Kicked Out Of The Nation I Was Sent To: Am I on the right track?
Pastor Cameron Walcott was Cornerstone’s first Missions Pastor when the Cornerstone Missions Department started in 2010. He spent fifteen years as a full-time missionary in Asia before returning to his home country of the United States of America in 2016, where he and his wife planted The Cornerstone Michigan. Pastor Cameron is married to Sis Delia Walcott, who grew up in Cornerstone and was involved in missions work in Cornerstone from a young age.
Growing up, I knew God had called me to preach and pastor, but never have I imagined I would be a missionary. I have always thought that I would have a church in the United States, and although my church and family were active in missions, I did not have a vision to minister overseas.
However, when I went to Bible school in Waverly, New York, things completely shifted. While I was there, the Lord gave me an overwhelming desire to go to Asia. In prayer meeting after prayer meeting, I heard His unmistakable call to go into full-time missions in Asia. What once seemed impossible to me has now become an all-consuming desire, and I took every opportunity I could to speak to pastors and missionaries from Asia.
God ended up opening doors, and after a year of going on short-term mission trips, I moved full-time to a large Asian nation in 2001. I was working in an orphanage, teaching in Bible schools and grew to love the nation and its people. I thought I would be there long-term, for a matter of several years or longer.
However, after being there for only six months, all the missionaries on our team were informed by the local police that we had one week to leave, or we would be arrested. This was all happening against the backdrop of attacks on Christians, anti-Christian sentiment by the national government, and worldwide security concerns after the 9/11 attacks. The decision was made by our senior leadership that we would evacuate the nation as soon as possible.
I was devastated. I had given up everything back home, thinking I would be in this country for years, and was now being told that I had to leave in a matter of days. All the relationships and connections that had been made were suddenly being ripped away, and the seeds that had been sown seemed to be meaningless. Why would God lead me halfway around the world, only to have me retreat in a seeming defeat?
Since we had to leave quickly, we didn’t have time to book flights back to the United States and thus ended up as “refugees” in Singapore, since Cornerstone was a missions partner of ours. I thought I would only be in Singapore for a couple of days before booking flights back to Michigan, but Pastor Yang and the other pastors were very gracious to me, inviting me to work with Generations and spend more than a month with them in Singapore. Since I was young and had given up everything in the US in order to go into missions, I readily accepted their invitation!
The next five weeks were a time of divine appointment in my life. I met my wife, the Lovely and Talented Delia, who was a key leader in Generations and very active in missions, having gone on several trips to an early Cornerstone church plant in the Philippines. I also got connected to the pastors in Cornerstone and was so inspired by all that this church was doing. When the five weeks were coming to an end, I wondered what came next – how would I continue the missions journey God had laid on my heart? And what would come of my new connection to Cornerstone?
After a short time as a youth pastor in Michigan, I headed to do missions work in the Philippines, where I spent the next year and a half ministering to young people, speaking in churches, and helping in a Bible school. I also grew closer to Delia, through weekly emails, and eventually asked her if she wanted to pursue a relationship. She said yes, and God accelerated our plans and led us to marry after a short engagement! The only question now was this – where would we live? What was the next step on our journey?
God once again used Cornerstone to provide an open door – the church graciously invited me to come on staff so we could live in Singapore as Delia finished her contract as a teacher for the Ministry of Education. We expected to live in Singapore for two years while this contract finished, but two years turned into 11 as God blessed us and caused us to flourish in the church!
After a few years of working in Generations, I became the Missions Pastor of Cornerstone in 2010, and what a blessed six years I had in that role! God opened up doors in nations far and wide. I ministered in several Asian and African nations during this period, and was able to communicate and provide support to pastors and missionaries in dozens and dozens of nations. Relationships were forged with pastors from nations I never would have dreamed of visiting, and these relationships continue to be strong today.
One more story – shortly before becoming missions pastor, a prophetess was ministering in Cornerstone. Toward the end of the service, she turned towards me and declared from the microphone, “I see AAA over your life – you are called to Asia, Africa, and America.” I quickly agreed to the first “A” – I had been in Asia for several years and knew I was called there!
But Africa? This was not in my plans – my calling was Asia! But very shortly after this word, I was invited on my first ministry trip to this continent, and such favour was poured out on me. Africa became the second great “missions” call of my life, and for the next several years I would visit often, teaching thousands and seeing hundreds of people come to salvation and receive healing. The continent I never imagined ministering to became one of the main focuses of my life and continues to be to this day.
And then we come to the final “A” – America. This word didn’t come as a total surprise to me, since I had had a vision of pastoring in the United States since I was very young. Yet, I had laid this vision down, as the call of overseas missions burned in my life. But within a few years of this word, the Lord began resurrecting this calling in my life. As I had laid down this “Isaac”, the Lord resurrected it and called me back to my home nation – my wife felt the same calling and we received blessings from Pastor Yang, Pastor Daphne, and the rest of Cornerstone’s pastors to plant a church in my boyhood home.
It was a difficult decision to step out of the security of Cornerstone after 11 years for myself and many more for Delia, but we decided to follow the Lord’s direction. And in the four years since we did so, we have experienced God’s favor in often surprising and extraordinary ways, as we continue our journey of faith and fulfilling God’s call.
To summarize our missions’ journey, I would like to leave you all with 3 lessons that have become increasingly clear to me:
1. Trust God to direct your journey.
He will give you the general direction but may surprise you with some of the specific steps! I had never imagined that I would spend almost a dozen years in Singapore, but as I followed the general direction God had given me (missions in Asia) He made the specific steps clear.
2. God turns every setback into a triumph.
He is good. When I was kicked out of the first nation I moved to, I thought it was a disaster – but instead God turned it into an avenue of tremendous blessing. Every door that was opened to me over the last almost twenty years started when this dream died, starting with the beautiful wife and family that He has given me!
3. If you take faith-filled risks, God will provide.
God often doesn’t provide when we’re sitting at home waiting – it’s often after we take the “irrational” step that God provides His guidance, anointing, resources, and everything else. Every decision I have ever made to follow God’s call took an enormous risk, but He had provided all my family and I needed each time!
So I want to encourage all of you – take your journey into missions. Whether it’s overseas or at home, long-term or short-term, obey the calling God has placed in your life.
The journey may not always be easy, but it will be worthwhile. The rewards you reap are eternal, when you obey His call!
Pastor Cameron Walcott
Visiting the Children in SurabayaBy Caleb Walcott
7-year-old Caleb Walcott spent four days in Surabaya, Indonesia, visiting Cornerstone’s partner ministry, Pondok Hayat. He went with his parents, two younger siblings, and his grandmother. A dental team from Cornerstone Community Services also was ministering in Surabaya at the same time.
I had an awesome trip to Surabaya, Indonesia. I was happy going on my first mission trip.
On Friday, my family landed in Surabaya. In the evening, we bought pizza for the children in Simo Children’s Home. This money came from Cornerstone’s Children Church. I loved seeing their happy faces when they ate the pizza.
On Saturday, we went to see the dental work being done by the Cornerstone team at Pondok Hayat in the morning. The dentists helped many people but it was scary to see! We also went swimming in the afternoon! In the evening, Daddy and Mommy spoke about parenting to many people from the community. I liked listening to their messages.
On Sunday, we went to a local church. Right after that, WE WENT TO CARTOON KINGDOM!!! I had a fun time with the children from Simo Children’s Home, who we brought with us. The children laughed and smiled when they went down the big slide. Oh, I just loved that! The children were very happy.
In the evening, Mommy preached to some ladies from the community. After that, many got saved.
On Monday, our last day in Surabaya, Daddy and Mommy spoke to some mothers-to-be at Pondok Hayat. I helped Daddy pray for some of the ladies after the message – Mommy and Mama also prayed for some of them. After that, straight to the airport!
I felt blessed to be on this trip. It made me glad to see the children at the children’s home laugh and smile. It made me sad that they didn’t have parents. I will remember the friendships I have made. I want to go there again!