Part 2: Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas—Continuing the Conversation with Reverend Brian Williams and his wife, Ruth, of Agape Missions, Nepal
Brian, where do you currently preach?
I oversee 200 churches, so I find myself travelling to these pulpits in India and Nepal. That brings me to our vision.We see this fleshed out in Bethesda Bishram, Agape’s second house in Kathmandu, Nepal, and it serves different functions. Throughout the year, you may find it populated by local pastors attending seminars, short-term missions groups working with Agape, or a family trying to get themselves back on their feet.
Bethesda Bishram serves a different purpose than Bethel Ashrm. It is a house for rest, revival, refreshing and renewal for leaders and their families. It is a place of retreat and fellowship.
Agape recognizes the importance of rest because it allows us to listen to the Lord and His will for our lives, because without retreat, there is no surrender. The purpose is to invest in the leaders of Nepal, so that they may be sustained. It gives them a chance to escape the fishbowl experience, the sense that one is always on display, of public ministry and find refuge, strength, and rest in Christ.
Ruth, did you think when you became a Christian you would become a preacher’s wife?
No, but I love the practical teaching style of my husband.
You are a church planter and overseer of churches and the author of five books on Biblical economics. Why is this important? What is your vision?
I have a simple dream. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use these Biblical Economics seminars for the glory of Jesus by helping the priestly people of God walk in financial fruitfulness. My prayer is that the kingly royal anointing would be upon them and that they will experience good success in every area of life. They will be the head and not the tail of their community or society, the top and not the bottom of their locality or village.
My prayer is that:
It is high time that the Peter’s of today walk out their humble calling with their heads held high and not be frowned upon as old school missionaries. The Bible is never out of date and my desire is that there will be an explosion of the biblical Peter model of volunteer missionaries all around the globe. That they will destroy the fads and gimmicks of false doctrine by continuing a life of volunteerism faithfully.
My prayer is that:
The Priscilla’s and Aquila’s of today would not be shunted out of modern missions as irrelevant. My prayer is that many couples would turn their homes into churches and their workplaces into pulpits. That they would not accept being called second class workers of the gospel, which they are not. Accepting a salary or making a profit must never be allowed to be frowned upon by modern Constantine’s. That they would boldly remain in their holy calling thus defeating the false teachers of today who have demonically labelled them as the, ‘half time calling,’ people.
My prayer is that:
The Paul’s of today would continue to faithfully obey the higher calling of God by walking in financial wisdom as per the season they find themselves in. Many times the people of God in this dual model have walked in financial ignorance and so when crushing financial times have arrived they have left the ministry. I hope these books help multiply these amazing street smart Paul model missionaries who will be salaried or free volunteers as and when the need of the ministry hour demands.
You have a ministry for at risk women, rescuing some and their children from the sex trafficking trade and also a ministry to the sukumbasi (slum/street) children as well as developing leaders through two leadership homes. What is the road that led you to these ministries?
The Agape Mission International was founded on the great Commandment (Matt 22:37) the great Commission, (Mark 16:16) and the great Commitment, (Isaiah 61:1-3). The vision the Master gave me in 1998 was of a river flowing down a mountain to the lowest and the least in society. The hurting the helpless and the broken are whom the love of God and the power of God works best in and through very easily.
James 1:27 “PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS, (Children at Risk), AND WIDOWS, (Women at Risk), in their affliction…”
That led us to work with children and women at risk and not just orphans and widows.
Can you tell us about your Women at Risk Ministry?
We have 8 projects for women caught in sexual trafficking and exploitation.
WARM (Women At Risk Ministries) Nepal projects below:
1. A Tailoring Shop.
Therefore, those desiring tailoring skills are welcome.
2. A Computer Lab.
Then, those desiring software and hardware skills are welcome.
3. A Language Class.
Those desiring English Language speaking and writing skills are welcome.
4. A Beauty Saloon.
Also, those desiring beauty parlor and fashion sector skills are welcome.
5. A Food Outlet.
For those desiring cooking, baking and chef skills are welcome.
6. An Adult Literacy Center.
And, those desiring pre-school teacher training and educational skills are welcome.
7. A Candle Making unit.
Plus, those desiring scented candle-making and interior decoration skills are welcome.
8. A Handicraft Products workshop.
Finally, those desiring sewing, jewelry and crochet skills are welcome.
What is the process for rescuing and restoring women from the sex-trafficking trade?
We rescue and restore women from cabin restaurants, dance bars and elsewhere.We have intervention programs as well as prevention programs.
Please read more here:
Our training center continues to train more than 50 ladies daily. One girl aged 14 years who was sexually abused in an orphanage was rescued by our team. She is now going to school, and has accepted Christ. Another girl who was married with a child was thrown out of her home after she accepted Christ. She is now taking beautician training amongst us.
From my daughter’s accounts from her mission trip to Nepal, and from reading some of the stories on the links at your site, it seems like many women, some with infants, end up in the trafficking trade as a result of their husband’s abandoning them.Why is this? How does the culture in Nepal view marriage?
Marriage is viewed very highly in Nepal. The problem is that the men find it very easy to run away from their wives and children. I think it’s a manhood issue rather than a marriage issue. Most women remain faithful till the end.
Prostitution and brothels are illegal in Nepal, but trafficking takes place when poor villages girls are falsely lured into better job opportunities. They are tricked and taken to India, the Middle East Muslim majority countries and Kathmandu’s dance bars and cabin restaurants, (actually brothel’s).
Please read more here:
Some are called Dalit untouchables. What does that mean?
In Hinduism there is a caste system.The low caste, the high caste and all the rest in-between.The low caste people are the untouchable dirty Dalit people. There is a passage in the Rigveda, (Hindu scriptures), which enumerates the four castes in the being of the Heaven-Man called Purusha. The Brahman is called the mouth of Purusha, as having the special privilege as a priest of addressing the gods in prayer. The arms of Purusha became the Rajanya, the prince and soldier who wields the sword and spear. His thighs, the strongest parts of his body, became the agriculturalist and tradesman,the chief support of society, and his feet,the emblem of vigour and activity, became the Sudra or labouring man, (Dalit-Untouchable), on whose toil and industry all ultimately rests.
Can you tell us about your Children at Risk ministry?
We operate two non formal schools in the slums.We also have a street kids soccer and feeding program.The purpose is to serve the poor but also model these ministries for local churches to start their own work amongst the marginalized.
We minister to more than 100 kids on the streets and in the slums daily.We feed them, give them basic education, play music and football with them and tell them Bible stories on a daily basis. More than 50 of these children now attend children’s church every week.
We want to educate, empower and equip them. Our hope then is that they become good family people with sustainable jobs.
Please read more here:
What is the craziest situation you’ve experienced during your ministry that you are free to share?
Every Ministry Has a Judas
by Kayla Strickler
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. 2 Corinthians 2:17
Thirteen years ago began Tamasi’s story with Agape ministries. Tamasi originally belonged to another ministry in Kathmandu run by a reputable African man named Chibuzor (Nigerian for “God first” or “God leads”). Chibuzor ran a successful ministry in the city, but when he fell in love with a Norwegian woman, he elected to leave the beautiful mountains of Nepal for his soon-to-be wife’s homeland. Chibuzor left the ministry he had put so much blood, sweat, and tears into to another African brother. Under this leadership, Tamasi was the ministry manager.
One otherwise still and peaceful night, Chibuzor appeared to Brian in a dream. He bore a message, and through the hazy outline of the dream’s frame spoke: “Brian, I don’t care about any of the office affairs that may occur—I want you to take care of Tamasi, my manager. Don’t let her go. Keep her with you.” Chibuzor vanished. Brian’s eyes opened.
Only one short week later, Brian’s phone rang. It was Tamasi. Through anxious breaths and a crack in her voice, she failed to disguise her worry as slowly the story unfolded. The man who Chibuzor entrusted his ministry to had embezzled everything he could, including money, sensitive documents, and other information from the computer, and had disappeared—never to be seen again. He vanished still $3,000 indebted to the landlord of the rented ministry building, but in his disappearance, the debt now fell on Tamasi. Her plea to Brian was for help, so that she would stay out of jail for a nonpayment that was never meant to be hers.
Brian and Agape ministries stepped in to help. In God’s sovereignty and promise that he works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), when Brian showed up to help Tamasi with the situation, the landlord instantly recognized his face. “Brother Brian!” he shouted. “It is you!”
The two jovially talked. With a puzzled look on her face, Tamasi watched the curiously joyous interaction. It took a moment for the realization to strike: Brian and the landlord were old football friends. Through his glee, the landlord agreed to loosen the reigns on debt collection and simply told Brian to call him whenever he was ready and able to pay. Tamasi’s dilemma and fear of imprisonment were eradicated. But this wasn’t over. A hazy picture of Chibuzor flashed across Brian’s memory. He remembered the dream he had a mere week ago and knew that he was to do more than just help Tamasi stay out of jail. So, looking at her background and skill set, he offered her a job in Agape’s ministry for women at risk.
And so began the long stretch of Tamasi’s work with Agape. For quite a few years, the partnership was fluid. But in time, word started getting back to Brian about Tamasi speaking ill of him and the ministry behind his back. (Nepali culture is known to be indirect in a way that fuels gossip, but this particular flame grew like a wildfire whose smoke was extra poisonous.) Soon enough, other team members couldn’t ignore the flames. They couldn’t ignore the tension in the air. Team members started asserting their opinions that Agape needed to dismiss her from staff, and even Brian agreed. But one thing was stopping him: the memory of Chibuzor speaking to him through a dreamy haze. As Brian remembered Chibuzor’s words, he knew what he had to do. The more he prayed about it, the more he remembered both the dream and the story of Judas. In Brian’s words, “Jesus still chose Judas. Everyone needs to have a Judas.”
And so, even though according to Brian, the last three or four years she was with Agape were “hell on earth,” every year at Christmastime Tamasi’s salary still increased. She was treated exceedingly well, even when Agape didn’t want to and their hearts told them to let her go. Then, out of left field one day, Tamasi unexpectedly left. She explained she was not feeling well; that she needed to stay home and take care of herself. She mentioned her husband and her mother as other reasons. She had been trying to get pregnant; she explained the doctor advised her to rest, and then she may be able to conceive. All seemed like plausible reasons, they thought.
But rotting fish will eventually smell.
Around six months later, all of the Agape students from the women’s center inexplicably started attending another institution. The mystery was solved when Brian learned that Tamasi had started her own center, and the drama unfolded tenfold when he rushed to check the records from the Agape program: Tamasi had stolen and deleted them all. Brian had no way to even contact the women who now attended Tamasi’s program instead of Agape’s. To add exponentially more fuel to the flame, Tamasi had approached one of Agape’s biggest financial supporters and slandered the ministry, spreading accusations of corruption. The donor believed Tamasi’s lies and began to put his financial support towards Tamasi’s ministry instead.
According to Brian, there are many lessons in this story. “She keeps me humble,” he says. Even though Brian wishes he could run into her on the street and confront her, it is a choice to love people—it is a choice to not be offended, and stand ground. It is a choice to love a betrayer despite their betrayal. It is a choice to focus on the fact that Tamasi still does something people will benefit from. It is a choice to lean on the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians describing people peddling the word of God for profit. It is a choice to acknowledge that some preach the word with an attitude that is good and some with one that is bad; but what is most important is that the truth still gets preached. It is a choice to look at people like Tamasi and intentionally not to come against them, even when the opponent is outgunned.
Perhaps most people would choose retaliation. Perhaps many would look at Judas and shout about how he should have never been with Jesus in the first place. But Jesus still used Judas, and every ministry will have one. How will you react to your Judas?
What is the religious climate in Nepal? What is the Anti-Conversion Law?
Nepal is a secular country with some degree of religious freedom. Nepal has gone through dictatorships, civil wars, guerrilla warfare, and earthquakes, which has made the people of Nepal very resilient in good times and bad. Nepal has never been under foreign rule, so it is very welcoming to tourists, but we still must be careful of sharing our faith in a wise way.
The Anti-Conversion Law bill passed in parliament several years ago and it roughly goes like this.
You cannot force anyone to change their religion.
You cannot bribe anyone with money etc. to change their religion.
You cannot force a person to not become an atheist if he/she wants to.
To this they added last month, (September 2017):
You cannot harass any other religion that is not yours.
This Bill was passed into law by the first female president of Nepal. The funny thing is that Christians and all other religions believe and agree with the bill. As you know none of us in the Christian faith convert anyone or practise the above four points. The Spirit of Christ leads them to the Father.
So it’s business as usual…
We are open to get persecuted but not because of our foolishness. Therefore, all our churches and work in the slums and with women offer practical education, job skills and adventure evangelism with local churches, so we will always be okay. Of course the enemy goes around like a prowling lion and we must be alert also.
*To be continued in Part 3: God, Family, ministry. Which is priority?
**Did you read Part 1?
***You can read my post featuring Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here: Echoes
***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.
© 2017 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On your Heart