Building People. Spreading Hope.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

China Mission Trip Report - Rt. Col. Leif Wilson

My short-term mission trip to China with Build International Ministries (BIM) was certainly the most spiritually significant and meaningful experience I’ve enjoyed in a number of years. Let me convey briefly how subject trip impacted and impacts my walk with the Lord and how it has changed my life.

While I am a Spirit-filled Christian, unfortunately my background and culture (my flesh) has produced a suspicious, critical, and prideful spirit toward people (even Brothers and Sister’s in the Lord) and organizations; particularly some "Christian/Non-Profit" organizations. I lead off with this because my life has been truly changed by my witness that "Build International Ministries" is a genuine "love your neighbor as yourself" Christian organization; one that can be trusted to put whatever donations they receive into building the Glorious and Triumphant Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and ministering to members in particular within the Body of Christ. After this trip, the witness to my spirit by the Holy Spirit is that Sandy and Neil Anderson are truly men of integrity and honesty with a love for the lost and hurting that puts me to shame. My life has been changed by the affirmation that there are good men and women in the ministry, that BIM is wisely proclaiming the Gospel with it’s financial resources, and that the China Church, my Brothers and Sisters in China, are genuine Christians putting the love of Christ and Service to Him FIRST place in their lives.  

The "underground and persecuted" Body of Christ in China is alive and vibrant with the Love of God and Christ AND the anointing and Power of the Holy Spirit! Unlike America with "envy and strife" caused by factions and wayward "Christian" denominations, the Body of Christ in China, with it’s hundreds of thousands of "underground" Churches, is 95% Spirit filled! And by that I mean most every Christian I met in China "had received power after that the Holy Spirit had come upon them" (Acts 1:8), was fervent in Worship, devoted and effectual in prayer (Wow; can those pastors and congregants pray), and constantly putting the love and service to others BEFORE themselves. How refreshing to see the members of the Body of Christ in China truly walking in Love and Service. 

Let me highlight several other more notable observations.  

The food was outstanding. As one who likes "different tastes" the meals were outstanding in flavor, content, and variety. 

The Hotel accommodations were more than adequate. Bathroom facilities outside the hotels however are far from Western standards. 

It’s difficult to generalize, but to me, China is a very modern country with "bullet trains" traveling 180mph, subways, cars, trucks, and buses, vast "freeways" and boulevards in the cities, and enormous apartment complexes and skyscrapers. Rural areas host multitudinous single-family homes with electricity, internal water (wells), garden plots, and "outhouse" bathroom facilities. In my opinion, very different than "third world countries" where the rural areas lack electricity, water, and septic systems.  

I never felt threatened or in physical danger in China. The "persecutions" to the China Church members, Pastors, and Support organizations is that of tight Governmental oversight and monitoring to keep Christian gatherings small (less than 50) and free from outside agitators. The Governmental oversight and monitoring is different in various parts of the country depending on local rules, leadership and personalities of pastors and officials. The primary threat to support organization members and visitors would be loss of the 10 year visa which would clearly negate outside organizations ability to support and serve the Chinese Churches. It was probably different years ago, but as a Christian visitor, I never felt or perceived any physical danger during the trip. Of course, Psalm 91 and 121 was my REAL shield and protection. 

My personal spiritual growth and recognition of the Holy Spirit’s guidance was greatly enhanced. We had the opportunity to personally minister the Word and encouragement at every one of the 12-13 Churches we visited. And, in every meeting, we had the opportunity to pray individually with any and all in attendance. The teaching opportunity required me to spend significant time early in the mornings with the Lord to get the lesson He wanted to give. And then, giving the message through an interpreter was another opportunity for growth. Sandy was of great help in evaluating our performance and the big-picture significance and value. I learned many personal lessons in the Spirit from this experience that will change my life for the better forever!  

In conclusion, I really believe it was the Lord’s perfect will for me to go with Build International Ministries to China. And, that the express purpose of the Holy Spirit’s orchestration for my attendance was for me to give personal encouragement and teaching to the Church in China. What an awesome opportunity! But, as I’m sure anyone who would undertake a similar trip would attest, the trip and associations/relationships with the Chinese pastors, worship leaders, congregants, and BIM officials in China ministered in many, many life changing ways more to me, than I ever could to them. What a wonderful blessing the whole trip was and continues to be.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Graduating Daughter

It’s hard to believe that you’re graduating from high school. It feels like it was yesterday when I was holding you in my arms with your curly hair always blocking your full face and couldn’t separate you from your juice bottle. Congratulations on graduating from high school. You can’t go higher than high school, right? ;)
As you step into the open horizon of possibilities, I want to give you some wisdom that you may need for your journey through life.
1. You’re created in God’s image. Never doubt your value. Everything about you first class! The DNA of God is within you. You belong to the royal family. You’re God’s property. Nothing you do will separate you from the love of God. God blessed you before you were born and the blessing always overrides the curse. Therefore, you cannot fail. You’re destined for greatness. You are and always will be magnificent!
2. You’re beautiful. Beauty is an inside job. The world will define and redefine beauty. Have fun trying out the latest fads and fashions. However, remember that true beauty comes from within. You’re at your sparkling best when you have a heart after God. Your character is the true measure of your charisma. External beauty will fade but the closer you get to God, the more dazzling you’ll become.
3. Build healthy relationships. Check out the boys. Enjoy the attention but protect your heart. It’s normal to be attractive to boys. You’ve had a good looking Dad so don’t go out with an ugly boy! ;) Don’t go after duds who are going nowhere. Follow a man who pursues God first and then you.
4. Speak positive, uplifting words. Go easy on sarcasm. It’s all fun at the moment but sometimes, it can cut like a knife and last for a lifetime. The same is true of kind words. Healing words mend the soul. Think of compliment as putting ornaments on a person. Death and life are in the power of your tongue.
5. Be a generous person. I still remember the day you found a “surprise” twenty-dollar bill in your pocket while we were eating at Chili’s restaurant. When we were about to walk away from our dinner table, you slipped the twenty-dollar bill on the table for the waitress saying, “I didn’t even know I had it. She probably needs it more than me!” As long as you’re generous, you’ll never lack for bread – rice in our case.
6. Look at your glass as half full. There will be times when you may feel a lot of negatives coming your way. Gratitude in those moments will guide you out of your darkness. Fact is, you’ll always have more than most. Keep your eyes on the prize and not the problem. You can get better or you can get bitter.
7. Keep yourself happy. Only you are responsible for your own happiness. Being the middle child, you have a tendency to keep everybody else happy. If you always do that, the only person who won’t be happy is you. It’s ok to have it your way once in a while.
8. Enjoy the outdoors. You cannot beat nature in the most comfortable home. When you get out of your palace, you’ll discover God’s garden. Plant trees and decorate your home with flowers – they’re God’s jewelries for our stressful lives.
9. Travel whenever you can. This is easy for you because you’ve been travelling the world since you were born. Never stop being adventurous. When you leave your home, you discover God’s world. The people you meet and the sights you see will truly make you a rich person.
10. Be spiritual but not religious. I love to see you worship but God enjoys it much more. Worship is the doorway to miracles. The Bible is your life’s compass — showing you the way. The Holy Spirit is our Helper but He will only tell you what’s in the Book. So stay familiar with it. Your prayers are a mighty weapon for tearing down spiritual strongholds. God can do more with your prayer in a split second than you can try to change a person for a lifetime. And remember, when you share Christ with others – whether by words or deed — you become a Star!
Well, I started off giving a few life-tips but now it looks more like the Ten Commandments. Let me close by making it more personal to you. Sabrina, you’re always going to be my favorite even though I’ve said the same to your brother and sister. ;) You can always come home without expecting any condemnation from me. I love you and I always will. 
Congratulations Sabrina. I’m proud of you - my high school graduate!
With You, For You!
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Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Tribute To My Dad

This is how I’d like to introduce and remember my father for the rest of my life. I spent a day and a half and had a wonderful visit with him on our recent mission trip to India. Even though he was getting frail, he lived a fully functional life. On April 9, 2016, I got the dreaded call from my eldest brother, Pat. Our father had taken his last breath on earth and his first in heaven! My Dad had been promoted to glory. 

His life was filled with highs and lows. My father was born in the early thirties to a poor family in a village in India. In order to support his family, he had to drop out of school in seventh grade. He was around twenty-years-old when he married my mother who was about sixteen years of age. Life was a short-lived bliss and they had four boys. Suddenly, when I was one, my mother passed away. Dad loved mom and almost always had tears in his eyes while talking about her for the rest of his life.

He didn’t surrender to struggles. Shell-shocked, dad took up on an offer by a Methodist orphanage to send his four boys there. The earliest memory I have of my father is that he came to visit us on the limited days parents were allowed to meet. He couldn’t give us much but even a pack of cookies was received with great joy. Sitting on his lap and hugs were a rare treat but they were greatly appreciated and anticipated. 

He was a gentleman. After graduating from high school, my brothers and I were in search of our identity. I was fresh out of college and I had just moved to Nepal along with my two brothers, Neil and Guine. My father had made the treacherous journey to come with a village friend to meet us. We were young and dumb — who put him back on the bus the next day. We were so focused on our lives that we didn’t appreciate his visit. He obliged and traveled back to India. Dad never resented it. I never saw him getting mad at anybody.

He was a small town man with a big world view. Even in his advance years, he read the newspaper front to back. Once, we relocated him from the village to New Delhi — the big, capital city of India. He missed his social connections in the village so after about three months we moved him back to his native village. In the years to come, Dad traveled the world to spend time with us but he always went back to the village.

He loved construction. My father was a visionary. Whether it was to build our brick house (in place of the mud house), the local church (biggest building in his village), or anybody else’s building project — he loved to direct and supervise construction.

He was a leader in his community. Poorly educated but highly gifted in his talent to connect with people. When he was able, he would walk to the market every day. There he chatted with the people and enquired about their well-being while sipping on a cup of tea. Whenever he had money, he’d help those in need. He was loved and well respected by his community.

He was a man of prayer. My father didn’t say a lot but he made it up in prayers. He didn’t pray in public but often he would wake up between 3 and 5AM and pray to God to use his four boys for His purpose. Sitting in a mud house under a thatched roof, it didn’t seem possible but he didn’t consider what he saw in the natural. I say this to the glory of God, thirty years later all four of his boys are serving the Lord. Together, we’ve traveled to more than 150 countries and preached to millions of people. Over thirty of our extended family members are serving the Lord because of the answer to my Dad’s prayers. 

Friend, if you have a living parent, don’t take them for granted. Give them a call. Celebrate their lives while they’re still with you. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Put it on your schedule to spend time with them or else you’ll never find time for it. In the Ten Commandments, there’s only one that comes with a promise in return – "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus20:12 NLT). Friends, let us love, respect, and honor our parents. They’re the reason, we’re here.
I love and miss you, Dad!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

God Wants to Bless You

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (Psalm 23:6 ESV).

Today many people are confused about God’s plan for their lives. When life gets tough, we feel a million miles away from God and we tend to think that He’s forgotten us. However, just the opposite is true. God is closest to you when you’re going through your worst!

If we want to live a life of peace, pleasure, and prosperity, we have to change the way we view our Heavenly Father. Many of us have a distorted view of God because we were taught differently or our earthly fathers were very little like our Heavenly Father. No matter what your view has been in the past, you must know that God wants to bless you because you’re His child!

The one and only plan God has for you is to give you life and abundance.

Jesus said, "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:10 NLT). The enemy is the thief. Unfortunately, too many Christians get God and devil mixed up in their roles. They go through a trial and blame God for their troubles. A sickness keeps lingering on and we think God is trying to teach us something with this sickness.

Friend, God is good all the way. Until we believe and accept it, we’ll never rise to our full potential. God doesn’t have the capacity to do evil. By nature, He can only do good.

Proverbs 10:22 says, "The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it." God is our closest ally for a good life. He wants us to be happy, content, fulfilled, and satisfied. He wants us to be healthy and prosperous in our body, mind, and soul.

One reason people miss out on God’s blessings is because their mouth doesn’t line up with their heart. When they read a message like this their faith rises but as soon as they face opposition, they begin to spill out all the negative things. We say things like — I’m broke. I’ll never get well. I’m going to be stuck in this job forever.

Here’s the key. You’ll never have what you constantly complain about.

If you want to be blessed, you have to agree with God and call yourself blessed. If you want health, say, "I’m strong and healthy." When you lack, say, "I’m rich." When we agree with God, we set a powerful force in motion. Angels begin to deliver the goods that belong to us.

When you are blessed, it is important to realize that you didn’t get here on your own. The scripture says, "Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful" (Deuteronomy 8:18 NLT). The purpose of blessing is to be a blessing. God has already blessed us with much. If you have a family, you’re blessed. If you’re healthy, you’re blessed. If you have work, you’re blessed. And don’t forget all that God has saved and delivered you from. The spiritual blessings are unlimited in Jesus Christ.

Friend, God is the father and you’re His child. God has blessed you and the blessing always overrides the curse. Change your image of God. Speak words according to God’s Word and always be a blessing to those whom God brings in your path. If you do these basics, I pray and declare that God’s blessings will overtake you like never before.

Every day, make this confession with me: I’m blessed and highly favored. I’m blessed coming in; I’m blessed going out. I’m blessed when I’m in the city; I’m blessed when I’m in the country. I’m the head and not the tail. I’ll lend and not borrow. Great shall be my peace and my children will be mighty in the land. I’m blessed to be a blessing to the world! Friend, if you believe and agree with God every day, you’ll go to new victories you’ve never imagined.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Giving God Our First

“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT).

I’ve never met anyone who is intentionally planning to fail in life, yet we all know many who are dissatisfied with the status quo that they face year after year. One thing is clear, influential people live an intentional life.
God’s Word is life’s compass. It gives us the instructions to achieve all God has planned for us. One such success recipe is the first-fruit principle.
Most preachers, churches, and ministers like to use this time of the year to remind their constituents about following the first-fruit principle in their financial giving. That is good but this success-principle is much more than giving financially. Today, let me share three different categories of giving God your first.
1. Give God your time. How we spend our first five minutes, first hour of the day, or the first week sets the precedence for the rest of the hour, day, and month. Often, we do not have a long spiritual conversation with God, especially if you have a family or a job.

So what does it mean to give God our first time? Like everything else, Jesus is our model. The Bible makes references of Jesus getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night to connect with God. Personally, I like to connect with God throughout the day – when I’m driving, taking a walk, or having a dedicated time in the morning to worship and acknowledge God’s goodness in my life. Whatever your preference is, the key is to connect with God on a regular basis — throughout the day if you can. Here’s the key. Whatever part of your life you involve God with will prosper.
2. Share your talent. Not everything of value has to be monetary. In fact, serving God with your gift can be a huge boost to others. Often we’re encouraged to use our spare time to serve God. Today I’m challenging you to use your talent to serve God first and watch how He’ll bless the rest of our time.
We can certainly serve God in our churches but don’t be limited to an organization or a church building. I have a friend who facilitates young families coming out of debt and staying fiscally fit. Another friend who is an industrialist meets with me regularly on the top of his business hours to give me advice and counsel on developing our international ministry. You can certainly serve as a volunteer in the business chamber, church, or with your favorite charity. One word of caution! Don’t get burnt out. If you’re always made to feel that you’re not doing enough, or unappreciated for sharing your talent, it’s probably healthy for you to find another place to serve.
3. Give God your treasure. God doesn’t need our money. However, what we do with our money reveals a lot about our heart. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21). We live in such a material society that money often becomes the driving force in our lives. Even churches and mission organizations spend a bulk of their time and efforts trying to get people to give more. I believe that if we focus on ministering to people, the money we need will take care of itself.
Most Christians are coerced into giving 10% of their income to church. It will benefit us all if we teach people to be generous rather than to nag them. How radical it will be to give away 20, 30, or even 80% of your income! Oh the miracles you’ll see if only you commit yourself to be generous! Give where there are fruits. Share your treasure with the poor and widows for that is the pure religion. Give joyfully and not out of obligation. Give where there is accountability.
By the way, you don’t need to give God anything to be blessed. God has already blessed you. You don’t need another person to stand in for you. Jesus did that! You are blessed because you belong to His family. This year, give God the best of your time, talent, and treasure and watch your life going to another level you’ve never dreamed before.
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2016: Year of Fulfilment

“You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance” (Psalm 65:11 NIV).
It’s hard to believe but another new year has rolled in and most of us are full of eager anticipation. While some talk of uncertainty, most of us are ready to grab life by the horns and run with it. I believe and declare that 2016 will be a year of fulfilment. So dream BIG!
I’ve found that it is as easy to have a hopeful attitude as it is to be negative. Either way, it affects the outcome of our lives. Some people freeze to death in winter while others go skiing. When we’re purposeful and enthusiastic about life, we make history and change the world.
In 1952, a Kiwi mountain climber attempted to scale Mt. Everest at 29,000 feet but he was unsuccessful. Shortly after his experience, he was invited to give a speech in front of a packed audience.
In spite of his heroic attempt to top Mt. Everest, Hillary considered himself a failure. He stepped away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. Clenching his fist at a picture of the summit, he shouted, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you’re going to grow…but I’m still growing!”
Soon after that, on May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mount Everest. Since that day, thousands of climbers have achieved the same feat as the Kiwi.
Like Hillary, you may not have seen all of your success yet. You’ve labored hard and seen little fruit. Your business still hasn’t taken off. The sickness has lingered on and the wayward child has no sign of getting on the right path. If you’re feeling a little lost and uncomfortable, take courage from Sir Edmund Hillary. Greatness didn’t come to him in one attempt but he had to grow into it. You, too, are growing and this year will be the fulfilment of your dreams.
Friend, just because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. God is working. If you stick with it and stay in faith it will happen!
High achievers are those who are intentional about their purpose. Don’t just accept the status quo and go with the flow. Inside each one of us is a sleeping giant. When we get intentional about our goals, dreams, and purpose, we will wake up the giant and conquer the world.
In Mark chapter 5, the Scripture records a story of a woman suffering with a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years! She had come to meet Jesus but He was surrounded by people. Looking at her circumstances, this woman could have easily given up on her dream and gone home. She could have made dozens of excuses but she had her mind set. She thought to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can be healed.” Through sheer determination, faith, and iron-feast resolution, this poor woman touched the hem of Jesus and immediately, she was made whole. Jesus looked at her and said, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
I believe God is telling us the same thing, “Live well, live blessed!” Let’s take some risk of faith. If we become intentional and trust God with our health, finances, and the salvation of our loved ones, God will do great miracles. Just like Sir Edmund never stopped growing and succumbed to a temporary setback, we should go forward and confront our fears head on. The woman with the issue of blood looked past her limitations and got her miracle. You have everything in you to succeed as well. Don’t die with the dream still in you. If you believe and keep a good attitude then you’ll experience mighty breakthroughs.
Keep growing. Be intentional. Be on the lookout for God’s goodness. He is going to open miraculous doors for you. He will shower you with favor. Good breaks are in your immediate future. He will give you the desires of your heart. Get excited and anticipate because I believe and declare 2016 will be your year of fulfilment. I love you and I’m praying for you!
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