Wednesday, July 25, 2018

VBS in Texas - A Real Fish Story

While I was working as a volunteer in the Last Days Ministries/Youth With A Mission print shop in Texas, I also volunteered playing piano and leading youth at Garden Valley Baptist Church.  I really enjoyed this because I was able to get to know some local families well and we were able to encourage each other in the Lord.  They included me in their Thanksgiving football celebrations and took me to their high school football games.

Probably the second summer I volunteered with them, they organized a VBS (Vacation Bible School) week, and asked me to do songs for the kids.  Organizing the time off from work to do that wasn't difficult because I could walk to the church from the print shop, so I readily agreed to help.

I really wanted God to make an impact on these kids through me for that week.  I fasted and prayed leading up to the week for the kids and what I'd be doing with them.  I organized some fun songs and some stories to go along with them.  "Give me oil in my lamp...",   "I've got peace like a river...",  "I like bananas...", "My God is so Big..."  "I'm too young to march in the infantry..." etc.

VBS week arrived and I set out to share my songs and stories with these kids.  I'm not sure that there were ever more than seven kids with me in any given session during the week, but I went for it anyway.  Every day I asked if anyone had a 'testimony' or a story of something good God had done for them to share.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday went by and no one had shared anything.  Friday I was a little demoralized but I shared about how "Give me oil in my lamp...' is a song about how God is a good Father, and He gives us the things we need, when we need them.  I asked again if anyone had anything to share, and to my surprise a little boy put his hand up.  He wasn't a regular attender at church, but had been coming every day to VBS.

Here is the story he shared:
Fishing with God
"I'm from out of town and I've been staying at my Grandma's this week.  She has a small lake on her land with fish, and I really wanted to catch a fish while I was here.  I've been fishing every day this week and haven't even gotten a bite.  This morning I remembered what you've been talking about with these songs here this week and I thought I'd ask God to help me catch a fish."

All the other kids were looking at him at this point.  He had everyone's attention - you could have heard a pin drop.

"So before I went out to fish this morning, I prayed and asked God to help me catch some fish.  Fishing was totally different today - I had a bite with nearly every cast!  When it was time to leave for VBS, I had 20 pounds of fish on a stringer that I had caught!"

Everyone was shocked, including me.  God did a miracle for this boy.  I don't think anyone there that day forgot his story about what happened and how God had moved for him. 

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Monday, July 23, 2018

The Bike Accident

Bike helmets didn't exist when I was a growing up.  Actually, that's not entirely true.  I only ever wore my bike helmet when I was doing serious mountain biking or racing.  I did ride my bike a lot though.  In the summer, I often rode it to school and to church on Sundays (our church was in our neighbourhood).

One particular Sunday just after I had finished grade nine, I rode by bike to church.  Summer vacation had started.  After church was over, I asked my Mom if I could go over to my friend's house to visit.  That request got denied.  I don't remember why, but I do remember I wasn't happy about it.  I hopped on my bike and started home, helmet-less.

The biking accident - a bike with a spedometer
Biking home from the church was easy.  It was all down hill.  I had a speedometer on my bike - one of those old speedometers that attached to the hub of the front wheel to measure speed.  Mine happened to be loose that day and so the dial measuring my speed was jumping up and down.  This frustrated me and I lost my cool.  Without thinking, I angrily kicked at the hub of my front tire (while speeding down the hill) to knock it back in place.

Whoops!

The next memory I have is crying, walking down someone's driveway looking for help.  My lips were stuck in my braces.  My head hurt and was covered in blood, and I was disoriented - it was all like a dream.  I had completely forgotten about my bike - now broken and mangled in the middle of the road.  My kick had gone through the spokes of the front tire stopping it cold.  I, in turn, had gone flying over the handle bars, pretty much landing on the pavement face-first.

My Dad was driving home from church in his truck and found my bike on the pavement.  Seven spokes broken, handle bars bent, front fork bent four inches out of place, seat and hand-grips mangled.  I'm sure his heart must have skipped a bunch of beats.  I don't think it took him too long to find me, given the wailing I was doing.  He threw the bike in the back of the truck, loaded me in the cab and drove me to the hospital.  I was in and out of consciousness on the way, confused, and asking him questions that didn't entirely make sense.

Once at the hospital, I was more lucid.  The doc cut my lips out of my braces and said I would have lost all my front teeth if I wasn't wearing braces.  I had a spiral fracture in one of the bones in my hand.  Everyone was concerned about a head injury.  The doc sent me home with my Dad, but my parents were given strict instructions to keep an eye on me and ensure I stayed awake until evening.

I made it through that night and eventually recovered fully.

Thinking about that whole scenario now, I realize that God was watching over me - even in my anger and frustration.  Given the speed I was going and lack of safety equipment, I could have suffered a much worse injury.  Its a miracle I walked away from that accident... and I literally walked away from it (even though I wasn't entirely clear-headed at the time).

God's protection.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”
Psalm 91:14-16

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The Names of God - Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah Shalom - God is my peace. Another verse that has been continually returning to my thoughts over the past year or so is Philippians 4...