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  • Malcolm and Daphne

Delight Yourself in the Lord and He will Give You the Desires of Your Heart.

Psalm 37:4-5

A Testimony to Encourage you.

Have you ever longed for something special to happen in your life, something you would desperately love to have or to do? I’m sure at some stage of our lives we all have one way or another.

Growing up in a missionary orientated church we often listened to those returning from the mission field on furlough or deputation work of their experiences in places like Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, India, and the Congo where one lady missionary doctor was even abducted by Congolese Rebels for a time. There were occasionally opportunities to hear visiting missionaries such as the English Missionary to China called Gladys Aylward whose experiences, especially that of taking around 100 children over the mountains to safety during the Japanese invasion of China, were made into a movie called the Inn of the Sixth Happiness and also into a book called The Small Woman. There was also a visiting Welsh Presbyterian minister called Ivor Powell, known as The Man from Wales. ( I remember asking him for his autograph. He wrote in my book “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21)”. Unfortunately, my fountain pen sprung a leak and ink poured out and down his white cassock robe. Thankfully it was after the service.)

Many missionaries showed of the work they were involved in through 8mm movies or slides that occasionally over heated and melted. It was so exciting …the presentations…not the melting bit! These encounters with missionaries birthed within me a desire for missions, although looking back now with the mind of an early teenager, it was probably initially more the excitement of exotic foreign lands, adventure and unknown cultures rather than spreading the Gospel. ( Without TV in the 40’s & 50’s my only other perception of foreign places was old mission stories by Carey and Hudson Taylor and Movietone news (months old) or early movies at local picture theatres which distorted my world view of other places )….. but a seed was being sown

Most countries in the 1950’s seemed so far away and remote with air travel in its infancy or only for the wealthy, and most overseas travel being by ship. For many of us to travel overseas on an OE was just a dream …at least anything further than Waiheke Island was.

Over the many years that followed the desire to serve God in foreign lands was always somewhere at the back of my mind but like Moses and Gideon, I had and made every excuse why God would want to use me anywhere. I had no qualifications or degrees. I wasn’t a doctor, nurse, teacher or Bible Scholar. Anyway, He probably never asked me!! (probably I wasn’t listening!) so obviously I wasn’t important enough for Him to use me. Meantime we were actively involved in Sunday School/Childrens Church at our local church and for several years ran a non denominational Sunday School at our local primary school. It was something we had a passion for but to be honest I think there was also an element of avoiding being used in adult ministries / groups at church. But as God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you” and in Isaiah 55:8-9 My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways”. Naturally God eventually got his way and many years of adult ministry also followed and with His help and guidance, the Holy Spirit…and gentle prodding! However our hearts were still mainly for the children.

Nearly 35 years past until a short term mission opportunity presented itself and I again felt that missions tugging in my Spirit. Thankfully I must have ‘matured’ a bit by then. I was committed and more trusting that God could use me despite my inadequate feelings. If He had confidence in me then He would see me through whatever He asked me to do.

Missions over the years had changed a lot and it seemed the main objective now was to go and help equip the locals to spread the Gospel as they were more in tune with cultures, traditions, language etc. Over the following 25 years my wife Daphne and I had the privilege on going on several short term mission trips to places like India, Nepal, Myanmar, Rambi Island at the top of Fiji) Hong Kong, China and Tibet. In some cases, ministries to children were at the forefront of our involvement. In many cases our airfares and often accommodation was paid for by the generosity of others. God blessed us abundantly in so many ways. Those we went to bless usually blessed us more and it was humbling to experience the giving and hospitality of many who in our eyes had little or nothing to give, but gave and gave and gave. Christians and non Christians alike. It also gave us insight into the challenges experienced by missionaries ministering in restrictive environments and countries with strong radical faiths.

Interestingly our first trip to Hong Kong and Southern China was to courier Bibles into China….Adventure at last!, but before we left the team focus had to change to Light Evangelism as the Chinese Security Police (PCB) had found a farm and truck with Bibles and border security was very strict. However, where we were to go in China, a Pastor had been released from a ‘re- education’ camp and was being closely monitored. There were not many foreign tourists at that time and we too would be watched very closely, so again the focus changed to Intercessory Pray and Prayer Walking. Initially I was a bit ticked off. I remember saying that I could pray for China just as easily here and save the money. But thankfully God changed my mind, heart and attitude, and that trip was a major preparation of what was to follow especially in restrictive countries like another China Trip, Tibet and Nepal, and connecting and understanding other cultures.

Psalm 37: 4-5 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this.” In these verses David calls us to take delight in the Lord and to commit everything we have and do (our way) to Him. But how do we do this? To delight in someone means to experience great pleasure and joy in his or her presence. This happens only when we know that person well. So, to delight in the Lord, we must know him better. Knowledge of God’s great love for us will indeed give us delight. To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything, our lives, families, jobs, possessions, finances, etc, to His control and guidance. It also means to trust Him (v5) believing that He can care for us better than we can ourselves. We should also be willing to wait patiently (37:7) for Him to work out what is best for us….and in His timing. Not always an easy thing to do.

On one occasion, not long after I had been made redundant from my secular employment, the words of Psalm 2:8 came very strongly to me. “Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance. The ends of the earth your possession.” .( NZ must be at the ends of the earth)

I joined Daphne who had already been involved in Religious Education (Bible in Schools) for around 13 years and together we ministered in this area as a team for the next 17 years. We mainly used a Christian Values curriculum titled Life Focus and written for use in State Schools in NZ by the late Hugh Dickey, who was connected to Childrens Bible Ministries. I can honestly say that of all the curriculums we have used over the years this was far better than anything else we had used. Over the years New Zealand had become a major multi cultural society with many cultures and of differing faiths. Our classes at five West Auckland primary schools reached around 300 students each week and often included children of multi faiths, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, non believers in God, refugee children, etc. The nations had come to New Zealand and it was more exciting than ever to be able to minister to these young children that there is a God who loves them and cares about them. Probably one of the most memorable periods of our lives. I believe that the opportunities we experienced overseas were actually preparation and training for what we came to be involved in back home in NZ

Often, we can look for excitement and opportunities to serve God ‘somewhere else’ but most times He just wants to use us right where we are, In our own back yard, in our schools, jobs, homes, churches, communities etc. I have often heard “if you can’t tell others here about Gods love then you will struggle to do it overseas” It is so right.

We estimate that over the 30 years of involvement in BIS, singerly and together, we must have had the privilege and opportunity to talk to around 10,000 children. We experienced the favour of the Lord through many teachers and principals during that time. Some of who acknowledged they themselves were atheists and not supporters of BIS…. but were so glad we were there as many children seemed to have no awareness of morals or values. Others asked us to pray for children who were sick or in hospital. We had the opportunity to visit a young wheelchair bound Indian Muslim girl with spina-bifita in hospital and was given permission by the family to pray for her and leave her Christian based activities, puzzles, etc to colour in. Another young Maori boy with terrible eczema on his hands and arms asked for prayer and within 3 weeks Jesus totally cured him. One one occasion I was to have an operation on my nose and was told that it would bleed over the following 2-3 weeks. At one class when I told them I would be away the following week they surprisingly asked if they could pray for me that my nose would not bleed. They did and it never did. These are only some of the amazing opportunities we were given and experienced. A few children without our prompting or invitation ( that was not allowed) acknowledged Jesus as their Lord and Savior but most we just had to believe that Gods Word will not return void . As it says in Isaiah 55: 11 My word that goes out of My mouth will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it .” We just had to be faithful and sow the ‘seed’ within the confines and restraints allowed, and trust, as the children moved on, that someone else would cross their paths to water that seed and one day it would bear good fruit. We just had to hand them over to God for their future. We may not always get to pray the sinners prayer with someone but we can be one of the many links in the chain leading up to their ultimate salvation.

Most of us have a long ‘lost’ desire. A longing or yearning for something. Maybe for family members. We need to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Hand it over to Him. He hears and knows our heartfelt dreams and yearnings, and in His timing, He will answer us. Meantime we just need to be faithful and do what our hands find to do, and continue to persist in prayer….never giving up. . Don’t ever exclude yourself from doing extra-ordinary things with God. You might consider yourself just an ‘ordinary person, but to God you are extra-ordinary. If opportunities come your way, don’t put it off or wait until you are older or ‘retired’. They may not come your way again. If you make yourself available to serve God in any way He requires, He will give you the ‘qualifications’ you need to accomplish what he has asked you to do. It’s not about ability, but availability. Believe us….we know…and far above and beyond that which we could ever have imagined. With God nothing is impossible. We have been so blessed to be able to be part of what God is doing.

We hope you are encouraged by our experiences. Its not all about going overseas but really about the choices we make and how we choose to live our lives each day and relate to everyone else that we connect with. Just choose to do it God’s way and be a reflection of who Jesus is to those around us in a Spirit of Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Faithfulness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).

Have a listen on You Tube to a song by the Gaither Vocal Band called Alpha and Omega and be encouraged that God will do what He says He will do, even using ‘extra ordinary’ people like you and us whom He loves and desires to use for his purposes. Other songs by the same group are Worthy the Lamb and Give it Away. As it says in this last song, If you want to find happiness in Christ then whatever he has given us…love…time…energy, finances etc, then just give it away.

God bless you all heaps and may you all experience the desires of your hearts in Jesus

Malcolm & Daphne.


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