It’s pretty amazing what happens – to you, to the people who join with you, and to the people you serve — when you discover and execute on your God-given calling.
Just ask John Grover.
“I am so humbled and in awe of how God continues to provide increase, fullness and joy to the people we serve,” says the Partner in Pinnacle Forum’s Modesto Chapter. “He is so faithful to take our simple efforts, our open hands and our earnest desire to serve others and provide the increase.”
The people John and wife and ministry partner, Linda, serve live some 8,000 miles and a world away in extremely poor villages in Southeast Asia.
“God is so faithful and gracious to use us in his grand design,” John says. “We know that we are just a tool that God is using for His plans and purposes and we’re amazed at how he takes our simple steps of obedience in following Him and gains great glory to Himself as lives are transformed in Cambodia and Burma.”
The non-profit Cambodia Impact ministry has borne much fruit in a little over a year since John was first profiled in a Pulse.
First, its Antioch Orphanage is about to double in size, with new housing being built that will allow the orphanage to provide a safe, loving home for 64 children who otherwise would be at risk of abuse, hunger, forced labor or human trafficking.
“The children are healthy and happy as they are now getting a good education, Bible study and devotions every day, plenty of food, close friendships and vacation time each year,” he notes.
Second, a sewing project overseen by Linda also is flourishing, giving many widows training and skills that enable them to provide much-needed food and other essentials for their children. In addition, some 25 youth are currently learning to sew giving them a marketable skill for use in the future years ahead.
Third, in a country where clean, safe water is not easily accessible, Cambodia Impact’s Living Water has installed 21 wells for needy families, and has plans – and funds – for 23 more.
“Each family given a well agrees to provide free water to the families around them and also to host a weekly Bible study at their home, John explains. “Each well location provides water to about 10 additional families and each family has on average 10 family members.”
And, the fresh water often leads to quenching an even greater thirst.
“Many Cambodian’s are coming to Christ as a result of this project as local villages say that for the first time someone has heard their cry for help and it’s the Christians who have answered them,” he says. “This has provided many opportunities to share the love of Christ, talk about the light of the world and let them know that Jesus loves them. They are truly finding Living Water!”
In addition, this year Cambodia Impact will begin installing sanitation facilities in villages that have no restroom facilities.
Fourth, the ministry’s microloan program continues to expand, investing in families that are healthy, a have a good business idea and are deemed trustworthy.
“Many Cambodians are smart, know a trade and are good at what they do, they just don’t have the capital to launch a small business,” John explains. “We’ve launched a moto-taxi service, a breakfast food cart, a cucumber farm, a duck farm, a moto-repair shop and others that are bringing financial stability to these families and giving them a reason to be at the city gate as families of worth and influence. And, they love Jesus so are bringing the cause of Christ to many others.”
And finally, after focusing most of their efforts in Cambodia, John and Linda have expanded their ministry to include the country once known as Burma.
“Myanmar is a wonderful place of great need and beautiful people that is so in need of Jesus,” John says. “We are working with three different ministries and families that love the Lord deeply and long to reach their country for Christ — even though it is dangerous to tell others about Jesus.”
John’s passion and calling to offer help and hope to some of the poorest or the poor is inspiring to his Pinnacle Forum peers in Modesto – so much so that some of his spiritual brothers have shared freely of their time, talents and treasures.
“It’s been a great joy to welcome some of my brothers to the work God has called Linda and me to,” John says. “There’s a rich and vibrant texture that is brought to one’s life when others of influence, good reputation and giftedness join our work. It’s been a privilege to have some of my Pinnacle Forum brothers join us as board members and so much more.”
Those Pinnacle Forum brothers include J.D. Grothe, a retired local architect; Marty Fox, a partner in a local CPA firm; and Dr. Robert Chin, a local physician. All three have brought their particular expertise not only in leadership on the ministry board but in actual “hands of Christ” work in Cambodia has as well.
J.D. explains how John’s passion rubbed off on him and has taken him to Cambodia four times:
“When I first saw how modest investments of time and money in Cambodia often resulted in great impact for the kingdom I was hooked. My architectural training and experience has been used to design housing, dining facilities and toilet accommodations for 64 orphan children and their house parents. My organizational skills have been applied to updating the Cambodia Impact web site and development of our newsletter.”
Through it all, he says, “I have been reminded that God uses basic things in life to draw people to Himself. Providing things like fresh water, a safe home and simple food can be effective tools to demonstrate God’s love to the people of Cambodia.”
Likewise, God has used Marty’s skills in financial and strategic planning to strengthen the ministry’s ability to meet the challenges of working in other cultures, and Robert’s experiences and expertise in addressing the significant health care needs of impoverished countries like Cambodia.
For John and Linda, while their kingdom work is blessing the people of Cambodia, they see themselves every bit as blessed.
“We get to witness the transformed lives, the smiling faces and the changed hearts as we invest in people who are lost, extremely poor and living without hope,” John says.
“Our work brings the life changing transformation of the heart and the improvements to their living conditions that are producing vibrant and healthy people who are now influencing their neighbors for Christ,” he continues. “It thrills us that we can expect many from these countries at the great banquet table in Heaven some day because God is faithful and true in bringing men and women to Himself.”
And that’s not all, he says:
“God is moving me and shaping me in ways I had not imagined just several years ago. He continues to re-focus my heart and my life toward eternal goals and is letting me see the importance of leaving behind those things that would hinder me from accomplishing His purposes and from pursuing the calling God has given me to care for widows and orphans, the poor and the vulnerable.
“What a joy to see and know the wonderful grace of God in me as I understand at a deeper level how insufficient I am for the task and how powerful He is in accomplishing His work. I get to experience rich peace and joy in my heart and see the fruit evidenced in changed lives as God works through us to love those that so desperately need the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And John wants his Pinnacle Forum peers to experience that life-changing joy as well.
“I would humbly suggest that simply saying ‘yes’ to God – whatever He asks – is key to finding one’s passion in life,” he says. “For many years I followed Christ, loved Him deeply but kept my hands on the steering wheel of my life. When I took my hands off that wheel and told God that ‘whatever you ask, the answer is yes,’ my life began to change in ways that were amazing.
“Finding one’s passion starts with surrender and then blossoms as God provides that unique opportunity that begins the most amazing and profound journey where one is living in the sweet spot of God’s design for them.
“Pray earnestly for God’s direction, seek Him with a whole heart and give everything up to Him. Then, dare to trust God to provide all that’s needed as you move forward.
“And then, brace yourself — you’re about to experience life abundantly and fully, as the Lord shows Himself mighty, gracious and all-sufficient in your life.”
For more information, go to www.cambodiaimpact.org.