Reader Interactions


  1. This is first of all, a very direct rejection of clear biblical task.

    In the course of our talk, I said over and over that in order for Samoa to work, I had to come to some type of place that I could work using IT skills. That never happened. From day 1, I said if something didn’t happen, I would be Fiji bound. I am now in Nadi, Fiji enjoying FREE internet while catching up with a month of not being able to work.

    It is people who do crap like this that makes me want to say screw helping the poor with the only hope that matters. I just want to bless people.

    I am at the point now that I am seriously considering launching an IT company with a million dollar vision and just use the profits to fund native flipino pastors globally. I have been having some high level meeting with programmers in database, cloud, and Php about this option.

    I could walk away from everything I have done in ministry over the years and know I made a difference. In the end, that is all that matters. Some people are saved, healed, and delivered because I was willing to be the man on the Road to Emmaus.

    Now, you should engage me personally, not blog publically.

    • Peter has asked me to remove this post “because it could cause me to not be able to find a job for a company in the future” as he is considering returning to work.

      I invited Peter personally to address the substantive issues mentioned in the post as a right of reply.

      His response?

      “I did what I felt was right.”.

      For the record, I did try more than once to engage with Peter personally, but it was only after Peter had left Samoa and had refused to communicate with me that I felt it important enough to write the post.

      For the record, I believe that Christians are on dangerous grounds when the ends justifies the means. Saved lives are good. Healed and restored people are good. Claiming that one is broke, that the Internet costs are prohibitive to your ministry and especially seeking funds from supporters internationally on these grounds when you know that you have been offered alternatives but won’t even explore them, demonstrates a complete lack of integrity and is definitely NOT good, even if it “feels right”.

      For the record too, as I said in the post, I believe that a clear calling (for example to help the poor in Samoa) becomes a matter of obedience and faith. This can be costly – in many ways – especially personally. Convenience, cost and personal agendas should be put aside in a true Christian ministry and when we are called. To my mind, Peter continues to demonstrate to me what I called in the post “a confused purpose and hazy calling”. I have no problem with Peter doing whatever he wants, nor do I have any issue with people supporting Peter, but if the Lord’s name is attached to it, I believe that it should all be done with full knowledge and based on facts – the primary purpose of writing the post.

      Again, as I said in the post, I wrote the words with a great deal of difficulty, knowing that sometimes the truth hurts. Please don’t shoot the messenger. If there is another side to the “other side” then I will be happy share that too. Until then, I stand behind the words written.

      I’m sad for Samoa, but I wish Peter well in whatever venture he gets up to from here on. I readily agree with him that he has certainly “made a difference” on Planet Earth!

  2. Following two requests from Peter to remove his name and photo from this post, I document the following:

    PM – Dennis A. Smith => Peter Vandever

    Hi Peter, I understand your request here, and it is a perfectly reasonable and logical one. In order to do this, which I will consider very seriously, I would however need to see you address every one of the substantive issues raised in the post. If you have learned lessons and have perhaps grown through the experiences in Samoa, tell me about it and I will respond professionally, honestly and lovingly. This may include publication of your response online as a right of reply OR it may be simply that I remove the existing material entirely as you have requested. I would prefer that the post stayed, and that you responded to each point and explained how you have grown/learned through the experience, but I’m open to discussion on this. I would ask that you kindly view the whole post again from the mindset that it was an extraordinarily difficult one for me to make, but that something must have been too important for me NOT to speak about publicly. When you understand that I am not and have never been out to “attack” you, I think you will have a clearer understanding of my actions. I have told you to your face that if you need help, I would be here for you. I meant it and mean it, but this help is not unconditional at your whim. Integrity and humility are prerequisites.
    I’ll await your response to this note before publishing your comment(s). Cheers!

    PM – Peter Vandever => Dennis A. Smith
    I answered them with this http://petervandever.com/2011/10/is-the-non-profit-stuff-done/ [which now redirects to: http://petervandever.com/2011/10/leaving-samoa/%5D

    Recently, a guy did not understand why I felt I need to leave Samoa and called me a Jonah.
    I was raised from a young age to care about people and care where they will spend eternity. Being a blessing to people and being the guy who stopped for the man on the side of the road was just part of being me. My grandparents were some of the most giving people I ever met. Loving strangers like friends is normal.
    It is not just something I can turn off.
    To do “mission work” only means I happen to living in the third world, no matter where I am compassionate. Missionary is more about who you are inside than where you go.
    One of the reasons I walked away from being an executive in the IT industry was because of compassion for the poor of my own country and those living on less than I waste at Starbucks. I would spend more at Chili’s in Makati or Hard Rock Cafe than they live on for a whole month. I wanted to help my people hands on, not from a plush office in a skyscaper.
    In the end, I am faced with hard realities. I am a techie. It is just how I am wired. I think in C++ and in PHP. I see things through HTML5 and Java. At the core of everything I am, I believe I can bring change to a hurting world using technology. I am crazy enough to believe that technology can end poverty globally. What an amazing thing it will be to say we can no longer hear “the poor will always with you.”
    In order to do what I feel I was born to do, I can not live in a economy that I am paying on average $500 US Dollars just for internet service that quite frankly should be criminal. It is much cheaper for me to live in Fiji and fly in and out of Samoa from time to time. I can literally go to Samoa and spend a week helping the poor the what I save on internet cost.
    Am I done there? No. Not at all. I will be back and be back often. In fact, I am working on a seminar for Pago Pago later this year.
    One thing I am dealing with I hate being “poor.” I am living on able 12% of what I did when working. When everything is done, I think I will clear 24,000 this year. That’s mean 80% less giving to non-profits to help reach the poor of the world.
    Just to put it very blunt, poor and Peter are not good friends. I am re-launching PeterVandever.com just to be to travel to countries and visit as well as bless poor people. I want to personally fund helping the poor that we do through our work.
    It is time to go from being poor to being IT poor.

    I publish this right of reply from Peter in full, as promised, but have not published his PM, which essentially instructs me to remove his name and photo. Peter does not mind me publishing the original post – just so long as future employers cannot Google his name and find it!

    Peter misses key points:

    1. The Internet is a public place. He has his photo on Facebook and his wall is open for all to see. He is an Internet professional and uses the Internet extensively (websites, blogging, email, and Social Media) for soliciting funds. He uses the Internet for sharing information, sometimes quite personal in a public manner sharing opinions, advice, and obtaining the same in return,

    2. Peter chose not to address the issues I raised face-to-face when he was in Samoa, and refused to respond to invitations to meet or talk until I posted. That was his choice, but my choice was to speak publicly about the concerns I had seeing as he would not engage. The matter is now in a public forum – removing the post is inappropriate, especially after giving Peter the opportunity to address the issues and he didn’t. Addressing the issues with a right of reply is standard professional practice online.

    3. The issues are still not addressed, in fact not even acknowledged. Peter has talked extensively about Peter, and about the cost of the Internet, and why he left Samoa. My post raised issues relating to integrity and purpose. I was not even worried about the actual reason for why he left Samoa. It’s a red herring. Mis-communication such as this, whether done deliberately or subconsciously, is not becoming of a man purporting to be a missionary, a man of God, and who is seeking emotional and financial support from the (predominantly Christian) public. Obfuscation surrounds my experiences with Peter which indicates to me serious underlying issues. It is wrong for Peter to ignore substantive issues by changing the subject, ignoring others’ concerns and then “fishing” for emotional support when he is called to account. This happened when he left the AOG and went his own way. It also happened when he “missed God” in Samoa. I’m sure it will have happened many other times before too. I hope that it stops. It matters not whether he agrees, because we can easily agree to disagree, but I believe that obfuscating, changing the topic and playing games with life is counter-productive to godliness.

    Here’s an example. From Peter’s Facebook page:

    just had some self-serving “minister” attack me from Samoa because of the move. #gay.

    To Peter, I say:

    No, Peter. I am neither self-serving nor am I a minister nor am I attacking you. I am simply a Christian brother who is asking you some serious questions. Playing the “poor me” card doesn’t cut the mustard around me, sorry! As you know, I have always tried to help you, but my help is conditional, and the truth will ALWAYS “out”. Comments such as these ones that are loaded with contempt for Pastors and anyone who would dare think you have any “issues”, are the very thing that my post challenges you over – where I see you twisting things, probably trying to manipulate others to gain sympathy or funding. I think that defending this lack of integrity in these areas is foolish. As I said to you in person, I pray that one day, when you eventually crash, you may crash but not burn. I also state publicly as I did privately, that should you want it, I will be there to help you as I can.

    Before I close off comments to this post, I will share some of the latest posts from Peter’s public Facebook Wall.

    The final words here are from two of Peter’s Facebook friends (Pastors) and to Peter himself. I think they speak volumes, and perhaps better than I could.

    Peter A Vandever: Pray. A day I alway feared may have come. I MAY be leaving doing traveling work to launch a million dollar company in the Philippines.

    Pastor 1: What is there to pray about? Keep preaching and forget about the million dollar company.

    Peter A Vandever: Bro, I walked away from $100,000 salary a few years in IT. I am sick of struggling with a few hundred. I have had enough.

    It will be an IT company that will do alot for missionarys as well. Like giving them free VoIP service.

    Peter A Vandever: I am in Fiji bro….. alot of things will matter if the right people come together and the right investors. If we can launch a company and I am pulling $100,000 US in the Phils, I can travel and do ministry more often with no need to put up with pastors blackmailing me.

    Pastor 2: Dear Peter, I love you as a brother but right now I am having trouble seeing your commitment to the Lord. You said a couple of months ago that God had given you a release in the Philippines. Then you said that God was sending you to Somoa. Here is what it sounds to me. Either God doesn’t what He wants you to do; you are denying your calling; or you are not committed to Christ. You cannot serve God and money. Even Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. I would suggest that you really seriously be praying about this. God wants obedience rather than sacrifice.

    Pastor 1: I am sure that Peter often feels all alone in his work for God. This can lead to burnout, which may be what Peter is heading into. Sometimes, a minister needs to take some time off where he can be refreshed. I don’t mean take a lot of time off, but just enough to be refreshed.

    Pastor 1: Like Jerry Lee Lewis says, “That green money just won’t make you happy. Only Jesus will make you happy.”

    Peter A Vandever: but Jesus and that green stuff make ministry so much easier.

    Pastor 1: Peter, perhaps you need to get sanctified, which results in your dying out on the altar of God, so you do not live for youself, but only see Christ. (As you know, we have had our discussions regarding sanctification as a 2nd definite work of grace, which is what we hold to.)

    Peter A Vandever: If you are saved, you are sanctified.

  3. In October of 2014, Peter has again contacted me asking for a total removal of this post explaining [politely] that he had moved on from missionary work and that he was now fulltime web development, and that this post was causing him problems. I refused to remove the post but invited him to submit a formal response for publication. He didn’t.