Chris Savage, Director
Pastor, Leader of Beth Ariel Messianic Congregation, Geelong, Australia
GGreetings in the name of Yeshua from Australia. It is indeed a privilege to serve as a worker for Ariel Ministries and to bring the good news to those in the Great Southland that Jesus is the Messiah; Yeshua is Lord.
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1956, the middle child of five with two older brothers together with a younger sister followed by another brother. My formative years were spent in the Caribbean and during that time my Grandmother insisted I must attend church. It was Grace Missionary Church. My education was at a Jesuit Catholic College; I was raised and believed I was a good person.
In 1971, at the age of 15, my family emigrated to Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia. It was a very similar climate to Jamaica but that is where the similarity ended. Culturally it was entirely different. Soon after my family’s arrival in Australia, my stepfather was tragically killed in an accident and our world changed entirely. At 17 I left school and gained an apprenticeship as an Aircraft Engineer.
In 1978 I moved to Melbourne, Australia’s Southern-most mainland capital city. This was in an effort to pursue my competitive racing ambitions as a cyclist. Once in Melbourne, I was able to secure a position with QANTAS as an Aircraft Engineer, a position I held for 36 years to the day! In 2014, the Lord provided me with the opportunity to transition from a full time engineering position to full time teaching ministry.
The Journey Begins
From a ‘good person’ to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.
Throughout all of Chris’s years he believed he was a ‘good person’, and that by itself would assure him a place in Heaven. Why wouldn’t it be that way, no one had told him otherwise. All of that changed in 1984, when a good friend of Chris’s, now living in Perth, Western Australia, told him that she had become a ‘Christian’. That she had come to believe on Jesus Christ for her salvation. She asked Chris what he thought of the Bible, and he said it is a “good book”; mind you, he had never actually read it. Not wanting to see her friend miss out, she sent Chris a ‘Good News Bible’. Chris began reading the Gospel of John, and by the time he reached Chapter 3, he knew this was the Word of God, and it was TRUE. The Holy Spirit moved and in the quiet of his own home he gave his life to the Lord. Within weeks, Chris travelled to Perth where he was Baptised.
Returning to Melbourne he asked his Heavenly Father to lead him to a congregation in his local area. Chris soon started attending a small Anglican Church about a kilometer from his home, despite there being a church right on the corner of his street. Within six years the Vicar’s daughter Lisa, would become his wife.
Chris and Lisa married in 1990 and began their life together in Geelong, a regional city west of Melbourne. For many years they attended Baptist churches in the suburbs where they lived. During this time, Chris continued to be a keen studier of the Word of God, and a fervent prayer.
Convinced there had to be more, that is, there had to be a way to understand the Bible in more detail; what was he missing? He believed that the answer must lay in understanding the context in which the Bible was written. How was the Bible viewed and understood in a Jewish context? With technology at his finger tips, and as he describes it “four clicks of the mouse later”, he came across the Ariel.org website. He recounts “it looked Jewish”, so he thought this would be a good place to start. He began studying the Come and See series in 2008, and it soon became clear that this is what he had been looking for.
The Word was illuminated in a whole new way for the first time in over 25 years. Chris then began sharing what he was learning at a Bible Study on a Sunday morning, one hour before the Worship Service started in the local Baptist Church. He then listened to the Life of Messiah from a Jewish Perspective and that really got him excited! So much so, he felt the need to meet in person those involved in this ministry; he had to go to Camp Shoshanah to see what Ariel Ministries was really like.
So in July 2010, Chris decided to head to upstate New York and Camp Shoshanah to attend the full six week program. There he met the author of the Life of Messiah, Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum, for the very first time. Each year since then Chris has continued to return to Camp and has been well educated in Messianic Jewish Studies. He was ordained into the ministry in July 2013 by the Beth Ariel Messianic Congregation, which was founded by Ariel Canada in Montreal. Chris’s experience at camp has greatly impressed him as to the commitment of those attending and their dedication to the task ahead as well as their service to our Lord.
Chris continues to be greatly encouraged and supported by Dr Fruchtenbaum, who has visited Geelong on two occasions since 2010, and Pastor Jacques Gabizon from Beth Ariel in Montreal. Chris now heads up the Beth Ariel Messianic Congregation in Geelong, and was appointed the new director of Ariel Australia in February 2015. Whilst it seems a daunting task to cover the work that needs to be done in this huge land of Australia, Chris knows that our God’s hand is not short.