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News from December 2012

Your Love is Chasing After Me Tour - Fall 2012

December 13, 2012

The snow is now falling again…really falling… over the knee deep falling and the temperatures yesterday dipped down to -25 degrees so it is safe to say it is feeling a lot like Christmas up here at home in Alberta, Canada. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised, but when I opened the plane window as I flew back home last Monday it was shocking to see white everywhere!

Last year at this time I found myself exhausted and spent from months of ministry on the road and my soul was longing for a break. However, this fall as I touched down in Edmonton once again after three months in 4 countries and 3 continents I felt so energized I could have stayed out another month or two. The last few months of ministry were one of the highlights of my entire 8 years of full-time touring and even as I type this blog entry I get shivers as my mind rewinds back to many specific “God moments” that took place on tour.

September – Germany

The tour this fall kicked off heading back to the Bauer Family’s birthplace – Germany – that was not originally on the agenda for 2012. After our 2011 tour in Germany we felt that we were to take a year off from ministering there in 2012 and return in 2013. However, after much prayer and discussions with our friends “The Buchwitz Band”, we felt God leading through a wide open door to minister, so with expectant hearts we did! Again with the hard work of our German friends, and God’s leading, 10 concerts in 10 cities were booked!

My beautiful wife and two amazingly cute kids were able to join again this year and we arrived on Wednesday night at the Buchwitz house with our first concert of the tour starting the next night. When we arrived, it was as if we had not even parted company the year previous. Our friends – Martin, Heike, Simon, Sam, Ebe, and Andy – “The Buchwitz Band” were all there. It is so amazing how God can make a year of separation feel like no time has passed at all when His spirit is involved. With only a few hours to rehearse for the tour, God brought us all into unity once again and we flew through the songs with ease.

The tour rolled out and each night held a mixture of familiar churches and new church families. Each concert was filled with God moments, miracles, and amazing times of worship! One of our prayers on this tour was that we would see a tangible response to people living out their worship –through Child Sponsorship. Our prayer on this tour was that we would see at least 50 children sponsored through our 10 city tour. This year, God was so faithful to whisper to hearts and at the end of the tour 134 people/families had sponsored a little child. After a month home from tour and much prayer, we have already started the tour planning for 2013 – increasing the tour from 10 to 15 concerts in 15 cities! I can’t wait!

October – The Philippines
After returning home from Germany, Andrea and I kissed our little ones goodbye and left them with our parents as we boarded the plane to the Philippines for 3 weeks of ministry. Landing in uncharted territory for us both, it took the last 3 years of God’s prompting my heart that I was to go and minister in music over in the Philippines. This October God opened the door and we were invited by the Association of Christian Teachers to come over and speak and sing for their teachers. As they had no funds to bring us, it would all need to be at our expense. One thing I have learned in ministry is never to underestimate God… not to base ministry on what we can get, but solely worry about what we can give. Every step of the way I am constantly learning that He who calls us is faithful to deliver immeasurably more than we could ever imagine.

So we stepped out in faith to minister in this new land and it’s beautiful people. One of my first experiences in the Philippines was seeing the smile of Jesus which radiates on almost everyone’s face. These people LOVE to worship I was able to minister to over 1300 teachers in ten in the cities of Davao, Cebu, and Manila. Each conference I was able to share seminars, concerts, and lead worship for general sessions.

While I was there numerous times I felt God say “Jon I want you to do something, say something, or give something to my children”. One of the ways God called me to bless His people was through the gift of music. Many of these Christian teachers live so meagerly as being a Christian teacher typically does not have many financial rewards here on earth. During the last conference I felt God ask me to bless His teachers with guitars so I went out with a new Filipino friend “Eman”. Eman has served with ACSI along with his amazingly helpful and organized wife Aiyza. Eman took me down the back streets and helped me pick up 10 guitars to give out to teachers as a surprise.

I also was able to buy one of the nicest guitars I have ever seen for Aiyza! From standing room only seminars, to countless email/Facebook messages of how God has spoken through seminars and music, I was so blessed to know that God had been whispering to His children over there. I left the Philippines wanting to be a blessing, but left feeling more blessed than I have ever experienced.

Before we left for the Philippines we asked our church family to pray with us that if He had more ministry to do over there that He would open doors if that was His plan. While we were there we were connected with an amazing Godly woman, Sister Anita!

She is so full of life and plans concerts and tours across the Philippines and Asia’s. After a few days together seeing our ministry in action, she was the answer to prayer and enthusiastically invited us to come back in 2013 and minister again throughout the Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly into China! God is good and we can’t wait to return later in 2013 to again see the smile of Jesus and worship with such amazing worshippers in the Philippines.

November – 4500 Miles in a Motorhome

We no sooner touched down from the Philippines and boarded our motorhome to start the long drive down to the Florida Keys where we would end our month long US portion of the tour. Our first stop on the way down was at McKenzie Towne church in Calgary. Compassion had arranged for me to partner with this church and lead worship and share on our experience with Compassion and share how others could do the same. As I arrived and rehearsed early with the band, there was an immediate connection as God’s spirit unites hearts whose focus is on God. The morning worship was phenomenal and as God’s spirit fell in the 2 services with about 375 between both services, we saw 134 children sponsored!. We praise God for His continued faithfulness to speak to hearts, as we are faithful to minister in His name!

Our next stop was Minneapolis just in time for me to fly out to Toronto. I arrived in Toronto and went straight to the CTS television studios where I sound checked to play “Come and Save Us” for the 2012 GMA Covenant Awards. As I was about to play my song I was a little caught off guard to hear my name announced as the winner of “Praise and Worship Album of the Year” for Forevermore. Later that night I was blessed to also receive “Children’s Song of the Year” for Chasing After Me. It was such an amazing night of connecting with encouraging friends in the industry and meeting new ones.

After this I flew back to meet up with my wife who was held up in a cold snowy hotel room with our kids in Minneapolis….I have the best wife! We boarded the Bauer bus and set our GPS to warmer weather. Our routing took us through Nashville where we had numerous meetings with some of our record label team and also had the opportunity to spend time with good friends Brad and Rebecca Rempel of the band High Valley.

Our next stop took us to Florida where we ministered at a number of churches and events. It was a phenomenal time as we met new ministry friends down in the Keys and Orlando! Our family even got to take a couple days off and visit Disney World and Legoland (2 for 1 tickets are great!).

We had been praying that God would meet our needs as to where we would leave our motorhome in Orlando. We normally store it down south for the winter and then return in the spring to pick it up and tour back up to Canada while the snow is still deep up here. With literally one day to spare, God led us to the most amazing and Godly family who have 5 acres of land where they graciously allowed us to store our motorhome until we return in the Spring for it. God never ceases to amaze us with his hand of provision for all things when we are faithful to ask and are led by His spirit.

As I look back on the last few months of ministry, I can see how God’s fingerprints have been on every event, in every country, and ever mile we have ministered. I know some of you may be facing some rougher roads this Christmas season than perhaps you have in the past. My prayers are with you that you may see fingerprints on your life and through whatever you are going through this season. Jesus did not come from heaven to earth as a baby only to leave and never to be seen again. He came that we might have hope for today, and peace in the midst of storm. So may our Savior reveal himself to you this Christmas and may you reveal our Savior to your friends, your family, and our world this Christmas!

May God bless you and your families and I thank-you for all your prayers for our family this last season of ministry! I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming days as we continuing ministry in 2013!

In His service,