One of the first things Vern said to me from Huntington Memorial Hospital was, “I managed to reschedule my ticket to Singapore for Thursday.” Vern had gotten up that Saturday unable to walk for more than a few feet. Having lost 2/3rds of his blood, Vern was lucky to be alive. “And he still thinks, he is going to Borneo,” was the thought of doubt that filled me mind as I drove to the hospital to pray for him. David Fernandez and Neena came to pray with my wife and myself. Fr. Rob visited later. Our fifty person prayer team prayed. Vern felt no touch from God. However, after his colonoscopy, the doctor came into Vern’s room shaking his head in utter disbelief. There had been signs of dried blood, but no hole to patch up. God, in answer to prayer, worked. The following Saturday found a weak but determined Vern Vanderpol in Singapore.
Last summer’s team to Borneo was comprised of Jordan Jones, Steve Krimmel, Jusing Krimmel, David Fernandez, Paige Draney, and Vern Vanderpol. All of us saw God use us in answer to prayer. Two days into the trip, while still in Kuching, my son, Peter, emailed to tell me that Laura, my daughter in law was in the hospital with a flesh eating bacteria and a survival prognosis of 50%. Through the intercessions of the prayer team, Laura not only survived, and did not lose her arm, but was out of the hospital in a record two days.
The night we prayed for Laura, Jordan had a vision of us walking through the jungle putting our feet in footsteps of light after Jesus. Jordan experienced God break through forces of darkness in answer to prayer at our last longhouse, Ulu Bayor. Many were healed. One man’s hearing was restored. David Fernandez experienced the Holy Spirit empower him as he overcame fear of preaching. He preached twice with great effect. Paige was mightily used by God to touch the lives of young women at the two day youth camp we had at St. Benedict’s Chapel. In particular, God gave her a word of wisdom that transformed the life of one young woman. Jusing was used to counsel longhouse women who identified with her. Vern and myself saw God use us, as he did the others, to heal pains and sicknesses.
During the course of the trip, the team ministered healing in three longhouses, a chapel, and two churches—St. Augustine’s Betong and St. Christopher’s, Debak. We held a three day youth camp at St. Benedict’s attended by fifty young people between the ages of fourteen and twenty four. We found it most effective to break the young people into discussion groups. The second night we asked everyone to come forward to receiving laying on of hands and prayer by two groups or three people each. If they wanted Spirit baptism they opened their hands. If they wanted prayer for a blessing they crossed their hands on their chest. Many were blessed, and some experienced the Holy Spirit touch them deeply.
This summer we hope to bring more people to two locations, Debak and my wife’s village, Kampong Quop, where Fr. Alex has been transferred. We hope to hold a three-day youth camp at St. Christopher’s, Debak. We want to visit two to three longhouses for one to two days. At each longhouse, we will offer training in such topics as: 1) Who is Jesus?; 2) How can I get to know the Holy Spirit and move in His gifts?; and 3) How do you pray for healing? At the request of Archbishop Bolly, we want to bring several women with us who can relate to, and minister to, women’s groups in Sarawak. Thus, we are especially hoping that young people like Paige will join us as well as mature Christian women leaders.
If I have a goal in all of this, it is to see built bonds of fellowship between Christians in two countries and two churches that I love. I believe that the Diocese of Western Anglicans has much to offer Anglicans in Sarawak in terms of discipleship, prayer, and healing. Likewise, the Diocese of Kuching has much to teach us about living in community in Christ. I feel we are at the beginning of a very fruitful partnership that will force us all to step out of our comfort zones.