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Saturday
Dec062014

Risk or Retreat? (Part 2)

We were created with the choice, risk or retreat? In the previous post I wrote about what I’ve discovered it means to risk it, by leaving comfort and going outside the city to where Jesus was, where it is dirty, despised, and dangerous.
So what happens when we make the choice to retreat? In Numbers 13,14 we find the Israelites unwilling to risk going in to take over the promised land. They chose to retreat from the mission instead of taking the risk. Only on the behalf of Moses's prayer to God, did he not destroy them all right there. God showed them his mercy and grace but he also showed them his judgment. He forgave them but with it came the punishment of wandering around in the desert for forty years waiting until the generation died off. 
I see a parallel with our churches in America. Way too many have made the choice to retreat from the mission that is clearly stated in Matthew 28:19,20 “GO and make disciples of all nations” We the church in America have retreated back into our nice big church buildings and fancy homes, at the cost of wandering around, deceived in our own religion.
Church, There is still time to find forgiveness. We have been given a mission, lets quit retreating and GO outside the city! The word GO doesn’t necessarily mean to a foreign land, all it means is GO. Go for me may mean half way around the world, go for you may mean your next door neighbor, the point is GO, and stop wandering around in Religion. We are not in the first century so lets quit trying to be a first century church. We have been given the freedom to carry out the great commission in whatever way will be the most effective TODAY.
Are you going to retreat back into comfort or are you going to risk it all for the sake of the billions of people out there who have never heard the gospel or felt the love of Jesus?

 

Tuesday
Dec022014

Risk or Retreat? (Part 1)

I have often wondered and asked the question, What does it mean to risk it all and be separated from the world? As a Christian I believe we are set apart and to identify with Jesus, but what does that look like? I read Hebrews 13 and saw a whole new picture of what it means to risk it all to identify with Jesus and carry our cross. I would highly recommend you get your Bible and read Hebrews 13 before reading on.

In verse thirteen we are commanded to go outside the city to where Jesus is. What is outside the city?

- Outside the city is where the sacrifice for the sins of the entire nation was taken and burned. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for the world, Where was he crucified? Outside the city.
- Outside the city is where the lepers, the despised, and outcasts, lived.
- Outside the city is where people where taken to be stoned. In Acts 7:58 Stephen was dragged where? Outside the City.

In other words we are commanded to risk it all, leave comforts of the city and go outside where it is dirty, despised and dangerous. It's where Jesus lived. It's where he did his ministry. Yes, we too will lose your life out there.
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
"For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come." Hebrews 13:14

All that being said here is the promise that makes it all worth it.

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Revelations 22:14,15

When Christ returns, how can you or I be called into the City through the gates if we are not outside the city risking our lives identifying with Him?

Are you willing to take the risk or will you retreat back into the city?

 

 

Thursday
Nov272014

Entering Third Grade

It was a cool dreary night in the mountains of China; the third day into our five day hike. I was laying awake in my leaking tent unable to sleep, exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was hungry and dreaming of a hot shower and a warm clean bed but miles away from that reality so there was no use letting myself go there. About ready to give up I realized that my soul and heart were longing to be filled by something. What is it, that it longed for? I cried out to the Father saying "I want you to fill me!"

The song "Sovereign Over Us" came to mind. Some of the words are:

"There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You're sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You're teaching us to trust"

The most amazing feeling came over me as I could feel the Fathers presence come right down into that wet, stinky tent, met me right where I was at and asked me a question.

God: "Wesley are you willing to take the next step with me?"
Me: "But I thought I just took the next one, can't I get comfortable for awhile"
God: "You can't just stay in second grade your whole life, you must go on to third grade if you want to keep learning. You want to know me better right?
Me: "of course I do"
God: "well then let's do this together because it won't be easy"

It's then that I knew I had no choice! I got that same exciting feeling I did back when I was in school and finished second grade and finally got to enter third? I was excited about all the new things I was going to learn forgetting about the process that it sometimes takes to learn something.

A few weeks have gone by and all of a sudden I am struggling through the things I thought I had already learned in second grade. I quickly got discouraged, wondering if I took a step back instead of forward. Then it hit me, the first couple weeks after entering a new grade are reviews of the previous grade only a little harder and more in depth. I realized that these are obviously big points the Father wants me to learn and not forget.

The Father has given me a small glimpse of what third grade looks like for me. It looks hard! In so many ways I don't want to go through it but I have come to realize the only way to get to where I want to go includes taking the next step. So here it goes...

Sunday
Nov092014

1K Monday 

As most of you know, I had the privilege of visiting the beautiful country of North Korea. Inside, the country is known as the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). I saw many very interesting things, heard lots of theories about the Korean War and realized there are two sides to the story. I experienced first hand how we as Americans are blamed for provoking the war, and dividing their country into North and South Korea. I didn't feel at all like being an American during this time and wanted to disguise my identity; the fact is, I am an American, and the fingers are pointed at me. The Father reminded of my true identity in Him and He prompted me to apologize to our Tour Guides, on behalf of America, for the problems and divisions we have caused the DPRK. Our guides were shocked and weren't quite sure what to say. They then surprised me and asked us to pray for peace between our country and theirs. I felt a huge responsibility come over me and the Father told me it's time I take prayer for the DPRK more serious. This is where 1K Monday was developed.

There are four types of Koreans in the world:
- NK (North Koreans)
- SK (South Koreans)
- DK (Diaspora Koreans: Koreans living outside of the Country)
- LK (Lovers of Korea: which includes our team)

The prayer is that one day there will be only 1K (One Korea).

With that, my team and I decided that from now on we are dedicating every Monday to praying for One Korea and are calling it 1K Monday.
Prayers are already being answered. Since our entrance into the DPRK on October 12, three American citizens, who were being detained, have all been released. This is only the beginning and I am super excited to see what more the Father is going to do. There were only twelve of us on the team but our hope is that you will join us in prayer every Monday for 1K. If you are an LK and want to commit to praying for the DPRK and for peace between our countries, then let me know and I will add you to the 1K Monday call to prayer.

Thursday
Sep182014

Building alters or a tower

In the past two months the Father has really been challenging me with the question, "Am I building a Tower or an Alter?"

What does a tower represent? Looking at Genesis 11, the people built the Tower of Babel for what? A name for themselves, that all the world would see their great work and what they were capable of doing. We read that this obviously was not pleasing to the Father and for that reason the T-betan people and I speak a different language today.

What about an alter? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob traveled all over as nomads and did what? They built alters and dedicated them to the Father. It wasn't about themselves and making a name but rather to show the Fathers presence in that place.

Being on EDGE its so easy to get sidetracked and begin focusing on all the things I've been doing and places I have gone and then think this will look good on my Christian resume and will give me a good name. The Father showed me how that is building a tower for myself and is an abomination to Him.

The last two weeks Jared and I were privileged to lead a team of three guys out into some of the darkest places in the world, camping out in the mountains, among the nomads of T-bet. One day we decided to a hike up one of the tallest peaks we could see. At approximately fourteen thousand feet we built an alter to the Father and worshiped Him there, in a place where He has never been worshiped before. We could feel his presence and as we looked out over the valley we were flooding with resources, we knew the alter was going to be a beacon to the lost T-betan people.

It became very real to me of what the Father wants of me, not a tower that brings me a name, but an alter that sits on top of a mountain and brings honor and glory to His Name!

Wednesday
Sep172014

Why is Deaf Ministry so hard. (part 2)

The Folling post is taken from Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries

Here are some additional reasons why Deaf ministry is so hard:

Deaf people are invisible to most hearing people. Deaf people are just not on the radar of most hearing people. They know Deaf people exist, but they have given little or no thought to how very different their lives must be. Consequently they make false assumptions about how much access Deaf really have to the world. They ASSUME most parents of Deaf children will learn how to communicate in sign language. (The truth: 80% of Deaf kids grow up in families where sign language is not used in the home.) They ASSUME religious instruction is carried on by the parents or the churches, but we’ve already shared that this is really rare for Deaf kids.
Hearing people believe that Deaf children can now be “cured” by cochlear implants and improvements in hearing aid technologies. This is NOT true. There is no “cure” for deafness. Indeed, the surgery required to implant the cochlear devices actually destroys any residual hearing the person may have. I’m going to address the cochlear implant in more depth in a future blog, but for now let me say I am NOT totally against these devices. They certainly have their place and they have been a blessing to many! But it is vital that you understand that the “hearing” offered by these devices is VERY different from what we would consider natural human hearing. The depth, the breadth, the power, the dynamic range, the rejection of unwanted sound elements — all of which the human ear working in tandem with the human brain can deliver — these elements are just not present for those who use the implants. There is NO “cure” for deafness and, despite what the surgeons will tell you, when a deaf child is forced to rely ONLY on the implants and is not permitted to learn and use sign language, that child is almost certainly destined to struggle more with language comprehension and is far more likely to live a lonely and socially isolated life than is a child who learns to sign at a young age.
There is a real shortage of well trained ASL users in North American churches. Most church interpreters are poorly trained volunteers who may have a heart of gold, but do not have the skills needed to clearly communicate important spiritual truths in sign language. Others (and I know this is going to sound very harsh but it is far more prevalent than you would imagine) are motivated by the emotional kick they receive by being in such a conspicuous position of benevolent leadership to these “poor pitiful disabled people” and fail to exhibit the winsome spirit of true Christlike servanthood. Such people often turn off the Deaf who may attend for a short time. Even if they have excellent skills and a true servant’s heart, they may be thwarted by pastors, worship leaders, or others who see the addition of sign language as a complication and a detriment to the worship experience of the hearing majority. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair!!
There is a lack of Deaf Christian leadership and a great need for more Deaf led churches. Just as English speaking hearing people can get so much more out of the experience worshiping in a congregation where nearly everyone can communicate freely in English, many Deaf people prefer to worship in a place where American Sign Language is the native language of the congregants. But Deaf churches (or separate Deaf worship services and small group opportunities) are still rare, and those that do exist are almost always found in larger communities — often towns with a residential Deaf school nearby. Thus, the most effective model for evangelism and discipleship for Deaf people is just unavailable to the vast majority of Deaf people in North America – especially Deaf kids.
These are the big challenges that make Deaf ministry so hard. Organizations like Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries are looking every day at ways we can help create new opportunities for Deaf people to come into life changing encounter with the precious Son of God. We have some exciting initiatives that are making a difference right now! And with your help we can do even more.

Wednesday
Aug272014

Why is Deaf Ministry so hard. (part 1)

The Folling post is taken from Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries

The statistics are sobering:

  • Nearly 95% of all deaf children have hearing parents and only about 10% of those parents ever learn enough sign language to hold a conversation with their children.
  • Less than 5% of all churches in the United States offer any outreach to Deaf people at all, and it is extremely rare to find a church that offers age appropriate Christian teaching to Deaf kids.
  • Only about 2% of Deaf people have accepted Christ as Lord. (By the way, the upper case “D” means deaf people who use American Sign Language and see themselves as members of the Deaf culture.)
  • Deaf people who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language are the largest unreached linguistic-cultural people group in North America.

Here is the truth, as hard as it is for us to admit: The places most people turn to for Christian teaching and spiritual guidance are simply inaccessible to Deaf people.

Parents, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, camp counselors, pastors — and sometimes even “sign language interpreters” — lack the skills to make God’s truths clear and understandable to Deaf children and adults.  When there is no clear communication, there is no true access!

But changing this situation is very complicated.  Making a hearing church truly accessible to Deaf people requires serious commitment from staff, interpreters, and congregants individually, as well as a corporate commitment from the congregation as a whole. Often, a greater commitment than initially expected.

It’s not easy.  No wonder most Deaf ministries don’t last more than a few years – if that long. Other are stillborn.

Wednesday
Aug202014

White stone Identity

A young man walked up to the counter like normal, handed the Official his passport and expected to be on his way within the minute. Why would this be any different from the other twenty some countries he's stamped into. The Official behind the counter takes a long awkward look at the young man, than back at the photo in the passport. "Is this you?" he asked doubtingly. "Of course it is" answered the young man. The Official than demanded to see his drivers license. "Sure, this will confirm my passport and I'll be on my way" he thought to himself. No such luck, instead of his passport getting stamped, it was handed off to another Official who took the young man to the side for more questioning and proof of his identity. The young man was helpless. The identity that has taken him all over the world, and proves his citizenship, was for once not believed. After a while the Official, still somewhat confused. gave back the young mans stamped passport and allowed him to continue on his way. 

What a helpless feeling when every form of identity on you is still not enough to prove who you are. Where are you finding your identity? How would you feel getting to Heaven, standing before God, and the identity you are carrying with you does not match the identity He has of you. He shows you your true identity with his blood marked on it and says "this was free for the taking and you refused it. You wanted to make your own." He refuses you a stamp and says, "Depart from me, I never knew you"

People, your story doesn't have to end this way. Did you know there is an identity available to you that surpasses all passports or birth certificates? An identity that promises entrance into a place of eternity with God. Revelations 2:17 says, "To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it." I get chills and goose bumps at the thought of an identity, a name, that no one knows or understands except you and your Father God. This makes me want nothing less than to have an identity found in God. 

Its all about right here and right now people! Do you know who you are? Where are you finding your Identity? Does the name written on that white stone identify you? 

Tuesday
Aug192014

EDGE Photo Update

Here are some pictures of my life on EDGE.

 

Tuesday
Aug122014

I will not Apologize

"All In (Apologize)" by Stellar Kart

It's easier to be the crowd, to just fit in and not stand out at all
To make a case for apathy, and never risk a thing in case you fall
And this is life and we all decide
The stand we take and this is mine

That I am not ashamed, wont walk away
Not trying to disguise, or ever hide the
Reason that I choose to be a fool
For the one who saved my life
I wont apologize

It's hard to walk a narrow road, and know that you might be the only one
To go where no one else will go, pressing on until the race is run
And this is life and we all decide
The choice is ours and this is mine

That I am not ashamed, wont walk away
Not trying to disguise, or ever hide the
Reason that I choose to be a fool
For the one who saved my life
I wont apologize

As for me, I am all in
As for me, I am all in, all in

I am not ashamed wont walk away
I can not deny

That I am not ashamed, wont walk away
Not trying to disguise, or ever hide the
Reason that I choose to be a fool
For the one who saved my life
I wont apologize

 

Sunday
Aug032014

A forty hour Training

Weighted down with Bread and sweat running down our faces, my team and I boarded the Shenzhen Metro and headed for the train station. The forty hour train ride ahead looked daunting and little did we know just exactly what we were getting ourselves into. We boarded the train for Chengdu, China and found our hard upright seats. We kind of just stare at each other and laugh knowing these next two days our really going to test us. Looking around I notice everyone else carrying buckets of food and drinks on the train with them. The thought of fasting the next two days was definitely not on our wish list because we had not brought more than a couple hours worth of snacks. If you get to know me and my team you would soon discover the word full isn't used much. There is always room for more food or to try something new. The train starts moving and I couldn't believe my eyes when I noticed all the seats were taken and there were people standing in the isles. The hard up right seats became quite comfortable all of a sudden and we took time to thank the Father for our seats and for the people who would try to steal them as soon as we would get up for something. Having someone try to squeeze themselves on to your chair with you is what I would call a true Chinese experience. Spitting all over the floor is just another one, and lets not forget all the cigarette smoke that filled the train car and our eyes and our throats and our lungs. It wasn't long before we all had a sore throat and a smokers cough. The most frustrating part was seeing the ignored no smoking signs all over. In desperation for some leg room and in hope of maybe an escape from reality I climbed on to the floor and stretched out under the seats. After two weeks in China, stares become a way of life. My team mate Denver and I slept, or should I say laid on the floor, giving the girls each two seats to somehow curl up on. Don't know how they do it. Every couple hours we would be awakened by the "La La la man" as we called him, pushing his cart down the isle with some snacks that I didn't know where eatable but when your desperate, its amazing what your willing to eat. I will spare you the details. Off course the isle floors are quite dirty by now with all the eating, drinking, and spitting. So miss train lady dips her mop into the toilet and proceeds to mop the isles. We finally got tired of acting like we were sleeping and decided to just have some good ole fun and make memories and that's exactly what we did. We all agreed to not just survive the train ride but to thrive. At one point we had everyone in the train laughing and the next thing we knew we had a group of spectators standing around us just watching and staring. We would talk to them even though they didn't understand a word we said, I know for a fact those people were effected by the teams attitude and how we gave it our best shot even under the circumstances. Seeing foreigners on a train like this was a rarity in itself let alone sleeping on the floor and having a party when awake. We were blessed to have the only English speaking guy on the train sit right beside us. Some even wanted to take pictures with us before getting off at their destination. We eventually did arrive at our destination and yes there were people still standing forty hours later. I told you we had a lot to be thankful for. What could have been the worst part of the entire three week trip ended up being one of the most memorable events. The biggest thing the Father taught me on that train, was that every situation is what I decide to make of it. 

Which side of the train am I choosing to sit on?

Monday
Jul142014

Desmond Hail Mast

Pretty excited to tell you all about my first nephew Desmond Hail Mast. He was born on July 7 to my brother Caleb and his wife Sandra! Pretty hard on me being half a world away and not being able to actually meet him for at least another five months. I did get to Skype with him the other night though and Caleb and Sandra have been doing an amazing job of sending me a picture or video once a day. Love the guy even though we've never met!!

Saturday
Jul052014

EDGE - Photo Upload

Click here to view the pictures in my Photo Album named EDGE

Saturday
Jun282014

Lighting the cafeteria 

I walked into the cafeteria one evening with a few student friends I had made, and immediately saw darkness even though the lights were all on, it felt empty even though there were a few hundred students. It was a feeling I had never felt before and something I will never forget. I wanted to just get up on one of those tables and start sharing the Story but I knew it wasn't what I was supposed to do. I started to talk to the Father as I walked between full tables filled with empty eyes. I smiled at them, receiving a "what is that" look. I just wanted to give them a hug and tell them there is One that loves them so much, He gave is life for them. I ate my noodles and walked out of there feeling a bit helpless, not knowing what to do. So many precious souls, no one to tell them the Truth, no Hope, no Purpose to live for. This is Kunming, China where there are twelve universities and hundreds of thousands of students.
I arrived back at my fifteenth floor apartment still thinking of the sight still so vivid in my mind. Many Questions rolling in my mind. What can I do in ten days to bring light to so many searching young souls? Especially in a place where there is danger to Believe and share the Truth? Why would anyone want to believe something that could take their life?
I was playing basketball on campus one of the first evenings and made some chit chat with a few of the players. Taking a little more interest in one, I invited him to our planned English corner the next night and It all started from there. Jared and I have been hanging out and talking with the same two guys almost every afternoon since. It's been great seeing them open up and get comfortable. We even had the privilege of giving them there first NT. Last night Jared and I were Blessed beyond words when I received this txt from our friend:
Jared, Wesley, I have been to my room. I'm very glad to meet you! Thanks God for letting me know you! And make good friends with you! Thank you for what you told me. Thank your Bible and I will read it well! See you Monday morning!

The answer to my questions were revealed two days before heading out. I am the hands and feet of the Holy Spirit living within me. When I walk between those staring empty eyes in the cafeteria, I firmly believe they didn't see me. They saw something else, someone worth losing their life for. Walking through the darkness following the Holy Spirit will bring more light than anything I could ever say or do.

I can't thank the Father enough for living in me through His Spirit and making life worth living for something so much greater than myself.

Thursday
Jun122014

The last two weeks

Brief rundown of the last two weeks of Brett’s life on earth
Written by Bob Miller
June 9, 2014

On May 21 Brett arrived in Narathiwat, Thailand, with Jared, for a day and half of orientation together with Wes who was already there, to begin their 7-month EDGE term. This was a good time for the team to get acquainted since they did not know each other very well before. The orientation consisted of worship, spiritual preparation, sharing testimonies, discussing Biblical leadership, teamwork, crossing cultural boundaries, and mission policies. It was obvious that all three of the young men had a personal, vibrant, relationship with Christ, a deep desire to serve others, and excitement for what awaited them in Chiang Mai.

Friday, May 23, I took the guys to the bus station where they left to go to Hat Yai where they would get their flight to Bangkok and then on to Chiang Mai, where they arrived late in the evening.

Saturday was more team activities in Chiang Mai, organized by Scott, the EDGE director. Then on Sunday they left for the two-week SEALS hike. SEALS is an extreme backpacking hike designed to develop Godly leaders and bring individual guys together as a team.

Friday, June 6, was the final day of the hike. The day was planned much like the previous SEALS hikes had been. At the end of the hike, there is a 10k run. At the halfway mark, the guys stop for a water break, shed their packs, reflecting on the Scripture “laying aside every wight…” The theme for the last day was Don’t lose sight of the Goal / Run the Race, based Hebrews 12:1-2; 1Cor. 9:23-27; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Isaiah 40:29-31; Ephesians 4:21-24. The goal was to arrive back at the GTO Center and then in the evening enjoy a scrumptious banquet/feast prepared by the Center staff.

Brett passed this halfway point at 1:47 PM. He looked tired, as the guys normally do at that point. Soon after he left the truck, Lloyd, drove past all the guys to encourage them to finish strong. He was the last person to see him before we found him in the hospital. The staff at the hospital tell us he got checked into the hospital at right around 2:00 by an unknown person (an angel?). The place where he collapsed was right along the road and someone saw him and took him to a hospital that was just a few minutes away. At about 2:30 some of us started looking for him because he still hadn’t come in to the Center. Judging from the distance he ran after the water break and the time he was checked in to the hospital he couldn’t have been laying out there for more than 3-5 minutes before someone found him and took him to the hospital.

We had looked him for about 2 and a half hours. Chad had looked at all the hospitals close by that we could think of, without success, so we regrouped and had prayer (even though we all were praying the complete time) at the end of the drive, along the road. We prayed asking for direction, and wisdom to know what to do next. After that prayer is when Kimber suggested that there is a hospital on Mae Rim Road that we had not checked. That is where we found him.

Andrew was at the hospital doing all the translating. Even though (he says) his Thai is not that great, he was able to explain the situation and tell them what happened. They suspected foul play. But after he explained that they had been on an intense, two-week, mountain hike, they understood why his body was in the condition that it was. He was really dirty and he had some scrapes and bruises.

The hospital staff said that when he got checked in at the hospital his body temperature was 108 degrees F. The doctor told us that organs start shutting down at 105.8 degrees F. They also said that his calves and his lower back and his elbows were sunburned. And we think that happened when he collapsed on the blacktop. The sun was intense enough that even if he only laid there for a few minutes it would be enough to give him some degree of sunburn.

After that he went into cardiac arrest. They performed CPR for about 30 minutes. The EDGE guys and several other GTO staff went in after about 30 minutes and we knew that he had passed away, at about 7:30 PM, Friday, June 6, 2014.

We had a memorial service on Sunday afternoon, June 9, and planted a cross at the spot where we think he fell on his run. While the EDGE team (plus Chad Graber) planted the cross, a rainbow appeared in the sky for a few minutes! It was a very special gift from our Father!

This additional note from Andrew:
Here are some thoughts that I had about what happened in the hospital. It's a testimony that his life was speaking and making a difference all the way to the end. I was the one that did all the translating at the hospital. I've been here for a year and a half and my Thai is ok, but I don't think of it as good enough to be a translator. So i prayed a lot, and God gave me the gift of tongues and we got things figured out. The reason I'm telling you this is that the nurses and the doctors noticed something different about this situation, and they said as much to me. I have some good friends who are nurses. And they say that after a while things like this become routine. But there are a few situations that stand out and you don't forget them. This is one of those situations for those nurses. They took it pretty hard when they couldn't revive him. I don't think they see a community of people who come and show support like this very often. They knew Brett was a special part of our group. When someone dies there is this spirit that goes along with the person. And while it was extremely sad and devastating, there was a powerful peace in the place. And I know they felt that peace. And I could also tell it was something they were not used to. I even saw a few of the nurses crying when they knew he was gone. I thought you guys would like to know this part of the story. You have my deepest sympathies and I'm praying for you. May God wrap his loving arms around you. Andrew Detweiler

Monday
Jun092014

In loving Memory of Brett Bontragor

On June 6, 2014 the world lost a Brother and Warrior and Heaven gained another Saint!

Philippians 3:13,14: Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of the Father.

These verses written on a piece of paper in his own hand writing was the only thing found in Brett's pockets Friday when he completed his life's mission. He lived those verses better than any man I have ever known. He ran right into the arms of the Father when he collapsed from a heat stroke when our EDGE team was out running a 10K. It was about giving 100% and there is no doubt in anyone's mind he gave everything he had, he put his hand to the task and never looked back. That's how Brett was in life, whatever he did was with all his heart. He served the Father like that, which is what made him such a jing jing Brother, Warrior, and Saint. One of the last things I remember him saying was "I don't think I'll ever be able to wipe the smile from my Face"

Its the truth brother, you now have a smile for eternity. I still wish you were here with Jared and I as part of the team but how could I ever ask you to come back if you are now where we are striving to go. The third strand in our team isn't broken it's just invisible now. I know you're going ahead of us fighting battles that are out of our realm.

I was really looking forward to spending the next six months together as brothers traveling all over Asia with Back-packs full of Bread. Its like you said just hours before you left us, "We never know what's in the Fathers pack"

Man you totally beat us to the finish line and I am so PROUD of you. I miss you like crazy brother! I still mean my last words to you as we left the starting line, "I'll meet you at the end, I love you bro."

Here is a link to the memorial service we had at the place where he went down: https://new.livestream.com/accounts/7311670/events/3076677

Saturday
May242014

Seals hike

Well people, I am officially on EDGE. What exactly does this mean? That's what I am here to find out. Life has been put in gear and for the next few days we will be going on a Seals Hike. I really request a lot of yarps. I am super excited and also a little nervous. It's the truth and I won't hide it.
My goals are to first and foremost grow closer with the Father. This includes learning more about who He is, How he works, and how he sees me as a person. I long for a relationship that will never be questioned no matter what on earth I may experience.
My second prayer request is that we as an EDGE Team could draw together as a band of brothers, build each other up, and fight the fight of faith.
Do I feel ready? No, but here it goes. . .

. . . and then I realized that adventures are the best way to learn .

Monday
May192014

Pre Edge life

Life has been a bit slow the last few weeks, which is exactly how I ordered it, knowing, that starting Wednesday, life is going to be put into fifth gear for the next seven months. I am more than ready to get started. In the meantime I have been boarding in a one room apartment with my good friend from home, Andrew Detweiler. We spend no more time then necessary at the humble abode but rather hang out at the coffee shop that Andrew is starting with the goal to reach out to the Local University students. Besides holding the coach down and drinking coffee I have done some painting, made chalk/menu boards, screwed some chairs together, and keep making my daily ice run so that I can make myself an amazing black night. Through the week I have worked on getting a few things ready for EDGE. This included sitting in the USA consultant office for a few hours getting more pages put in my passport. Another day doing the same at the Chinese embassy applying for a visa which has since been granted. Rented a bike to make a seven hour run to the Burma border to renew my Thailand visa. Oh the bitter sweet memories of sitting in government offices once again.
This past week I spent three days at an orphanage working along side some of the boys doing general labor around the property. They took me swimming one afternoon to a gravel put with twenty foot cliffs to jump off of, then the joy of rock climbing up the side to jump off an even higher cliff. We left the place with only a little bit of blood shed. The whole trip was very encouraging to see nineteen and twenty-one year old boys, who have lost their parents, serving the Father with all their hearts and wanting to help the younger children who are in the same shoes. It was hard on me to not be able to speak their language and telling them how proud I am of them. When I was getting ready to leave I was blessed when the children gave me some personalized cards they made for me using the little English they know.
Most likely by the time you read this I will have traveled about eighteen hundred kilometers down to the dense Muslim territory of southern Thailand. Its here in Narathiwat where the other EDGE guys fly in and we will spend a few days of orientation and training, preparing, with the Boss's help, to be one of the most dangerous teams to have walked Asia.
Yarps appreciated!

Wednesday
May142014

Prayer call

This is a prayer call for CICS deaf school in El Salvador. The administrator just left for a few weeks and it's just been a reality from past experiences that as soon as he leaves the enemy really strikes hard. The Devil hates the work that's being done there and seeing people give there lives for the sake of the deaf kingdom is more than he can handle and so he is doing everything he can to stop the work. Some things have been going down the last few days and they need us. Maybe you don't know them, or the specifics of what's going on but just want to ask you all to take time to lift the staff and children up to the Father right now and just trust the Holy Spirit in showing you how to pray for them. It's through prayers that battles are won!

Tuesday
May062014

The last year, in different worlds

One year ago we had to say good bye to Grandpa Mast. Many things have changed and happened since that day when hearts where broken and tears shed. Life has moved on and we have had to learn to adjust, make changes, and take care of business. There have been many lonely days and nights for Grandma. The Mast reunion at thanksgiving just wasn't quite the same without the founder. This is the reality of life on earth.
For Grandpa, one year is only a few seconds. He has only begun the life that will only continue to get better. No more shaking from his Parkinson's disease, no hearing aids, no glasses. In my imagination I can see him up there working beside uncle Stephen, framing a beautiful house for each one of his children. He stops for a moment to sit down beside Grandma Sara and Grandma Mabel to tell them all about the family. There faces glow with a smile because they know its only a matter of seconds in their world until we will all be reunited. Grandpa is finally living his dream! The dream that he worked towards for 85 years. Knowing this is a big reason we have been able to continue life without our precious Grandpa. We still miss you Grandpa.