Tuesday, September 3, 2013

God's Emergency Department

Saturday Night- Fremantle Street Chaplains

The first real incident occurred directly opposite the Newport Hotel near closing time. Myself and another Chaplain were sitting praying and talking on the bench opposite the pub. We had just discussed how Fremantle can appear quiet but can flare up in a moment's notice. Part of this due to the many spiritual undercurrents that Fremantle has. As a seaport Fremantle is like Corinth, many conflicting ideas merge from around the world, from hippies and backpackers to Italian Catholics, Fremantle is a spiritual melting pot. No sooner than finishing our conversation we heard a crashing sound and looked up to see a young woman spin around on her high heels as if in the air to then land crashing onto the road, about two meres from our feet.

She had been hit by a car.

Immediately we moved forward and surrounded her. I reassured the young lady thankfully she was conscious and breathing. She could also talk. I was most concerned about spinal damage and so told her not to move, then placed my Street Chaplain jacket over her bare legs. There was about 50 onlookers. Bouncers ran over and we informed them to ring ambulance. Some people tried to take her arm and I was quite forceful in telling them to move back, telling all I am a nurse and that she is not to be moved in case she has spinal damage. Then I would speak quietly to the girl again reassuring her. Some bystander of about 25 came over saying he was a doctor. I told him I am a nurse and you have been drinking so you are no good to me. Go away. The man seemed confronted (by the truth) and so stayed back. As always most out on the streets that are not part of any particular  helping agency are more annoyance than good. They may mean well, but more often than not can get in the way. 

Police came and allowed myself and the other Chaplain to manage the situation. Again it was very good interdisciplinary contact, as all were seeing Chaplains helping and in control. The ambulance arrived and took over, taking her to hospital. The young girl thanked us for our kindness and that we were there with her during it all. If we had not been present I am sure the outcome would have been much worse. God certainly had us at the right place at the right time. Later on I contemplated the reality of a human being who had been hit by a car and then landing at your feet, at the feet of a Street Chaplain that happens to be a nurse? I felt annoyed the following day that few seem to see the reality of such being God's doing and not coincidence, karma or luck. The sheer possibility of this happening is staggering when you think about it. Even the police were amazed at where she landed as they saw the whole incident on closed circuit tv! (Again God's doing).

15 minutes later outside Hungry Jacks (a burger restaurant) a fight erupted between two small groups of men. Both chaplains intervened as police were not present yet. We tried to keep the men apart however at one stage one man shoved another into the restaurant window, cracking the glass. Thankfully no punches were thrown and both myself and the other chaplain were right in the middle of the action when police came and broke the men apart forming two groups . Police took our details for both incidences and I sensed we gained their respect at being part of the solution. Including how we had stayed with one officer as he questioned three men.The two chaplains forming his backup until more officers arrived. The Senior Sgt spoke with us and good relations were built upon. 

Both incidences reaffirmed  how working in Fremantle means maintaining spiritual awareness, prayer and being vigilant. A lesson from God.

I also felt God gave me direct personal experience/tuition as I move my own career toward the Emergency Department. Last night I felt like I was in one on the streets. God's Emergency Department.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jesus Loves you

Last night I prayed, I always pray between half an hour to 2hrs every day. That took 6 years of spiritual disciplines to get there. Now its part of life. In my prayer I told God I loved him. How I miss him.

Anyway I asked God if He loved me. (I know He does) I just wanted to hear it. I tell God I love Him all the time. I can safely say I’m into God. Editor of http://www.thechristiannetwork.com, A Street Chaplain, Trainee Male Nurse (as part of missionary training), Pastor (even got the theology degrees) and run http://www.harvestofhope.com.au All of which, of course, isnt enough :-)

So amongst all that and planning to head off on mission to Africa (India was 6 months ago) I ask God do you love me. Because I want to hear it. I even said - well everyone wants to hear it. Women want to hear it from their husbands, Kids from their Parents. Lovers from each other. I suppose even dogs like the odd cuddle and told I luv you rover..

So I want to hear it....

Nothing, no reply, hello darkness my old friend (due to my eyes being closed, something I tend to do when praying, call me old fashioned)

Oh well I know you love me.

The following day walking around the University Campus I happened to be looking down. I live on campus in a one bedroom studio flat that God gave me right across the road from the School of nursing. Much to the annoyance of most fellow nurses (there isn’t any flats around) And no one believes me (of course) when I say God gave me it. After people ask how did you get that place?! I might aswell say from an alien.

Anyway, looking down as I walked, in an area I’m very accustomed to, I noticed a small section of concrete near a road drain had some words edged into the stone work. They dated back to when the concrete was first set so they were not recent as it was not new work. I’m also not one to look down much. Joy of the SPirit, Missionary purpose in heart, clouds giving messages. No point looking down I’m not depressed. Thus it was by chance (which I dont believe in, more a providence type of man myself) that I noticed these words I had never seen before. After living next to them (the road drain was only 5 metres from my front door) for over two years.

The words?

Jesus Loves you

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nurses, Street Chaplains, Police and Bikies - Seek and Find

After finishing another three week nursing practical, this one within acute medical, I left with mixed feelings. Witnessing dying patients and people taking the very last gasps of breath, whilst you pray earnestly holding their hands (pretending you are involved in taking Heart Rates so as not to arose suspicions) you stand begging God for answers. I had learnt a great deal, including helping to control emotion. My last practical within palliative care for the dying had been an emotional rollercoaster, this one was more like the dodgem cars. Quite smooth until you bounce against something! As a missionary and Pastor the learning curve is steep. I drove away from the hospital choking back tears, literally begging God to console me. Such was the impact a particular patient had just had on me.
During the practical i asked God for signs of His presence, feeling alone amongst unbelievers. All be it unbelievers with compassionate hearts. Nurses are compassionate and often shine far brighter than many a ‘Christian’ I have met. No sooner than voicing that prayer, God introduced me to a fellow senior Nurse who was also Christian. I had worked with her for three days prior to knowing. The day after my prayer I noticed a crucifixion around her neck and within hours was invited to share testimony at her church! God is always present when you sincerely seek Him (Mt 5).
Yet upon leaving the hospital I really needed to be used by God in a way that was completely non secular. I wanted to be used spiritually again. To be affirmed as His servant and not only a Nurse within the health industry. God answered that yearning only a few hours later.
The Street Chaplain backpack needed replenishing and placed in the Closed Circuit TV Control room, ready for the Friday night Fremantle Shift. I was at my mother’s house a good hour drive away. I contemplated when to go. Now or later? Tired from the final shift and emotionally drained I was unsure. My phone rang at that precise moment. My Indian friend, a follower of Christ and fellow nursing student was ringing me. He had an amazing experience with God he wanted to share. I smiled knowing God was involved, I needed the fellowship with a true believer. One whose eyes were open spiritually. We arranged to meet an hour later in Fremantle.
He shared how he had asked God to ‘take’ a particular patient in great suffering (aged 84). How he had prayed holding their hand. Only 10 minutes later he noticed the nursing board had been updated with a cross beside the patient’s name. Only ten minutes after the prayer, God had taken the patient! My friend had to hide the tears that welled in his eyes, knowing God had answered his prayer. The contrast and message for me was startling. I was continually holding on to older patients, begging God to not let them go. I felt answers and direction. Refreshed and consoled I took the backpack to the CCTV room.
No one was there.
The room was unmanned thus I could not drop the bag off. It was near seven o'clock now and I just wanted to go home and rest in front of a movie. I had been on my feet since 5am. Standing praying asking God why no one was here. Knowing God was in control I tried to trust and wait. After 30 minutes nobody turned up. The Street Chaplain shift doesnt start till 11pm. I walked off into Fremantle wondering what God was doing. I knew there was a reason, I just didn't know what it was. As usual.
Drawing near the main street of town I noticed Police everywhere. Something was happening. Looking around, the Street Chaplain bag in my hand, the focus of all the attention came into view. Five Bikies, wearing their Rebel patched leather jackets and surrounded by at least ten officers, three cars and a Police Commissioner! This was the reason I was still here in town.
I sat and began to pray, watching the area but remaining incognito. ‘Brother undercover’. As I prayed my Indian friend rang me. As he called he drove past ! He drives a taxi and was looking for a sick bag, something we Chaplains carry. I could literally see him on his phone and he had no idea I was sitting and praying about 20 metres from the bikies. I told Him where I was and he turned the taxi around and came back. Handing him the sick bags he stated he would also pray for the bikies. Two sons of God were now praying for peaceful resolution and for the bikies to leave town, without any aggravation.
No longer than 4 mins later, the first Harley Davidson roared to life. The bikies left. As they did so, i felt what could only be described as fire in my veins. A surging, wether it was adrenalin or completely spiritual I could not stay, yet all I did was praise God and His supreme Authority over ALL creation. Standing I walked off hoping someone saw a solitary figure lift up a Street Chaplain bag and leave the precise moment the Bikies left. Mission Complete.
Arriving back at the CCTV room the staff where now in residence. God’s prefect timing. I was so filled with Joy I told the on duty staff member how the bikies had came to town and how I had prayed for them to leave. He laughed sincerely, not mockingly. Testimony complete.
Seek God and you will find Him.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thank you Street Chaplain

An antiseptic swipe, a large adhesive dressing, some hand wipes and a chemical ice pack. I threw these items into the Street Chaplain backpack. The regular backpack, which contains the full medical kit, was in my mother's car. I had forgotten about it and now she was  at a friend's house. I could not get it in time for my shift. Thankfully we have a spare backpack so I placed some water bottles, a few flip flops and the aforementioned first aid supplies into the spare pack. The first time you do not take them you will need them. The thought had crossed my mind as I filled the pack.

At the police station two lady Street Chaplains greeted me. We prayed and headed out for the night. Our prayer had specifically asked to share the good news of Christ with someone. Twenty minutes later we gathered in a huddle sharing testimony with a forty year old man outside a pub. He had approached us and before long was sharing his life story. One that involved alcoholism, losing his car license (for ten years) and divorce. It was a familiar story. I had been through most of it myself prior to Christ saving me. The shared experience formed an immediate connection.

By the end of the conversation we were all hugging in a group prayer! We prayed for the man to get a job he had recently attended an interviewed for. A second chance. He was greatly encouraged. So were we. We left him with a spring in our step, thanking the Lord for the obvious answer to prayer.

The spring in my step soon waned. After recently returning from mission to India, the re-entry to the west was difficult. The sin on the late night streets was blatant. At times almost anarchy and complete debauchery. It was all in stark contrast to the purity of remote Indian villages. I sat praying for peace outside one of Fremantle's night spots. The Lord kept the peace, but I felt dejected. After five years as a Chaplain I suppose it is easy to wonder if you are making a difference. To wonder if your time would now be better spent elsewhere. I softly said to God.. "I'm not sure if I can keep doing this Lord". The drunken revellers played heavily on my heart.

By 2:30 am it was time to go home. We headed back to the police station. As we arrived a young man came out of the station compound, shirtless, with blood oozing from a swollen wound above his right eye. I almost smiled. God knew. He had prepared everything for this moment. The items that had been hastily placed in the back pack (five hours prior) were exactly what was needed.

The hand wipe soaked up the excess blood. The antiseptic swipe cleaned the wound. The large adhesive dressing was the precise size required. It not only fitted, it contoured above the eye socket perfectly. The icing on the cake was the icepack. I popped the package, instantly the chemical reaction turned the pack freezing cold. Placing it into the young man's hand I didn't have to tell him twice what it was for. It would reduce some pain and any further swelling. He was incredibly grateful. His last words being.."Thank you Street Chaplain, Thank you"

As we walked off the spring in my step was renewed. God had clearly shown his interaction and preparation for the first aid incident. We all prayed and thanked God for the night. Driving home the statement repeated in my head.

Thank you Street Chaplain.

I felt reaffirmed by God.

God Bless

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God's Timeline

In my last blog I wrote how God's timing is perfect. Last night God affirmed that to me very powerfully.

I am a bit of a movie buff. I watch quite a few. In between studies and ministry a movie becomes my downtime. I do not own a TV but do not mind a decent well made movie.

It was 730 by the time I finished my dinner. The video shop closes at 8pm and its a a good 30+ minute walk. If I was going I had to get moving and moving fast. I decided to go. Off I went at a military forced march pace. My legs were burning. I would only have a few minutes to pick a movie.

755 I reached the front door. As I entered, the video store owner (who knows me) said you've got 3 mins to pick a movie. Within the allotted time  I had one and approached the counter. The owner is an older man, probably about 60+ of small build, sadly he drinks too much.  As I stood at the counter there was a series of forceful BANGS on the outside window. The owner went to the door and yelled out "What the F*&%^ do you think you are doing you F#$%# idiot!". No sooner had he finished the sentence than he quickly came inside. I sensed the "F&&^%& Idiot" was on the way.

Sure enough a large man appeared at the door . I could tell he was a fairly rough character. I looked up at him and he stopped at the doorway and didn't come inside. I knew God was at work, I'm not that intimidating. The video store owner went behind the counter as he did so the other man left.

The  owner emerged with a baseball bat.

God never ceases to amaze me. When you truly trust Him and seek Him, all the time, then His presence is there all the time. You just need to be aware of it rather than focusing on the world. Its like being in two worlds at once. The now and not yet of heaven bible college called it. This was certainly one of those moments.

"Its not worth it" My words were calming but cut through the haze. The video store owner was certainly in a 'haze' one born of fear, anger and a few beers. "Its not worth it" I repeated myself.
He stopped in his tracks as if the words entered his subconscious. "He is a big man and even if you smash his head in, what then? - its not worth it"

The owner put the bat back in its place. he thanked me for bringing him to his senses. I told him to shut up shop and enjoy a safe night. As I left the video store I was in awe of God. God had orchestrated the timing of everything. My forced march to get me to the video store at just the right time.

I walked home, this time at a much more leisurely pace. I recalled how I had just read from Peter "The devil prowls around looking for someone to devour". He had showed his face tonight not 20 mins after reading that verse. The advice being resist him. Do not get angry.

In my hand I headed home to watch my video. It's title? TIMELINE. God's perfect timeline.

A gentle hand calms the storm

It has been awhile between posts. Nursing has taken all of my time. A stint completed at Hospital re-affirmed my calling to this noble and compassionate vocation. Nursing teaches servitude. I have enjoyed and been challenged by it. After completing my practicals I was looking forward to getting back into Street Chaplaincy. Last weekend I worked both nights.

On the Friday Night myself and another chaplain had prayed at my home before heading out into the streets. Around the corner from where I live there is a pub that is fairly lively but rarely has any trouble. Tonight was different. No sooner had we finished praying than we were standing outside this hotel in the midst of a potential brawl.

A highly volatile young man was taunting and threatening another group (he also had the backup of many friends in the pub). The atmosphere was tense as curses were let loose. Myself and the other chaplain stood amongst it all, praying for peace. There was only three bouncers. If a brawl started they were greatly outnumbered. Instantly they appreciated the two of us being there. In our purple shirts we were mistaken as additional staff. Now the numbers had bolstered to five.

God's timing is perfect. As usual right place, right time.

As  I watched the bouncers try to calm the crowd, I noticed that two of them had completely opposite personalities and demeanor. One was losing his patience and at one point yelled at a client. His antics seemed almost immature. The other, however, seemed more like a Street Chaplain to me than a bouncer. He was calm, gentle, even smiling as he gently touched people ushering them one way or the other. His voice was soft and he matched it was a big smile. I liked him. I said to the Lord "this guy is good".

He was a Tongan, a large lad by anyone's standards, yet gentle with his power. He turned to the two of us and said "How you going fellas, I am a Christian. I go to so and so church"

The bouncer I admired was a true believer and it showed in his actions as much as his words. A glow came over me. He was happy to see us.He thanked us and asked about Street Chaplains. The Lord connected us to yet another organisation and believer within it. Networking. Christian Networking.

The following night I took two of the chaplains down to this pub to meet our new friend. He was encouraged again to see us. It also happened that it was two strapping male chaplains that was on that night. Thus four men of God shook hands. Gentle Men. Gentle Men that calm storms.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Story so far...

Recently a friend in Germany asked me to outline the story of Harvest of Hope from inception to current status. She wanted to use it in a talk at her Bible College regarding trusting God and utilising your gifts/skills with God's direction (Her request was something along those lines). After sending an outline to her I decided to blog it to show what GOD has been doing so far in my own little journey with Him. It was written out in steps for ease of understanding..here it is...

Step 1 - Total submission and commitment to God, which included selling house and giving to the poor and using funds for ministry/bible college. That took courage

Step 2 - Bible daily, prayer and repentance (all on going) - not out of duty but out of hunger and love of God

Step 3 - Get of lazy backside and go help people. Joined Street Chaplains and went out into the streets to help the drinking youth and homeless.

Step 4 - God places thought in heart - Open a Rehab Centre

Step 5 - Write business plan with strategic five year plan (this done with much prayer)

Step 6 - God gives name of centre - Harvest of Hope. (Knew from God as name was to good just to pop into head after praying!)

Step 7 - Pray for Rehab program - Nothing happened!

Step 8 - Email Christian Rehabs, ask for program - No response. Decide to wait on God

Step 9 - Missionary Ship the Dolous comes to Bible College, heart beats faster - must go on that ship!

Step 10 - After joining ship and heading to Cambodi, God confirms Harvest of Hope by using Doloid (Jeremy) to tell jack of House of Hope in Cebu. Christian Drug Rehab Centre. Harvest of Hope - House of Hope? No coincedence - rather, God incidence.

Step 11 - Leave Dolous go home contact Cebu. Cebu DO email back !

Step 12 - Fly to Cebu 

Step 13- Learn Program, Program is JESUS. House of Hope and Harvest of Hope become partners/brothers. God confirms relationship and his direction very powerfully in many God Incidences.

Step 14 - Document entire program, including daily activities etc etc

Step 15 Go Home and Write up Program and update Business Plan. (both working documents)

Step 16 - Need a Logo. Pray. Send Email to Doloid in Canada who is graphic designer. Would you like to make a logo? YES! Makes logo. Ministry now has identity. Ask God if God likes logo? Jack crys. Means God likes Logo.

Step 17. - Send Money to Cambodia and Open School for children called Harvest of Hope - http://www.harvestofhope.com.au/projectscambodia.html

Step 18 - God provides thousands of dollars in answer to giving all personal money away and trusting God.

Step 19 - Need lawyer to legally set up Harvest of Hope as Charity. Pray. Enter Greek class and sitting beside me is a Lawyer that specialises in setting up charities! Hire lawyer. Charity set up in 6 weeks everyone amazed at how easily it got passed.

Step 20 - Make Website - http://www.harvestofhope.com.au - Peter in Ireland donates money through website straight away. After British to Australian conversion money equals = $777. God's number

Step 21 - God starts to send drug addicts to Pastor Jack (Jack graduates from Bible college) - start to gain one on one experience. God working to BIG plan and pulling me back all the time. Plan to come together in God's time - not mine. Often run ahead of God and things go wrong. Learn from mistakes. God disciplines through mistakes.

Step 22 - God directs me to become a nurse! Head off to University for nursing. Pass first step of exams, learn humility caring for old people and washing them, cleaning them, cry lots. Headed for second year nursing now. God keeps confirming on right path by sending donations to Harvest of Hope and giving preaching opportunities as I gets confused and asks "am I a nurse or Pastor?" God confirms you are both. I amtold to ask no one for money but only to pray. So that God not myself gets the glory. God gifts man with many gifts to be used to point to God. Not man. Thus no fund raising. God confirms this through story of Gideon and 10,000 soldiers down to 300. People will think all happening because of my skills. So God confirms don't fund raise! Pray!

Step 23 - Psalm 23, don't be afraid, Trust the Lord. Today Opening of harvest of Hope maybe only two years away (so far four years in planning and preparation and prayer - the 3 Ps).  Many Rehabs to come. Think Big, Pray, prepare, Plan - ACT


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nurses and Indians (and Scotsmen)

Last night I ventured out into Fremantle with a fellow senior Chaplain and two new recruits. A mature couple from an inner city church. They were on what we call an 'observor' night. As part of training all new Street Chaplains have to come out as observers and accompany two senior chaplains.

We headed to Ginos (the local cafe) to get to know one another after praying outside the police station. The police both in Freo and the city must be starting to get accustomed to Chaplains praying in a huddle outside their central stations. I always marvel at God directing us to do so in full view. Unashamedly praying. Something of  a rarity in our secular world to see out in the open. Especially late at night outside police stations.

Sitting in Ginos I was encouraged to learn that our two new recruits were both from Scotland. This now increases the quota of Scottish Chaplains to four in Fremantle. Of course I am totally non-biased. Aye right. However further to that the lady chaplain had been a nurse for twenty years and had recently retired. Here I sat a trainee nurse realising God was also blessing the ministry with another highly experienced recruit. Whilst she may have known little of Street Chaplaincy, the skills of handling people as a qualified RN who had studied in Edinborough (the epicentre of medicine) was certainly a blessing. If that was not enough 'God incidences', as opposed to coincidences, they had both been on a missionary trip to India. Where I am headed next. The connection of Scotland, Nurse and India  was clearly being heard from God. Subsequently we all got along very well.

During the night God started to use us as a team.  We escorted a young girl on her own who was walking down the street at 1am trying to get a cab. As a Chaplain you have a duty of care for females and thus when you see girls on their own - you do not leave them. She let us walk with her and we hailed her a cab. Saving her a long wait in the taxi rank. She was sincerely thankful, which showed in her eyes as she got in the cab.

Next we approached a homeless man on a bench. For five weeks I have been carrying a knitted blanket (a donation by some ladies from a church somewhere). Just waiting for the right person to give it to. I offered the man water initally. He didn't want it. We then said would you like a blanket? Yes - he could use a blanket. He took it thankfully and said he was he was headed off to get some sleep. The blanket went to the right person at just the right time.

Nearer the end of the night a young man sat with his girlfriend with a mishapen broken nose. We gave him an icepack and reassured him it was ok. Both myself and the other Chaplain showing him our own broken noses from our own misspent youth! We encouraged him to go to the hospital, andhe assured us he would. We told him he was still a young handsome man, which seemed to be his main concern!

Again many thanks were recieved for the acts of kindness. All of these little acts preordained by God, in full view of CCTV cameras, the police and the revellers. Contagious kindness. I pray you catch it.

God Bless