CFNI – My Spiritual “Boot Camp”

By Peter Tsukahira

In the summer of 1974, I hitchhiked from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the campus of Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, to attend a session that was taught by the well-known Bible teacher, Derek Prince. I had heard that his teachings were powerful, but arrived there not knowing what to expect. The meeting hall was packed with hundreds of people, and Brother Derek, as he was called, was speaking with passion about “deliverance”—identifying demonic forces and casting them out.

Spring 1975 – Peter celebrating Passover with a seder (festive meal) with his fellow students

Clearly an Englishman, Derek Prince spoke with unusual conviction and authority. As a new believer, I had never heard anything like this before.  Soon I realized that I needed deliverance.  Some young people from the staff began to pray for me. Then I was taken into a carpeted room that was already full of people who were praying out loud. There was a sense of urgency and authority, as well as love and acceptance in the room.  The staff members put their hands on my head and prayed in bold voices, rebuking evil spirits and bondages that had formed in the years when I was immersed in the world of drugs and darkness. Soon, a deep sense of peace came over me.

After that experience, I knew I was supposed to attend CFNI. My wife and I said goodbye to our friends in Santa Fe and drove an old 1956 Volkswagen “Beetle” as far as Wichita Falls, Texas, where it died by the side of the road. We continued in a rented car that took the last of our cash. Friends had blessed us with a going away gift—a money order worth $250. However, soon after arriving to the school, it was accidentally put in the washing machine and destroyed. My two years at CFNI were not off to a good start!

The classes at the school were stimulating; I devoured the Bible-related studies and read chapters of the Bible every day. I knew that I was growing in faith, but it was a surprisingly difficult path. The main problem was inside of me. I felt like I was on a spiritual and emotional rollercoaster. Some of the time, I felt strong and capable of obeying the Lord. The rest of the time, I was failing. Although I was free of demonic control, my thoughts, will and emotions were still not yielded completely to God.

In addition to dealing with impure thoughts and ungodly cravings, I realized that the deeper, underlying motives of my heart were corrupt. I tried fasting to gain control over my inner life, but soon I found that even if I forced myself to stop eating, later I would sneak into the snack area and gorge myself on junk food. Things were going from bad to worse, and I wondered how long it would be before I gave up. I knew that leaving the school meant leaving the life God had for me. I was trapped and sinking.

Spring 1976 – CFNI graduation

At this very low point, two things helped me to persevere and survive spiritually. One was having believing friends and mentors, and the other was finding useful work. Dennis Lindsay, the son of CFNI’s founders, was one such friend. In spite of our hugely different backgrounds, he and his wife Ginger reached out to me. Their lives of faith, though not easy, seemed natural and unforced. They enjoyed doing fun activities in addition to their ministry work. Just being with them was an encouragement and a much needed “reality check.” I couldn’t understand how in my rough, unpolished state someone like Dennis could see anything valuable in me. One day, he told me that he let God choose his friends for him. I didn’t fully realize it then, but through our friendship, Dennis was passing on to me valuable truths about God’s Kingdom.

Another friend, a fellow student also named Dennis, helped me in quite another way. Since I had so little money, I was always looking for work. I tried selling Amway products from door to door, but quickly realized that I couldn’t succeed as a salesman. At that time Dennis came to me and said, “God told me to give you my job.” He was a commercial teller at the Guarantee Bank across from CFNI, and I was hired on the strength of his recommendation. I went to my classes in the morning and worked every afternoon. That work raised my self-esteem and helped me become more disciplined in my daily life.

John Garlock, who was CFNI’s Director at that time, heard that I had taught Japanese classes for beginners at my university and gave me an opportunity to teach Japanese to anyone interested at CFNI. A handful of students showed up, but one of them, a nineteen-year-old student named Bill Wood, showed unusual zeal. Later, he moved to Japan, married a Japanese woman, and today he is a respected teacher who has written numerous books in Japanese.

Peter with some of the African refugees that the ministry shelters

While teaching Japanese at CFNI, I began to experience a special kind of joy from the Lord. My spiritual gift of teaching was beginning to unfold; that gift continued to emerge in the years that followed. I realized that this is what I am called to do in Israel and many other nations around the world.

My two years at CFNI began the process of shaping me into the person I was created to be. It was like a spiritual “boot camp,” where I was not only learning the Bible, but also discipline and other difficult but valuable lessons in life. By the end of my time there, I felt that I was strong enough to walk out a lifestyle of faith on my own and help others in their journeys with the Lord.

WHERE IS HE NOW?

Responding to God’s call, Peter moved to Israel with his family in 1987. There he co-founded Kehilat HaCarmel, an Israeli Messianic congregation, and became the director of the Or HaCarmel Ministry Center, located on Mt. Carmel in northern Israel. The vision of this ministry is to build the local, indigenous believing community by reaching out to Jews and Arabs, serving the poor, giving refuge to women and children and helping to transform the lives of those with addictions.

Peter’s international teaching ministry has impacted many around the world with an understanding of God’s heart and purposes for Israel. He is the author of God’s Tsunami: Understanding Israel and End-time Prophecy, My Father’s Business: Guidelines for Ministry in the Marketplace and Culture of the Kingdom.

Peter overlooking the Jezreel Valley where Megiddo (Armageddon) is located

He says, “Be ready to do whatever the Lord says to you. Launch out when you are young and trust Him. If you are married, pray together about every major decision, and do not make your move until you both are in agreement with God. Your gift from God will make a way for you, and He will cause all things to work together for good when you love Him and respond in faith to His call and purpose.”

To learn more about Peter and his ministry, visit

carmelcongregation.org.il,

mountcarmelsom.com,

godstsunami.com

cultureofthekingdom.com.

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The Voice Staff

Author: The Voice Staff

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