I felt I should write the other side of the coin on suffering and that is the successes that come. My wife and me have been privileged to travel internationally to many nations teaching leaders, oversee a full time school of ministry, plant a church, plant a kingdom center, plant a second kingdom center, speak at national conferences in the USA, oversee a network of ministers, and ordained about 60 into into ministry. This has given so many opportunities and memories and contacts and of course spiritual sons and daughters.
In my last post I talked about the sufferings that go with raising spiritual kids, specifically the ones who turn away after investment. But for everyone that turned away there remains a multitude that appreciated the invested and took the words to heart and APPLIED THEM. They are out doing exploits, changing lives and touching culture. I want to share some of these stories.
First the more you sacrifice the higher your appreciation. Our international students have been our greatest success. The price they have had to pay in their nation for their faith, and also the cost of traveling here, leaving family, and coming to a different culture, made them apply themselves with certain self disciplines we did not see in many of our American students. I would say a high percent of these spiritual kids are doing ministry.
One is actively involved in an orphanage in Papa New Guinea and is actively pursuing politics running for mayor in a city of 3 million. Another is leading worship in a church in New Hampshire while others are pastoring churches in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and Florida. One spiritual son and his wife have started a network of churches both here and in Indonesia. Still another from Kenya is preaching weekly at a church here in Iowa.
One of my students is in California and working in a church, still another couple led a church in Chicago and has a church going on Purdue University with students. Another son is in the Klondike and has a new type of martial arts based on the Scripture. His Journey has given him the endorsement of Chuck Norris, Franklin Graham and others. He has students come to him from all over the world.
I currently have a spiritual son in Nigeria who has the largest school of Ministry in the nation and the largest Christian library which we helped him with. I still have other sons running schools there as well. At one point we had 32 schools operating.
The American sons and daughters also have accomplished great things as well. One son and Daughter are pastoring a small church, touching youth as teachers, involved in families who are deployed in the armed services and started a small awakening of youth in a rural area. I took both of them to Nigeria with me once. I have one spiritual son who has climbed the corporate ladder of a large food supplier and is now influencing the top leadership of that corporation.
There is one spiritual son who went on to lead others who grew up fatherless as well. Imagine after years of no contact when he showed up to tell me how my life has impacted him. Yet another who moved on to do youth work modeled her marriage after ours, still another took a leading role in reform in the medical industry in the state of Oklahoma.
I have many others who are involved in ministry or leading ministry or starting ministry. At the Base now we have several spiritual sons and daughters active in music, serving, working with high risk youth, ministering to other musicians and finding places of expression. But probably the greatest joy in all the suffering is to also have my own son stand with me in ministry over all the years and changes that it has brought. He too has suffered alongside me with deep sufferings, some deeper than my own. But he has stood leading worship weekly. He has seen 4 worship teams developed and countless musicians who moved on and some abandoned as well. He too has lost friendships over ministry. If he had not been alongside I know many things would be different. Because of the strength he brings in worship and insight, many things might not have had the impact.
It’s amazing the areas we have touched by the investment we made. There are countless others as well, both current and I know yet to come. The thing I have learned in all of it is the ones who don’t flatter you are probably going to be your greatest success. The others are only trying to see what they can get. You soon know an appreciate heart by their actions in honoring. It seems when honoring stops, so does the person receiving from you.
You don’t know who really was impacted until years later. I have lost contact with some as seasons change and the time of doing the work comes. But then one will come from out of nowhere and send a letter or track you down showing at your door and tell you the report of how your life impacted their life. These unexpected bonuses are Gods way of keeping us going. After all we are doing all things as unto the Lord.