From Farm Boy to Global Ambassador
Tom Chandler, one of the missionaries whom GBC has the privilege to partner with, explains how God used his unique background to prepare him for his ministry in Asia.
The first time I heard the gospel and had the opportunity to believe in Christ, I thought all the congregation would have to be in the toilet and that we’d see a fountain filled with blood. Let me explain.
I grew up on a pig farm. In fact, until I went to university I had never been in a grocery store, only been in a restaurant when travelling with my high (secondary) school sports team, and seldom used currency. We were self-contained on the farm. In addition, I was acutely dyslexic with a slight speech impediment. I was socially very shy and looked upon as ‘retarded’ because of my learning disability. But I did excel in sports like American football and basketball.
In my senior year of high school I received a basketball scholarship to LeTourneau Technical Institute (now LeTourneau University). LeTourneau was a Christian school. My roommate was a Christian, whereas I had never even been inside a church in my life. So I went with my roommate to church for the first time…I was always curious to know what went on in those funny-looking buildings.
The people were singing, "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins.” Some of my ancestors were Cherokee Indian. Human blood was too sacred to talk about among the Cherokees and there was a belief that you would be cursed by the spirit world if you did so. Yet here were these Christians singing about human blood. It made me sick to sing about a person’s blood coming out of a fountain. Furthermore, the pastor’s first words were, “This morning we are going to be in John.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. To me the word ‘john’ was a colloquial expression referring to the toilet.
My background before believing in Christ may seem tragic or humorous depending on how you view it. I’m grateful for it because in God’s sovereignty it prepared me as an American missionary/pastor to identify with those in Asia who grow up semi-literate and in fear of the spirit world. Very few Caucasian Americans have that privilege.
We thank God for drawing Tom and Clare Chandler to Him and how He is using them mightily for His glory and purpose, be it in Asia or the US where they are currently based.