In the realm of Christian faith, few can claim a journey quite as remarkable as that of Pastor Mark Bouman. It is not every day that you encounter someone who has surmounted such tumultuous trials and tribulations, turning them into a powerful testimony of redemption and divine calling. His story echoes the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Typically, individuals who have experienced similar hardships as Pastor Bouman end up with lives dominated by regret or worse, leading to incarceration or untimely demise. However, Pastor Bouman resolved to choose a different path. He made a vow to the Lord, agreeing to obey and follow God’s guidance regardless of where it led him. His commitment was total and all-encompassing, as he was overwhelmingly grateful for God’s transformative power in his life.
The divine directive he received was both surprising and clear. God wanted him to serve those who, like the Ninevites Jonah was sent to, couldn’t distinguish their right hand from their left (Jonah 4:11). The profundity of this divine instruction left Pastor Bouman awe-stricken and humbled. He recognized his call, though the specific location remained a mystery, one he dared not make assumptions about.
Much to his astonishment, God confirmed his mission during a Sunday service at the International Church through a senior missionary who pointed out the people of Cambodia as those who needed his service. Despite his initial hesitations and fears, Pastor Bouman found the courage to answer his divine call. Despite having never been a senior pastor or attended Bible school, his profound willingness to serve allowed him to overcome the qualifications typically required for missionaries.
The destination of his calling, Cambodia, was a place rife with challenges that would daunt the most stalwart hearts. Yet, despite the daunting odds, Pastor Bouman and his wife found the strength to transform the lives of children in an orphanage they took over, building a school for them and even sending some to college. The suffering they saw was immense, but their commitment to bringing hope to the desolate was unwavering.
Interestingly, Pastor Bouman, in opening up about his past, realized that his personal journey of trials and tribulations had been divinely orchestrated to prepare him for this moment. As Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This verse perfectly captures how God used Pastor Bouman’s past experiences to mold him into an instrument for His glory.
The overarching lesson in Pastor Bouman’s life is that his transformation wasn’t due to his strength or resilience but because of his intimate relationship with God. He emphasized that it’s not about what you possess but about what you surrender to God. It’s the brokenness, the tears, the fears, and the shame that God uses to demonstrate His redeeming power.
On this Father’s Day, Pastor Bouman’s challenge is not just for the men but for everyone. He encourages us to embrace our calling and lean on God’s unfailing strength to navigate the challenges of our missions. He implores us to let God lead us, reminding us that it’s not about having all the answers but about being open to God’s leading, regardless of the uncertainties or risks involved.
So today, as we reflect on the powerful testimony of Pastor Mark Bouman, let us ask ourselves: Are we willing to trust God with our tears, our fears, our sorrow, and our shame? Are we willing to surrender everything we hold onto so that God can use us to bring hope, love, and transformation to those around us?