Thread: Missions Became My Destiny Even Before I Knew The Lord
My grandmother (on my father’s side) prayed for years that her sons would be missionaries and take the love of Jesus to far-off lands. None of her four sons became missionaries. But from a biblical standpoint, I was in the loins of my father when she prayed.
Thread: Journalism Became My Temporary Career Path
In my early twenties, I was asked at the last minute to be the official scorekeeper for a local baseball tournament. After I agreed, I was told that part of the job was to drop the score keeping book off at the local newspaper every night so their sports department could write articles about the game. I didn’t think it would be very easy to write articles on the basis of just the score keeping book, so I decided to write summaries of the games that I thought would be helpful. That led to the newspaper asking me if I wanted to be a part-time sports correspondent (a stringer). I agreed and spent about two-and-a-half years writing sports articles, and this led me to change my major in college (at San Jose State University) from electrical engineering to journalism.
Thread: My Life Direction Changed Dramatically
I was converted to Christ when I was 20 years old (largely through the influence of Bob Pagett, the senior pastor at Christian Life Center in Santa Cruz, California, whose family lived next door to my family at the time). After I had been a believer for a little bit, one of the professors at Bethany Bible College in Scotts Valley who was also heavily involved in baseball in Scotts Valley, dropped a seed in my heart by suggesting to me that I should check out Bethany Bible College – which I did. And I ended up transferring to Bethany and pursuing a degree in ministerial studies.
Thread: A Seed Planted By God Lay Dormant
But the “bug” to write didn’t leave me – it just remained dormant. I would think about it from time to time – at one point even thinking that writing might become my primary avenue of ministry.
Thread: The Unreached Became My Passion
While I was studying at Bethany and participating in the life of the community at Christian Life Center (where missions was a very strong focus), a Lebanese man newly converted to Christ moved from Senegal in West Africa to Santa Cruz and began attending my then home church Christian Life Center. We hit it off and soon, I was visiting him at his watch and clock repair shop often during the week – just fellowshipping around the things of the Lord. At some point, his brother came to Santa Cruz for an extended period – Faouzi Arzouni, a missionary to Côte d’Ivoire (or Ivory Coast) in West Africa and a former Shi’ite Muslim – and I met him.
One day, he came to his brother’s shop, and he asked me what I planned to do after I graduated from Bethany. I don’t remember exactly what I said at the time, but he dropped another seed in my heart and told me I should consider coming to Côte d’Ivoire to work with the Assemblies of God mission there. Upon graduation, I became a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God, and I moved to Paris to learn French for 5 months and then moved to Côte d’Ivoire for two years (I ended up going back again 16 months later for three months to evaluate some health issues I had experienced during my first stay).
Thread: The Writing Dream Won’t Die
While I was living in Africa, Faouzi and I discovered that we both loved to write. This led to a long-term dream of ours to collaborate and write together. In addition, during this time, I wrote an article for Discipleship Journal – my first published article for an evangelical publication.
Thread: Death of a Dream
When I returned to the states after my second stint in Côte d’Ivoire, I started down a path to become a full-time missionary. At the time in the Assemblies of God, the first step to becoming a full-time missionary was to be a senior pastor in the States for at least 2 years. I was waiting to get married to my wife so I remained in Santa Cruz. There weren’t any open senior pastor positions in Assemblies of God churches in Santa Cruz County at the time, so I accepted a position as missions pastor at Christian Life Center, thinking it would become a springboard to a senior pastor position. But the church ended up going through some financial difficulties and after a year I was laid off (by my home church).
For a variety of reasons, I began questioning how the church typically functioned in the United States and that led to a fair amount of disillusionment. At the same time, my wife’s father was suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, Ryder’s Syndrome, diabetes, and heart trouble. So we stayed in Santa Cruz to take care of him. I found a job and we looked for ways to be involved in ministry in the local area.
Thread: Telling the Old, Old Story Via Modern-Day Wineskins
While working in the business world, I started in administrative positions but eventually filled positions focused on internet marketing, with an emphasis on overall strategy rather than nuts and bolts implementation. As I learned new strategies for internet marketing in the business world, I kept saying to myself, “These online strategies could be used to spread the gospel.”
This line of thinking led me to pursue a variety of ministry opportunities. I launched a blog focused on internet evangelism. I developed websites for churches, missionaries, ministries, and non-profits. I developed a website focused on evangelical Christianity in Santa Cruz County, California. I did some pay-per-click consulting for the Luis Palau Association. I developed an online communications channel for missionaries in multiple creative access nations in a particular geographic area. I provided digital consulting services to various believers who worked in sensitive areas and/or among resistant people groups – primarily helping them scrub their online presence of information that would put them in danger.
Thread: The Dream Revived
Meanwhile, Faouzi and I never gave up on our dream of writing together. One morning when we were having coffee together, the dream became more real and we decided to launch a website together where we could share general articles that we worked on together and apart. That led to the initial phase of the Hesed.com website.
Thread: Trying to Find Our Footing
We posted a few articles to the website, but it largely remained dormant after that first flurry of activity.
The Threads Of My Life Converge: Missions and the Unreached, Writing, Online Strategy
During a subsequent conversation, Faouzi and I decided to refocus the Hesed.com website to be an online tool for world missions advocacy. That led to the Hesed.com website being transformed into its current iteration.
I AM an online strategist
WHO advocates for world missions through storytelling
TO spotlight the work of God throughout the nations
SO that all believers will be mobilized to join teams focused on reaching the unreached.
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