Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dear Followers

I lieu of this new chapter of my life (see previous entry), I've begun a new blog. You can find it here:

It's called Give and Take because, well, you'll just have to read it. I like the way it looks, too.

Please follow my new blog.

Peace, and I pray you each accept Grace like you would a best friend.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Next Thing

Hello! This is what I've been up to since I graduated high school in 2008: From Sept 2008 to February 2009 I did a DTS (DTS stands for Discipleship Training School), with the organization YWAM (Youth With A Mission). YWAM (pronounced wye-wam) runs these schools as mission training courses. It hosts 3 months of lecture about various topics of Christianity followed by a 2-month outreach. I did that in Bishop, CA (It was a backpacking DTS). Then the outreach was to Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia.
I came home to Escalon and from February to September, I worked either on our new church building, or with YWAM Modesto in their ministry with the homeless. I also ran a fireworks stand to raise money for SBS (School of Biblical Studies).
From Sept 2009 to July 2010 I did an SBS (School of Biblical Studies, an intense inductive Bible school also with YWAM) in Turner Valley, AB, Canada. In short, it was AWESOME. I studied all day and it was really difficult, but it was the best 9 and a half months of my life; I feel so much more grounded in my faith. Afterward a small team of us went to Thailand and Burma for four weeks. You can read more about that in my last blog (Outreach 2010).

I learned so much during my SBS! I spent all day every day in the Word for over nine months! After doing these two schools and their outreaches, I feel prompted to be in a position where I can pour into others using what I've learned.

The next thing I'm doing, starting Sept 10 is this: DTS Staff. The DTS I did had staff who planned everything and kept up with the students on how they were doing in the school, graded assignments, and prepared and led outreach. That is the role I will play in Turner Valley, AB. The base there is very focused on the Bible and sending teams to Thailand/Myanmar to the Shan people.

This is how I came to decide to join DTS Staff: During my SBS I felt interested in staffing DTS. After a couple months of thinking about it, telling only a few people, the DTS leaders at Turner Valley, Alberta, without knowing I was interested, invited me to join the family, so to speak, at the YWAM base. I believe this was confirmation; first I wanted to do it, then people kept telling me I'd be good at it, and finally then they officially invited me without knowing I was interested.

This position is a volunteer, non-paid position, so I have to raise my own support. I am a young person going to train other young people as missionaries; to help lead them on mission trips and spur them on towards having a heart that wants to see the gospel spread throughout the whole earth, and I'm asking for my church, my friends and my family to support me. One-time gifts are welcome, but I have a greater need for monthly support. The leaders recommend as close to $500 a month (CAN) as I can get. This sounds like a lot, but if 50 people could give $10 a month, that would cover it, and allow me to save some of it for outreach.

These are the different ways you can give: Soon I will have an account with YWAM Project Funding, who accepts checks, even post-dated, and also automatic withdrawal, while giving tax-deductible receipts. Until that is set up, you can give to my church: New Hope Christian Fellowship located at 300 Trask Ln, Modesto, CA, 95354. You can give them a check for me and, as long as my name isn't on the check, they can give you a tax receipt. Just attach a note letting them know it's for James Harrison.
If you do not require a tax receipt, you can simply give to me specifically. I have a Paypal account and you can send the money to
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! My Facebook and e-mail are the same address as the Paypal e-mail, or you can just ask me in person too. : )

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Outreach 2010!

On July 7th, we started our long journey. We flew from Calgary to Salt Lake City, then Tokyo, then Bangkok. We stayed in Bangkok for a few days to get over jet-lag, which wasn't as bad as we thought. God really had grace on us there, and that theme was hugely apparent on our trip.
Outreach 2010
Mennonite Portrait

In Bangkok, we prepared for our Bible teachings.
Sherry's pooped

We then flew from Bangkok to Yangon.

First, we went to the market and the guys bought longhis (lawn-jees) - essentially man-skirts. Our friend taught us how to fold/tie them on so they don't fall down (it's one big tube-fabric-thing).
Nate and V.

Then, we settled into our guest house. We spent some time to continue preparing for our teachings. One school had about 15 students and the other only had three! So those of us preparing for the smaller school (Sherry, Evan and I) had to change our lectures up a bit to better suit a smaller class.

We also worked with a church which ran an english club, bible study, and a church. Our timing (God's timing) was great, as we happened to come the few weeks in which all but one of their pastors was around. And since they ran an event almost every night, plus the sermon, it was really good that we could help. I personally helped with two of the bible studies we did (on Thursdays), and shared my testimony (in ten minutes or so) on a Sunday.
Nate and Steph

At this church we made most of our friends, who were happy to practice English and even share about their own struggles with being a Christian in such a primarily Buddhist place. One friend I met became a Christian a few months ago, but hasn't told his parents, and probably won't until he moves out, because they would kick him out, he believes. But his excitement for Jesus, and this is true with many young people we met there, was fantastic! Here's a picture of him (the one next to me).
James, Russell, Peter, and Evan

Most of our preparation during our time in Yangon was for that church. All the preparation we did before going was for the inductive SBS teachings we did. I taught the book of Philemon with Steph's Colossians; Sherry taught Philipians and Malachi; Evan taught Hosea; and Nathan taught I Thessalonians. These were between two SBSes there - one with YWAM (the one with 15 or so students) and one that was separate from (though closely tied with) YWAM (3 students). Here's the first one during Steph's teaching.
Steph teaching

The third and final place we did most of our work in was the smaller SBS. The students were very kind and generous (highlighting the awesomeness of their culture). Every time we went, we were served with a wonderful lunch. The students (and even the staff) were very respectful. Once, one of the students started fanning us while we ate lunch (after someone's teaching). THEN, a staff member came and she took over for him, fanning us. I just wonder how much I would do for visitors to our base...
Sa Daniel's school

This was the school I taught Micah in. I was so excited for my teaching, it's almost no surprise that the moment I was waiting for came with an unexpected twist... In the extreme heat and lack of electricity, not helped by my light-colored shirt, I perspired all too noticeably.
Before it got too far:
My time to shine
After it got too far: (enlarged to show grossness)
Sweaty man! 2
Grody to the Max

Soon enough though, the teacher, an older and rather blunt man, stopped me and kindly asked if I wanted to change into one of his shirts! So I rolled with the punches (the sweat helped with the rolling) and I taught in a Karen shirt for the rest of the lecture (I still had almost three hours left). Ah, outreach. :)

There are other stories of course, and they're all worth telling. So ask me sometime, or I'll throw one up on here now and then. Our focus was in Myanmar on this outreach. But we ended the trip with 8 days in Thailand, and they were good days! We stayed at an awesome, jungle-like guest house in Chiang Mai and went to the zoo.
PhotobucketMe and an elephant

Next we took buses to Chiang Rai and visited a family from Turner Valley. We had fun riding elephants and long-boats, but probably more fun spending time with our friends and their two kids.
At the Queen Mother's garden

Thanks for all your support, friends! It would have been too hard without you all supporting me, with finances and with prayer. A few things I learned were: I desperately need quiet times; that is, time spent with God, in order to be myself; I need to be more patient as well as communicate better; And that I have a lot to offer and am capable of encouraging others. I was also challenged by the hospitality and generosity of Myanmar people.

The next chapter of my life has been planned! I am returning to Turner Valley, AB, Canada to staff DTS! I have committed to two years of service. This job, like all the YWAM things I've done so far, is not a paid position. So I must depend on you, my friends and family, again. Though the staff fees are only $200 CAN, they ask that I raise as close to $500 a month as possible. (This is so that people don't come on staff and run out of money.)

As a DTS Staff member, I will help disciple the young people who come to do our school; help them get to know themselves and God better, and then lead them on an outreach to one of our targeted people groups. Each school is a little less than 6 months, but I'm sure I won't do four whole schools in these two years, as the intensity of discipling and leading is a lot to go through.

Paypal: If you'd like to donate, you can send the money electronically to
Me: You can donate directly to me, using checks or other means.
For a tax receipt: You can donate to New Hope Christian Fellowship at 300 Trask Lane, Modesto, CA, 95354. The check must not have my name on it, not even in the memo, but please include a note saying it is for James Harrison.

If you'd like to support me monthly, please use YWAM Project Funding. As of now, I still have to set that up. So soon I will post the information as to how to do that, but I would like to hear if you decide to support me monthly.

If you have any questions, lemme know! Thanks for reading, and the peace of Christ be with you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This task has been appointed to you, Frodo of the Shire...

This is my task; the Lord has given it to me. He has given me and will give me the strength to complete it.

The Pros? God has orchestrated this mission, he's written this chapter, he's organized this adventure, and he's composed this song. He is sovereign and in control.

The Cons?

Yeah, they don't matter. This is going to happen, I'm going to Myanmar to teach the Word with my friends, and it's going to be good. My God will make it good.

I've got peace. Beat that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

That's my King!

I was taking communion at a prayer night last night and something hit me like never before. I've always known that the bread and wine represented what Jesus did, and he even commanded us to do it physically, to remember exactly what he physically did.

But this time, I felt something I've never felt; I really felt like I KNEW who Jesus was, that I know what he likes and doesn't, what he has done, does, and will do, and how he feels about me and everyone who believes in him. I stared at my bread and Kool-Aid and realized that I AM A PART of this. I'm in this story, I can and have joined this club, and I'm part of this team. This is all REAL. I've always known and loved Jesus since I was a boy, but I've never quite felt this reality, that Jesus died. For me. And Jesus was raised. For me. For us. For his name.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is addressing what looks to be an abuse of the Lord's supper. "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord." Paul has compared the bread and wine of communion to the actual body of Christ. Now I'm not saying this is proof of transubstantiation (not that I'm against it), but clearly this event, even if it is symbolic, of remembering the Lord's death is VERY significant. Blood-guilt in the Old Testament was NOT something you wanted on your head. My point is this: Jesus' body and blood, my bread and Kool-Aid, they remind me that I am alive, I am a REAL PART of Jesus' ministry, and that I have the power to love others. I then looked around the room and couldn't help from telling a guy there how Jesus feels about him, because of how Jesus had shown me his love.

This is real, and it has real implications of life and love. These have been given to us by Jesus the Life, and God who is Love, to pour into others and join this battle on earth, knowing that the God is our Lord of Hosts and that victory and salvation belong to the Lord.

"Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and BY YOUR BLOOD you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped."

That's my Jesus! He's worthy to take the scroll from the Father; he ransomed us for God by his blood! He's made us a kingdom and priests to our God. This is a real story, with real people. God is REAL, Jesus is REAL. Our part is REAL. This is my Jesus.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What the Heck!?

So I need 3200 dollars for my outreach fees; that would pay for just about everything. I had 100 of that by Monday, and the rest was due a week later, on the 14th. On Monday, our YWAM base here at Turner Valley had a giving night for the SBS (mine) and DTS outreaches. We had a basket for each person and a couple hours of worship and hanging out while anyone could donate into the baskets if they wanted.

At the end of the night, some of the staff left and counted the money and came back to tell us how much had come in. Now, there were about 20 or 25 people there, all missionaries like myself. Evan announced that over $7,000 had come in! And, over 2400 was specifically for me!!!!! What the heck!?

And then, because God never does seem quite finished, I finally, after celebrating for a while, returned to my room only to find an envelope holding $200 on my door!!

SO, now I only need about 500 (there are some shots I need to get before outreach).
BAM! Yeah! God is soooo awesome, and that's that.

Peace to you all

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Southeast Asia or Bust!

Hello friends!
First, I'd like to thank everyone who donated to me so I could finish my school! That was one of the best weeks of my life, and I really saw God answer prayer through you guys.

So, I have decided for some time now that I'm going on a mission trip after my school is over. My Bible School ends on July 2nd, and we will leave a week or so later for a four week outreach to Thailand, but we'll be spending significant time (3 weeks) in Myanmar! There is an opportunity for our five man (three men and two women) team to teach the Good Book there. For those of you who don't know much about Myanmar, this is a special opportunity that I can't wait to be involved in it.

We will be strengthening believers there by teaching in-depth on whichever books they need us to teach for them as they go through the Book in their school, which is an adapted version of the school I've been doing for eight months.

We will be returning to Canada in mid-August, and afterward I'll be coming home to Escalon, California!

This is one of the major reasons I decided to do this school; for the outreach. It will be a privilege to apply what I've learned and to serve and love others, and I need a lot of help to get there. The cost for each of us, including airfare, housing, food, and everything I'll need for this trip is $3,200 CAN. I'm not starting with very much at all, so I need the Lord to provide, and ask that you, my friends and family, join me by donating and by praying for me, specifically that finances come in and that we are kept safe on this outreach.

-If you'd like to send a check to my church for a tax deductible receipt, you can send it to: 300 Trask Lane, Modesto, CA, 95354. (However, my name cannot appear on the check, so please attach a note saying, "For James Harrison's Outreach."
-Another way is to send the money to YWAM Turner Valley, Box 730, Turner Valley, AB, T0L2A0, Canada, noting that it is for James Harrison's SBS Outreach.
-If you'd like to donate online (without a tax-deductible receipt), you can send it through Paypal to

We have a few fundraising ideas, which will help a lot, I think. The money is due, so that we can buy plane tickets, by the 14th. :)

Thanks for reading!
James L.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thanks a Bunch!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord Jesus.
You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.

You came to establish your throne as a king, but the way you did it was so different. You did not come as a violent revolutionary or as some conquering king. You did it by teaching and healing, by silently dying, and by being raised.

When you taught, it was on how to love God and our neighbors, and how to gain eternal life. When you healed, it was beautiful and touching, and a shadow of the restoration you promise to those who believe.

When you died, it twas to take our sin with you. Our flesh, full of sin, can die with your death, so you can peal away selflessness and throw away pride and sin.

When you were raised, it was to breathe life into our spirits, to foster the new man, to adopt him and make him your own. It was to show that we will die once, but not twice, and will have life and life abundantly.

Thank you, very, very much.
-Your Friend James

Friday, May 21, 2010

Epiphanies while going in circles

Lately I've been seeking God on some stuff and haven't heard anything super specific yet. I still haven't, but that's not what this is about. As I went down by the river to pray because I felt a little too frustrated about this thing, I started thinking, (and I think this is how God speaks to me), and I figured, and this resounds through Scripture, that God really wants me to spend time with him, he loves me more than anybody does, and he listens to me. And in a really big way, this resolves a lot of my issue.

But about this issue, I make a decision about this thing, wonder and wonder about it, and then change my mind. (I know I'm being very vague, but don't worry, it's nothing that'll kill me or anything). Because I've gone through this process a million and one times with this specific thing, wanting in my brain to act appropriately, and then like a kid runs after a twenty blowing in the wind, I chase after what I want and forget that I decided to trust God. As I was pacing very small circles in the prayer shack and getting a little dizzy, wondering why I had as much resolve as a dog being called by two kids each with a treat in their hands, I realized/God showed me that these countless failures aren't so much failures as they are God's hand working in me so that I COULD walk laps in the prayer shack, asking him what was wrong with me, and spending time with him.

This was freeing, believe me, but my next thought was that if God wants me to spend time with him, I'll do that. And then, that will crack the safe of my issue and all difficulty will go away. Yay! ...But an instant later, I realized/God showed me that he's not an equation, prayer isn't a key, and my problem isn't a safe. He is a jealous God, knit me to have relationship with me, sent his Son to make me clean, and adopted me. In light of this, my thought was ridiculous! I need to spend more intentional time with the Lord, believing with child-like faith that he's got everything taken care of, but not for a key... It's more like getting clues to a really big mystery that evolves, but never goes away. And the clue-giver keeps giving them so that you ask for more. Or, he doesn't give any clues so that you keep pursuing him, asking for more.

These "epiphanies" didn't bring answers, but they brought peace, and that's what I want more than anything. Not only the read-a-novel-in-a-field-of-flowers peace, but also the peace that makes you want to climb a tree. The peace that makes a cold lake look inviting - your eyes water because of the beauty and widen because of the adventure ahead. The peace that stirs your heart to feed somebody with food, a smile, or an open ear and ten minutes. But most importantly, the peace that tells you God is not angry with you anymore, but is pleased with you because he's forgiven your sins and made you righteous, for his name's sake, so that all will know that he is the Lord.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Forever and Ever

God's faithfulness. Because he is God, whatever he is faithful in will be the strongest, most durable thing we've ever seen. So what is God faithful with? His mercy. God's steadfast love and mercy are rampant even in the Old Testament, and it blows us away. Israel has played the part of the unfaithful prostitute, forsaking God for man-made trinkets. God disciplined them, but for some inexplicable reason went outside his covenant, bringing Israel back to him; not because of what they've done, but because of the Lord's steadfast love, which keeps enduring for all of time. Hundreds of years of idolatry/adultery - hundreds of years of saying, "How can I worship what I can't see?" Hundreds of years of saying, "Look at what I've made! Look at what WE'VE done, growing in prosperity and power because of our own strength."

God exiled his people because of this and Israel was dispersed throughout Assyria and would never return to the Promised Land. Judah, however, the barely slightly more righteous half of the kingdom, remained intact even in Babylon. The Lord had prophesied dozens of times about keeping David's line alive and that he would raise the tent of David and restore Judah.

But even before that fully happened, he brought Judah back to the Promised Land! Things were different and though the temple, the house of the Lord, was built, his glory did not fill it. He sent prophets and spoke through them, but you can't help but deny that though this return had been great and God-done, something greater was yet to come. More on that another day, but before You-Know-Who comes, there is still a lot of mercy in how the Lord deals with returned exiles. As Hosea prophesied, he bought the unfaithful prostitute of Judah back, redeemed her and went beyond his covenant to have fellowship with and bless his people who really had done nothing worthy of such acts. He rescued them from being in the possession of another nation, and protected them as they rebuilt the wall and the temple.

In a lot of ways, this is a sign of - a step towards, if you will - future redemption. That redemption is in the past for us, but like I said, more on that another day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ask, Seek, and Knock

I wrote this because God has answered a lot of prayers lately, and I think it's to show me that he'll provide all that I need, no matter how big. Right now, 600 more dollars is big. But God is bigger.

Luke 11:9-10. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

We ask, against all our nature that says "Don't; it's unpredictable and makes you vulnerable." But we do because deep calls out to deep; because deep in us we want something bigger to help us, to guide us, and to speak to us. And it is then we see it is not something, but someone. And this Someone delights in our entreaty, rejoices in our openness, and cares for our needs.

We seek, against all all our nature that says, "Don't; you don't know what you will find and what it will require of you." But we do because embedded in our minds is the experience of incompleteness, of not measuring up. And it is this not measuring up that pushes us out the door to find the "it" that will complete us and make us worthy. But then we see it's not an "it" but a "who," and this Who is infinite and intimate. We learn it is actually this "Who" who sought us first with fiery passion, a steadfast love, and a faithfulness that pours peace over many and would make any old woman blush.

We knock, against all our nature that says, "Don't, no one's going to open, and you can't fulfill what's asked of you anyway." But we do because there is a purpose and a calling for each of us and in our hearts we know it, our blood pulses with it. We want more, so we knock. We know we can't go it alone, so we look to a power source, and realize it is God Almighty, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, who holds our hand and walks us through the door, giving us breath and a purpose to breathe.

"For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Beginning

This is not actually the beginning, but I'll get to that later. The beginning was 20 years, 2 months, and 23 days ago when my twin and I were born. It was a Sunday afternoon and in a seven minute span my mom finally delivered Julie and I into this world of oxygen, and we breathed. I grew up, parted my hair down the middle, had glasses, liked math and science, went to children's church and played at recess. I knew God was alive and that Jesus died for me and that a lot of people loved me.

However, I also grew up without my dad around much, and so thought some funky things about myself without realizing it. When I was ten, my mom married a Christian man who is still very diligent to do the right thing, and they are still together today. But he jumped on the boat at 40 years old and has probably done a great job at adjusting. Unfortunately, as a boy and then a young man, who happened to be quite sensitive and very feely, I didn't receive what a young man needed to receive from him. And so I thought things. Things that are not now nor have ever been true. Things that are the opposite of who I really am, but since I'm so afraid of becoming, I think I am. And this is where God comes in.

Without God, cold and darkness, loneliness and despair reign. Fortunately for me, he has never let me go. Much to my surprise, even till today, he has refused to let me go and I can never, for the rest of my life, deny he is alive and piercing. He is not just some all-powerful entity to watch the ants live out their lives, but infinitely and intimately penetrates into our hearts and minds. He has provided life to me, and life abundantly. These are not just some abstract thoughts, some ungrounded, floating concepts: I've prayed to hear God's voice and he replies by filling me with joy. I've asked for guidance and he's shown me which choice is the right one. I've called out in distress and felt warm peace all over me and then just knew he was with me, saying in a James Earl Jones kind of way, "James. You are my son. I love you and will never, ever leave you."

He has said these things to all people everywhere. But they only apply to those who believe in this: That Jesus Christ is his Son and is the One to save people from their sins. Then life and light are poured into you and though your faith will be tested, you will know you have the promised eternal life.

I know this, and because I do I want to know more and more about him. So I am doing this Bible School through YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and studying what he has inspired people to write and inspired people to collect and compile so that we can know who he is and apply it to our lives. So I am here in Canada. This school is the beginning, in several ways, of my walk with God as a man. I am more determined now than ever to do his will and to grow into who he created me to be. I am two-thirds done with this school, and cannot wait to learn more and more. It is a lot of work, but laziness has never proven love. I love Jesus very much, and I plan to show this to many people in my life.

I love God because he first loved me. He will never leave me nor forsake me, and he's out of his mind with love for me. And this unbelievable luxury of Joy and Peace is really available to all.

This time is awesome, but it's just the beginning.