Seed of Faith
My name is John Kennon Shea, my friends call me JK. I want to tell a story about a dream that I had while living overseas in the country of Fiji, that radically changed our life.
When I was growing up in a small town in northern California, I developed a love for missions and I ended up meeting the woman that I would marry on our second mission trip to Russia. She was serving as an interpreter for our group, that led her to the United States, and we ended up going to the same college. So we wanted to get married right after we graduated, before she had to go back to Russia. And so I started taking summer and winter classes to try to catch up to her so that we could graduate at the same time.
One of the summer classes that I took was Christian Theology Directed Studies. My university taught cessationist theology and that means that miracles don’t happen anymore. So I took my class, and I came to my professor for my final oral exam. He was asking me some questions about miracles and I kept not getting the right answer. Finally, he had to give me the right answer and he said, what he thought was the right answer – that God really doesn’t do miracles anymore at this time. I said, “Well, that can’t be true because when I was 17, I went to the Navajo Indian Reservation on a mission trip and I saw a lady in a wheelchair. We prayed for her and God healed her. She stood up and walked and pushed her wheelchair home.” And he said, “Well, sometimes God can make exceptions.”
Well, I think the faith that we need to have is a faith based on what we see God doing. Not some intellectual faith based on a [false] interpretational framework of Scripture. So after I graduated from college, I had to take over our family business due to my father’s failing health. And whenever I would come home stressed out from work, my stress outlet was planting tropical fruit trees in our yard in San Diego. I thought that planting a seed or seedling was the ultimate return on investment because you plant in the ground, and if you’re careful and wise about where you plant in the right microclimate, then it can grow and produce fruit for 30 or 50 years. And I thought, wouldn’t it be neat to have a place where I could plant seeds from all over the world? You know, a place in the tropics and build my own little garden of Eden. I started getting involved with some agricultural Christian charities. I learned a lot about micro savings, micro finance, and Tropical Agriculture.
Then on a trip to Fiji, we found out about a property that was for sale, being auctioned by the Anglican Church in Fiji. We visited the property, and the residents ran out of their houses and gave us hugs and said, “We’ve been praying for Christian family to buy this property for the last two years, and we’ve been fasting for the last four days.” The family was from the Solomon Islands and had settled on that property when the Anglican Church took them under their wing. Through a chain of miraculous circumstances, God managed things in a way that we were able to sell the family business and transition our new life to Fiji, and work with the Solomon islanders to build a plantation there. They became our community in Fiji and we became like family. The first year we were in Fiji, after we had set everything up, a category five cyclone came and destroyed almost everything that we had built.
After that we took a trip back to California and regrouped. We were very discouraged, my wife especially, and she said, “Look, if this is how it is, I don’t want to be living there. Let’s just sell our property and move back to America.” And I said, “Well, we can’t sell it when it’s in shambles. So let’s get it back in order. You know, we’ll take a year and get it back in order and then we’ll decide what we’re going to do; whether we’re going to sell it or whether we’re going to rent it out.” So we went back to take care of it and God gave me a dream. The dream was that my wife, who was struggling with contentment, had made a beautiful chalk painting of a lemon tree and a lavender bush. I saw the lemon tree and the lavender bush moving across my field of vision in the dream and I knew that the lemon tree represented God’s blessing on our family. I felt like Moses standing in front of the burning bush. Three young boys came up behind me and they said, “Wow, God has blessed your family so much. We wish we could have that blessing.” And I said, “Well, you can.” And I turned and faced them and started to walk with them along the road. I started to explain to them the truth, like Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and they accepted Christ in my dream. I woke up and I told the dream to my wife. And I said, “You’ve been struggling with contentment, but I believe that time is coming to an end because in my dream, you had creativity overflowing in art – which was not usual for her – and I believe that the dream is a promise that God is going to pour out His blessing on our family and His love and that it’s going to overflow to other people.
So a few months later, I went to my sister’s wedding and the sound guy for my sister’s wedding had just lost his house in the paradise fires in Paradise, California. My sister chose him as the sound guy because she wanted to bless him and help him get back on his feet after losing his house. After the wedding at the reception, he said, “I’ve done hundreds of weddings, but as soon as I drove on this property, I felt something different and whatever it is, I want it.” So I explained to the sound guy the gospel, and I told him our story and he prayed with me to accept Christ.
A few months later, my son injured his foot in parkour and the next day it wasn’t getting better. I said, “Well, let’s go on a bike ride and work it out. I bet it’ll feel better after the bike ride.” So we went on a bike ride and his foot was not better. So I said, “All right, well, let’s sit down And let’s watch this documentary that we’ve been wanting to watch.” It was called Christ In You and it was about healing. After finishing the documentary, my son Daniel just could not sit still. He was fidgeting all around with excitement. He said, “That is so awesome.” And I said, “Daniel, what’s so awesome?” He said, “Seeing Jesus heal people.” And I said, “Well, Daniel, do you think that God put that in your heart for a reason? Do you think that He wants you to ask Him to heal people?” And he said, “Maybe when I’m a grown up.” I said, “Well, Daniel, God doesn’t have to only use grownups. He can use kids, sometimes even more, because they have more faith.” He got all excited and started fidgeting again. I could tell he really wanted that. So I went over to him and I put my hand on his foot. And I said, “I’m going to pray for Jesus to heal your foot, but that He’ll only do it as a sign that He wants to give you the gift of healing, and that He wants to answer His promise that He gave me in the dream, to make His blessing and love overflow from our family to others.” So I prayed in Jesus’ name that He would heal his foot and he said, it got warm, and then was instantly healed. He stood up and started jumping around and started crying. He ran into the other room to see Mommy and started crying and showing her. – I have it on video. – Then he went into his room and cried for 10 minutes and came out.
A couple of weeks later, I told him that we were going on a run the next morning because we had been doing home school PE and his older brother was a great runner. But Daniel was not a good runner. He could never have the right form, so I was always talking to him about his form. He would usually keep up for about a quarter mile and then we’d have to turn around and go back and pick him up. So he ran with us for three and a half miles and after three and a half miles I said, “Daniel, how can you run for three and a half miles? You’ve never been able to do more than a quarter mile before.” And he said, “Well, you told me that we were going running this morning so I prayed that God would make me a perfect runner and He did.” So he had two examples of faith that benefited him: his healing of his leg, and then God making him a perfect runner. I said, “Well Daniel, we prayed that God would use you to heal others, right? Are you ready when the time comes for God to use you to heal someone else?” And he said, “Yes, I think so.”
About a week later, we had a Fijian woman come to her house. She was about 50 years old and she had a life threatening ovarian tumor that was the size of a basketball. You could see it, she looked like she was pregnant. She said she had been to the hospital and they told her that they couldn’t remove it because she would bleed to death, because it was so big. She asked Daniel if he would pray for her. He put his hand on her tummy and he started praying. She said that she felt a little flicks inside her tummy while he was praying and within three days, it had shrunk down and she was dancing in church. She said she could barely walk before that. So she was so happy to be dancing in church. Then within a couple of weeks, it had shrunk down enough to where she was able to go to the hospital and they were able to remove it. So it was a huge miracle. Then we went to church, and there was a man who had diabetes and one of his legs was twice as big as the other. Daniel prayed for it and a week later, it was back down to the same size and his symptoms of his diabetes were healed.
There have been many, many other examples of healing that have come about since then and so when we see God doing something that gives us a seed of faith. You can hear all the intellectual arguments for the existence of Christ or the resurrection, but when you see someone crippled, stand up and walk, you know that’s real. And Jesus teaches us to pray. Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. That means that His kingdom is already in heaven, and it needs to come to earth. He doesn’t teach us to pray only that salvation will come to earth. He teaches us to create that the gospel of the kingdom will come to Earth. That’s the conclusion of what I feel God is doing in our family is fulfilling his promise to spread the gospel of the kingdom.