am.
In the last year I’ve been to 15 different countries across Australia, Africa, Europe, America, and Asia, all at God’s leading and all for His glory and purposes (one day we may even have an international family holiday… I hope!). In the words of Reinhard Bonnke, “home is the will of God.” I go where He sends me, and although Australia, America and Indonesia hold such great significance for me, nothing is more significant than His will.
Friends often ask me to tell stories from my journeys. They know I travel, but they don’t always know what I do. And so… I have decided that as I travel I will write. I’ll tell the stories, of the places I go, the people I meet and the way that God is moving across the seas.
I won’t write to boast in anything other than the fact that I know Christ, and I’ll only share what I believe will give Him glory.
And so, here goes story (or stories) number one- these ones come from this past week in Singapore.
PART 1. On the way.
From the moment I walked into my home town airport, Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be, on the road, on the way to Singapore.
Three weeks prior I was sitting on my couch discussing this trip with my wife, Joyce. She was booked to go to Singapore for a class reunion at the annual Kingdom Invasion Conference, after a recent times studying at the Bible College of Wales, and I truly wanted to come with her. I felt God’s Spirit in me urging me to go with her, but we simply didn’t have the funds. At last check, it was $600 return for just my wife (and that was a great sale fare), and I couldn’t see how we could afford another $1,800 more for the rest of us.
“I really felt I was to come with you”, I said to Joyce, somewhat disappointed. I hate being away from you, and straight after Singapore I have to go to America for three weeks. That will be a whole month apart.
Just as we talked, I received a text, “Want a weeks work digging trenches for an electrician?” Not really, I thought honestly. But then I thought about how much it would pay, and I started to pay attention again to the now dormant Spiritual prompting I’d felt for this trip.
I grabbed my phone and searched flights to Singapore, “If the job paid about $1,000 and we could get a little more in support, we could do this!” I hit refresh on my search…
4 tickets, return, Melbourne to Singapore… $1,070.
$1,070 return for a family of four on a 7.5 hour international RETURN flight.
I’d never seen anything like it.
We prayed overnight and booked the tickets the next day. Funnily, the job that I thought would be a week turned out to be only two days, but at those prices two days work was enough!
And so, here I was, where I knew I was meant to be, Melbourne Airport.
I strolled past the Foreign Exchange booth, where I met a new friend, Amanda, encouraging her with, “You may not believe in God, but I want you to know that He so believes in you and you have a very bright future.”
I then sat next to another new friend at our boarding gate, Fay. I immediately felt I had a word of knowledge for her, I felt God was revealing to me something that she needed to hear. “Fay, I can see you have a huge maternal heart and you long to have children. Within 3 to 5 years you will have a child. God loves you so much, don’t worry, don’t stress, work on yourself and your own identity and God will take care of the rest.” I prayed for her in Jesus name as she wept whilst walking off to her flight. She later messaged me on Facebook to tell me her sister is pregnant, her job is as a kindergarten teacher, and she was aching for a child.
“This is why I travel”, I thought to myself- all these people going somewhere but not necessarily knowing spiritually where.
PART 2- To Me and Through Me.
It’s my good friend Rohan Dredge that says, “God often does something to you so that He can do something through you.”
My primary reason for being in Singapore was to be with my family, to enjoy their company before 3 weeks apart, my secondary reason was to attend Kingdom Invasion Conference, to gain a greater equipping in the things of God, for a powerful 4 day conference hosted by Cornerstone Church, and other than that I hadn’t really thought too much about why else I was there.
After the first day of family fun, laughing and creating the most amazing memories together with my beautiful children and bride, I soon found myself praying, “God I love that you are spooling me with this time with my family, and I’m so looking forward to receiving from you at the Conference, but would you also use me here for your glory? I don’t want to settle for “to me” (though I LOVE how He spoils me and meets with me), I want the “through me” too.
Well, the floodgates opened.
I quite honestly can’t remember every was in which God spoke to me and through me, as it was a jam packed week, but I’d love to share just three moments, a “random encounter” with some Brits, praying with my printer, and passing on my parents card.
The day I prayed for God to move through me, my wife and I caught a mono-rail from Singapore’s “Sentosa Island”, to a nearby mall for lunch. While we were on the mono-rail, I noticed a couple in front of me. “Hello”, I said, “First time in Singapore?” We began to talk. I found out that they were from Manchester, UK, not too far from where my friends are soon to host the Billy Graham Association for a Festival of Hope. I share about the festival, and encouraged them to look it up and attend. The wished me well and said they were leaving for the UK the following day. Little did we both know that we would eat at the same restaurant together just before they flew off! The next day my wife and I went to lunch at one of Singapore’s 14,000 eateries, and where did we eat? At the same place as them! I walked up to them, shared how I was a “Minister”, handed them my card and we both agreed this was too coincidental for us to meet again. They aren’t believers, but I encouraged them to contact me anytime they need prayer or want to know more about Jesus, and I walked away with a smile. God cares about our prayers.
Praying with my Printer…
Another example of how He moved this past week was through another “random” moment (I’ve found there is no such thing as random in the Kingdom!). I was scrolling through Instagram, when I noticed a printing company from Singapore had started following me online. I had been hoping to get some printing done, as Joyce and I need new business cards etc. for our new ministry, and so I decided to check them out online. Their prices were good and they offered a two hour service, and so on day 3 of the Conference, the only day that it truly rained (though it was forecast to rain everyday we were there), I took off to the printers while the kids rested. Sitting in the printing office waiting for my printing to come through, I noticed a staff member get up to make himself a “pour over” coffee. I don’t know why, but I stood to ask him about his contraption. He says to me, “Oh hi, you like coffee? I don’t even know why but I felt like I should make a coffee but I don’t really know why.”
Two hours later I had heard of my new friends’ divorce, his pain with his children, and his hopes for the future. We prayed together and I organised to have my new friend visit with me when he is in Melbourne later next month. As I shared some truths I’ve learned from God, he told me, “you have really spoken to me today and bought me something I really need.”
My Parents Card…
On the last day of the conference I found myself responding to an altar call for those working in a specific region in South-East Asia. I have a heart for that region, but certainly don’t work there. However, I felt to go forward. While standing there, I saw a gentleman that I felt drawn to connect with, but soon lost him in the crowd. Two hours later, I was waiting to enter a workshop that was at full capacity. I felt I needed to stay around, even though I couldn’t get in. As I stood by the door to this workshop hall, this man appeared. I made a bee-line for him and we started to talk. “I don’t know why I’m here”, he said. “I just felt God’s Spirit say to go outside.” We kept talking. “So, you’re in South East Asia?” I asked. It turns out he is, and in fact just two weeks earlier he had met my parent who are also working in South-East Asia, and had lost their contact details though he desperately wanted to keep in touch with them! I handed him a business card that had my parents contacts on it, and thought to myself, “thank God that He cares about Kingdom connections and that He spoke to us both at this exact time!”
PART 3- An Acorn for our Oak Tree.
Before arriving in Singapore, my wife received a text message from a friend, “I believe that God will give you an acorn for your Oak Tree, in Singapore. He will honour you coming, financially.”
I thought to myself, “that would be nice”, especially given the fact that we entered Singapore with very few funds.
I can’t make this next part up, what happened after arriving in Singapore was truly miraculous. Upon first connection to wifi, I found that a friend who is not a regular donor to us had deposited $400 USD into our account (which incidentally meant our flights were fully covered with the gift of two days laboring!). I then received a message soon after that a lady who has NEVER given to us had been praying and God asked her to give $300 to us! “Wow”, I thought to myself, what a blessing.
It only got better.
On the last day of the conference I woke up at 5am with the thought, “Earnestly pray for financial provision.” I began to pray. Later that day I was handed a card of no one other than a financial philanthropist advisor. He wanted me to meet his CEO and help me in the establishment of our ministry. We talked over dinner and his advice and connections to fellow ministers was worth gold. The very next morning, another lady then approached us and sowed thousands of dollars into our ministry. I did not ask a single person for this acorn, only God, and He provided through these precious friends and now partners in our work! As I was leaving Singapore, literally in the taxi, I received another message, “Are these still your bank account details?” “Yes, yes they are!” God is so so very good.
You need to understand, so that God gets the glory from this story, that we had not had gifts like this for a month. Our financial river had run dry, so to speak, and if I am honest I was freaking out about going to Singapore with so little funds. But I have learned, if God is calling you to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat, and trust that He will take your hand.
Part 4- A Foreign Exchange
I finish these short stories with a foreign exchange. Walking out of the airport, who did I see? My friend from the foreign exchange booth, the one with the bright future. “Hello buddy!” I said, surprised to see that the Sunday before she was in departures but today she was in arrivals. She lit up like a Christmas tree, and I in turn lit up inside at the goodness of God. He knows where you are at every given time, if you will follow His voice, He will lead and guide you all the way.
More to come.