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Mission Trip to the Philippines

By April 16, 2018Blog

I heard from God”. To some of you, this may seem like a ridiculous statement. How can you “hear” from God? AND if you can, why don’t I?

To answer your question, God IS speaking to you. He is no respecter of persons, but His voice can manifest itself in different ways and it ALWAYS must align with the Bible and God’s true character. Though I never have, some may hear God through an audible voice, some through nature, through something they read, through the Bible, or some may hear him like I do…in that still small voice within me. Those nudges of certainty concerning something that constantly reappear in my thought life without effort on my end.

In the fall of 2017, our pastor at Church had the congregation sing one of our worship songs in different languages to demonstrate the beauty and power of different nations coming together to worship the One True God. In that moment of worship, that still small voice spoke. It welled up within me that God wanted me to go to the ends of the earth to share my love for wakeboarding and Jesus. I wasn’t sure at the time the when, where, or how’s…I just knew that suddenly I had a desire to go.

It wasn’t long after that Sunday, the founder of Ride Nature, an action sports ministry, approached with me his vision to create a full-length documentary called “To The Ends”. The documentary would highlight all the regions of the world that they travel doing missions and building up leaders to share the gospel through action sports. He extended an invitation for me to join their team to the Philippines to minister and be a part of this special project.

That still small voice that spoke to me during worship weeks prior had prepared my heart in advance for an opportunity like this; when otherwise I might’ve been taken off guard and politely declined. Regardless, I took time to pray about it to be sure, and sure enough my desire to go to the Philippines grew stronger with each day. Before I knew it, I was boarding my flight on the first leg of my life-changing journey.

One of the ways I can usually confirm that God truly spoke to me is by the divine appointments that follow after I am obedient to that word. You know…the God encounters you have that are so random, so perfectly knit together in time that you would’ve never had otherwise. Divine appointments were in no lack on this trip.

At the airport I crossed paths with professional BMX Monster Energy Athletes, Kevin and Victor Peraza on their way to a competition in Tallinn in Estonia. I can’t seem to fully express in words how much I love the opportunity to meet other action sports athletes. As professional athletes we lead hectic lifestyles. It’s nice to meet other athletes along the way to pause and build each other up. We were able to pray together in the airport and I left them with one of our Wake by Faith Devotionals. They are such rad dudes and wish them an awesome career. That was my first divine appointment of the trip.

The Philippines were such fertile ground for ministry. Not all nations, probably including our own, are receptive to random people approaching them to share about Jesus. The Pilipino people on the other hand welcome it and are completely receptive to hear all you have to share. Evangelistic ministry can be intimidating to say the least, so I was definitely relieved that our message was received so well. On the trip we did a skate ministry at a mega church in Manila, traveled up in the mountains to minister to village kids and pass out American Starbursts that were a HUGE hit, and then ended up at CWC Wake Park in Naga City.

CWC is a wakeboard destination for riders from across the world. The tourism the park brings in is really important to help fuel the economy there. It’s comparable to the feel of a US Ski Resort except way more affordable. For only around $40 you could ride all day, eat three incredible meals, and stay in a comfortable cottage right by the park. It’s no wonder people from all over the world camp out at this park for months at a time!

I was fortunate enough to have my good friend, Timmy Burnier, join the crew and me on this trip. I hadn’t seen him in over two years so it was a ton of fun to reconnect. It was unfortunate however; when he feared he had gotten an infection in his hand (honestly, it’s never a good feeling to have a medical issue while overseas).  The scare took us to the local hospital. While we waiting for care/treatment for Timmy, we came across a woman in the waiting room. Divine appointment number two.

This woman was at the hospital to receive an ultrasound on her back. From what she told me, this had been an issue for a long time and it often made her unable to work the pain was so bad. Timmy and I prayed supernatural healing over her back and realignment in her spine. We finished the prayer to find her in tears saying that Jesus healed her! She later sent us her test results from the hospital that confirmed just that! Praise God for Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross!

She said that it was ironic…yes that’s that divine appointment speaking…that she ran into us because her son had attended the skate ministry we had done earlier that week. We found out her son struggles with severe depression. She went on to explain how much he had wanted to hang out with the local church that does a skate ministry, but he didn’t feel like he fit in since he didn’t have a skateboard of his own. It kept him from attending. His mom felt that if he could just connect that it would help him break depression off of his life.

Because of those who supported me on this trip, I was able to bless him with a new skateboard. He was so grateful and surprised that someone would do that for him. I pray it keeps him involved and that is able to continue to encounter Jesus and find how valuable his life truly is. [SIDE BAR: Timmy’s hand was just fine and all was well]

When on a mission trip you always need a local hub, a church base. Like the new Ride Nature film is giving honor to, it’s these people who actually minister on a daily basis and disciple people, something we could never accomplish in a short visit.  I was SO incredibly blessed to meet the leaders and pastors from Grace Covenant Church in Naga.

I discovered that their belief system aligned to mine and we had so much to share and encourage each other with. They really ministered to me and turned out they are huge fans of the Bible College my wife had attended. They LOVED our Wake by Faith Devotional and said they had been waiting for something like this to come along. It will be so cool for them to be able to place these in the hands of the people who need to hear the gospel and give them an opportunity to study out the foundation of the Christian faith all in one place. Divine appointment number three.

After speaking with the leaders of the church I learned that locals aren’t necessarily welcomed to hang out around the cable park as much. For one thing many can’t afford it and secondly because they are trying to keep it elite for tourism. The church leaders from Grace Covenant expressed to me how they would really like to hold wake churches at the park on a consistent basis. It was an answered prayer for them that Ride Nature worked with them to set up the first ever wake church at CWC and I was so blessed to be the first to share the gospel there. God also inspired me to give them the things they need to help equip their team with the things they need to attend the park and wakeboard on a regular basis.

As our trip was coming to a close, I had the opportunity to meet the Mayor (which I found out later was a really, really big deal). We chatted about our idea for having Grace Covenant hold consistent wake church at the park, which was very well received, and I was able to give him one of our Wake by Faith Devotionals. Divine appointment number four.

It was amazing to see God at work throughout this entire trip to the Philippines. God made it evident to me that we were meant to be there to share our faith with other wakeboarders and to encourage the local church to continue sharing the Gospel at the cable park on a weekly basis. I am so humbled and grateful for the support I received to go on this trip. Their generosity allowed me to freely give to those in need. The Pilipino culture has really captured my heart. I would love to go back with my wife and family some day to share with them this incredible place and the awesome people who so greatly impacted my life. God is speaking. Sometimes we just need to clear space to make room to hear.