Darren and his daughter Miriam on a US missionary journey
When I first started to take my family on ministry trips, I didn’t have much faith for it. In those days, I was working full-time during the week for the Government of Canada. I spent my weekends and holidays by preaching wherever the doors opened in Canada and the USA. I had learned to have faith for solo trips, but the idea of traveling with my wife Lydia and our five children was harder for me. I didn’t think I could do it. Our oldest child is 8 and our youngest is now 2 at the time of this writing. We started these trips when our oldest was only 4.5 years old.
I traveled many times into Texas, Kansas, and Kentucky; and even across Canada to preach the gospel by myself even with no money to do it. I probably did 15 to 20 trips in this way. There were many times that I went on these trips that I would only have $100.00 in my pocket. If money didn’t come in, there would be no way I that I would be able to pay for these trips; which often cost me thousands of dollars. The faith factor is still the case as I travel with my family today. We have no idea how we are going to pay for everything. Sometimes we don’t even know how we are going to pay for the next day.
When I traveled by myself, I started to host conferences in Houston, Texas. I worked with ministries from that city and brought together healing and prophetic ministries just to see what God would do. I would pay them to get there and even paid them a generous honorarium. Those speakers left very happy, and I have worked with them time and time again. The conferences weren’t caused by or about money in the bank. The conferences happened because I had faith. As I said, sometimes I showed up in town with just a few dollars in my pocket and yet God provided.
It was about four years ago when the Lord began to challenge me to take my family with me on these trips. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to pay for my family to minister across the USA. The cost of gas, food, accommodation alone would be thousands of dollars.
The first time I took them, I went to a conference in New Jersey, where not only did I not get paid for speaking but in fact had to pay registration in order to be there. My wife and I went with our four sons. Our youngest was 2 months old. This was before baby girl was born. I remember the fear that I experienced on this trip. We didn’t have any extra money at that time. I used my credit card to get us into the USA and to pay for registration for the event. I had anxiety because there was no extra for what needed to be done in the month ahead. I was trusting God completely and I didn’t know if I could do this.
However, we ended up having a wonderful time as a family. It was restful, but also life changing. We ministered and we were also ministered to. There was an East Indian family there, with their three children, and they were from Kuwait. We became good friends that week and have remained friends ever since. They have actually come to our house in Canada.
The strangest thing happened that week. A good friend of mine from Florida randomly sent me money through PayPal. I woke up one morning at the event and there were two email notifications on my phone. The total sum that she sent was about $1500.00, which was the exact amount that our trip cost! She had no idea of our financial need and yet she sent that money to us. I was so encouraged. I knew that God wanted us to travel as a family in ministry. That week was very special. People really noticed the family. They were ministered to by all of us. My eyes were opened to a new possibility for our lives.
Since that time we have traveled around the world as a family. That first trip now seems like a trip to the mall compared to some of the faith trips that we have gone on! We have driven 32,000 km across the USA preaching in over 30 towns this year. This is a family of seven in a van over many hours. We have flown to Australia, where we had no idea where we were going to stay. We knew very few people but God blessed us so much. We raised $10,000 in two and a half weeks for the air tickets for that trip. Most of the people that gave to us were friends through Facebook!
In Australia, I preached in 20 churches in six of the seven states. Our ministry increased amazingly. Thousands and thousands of people were watching us through Facebook. We ended up surrounded by an incredible community of believers that adopted us gracefully into their lives. We spent nine in that glorious country and were fed, housed, and even given a vehicle to drive. They never once asked us for money for any of it. They sacrificed amazingly for the gospel sake.
Our friends in Australia testified to miraculous provision for them as they took care of us. One family in particular really opened up their lives to us – the Woodley’s of Adelaide. Many times, people came to their house giving them food for all of us to eat, and other times people handed them money to take care of our needs. They had four children of their own along with five of ours in a house they just moved into. They were a great blessing to us.
Another lady in Australia opened her house to us for six weeks. She fed us and traveled with us everywhere we went. The kids began to think of her as family. Her name is Carol Forsten. She was the good friend of Julie-Anne Powell who was the main organizer of our trip there. If it wasn’t for Julie’s faith for this trip it would not have happened. She kept pushing for me to bring the family and if she didn’t I am not sure I would have.
Just before our trip to Australia, we went to the USA. Our good friends from Bancroft, Ontario loaned us their big van for that trip because it was very spacious. We owned a small Dodge, Caravan at the time which was very impractical for the trip. We took it on one 10,000 km journey and it proved to be very inefficient. I would have to tell my wife you can bring the stroller or the playpen as a bed, but not both. She was not impressed with me at all.
Our friend’s van was 16 years old. The engine gave out once in Northern, New York in -20 Celsius weather. It just happened to run out in the same town that our good friends lived in. They brought us to their home, and used their AAA membership to tow the vehicle to a garage. Thankfully, the van was back on the road in five hours.
We had to have someone fix the van in nearly every town we went to on that 10,000 km trip. The driver’s window never opened on that trip, and then the door stopped opening as well. I use to have to get in and out of the van on the passenger side. Then the electrical started to go too. We literally had thousands of people praying for us to get a new van. I jokingly told people on that trip if you want to improve your prayer life do a 10,000 km missions trip in an old van.
Our last trip to the USA, which ended a few weeks ago, we raised enough money in Australia to purchase a 5 year old van. Within the first two or three days of that trip I hit a pothole on the highway which led to the front end of the van suffering greatly. By the time we got home 6 weeks later we needed new tires and an alignment. The van rattled down the road and the only reason that I didn’t stop for repair is because God kept saying you are alright, you will make it home. The van also kept cutting out when we would slow down. It cut out ten or twelve times but would restart right away. We drove 12,000 on that trip. On that trip we had people praying that we would get a brand new van (I’m laughing now).
We started that trip by heading into a hurricane in Florida. We got there the day after it ended. I wouldn’t stop doing what I do for anything. I have seen hundreds of miracles. I have heard people tell me that their lives have been changed forever. I have seen people healed, delivered and set free. I have seen miracles take place I never imagined could take place. God has been faithful as we have gone and for that reason I continue to go.
These trips cost so much money. We believe for literally tens of thousands of dollars to fund the needs of these journeys. They are very tiring. We have stayed in dozens of hotels and have probably eaten at 100 to 200 restaurants. This is not easy. You have to learn to eat healthy and that can be hard to do on the road. Some days we just go the grocery store and buy bags of fruit, bread and cheese and eat as we drive. But God is good and provides for all of our needs. I have never ran out of money on a trip and my expenses have always been covered. Our friends that have encountered we will never forget. They are some of the most generous and precious people in the earth.
We have experienced supernatural provision in ways that you can only encounter when you step out in faith - the way that we have. There have been times that people have given us houses in beautiful places just so we could rest. Complete strangers have opened up their houses for us to stay. People in restaurants have paid for meals. We have made friends all around the earth that will continue in our hearts forever.
My wife and five children have been in places that you would only dream of getting to. We have walked the streets of great American cities and stood in deserts, near oceans, been on mountain tops. The kids are home schooled, which works very well with our lifestyle. To aid their education we bring them to Museums, zoos, space centers in different cities and different countries. They have seen animals and sea creatures all over the world. Their education is incredible and very unique.
My kids know the difference between continents, states, provinces and countries. They remember people who were kind to them along the way and look forward to seeing them again. We are planning more trips over the next couple of years. My oldest son said to me when we were in Australia, “Dad you know where I really would like to go?” He said, “I would like to go to Israel, particularly Jerusalem.” So right now I am in the process planning an Israel trip for the family for 2017. I have no idea how we will do that but we will and we will have amazing stories to tell of our adventures.
Please keep us in your prayers. Pray that God is with us protecting us and strengthening us to face the miles that we will have to journey in order to do his will. Pray that we will have the courage to go places that no one else will go to as families in order to reach the nations for the Lord.
This blog is dedicated to the prophetic writings of Darren Canning