Peter Jordan
Christian Heroes - Across Pacific Magazine

Once Was a Millionaire; Deals With God

by Peter Jordan

The song rankled in my ears; it needled at me day and night; it upset me and hurt me and I tried everything I could to get the mockers off my back. Here are the words that some older boys mercilessly taunted me with:
Your father is a good miss-ion-ary
He saves all the girlies from sin
He sold two plants for a nickel
Oh how the money rolled in

Lunghwa Camp WW2 - Peter JordanThose unkind words put to a popular melody of the day were aimed at me as a ten-year-old boy when I was in prison. This was during the more than three years my family and I - along with the other 'foreigners' who were trapped in China right after Pearl Harbor - became 'guests' of the Imperial Japanese Army in an abandoned military academy, within clear view of downtown Shanghai's Peace Hotel and other  tall buildings.

My missionary Dad's hobby was growing tomatoes and selling some of the plants in order to supplement our pathetic diet. But the money never rolled in - well . . . maybe once it did, as you will see.

Finally the taunting by the song ran its course and my tormentors left School children Lunghwa Camp WWIIme alone. But something must have become embedded in my heart, perhaps a deep hurt about missions and being a Missionary Kid (even though the term 'MK' had not yet been invented). Over the next 30 years, unknowingly, I harbored a grudge against God and against ever being a missionary. In fact, I had a bit of a deal with God that went something like this: "I'll serve You in the local church, but the LAST THING I'll ever be is a missionary."

It's a mistake to do deals with God

Generally, before World War 2, growing up in China as missionary kids, we had enough to get by on, though once I remember having to walk to school barefoot - no money for shoes, and it wasn't summertime.

Once locked up in this prison, my Dad, a career missionary and a man of great faith, grew his tomato plants in his spare time; his main 'ministry' was helping to boil thousands of gallons of water a day so that 1800 of us prisoners could drink without getting sick. Every able-bodied adult was assigned some job to keep this little 'city' going. Dad, who had never had to do manual labor full time, suffered intensely from boils on his arms and side, brought on by malnutrition, by worries for his family and by the blazing heat of Shanghai summers. But his faith in God never wavered.

When we were liberated by the US Marines in 1945, some wealthy Shanghai businessmen got together and gave each prisoner a gift of money - $250,000! I can still see those stacks of crisp and newly-minted $1000 bills, seductively stacked high on a shelf in our one-room 'home.' That gift made our family of five, missionary millionaires.

Lunghwa Camp mapAnd did you know that God has a sense of humor? All those years of refusing His call, He didn't forget that 'deal' I'd made with Him . . . the one where I said that the LAST THING I'd ever be is a missionary.

Guess what? It WILL be the LAST THING I'll ever be. So don't try to do deals with God.

Oh yes, the millionaire thing; just one problem about all that money: a loaf of bread cost $30,000 due to the horrific rate of inflation in China after the war; so that bundle of banknotes didn't last long. And strangely, I've never wanted to be a millionaire - again.


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Peter & Donna Jordan

The Jordans and their four children joined YWAM in 1976. Together they served in the Asia-Pacific region. They are pioneers of the Kona, Hawaii base and have led Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Kona and Singapore. Peter has previously served as assistant to Loren Cunningham, founder of YWAM. Peter and Donna founded YWAM Associates International in 1988 after meeting countless returning missionaries and hearing of their need for support and encouragement when making the difficult transition from missions back to home life. Peter and Donna have played host to thousands at inTouch Gatherings since they began holding them in 1991.

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