I Hate Commitment, (or is it Failure I Fear)

I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failure to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting author and writing coach Jeff Goins’s 30 day  #My500Words writing challenge because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.

The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have  reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion

Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Rachael_M-Colby_Neutral

You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.

In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. There is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.

So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. I like the sure thing. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, can do it in my own strength, or don’t need a miracle. But if I stay in my comfort zone, I don’t need faith and if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I miss the chance to see God work with me, through me, and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.

I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others, and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.

Unspoken- Miracle

Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.

Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling.

Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others.

Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.

Tattoo-It_On_Your_Heart_CFM_Pastor_Chip_Ganiear_Potential_Miracle

When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.

If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

And all that really matters is the will of God.

I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.

Pray. Persist. Prevail.

“I AM THAT I AM” beats “it is what it is” every time. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

Rachael-M-Colby-North-Carolina-Christian-Writers-Conference-3rd-Place-Tar-Heel-Award

 

We were made for Christ, to follow Him, to obey His

 Word and calling, to lean on His strength and grow in His grace.

He has called me to write for Him, and so, I write.

3rd place 2019 Tar Heel Award, North Carolina Christian Writers Conference

Carrollton- Made for This

© 2018, 2019  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

 

Dear Me, I Have a Question for You

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Dear_Me_I _Have_ a Question_for _YouHis question hit me like a bucket of ice water, and it wasn’t even the subject of his blog post. The job of the preacher is to preach the Gospel, to speak truth and make us uncomfortable with complacency, with less than what God wants for us—uncomfortable in our sin. And so he did.

“What would you say to someone whose life looked exactly like yours?” Pastor Payte said.

What a profound, thought provoking, convicting, question Pastor, but it’s too long of a list for a blog post. That’s a good question for us all to ask ourselves at the onset of the new year—or perhaps everyday.

So, time to take inventory. Have a seat Self.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: Psalms 139:23 (KJV)

Let God defend you. He is able. Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Most _Times

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

My good friend Sue, prays, “ Lord put your arm around my shoulder and your hand across my mouth.” She’s a Proverbs 31 woman

Circumstance will circumvent your plans if you are not intentional with  your time:

  • Time spent in God’s Word and presence
  • Time with your family
  • Time developing your skill to fulfill your calling.

Let God define you.

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart__Life _and _Time-are-Bullies

Make priority a priority, or it probably won’t get done. Don’t let the urgent distract you from the important, as the preacher said.

Don’t allow the demons of One-More-Thing, Procrastination, Fear, Discouragement, or procrastination to derail you from what God called you to. Sometimes later doesn’t come, and too late or missed opportunity shows up instead. But if that happens, take heart; Jesus loves you anyway and  meets you where you are. Nothing we do or don’t do takes Him by surprise. So, look up, get up and carry on—follow Him. He has a plan.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Becoming a better person is more important than doing great things. People who strive to be better end up doing great things.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10 (KJV)

We all fall short but Jesus is the difference maker. His mercies are new every morning. He supplies all our needs when we supply ourselves to him. Not just our physical needs, but our spiritual needs. He can turn our vices into victories, our failures into triumphs—even a ministry to others.

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

Your turn.

Oh, and I’ll talk about the actual subject of Pastor Payte’s article another time. 🙂

 

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

gofundme_aleks_battle_against-lymes

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Part 3: Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker_Part_ThreePART 3 of 3: Family First or Church First? An interview with dragon slayer, disciple maker, Pastor Brian Williams and his wife Ruth from Agape Missions International, Nepal.

Question 20: How do you have the energy and balance your time between studying, preaching, writing, caring for your family, and other ministries?

Family First or Church first?

  • Is the God we serve only a community God?
  • Is the God we serve only a personal family king?
  • Is the God we serve only a serious father?

Here below is some type of weird ideology based on the world’s value system:

  • God first.
  • Family second.
  • Ministry third.

Now, where do we find that in the Bible? Nowhere, can we find any of this in scripture. That unbiblical and soulish concept is propagated by intellectually challenged, worldly people in the church.

Here is another piece of theology that betrays biblical orthodoxy:

Family ministry or Church ministry? But not both as a priority?

Now, where in the Bible do we find such an either/or dichotomy so as to prioritize one over the other? This comes from an unbiblical worldview of splitting values when none is required. This is opposed to the Judeo-christian way of doing things.

Thus seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, is:

Church Family Ministry,

Family IN Ministry and

Family AS Ministry.

Here is what I believe is the pure Bible worldview on family and the kingdom of God. This truth encompasses all three of the concepts below in perfect unity without surrendering any of the three ideas.

  1. Participating in local Church Family events IS ministry.
  2. Families involved in spiritual exercises IS ministry.
  3. Fun family activities in a family IS also ministry.

To speak about Biblical balance in another way, let us look at these three sentences:

Our church is our family and our family is our church.

We are to minister IN our immediate-family/joint-family which IS our ministry too.

Our nuclear family is called to a BE type of ministry, as well as serving God in a DO type of ministry also.

Let us dig a little deeper without excluding any of the three threads mentioned above.

  1. Church Family Ministry

Many families reluctantly drag their kids and their spouses to a local fellowship. It’s a sad thing when a family enjoys every other program in their locality other than a church program. Many research studies show that those who have a committed church community as their primary social network live longer. Do we go to a local church and give our time, talent and treasure to that church community together as a family? Or do we just warm the carpet and do a bench warming activity there? Paul mentioned this priority beautifully in Hebrews 10:25 “Not FORSAKING the ASSEMBLING of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”

      2. Family “IN” Ministry

Most families wait until their children reach college for them to serve God. Then, it’s sometimes too late because they are already fixed and anchored in their ways. They have received no training at home. If we do not fellowship, evangelize, pray and enjoy the Bible together as a family, why will they do it when they grow up? The Jews were wisely commanded by God to tell their kids stories of what God did. Why? The word of God was supposed to be on their doors. Why? I think it was so they would read it, remember it and enact it every time they went out into society and came back home. They had Sabbath meals with great Bible symbolism so that they could experience Emmanuel in all the areas of their family life. The family that prays and does spiritual stuff together stays together.

Joel 1:3  TELL your children about it, Let your children TELL their children, And their children ANOTHER GENERATION.

     3. Family “AS” Ministry

So many people show their families by their lifestyle that they serve a boring God. If our God and our Parents do nothing but pray, read the Bible, go to church and evangelize, then we have shown our God as a fun killer at worst and a dull God at best. Do we dance with our kids? Do we play football with our kids? Do we go cycling with our kids? Do we watch movies with our kids? Do we go on picnics with our kids? Do we read books with our kids? If we have no recreational activities with our kids then we serve and portray our God as a spoilsport, a very grumpy old man who has is no fun and joy. On the other hand, fun was created by God but perverted by the Devil. We must take back what the devil has stolen.The family is itself a ministry and we must enjoy it without having to do stuff that is Christianese only. We are definitely not called to participate in sinful activities but there are other things we could do like, going to, zoo’s, picnics, parties and sports events. 

That is why 1 Cor 10:31 counsel’s us in this way “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do all to the glory of God.

Some concluding thoughts:

The family that prays together stays together.

But

The family that plays together stays together too.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

But

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

Discerning Family Seasons:

So in conclusion, we must strike a healthy balance between investing our time for church community moments and a time for our personal and private family seasons. We must apply wisdom when we are to do which and for how long. Sometimes “family ministry” is the priority, other times the “church family ministry” is the priority, and still at other times, “family fun ministry” is the priority. Only the Holy Spirit can help us put the kingdom first by creating that balance in the prayer closet for each of the days of our week. 

On average how much time does it take you to put together a sermon, including research and study?

Depends on Question number 20. FullSizeRender (7)-002

How much time do you spend in personal Bible study and prayer a day?

Depends on Question number 20.

What is the hardest part of being a pastor/ pastor’s wife? 

Balancing Question number 20.

What is your biggest challenge in your ministry? FullSizeRender (1)-003

Implementing Question number 20.

What most breaks your heart?

People neglecting the values of Question number 20.

What has being a preacher and your ministry cost you? FullSizeRender (3)-002

Persecution.

Do you ever want to quit?

NEVER.

What keeps you going? FullSizeRender (4)-002

Our quiet time. 

What most encourages you?

The ongoing testimony of God lovers.

FullSizeRender (5)-002Who inspires you?

Those who incarnate the Bible in their localities. 

What has been the most unexpected benefit of your ministries?

Serving at risk people has brought out the best in me, my wife and five kids.

Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, direction, FullSizeRender (6)-002encouragement, prayer—someone you can be really open with?

My wife has an Indian lady and I have an American and Nepali guy whom we are accountable to.

How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?

Serve them in His power and strength.

What are some things your church and others could do to lighten your load or refresh you and your family so you can better serve God and them?

People living out the gifts that they have been given.This lightens our burden and revives us.

What do you see as the biggest threat to the Church today?

Atheistic believers, worldly Christians and religious denominational-ism.

What do you believe is the key to revival?

Praying and evangelizing.

How do you feel about Jesus’ return, the rapture?

I am to serve Him till He returns. I am a PANMillennialistEverything will pan out when He comes back.

How are mission trip teams like the one my daughter, Abigail, came on with Adventures in Missions this past summer helpful to you and your ministry?

The greatest ministry your daughter and her team left behind was probably not Bible studies, hand-outs and eloquent speeches, (they are great too). But it was mainly by empowering the local leaders in Tami Nepal and our networks.

They did this by birthing and serving long term relationships, by an act of deep interpersonal koinonia in the hearts of the local long term workers. We are hoping for not only short term  success for the short space of time they were here but the long term successes by them investing generously their time, talent, treasure, (money and things etc), and touch, (prayer), in me, my family, my team and my partners. This model of “one-another” ministry was lovely to see in practice. Working together with the Holy Spirit and each other is key to our mutual success. This is only possible when short-term people/teams leave a legacy behind with us, their co-workers. Nothing is worse than an individual or team coming here and doing fast and furious ministry all by themselves while the local ministers are just tag-alongs.

The African Proverb is so true:

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

Abigail and her team were lovely in being our friends and continue to be close to us by e-mail and Facebook. We pray and hope some of them come back again to be with us.

What is your favorite memory of your ministry?

From Street Kid to Pastor

by Kayla Strickler

Sachin was the name behind the face of a child beggar on the sweltering side streets of Nepal. Street kids are extremely common in this country; they often spend their days begging, sometimes at the urging of their very own families. Street kids typically lie, fabricate tear-jerking stories, or play dumb to coax more money out of unsuspecting travelers. Sachin was a kid that needed no such ploys; he had an obvious physical challenge in one leg. Even so, he traded the street life for a job in the carpet industry when the enticing opportunity arose. And just like that, he became a statistic and joined the ranks as one of thousands of Nepal’s child laborers.

In Nepal, child labor for the carpet industry is rampant. Despite many efforts to bust the business over the last several years, the fight to end child labor is still far from over. World-famous carpets come from Nepal—the smaller the knot and the finer the carpet, the better and more valuable. Consequently, tiny agile hands often work 16-hour days and stitch until their fingers bleed raw.

As Sachin grew into adolescence, working hard hours in this industry, he encountered someone who introduced him to a life of faith in Christ. As a new believer, he began attending a church that was willing and able to put a roof over his head; but this supposed miracle was short-lived. The life of that roof expired when the church abruptly changed their policy and chose to no longer support street kids. As quickly as the roof had been put over his head, it was taken away. Sachin found himself blindsided. He was physically limited, uneducated, and now completely homeless.

In his destitute and dejected state, an Agape affiliate got word about the boy with the sick leg and bleeding, carpet-making fingers. Before long, Sachin came under Agape’s wing to be developed as a leader through an internship, with a roof over his head, and no longer needing to work slave hours six days a week. The boy that was once on the streets now had a roof, food, a family, and above all, a chance in life.

Around the same time Sachin was beginning his journey with Agape, another miracle was being worked out in someone else’s life who would also soon join forces with the mission.

Agrata, a bright and steadfast young woman, joined Agape to grow and help fulfill her calling as a leader. As one of only two Christians in her otherwise Hindu family, she needed a place to live as her current living situation fell through. Staying where she was meant stress and ill health because of the tense environment; going back home to a Hindu family would mean re-crucifying the Jesus so important to her, (since returning to a Hindu family would mean renouncing her Christian faith). Caught between a rock and a hard place, she found a third option and made her home for the season in Agape, where she could live and grow with a community of believers.

Agrata and Sachin’s love grew fast and strong. Two years into their internship with Agape, their romance was a beautiful avalanche rushing down a hill, gaining their faith and maturity before they got married, but to the besotted couple, the avalanche was already gathering great speed. Brian’s wish was that they spend another six months in a development program growing really unstoppable. They quickly tied the knot and set out on their own, blissfully in love and choosing to branch out on their own.

A local church they had been attending helped the couple secure a place to live and work: two rooms, one for a meat business to support themselves, and one room to live in. Soon, they started a family. Life continued in this security for a comfortable length of time. When they were pregnant with their second child, they happened again upon Agape’s staff. When they did, Agrata and Sachin came bearing news of all the great things happening in their lives: pastorship, children, business… Except, one thing was noticeably amiss—Sachin and Agrata had grown weary of working in the meat business, and their hearts yearned to focus more on ministry. They rejoined Agape, reunited in the place they first met—this time with two little ones in tow. But, in the blink of an eye, they chose to return to their church and meat business. Then, the unthinkable happened. The infamous earthquake hit with ferocious strength, and left their home, business, stability, and life all rubble in its grip. Sachin, Agrata, and their two kids were officially homeless.

They came to Agape for help. In Brian’s own words, “Sometimes a couple needs help two or three times, to establish themselves…” And so, with great love, Sachin and Agrata found themselves back at their roots. In another beautiful partnership with Agape ministries, Sachin and Agrata were blessed even more than before. The couple remained with Agape until they were on their feet again after the earthquake. In due time, they had a well and a house built with a room for church, two bedrooms, and a washroom. They now serve faithfully in Nepal, running their own church, bringing more and more people to the knowledge and saving faith of Jesus, the one who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than anyone could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

What is your vision for your ministry, your calling?

Small is Beautiful!

It’s not terribly important how big a work we have, but rather how big a work God does and is doing through us.

Tami Asia Calling:

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:5 For every man shall BEAR HIS OWN BURDEN.

CAR CUP Nepal/ TARA School Nepal/ WARM Nepal

(Who is God? What is true/ real Religion?)

Click for Video: Meet Ruth

https://youtu.be/-I80BIz7yIE

James 1:27 PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS in their affliction, and to KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.

Psalms 68:5 A FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS, and A JUDGE OF WIDOWS is God in his holy habitation.

Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even A CUP OF COLD WATER to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly NOT LOSE THEIR REWARD.”

Psalms 113:6-9 KJV Who HUMBLES himself to BEHOLD the things that are in heaven, and IN THE EARTH! He RAISES UP the POOR out of the DUST, and LIFTS the NEEDY out of the DUNGHILL; That he may SET HIM with PRINCES, even with the PRINCES of HIS PEOPLE. He makes the BARREN WOMAN to keep house, and to be a joyful MOTHER of CHILDREN. Praise ye the Lord.

The Prodigal Son,  Luke 10:25-37

Click for Video: Meet Our Team.

Bethesda Bishram Nepal

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his OWN WORKS, as God did from his.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ,who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the living God?

Click for Video: Meet Brian

https://youtu.be/EMLPWThJyCU

Bethel Ashrm Nepal 

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same COMMIT THOU TO FAITHFUL MEN, who shall be able to TEACH OTHERS ALSO.

Blessings FullSizeRender (8)-002          

Cheers

Prayers

Because…

Together we do a great work for God

Rev. Brian Reshma Williams

*Click here to read PART 1. 

**Click here to read PART 2.  

***You can read my post featuring my daughter, Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here:  Echoes 

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Us****Please respect the request of the interviewees 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 on other platforms.

Thank you for your consideration.                                                                                                  © 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

 

Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal (Part 2)

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby _Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker-A _Preacher _Wages War_Part2

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.

FullSizeRender (5)-001Bethesda 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.

FullSizeRender (6)-001FullSizeRender (7)-001

FullSizeRender (8)-001My 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 FullSizeRender (9)-001walking 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?

FullSizeRender (8)-003We 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. FullSizeRender (7)-003

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:

http://womennepal.blogspot.com/

http://womenstorynepal.blogspot.com

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.

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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:

http://fleshtradenepal.blogspot.com/

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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.

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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.

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We minister to more than 100 kids on the streets and in the slums daily.We feed them, FullSizeRender (2)-005give 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:

http://streetkidsnepal.blogspot.com/

http://streetkidstory.blogspot.com/

http://slumschoolnepal.blogspot.com/

http://slumstory.blogspot.com

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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?

General Information:

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.

Specific Information:

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

Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker_Part_OneIt is my honor to interview and introduce you to dragon slayer, disciple maker and preacher, Reverend Brian Williams and his wife Ruth whose ministry my daughter, Abby, served under on her mission trip to Nepal. You can read Abby’s account in my prior post entitled, Echoes.

Please welcome Brian and Ruth.

Part 1

I am an Anglo-Indian. My ancestry is a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized. I look Indian and I am most at ease in an Indian culture but I speak and think with the English language.

Brian Leonard Williams is my name and I grew up speaking English as my mother tongue.

My maternal Grandfather’s name was Edwin Joseph Seaman, a British engineer and part of a group of pioneers of the Indian Railway.

 

Himalayan Railway Train

These were the days when British engineering was revolutionizing communication and trade across India, much of it to the benefit of the British.

Image from: On India’s Frontier; or Nepal, the Gurkhas’ Mysterious Land Author: Ballantine, Henry     

My biological Father was an Englishman named Edward Canute Roberts. However, after getting my Mother pregnant, Edward left for Australia without marrying her. So I was born in the huge metropolis that is Calcutta in 1970 to a single Mother, Antoinette Matilda Seaman, who had little means to support us; a gritty start to life. To the rescue came my Dad, Roy Ainsley Williams, a gifted diesel-engineer. He fell in love with my pregnant mom Antoinette and they got married. So Roy became My ‘real’ Dad. He was a wonderful Dad in spite of being a hopeless alcoholic. We went for walks together and ate fried fish, it’s still my favorite food. It turned out that Dad Roy was a great friend, but a poor provider. Given half a chance he would sell everything and disappear for several months at a time. I hardly ever saw him sober. I remember yearning for a sober Dad. My Mother rescued the family finances. She was industrious and resourceful, finding work as a secretary. We were poor but never went without food.

I spent the next few years at St Bedes orphanage and boarding school in Chennai, India run by the Roman Catholic Salesians of the Don Bosco order. My Mother scraped and saved money to send me there, searching for every discount and scholarship available.

My Father was Church of England and My Mother was a Roman Catholic. But we only went to church at Christmas and Easter. I had been exposed to religion at school, but essentially I was non-religious; my religion was the dance floor. I lived for dancing and womanizing every Saturday night—Shakin’ Stevens, The Bee- Gees, Boney M. I had all of the vices you would expect from a teenage lad. I remember rewriting and singing hymns for fun in the Chapel with rude and mischievous words, fighting, lying, lusting, cheating, stealing. Not in a big way, I was just one of the lads, and we got up to all sorts of pranks.

When I was nineteen, our family returned to Calcutta. I went to college to study for a Bachelor’s degree in commerce. For two years I continued to play the field. Addicted to women, I danced and drank my way through all of the pleasures that life had to offer. I lived for the day; I was an Epicurean. But the more I filled myself with worldly pleasures, the more empty I felt. Was self-centered pleasure all that there was, or was there a purpose to life? What did life mean? What if I was Michael Jackson, with all that money, fame and success? Would that satisfy? I put myself in Michael Jackson’s shoes. No, it wouldn’t, I decided. What if I had a family, a loving wife and a tribe of happy children? I would take my place in the natural birth and death cycle— would that satisfy? No, it wouldn’t. I came to the conclusion that life was utterly meaningless.

We tagged along from Calcutta with a band, just hanging out, parties and lots of fun—you know the way young people do. I found myself joining a group of music friends in Hyderabad, a large city in central India. Then a band member gave me some prophecy books which had Bible verses and newspaper articles on either side of a page. I was shocked that Bible verses had meaning in current events. I then found a Bible, but when I saw a long genealogy, just a list of names, I thought it  was an out of date meaningless book. I threw it in the corner of my room. However, whether out of a sense of politeness or by divine prompting, I decided that I should at least out of courtesy, read a few verses from the Bible, then I would return it. I opened the Bible at random and found the book of Proverbs. It was like holding up a mirror. I saw myself in the words of Proverbs, like the woman at the well. This book told me about myself like no other literature I had ever read. I read right through Proverbs, then Ecclesiastes, warming to its theme of ‘everything is meaningless.’ I thought, I could have written this book. By the time I was reading the book of Psalms I was on my knees in my hotel room committing my life to Christ. That was in 1989.

I read through the Bible three times in just nine months. I welcomed Christ into my life and started attending a Church in Hyderabad. I left my old lifestyle and returned to Calcutta to finish my degree in commerce and was baptized as a Christian. At the age of twenty-two, I was marching to the beat of a very different drum. But I still have a lot to learn from God’s word and daily yearn to feel His hand on my life.

How long have you been married?

My wife is a Nepali from Darjeeling, India, which once belonged to Nepal, but was taken by the British for their amazing tea. Before that, the kings of Nepal sold Darjeeling to the kings of India for a harem of girls, so it’s a very complicated place. Ruth Reshma and I were married in 2001 in Mirik, Darjeeling. We came to Nepal on our honeymoon and never left. So technically we are still on our honeymoon…sixteen years and counting.

How many children do you have? I know some of your children are fostered. Can you tell me a little about them?

We have four sons and a four month old daughter. Three of them are chosen from the womb of my wife and two are chosen from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. One son, Sujan is an outreach leader with Youth With A Mission in Lucknow, India and another son, Sameer, is a youth leader in a Christian school in Denmark. Our two biological children, Samarth and Saran, are in primary and secondary school. Our small boy loves sports and his older brother loves to play the guitar and soccer.

Did you think when you got married you would be fostering children?

Never planned to, but we are pleasantly surprised. Before Marrying Ruth Reshma I went on an 80 day fast for our marriage and family. God told me that I was the sun and Reshma (means moon) would have nine planets in our solar system. We tried to figure out what that actually meant. We have five, so four more planets are yet to form in our family.

FullSizeRender (1)-002Please Describe your Ministry.

I, (Brian Williams), founded The Agape Mission International, (Tami), in 1998 in India, with the goal of living out our biblical calling to assist women and children at risk, as well as to create new apostolic disciples. It started with a church in south India, (which still exists) but is now a movement of 200 plus churches in Nepal and India.We oversee seven head pastors who manage all these churches.

We serve the at risk people group in a FullSizeRender (2)-003multitude of ways.We minister in the slums through our Tara Non-Formal Schools. We have our street kids soccer and food ministry.

We reach out to cabin restaurants and dance bars all the while maintaining a Women at Risk Ministry Center where we offer training for eight different skills for women at risk.The Bethesda Bishram prayer and retreat house is where we give local pastors retreat opportunities as well as a camp to host mission teams into mountain villages.

Bethel Ashrm is a place for mentoring at risk people into leadership as well as marginalised youth from churches who are going through various challenges.

You have other people living with your family. How many people live in your home?

Bethel Ashrm, is our home in Kathmandu, Nepal. Its name represents what takes place there. Bethel means “house of God” and Ashrm is taken from Hebrew and means “fire, head, and water.” Therefore, our vision for Bethel Ashrm is that it would be a place where our mind is set on fire by the Holy Spirit and washed with the water of the Word of God.

Inside Bethel Ashrm, we care for rescued FullSizeRender (3)-001children and disciple four to five young people at a time to start their own ministries and churches both in Nepal and around the world.

We offer Leadership Internships and Apprenticeships for Missionaries going to and from Nepal, India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We also have youth volunteers who are sent to my churches for leadership mentoring.

Along with our five children, we currently have ten other children living in our home. These ten children include kids who were rescued from dance bars, the streets, abusive homes, or abandoned during the earthquake.

Please read more here:

http://leadersnepal.blogspot.com/

http://leaderstorynepal.blogspot.com/

http://bethelashram.blogspot.com/

How did this came to be? Did you and your wife envision your home like it is when you married?

Nope. One day I returned from India and found that my wife had closed down the staff boys and girls houses and had taken a house so we could all live and learn together. We were then taught by God to make it into a “live and learn” house for our family and others.

Ruth, how long was your husband away when you moved your family to a different house and brought all these people to live with you?

One week.

Did he have any idea you were going to do this or was it a complete surprise when he returned home?

A total surprise.

Were you worried about what his response would be?

Nope. He came home and I took him to the new community house.

FullSizeRender (10)-001You have 15 children and several adults living in your home. How do you orchestrate meals and household chores?

Good and healthy delegation. Even the teens cook.

Brian, what were your first thoughts when you returned home and found out what Ruth had done?

I was stunned, and then realized it was the best ministry decision we ever made. Still shocked daily at seeing this ministry become the bedrock upon which all other ministries grow.

*To be continued in Part 2:  Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas

     **Read my prior post featuring Jacob’s and Abby’s stories of their 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

Echoes (Nepal Mission Trip Report)

 

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Abby. Girl with a heart as big as the open sky. She once said, “I think when we pray, God often says, “‘That’s all you’re asking for?’” She asked, she reached, and God allowed her to go on another mission trip. This time, to Nepal.

 “Abby, I know you’re busy with college and work, but it’s important that you write a post about your mission trip. Your stories will inspire others, and I don’t want you to forget.”

She glanced up and said, “You write it, Mom.”

So, here are Abby’s and her teammate Jacob’s stories as told to me.

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Echoes

JACOB: I had never been on an airplane before our mission trip to Nepal. The vivid chaos of Kathmandu greeted us as we made our way to our home for the next few weeks.

IMG_20170722_182343519Motorcycles, buses, cars, vans and bicycles, drove in and out and all over as if there were no lanes, no laws. They just did whatever they wanted. The buildings stood about four stories high and eight feet apart. They were everywhere— it seemed as though they went on forever, or at least as far as the eye could see.

ABBY: The guys stayed on one floor and the girls on another in our apartment style city dwelling. Water and electricity outages occurred frequently and without warning. We sat on mats to eat, and talk, and sing. We slept on wooden pallet bunk beds.

JACOB: Always. Car horns and barking dogs at all hours of the day and night.

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The Quiet Cafe

ABBY: All the waiters were really quiet in the cafe we went to on the first day. We thought it was because they didn’t speak English, but later learned that they were deaf and our main waiter was studying American Sign Language. My teammate Kendra and I speak ASL, but I hadn’t expected an opportunity to use it in Nepal and was so excited we were able to communicate with him and share the Gospel on the days we visited the cafe. He introduced us to his many deaf friends, his wife and children, and took us to many beautiful and interesting places he thought Americans should see.

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House Full of Rescued Kids and Former Prostitutes

ABBY: Our ministry host Brian and his wife, Ruth, have three natural born children, two fostered, and many more live with them, some orphans from the earthquake in 2015. Their house is full of women and children who were at risk, some rescued from human trafficking. The women are the most welcoming people I ever met.

It is amazing how Brian, his wife and the women raise their children. They are some of the most God loving people I know. The children are the best behaved, most selfless kids and they pray more passionately than anyone I’ve ever heard.

The Women’s Center

IMG_20170712_205305184ABBY: Brian and Ruth’s ministry encompasses more than those living with them though. They have a women’s center, a home for at risk women and children and those taken out of prostitution. There they are taught English and various skills such as making jewelry so they can earn money for themselves and their children.

We spent the mornings at the women’s center, painting and renovating the building IMG_20170727_151807678and grounds to better suit their needs, and helping with the women’s children as they worked on their new skills. In the afternoons we went to Brian’s house and talked to the women who lived there and tutored the children in English.

The first week we had the option to go on a prayer walk around a cabin bar where the prostitutes worked and possibly go in and talk to them, or to stay and tutor the children. I had already spent a lot of time with the children. Tutoring for the afternoon was not appealing while my other teammates ministered in ways that seemed much moreIMG_20170713_022207151 intense and more like what I came to Nepal to do. But when they asked for volunteers to stay, there was barely anybody, so I raised my hand and as half of my team went out, I stayed behind.

The children led us along a road filled with flowers. We played games and they sang songs in Nepali, picking flowers for us every step of the way as we walked back to the house for  lessons. …Oh. This is where I was supposed to be, I realized

While teaching the three-year-olds English at Brian and Ruth’s house, I got the chance to talk to one of the women who lived there. She said she loved having visitors like our team. She held a newborn baby and talked as if we are best friends. She told me her husband left her when their baby was three weeks old. He moved to Saudi Arabia and never came back. She said she had no bitterness in her heart though, and was thankful to God to be with her baby and live with Brian and Ruth. This painful abandonment was recent, but still, she kept saying. “Praise God.”

For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. Isaiah 54:5 (NKJV)

ABBY: “We walked everywhere in Kathmandu— 45 minutes to Brian’s house, Sometimes 35 to the cafes, and 40 minutes to church. We never know the schedule, Mom. Literally, never.”

One morning, a group of little children from our ministry host’s home walked 45 minutes to our lodging. They chattered and jumped, faces aglow, as they led the way. “Come! We want to show you our church!”

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As we entered the tiny church building, the Nepali women rose and sat in the aisles, insisting we take their seats. After song service, they called our team on stage and someone placed a  guitar in my hand. We looked at each other, perplexed.

“What songs do you know on guitar?” my teammates asked.

“None,” I said. “I can only play if I have the music notes, and I have none.”

So, my teammate, Jen, started playing the keyboard, calling out notes to me as she did. I know we sounded awful, but they still cheered at the end and asked one of us to testify of what Jesus had done in our lives.

Afterward, the little girls ushered us into another room. “You’re leading Children’s church today!” they said. We weren’t expecting to lead, so we had nothing prepared. After a lot of convincing, one of the older children agreed to translate for us. We sang songs, and after the preaching, we played games and taught them the creation story. Our translator knew limited english, so, as they told us their favorite Bible stories, we acted them out, teaching what they could learn from each one.

We found out afterward that the wall between the children’s church and the sanctuary is paper thin and the congregation could hear every word we said.

Listening Prayer and the Armor of God

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:14-16

ABBY: We stood together in a circle, whether in a room or on a street, and named each piece of the armor of God and pretended to put it on ourselves and prayed every time before leaving for any ministry.

We asked God to show us people who we needed to talk to about Him and my friend Kendra had a vision of a little girl in a red dress.

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ABBY: He jumped aboard the bus, yelling as he did, and wearing so many layers of clothes. Who IMG_20170717_110502576is this dude, we wondered. As our bus wound its way up the narrow, dusty mountain road jostling us from our seats, he bounced around, randomly hollering, “Fire!” Bipin is a pastor and he is the happiest person I’ve ever met. Everyone on the team ended up loving him.

The villagers glanced up from their work as we sped by. Each of us carried a few of Brian’s books on church planting to hand out at the pastor’s conference where he was preaching. Brian is a writer, a preacher, and disciple maker. He has sent workers into Denmark, India, and Nepal to pioneer churches. He preaches so much like my pastor, Paul Campo.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7 (NLT)

IMG_20170717_110149108_HDRIt was hotter in the mountains than in the city; hot in the day and hotter at night. The night rain beat loudly on the tin roof, some making its way inside. We lay on the ground to sleep, sticky and pouring with sweat. There was no electricity; no water. We took buckets to the waterfall for our showers.

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Brian’s wife went into labor unexpectedly, so we left  the mountains earlier than planned, making it in time for the birth of their baby girl.

The Monsoon rains burst from the sky, sending water coursing through the muddy streets and filling potholes.

ABBY: One Saturday morning, the day of worship in Nepal, we attended Bipin’s church. There stood the little girl in the red dress who Kendra had seen in her vision. She was speaking sign language to her mother. She lit up with a broad smile when we started signing to her.

Bipin was always singing and he made us sing along everywhere we walked. We jumped puddles and little rivers meandering across our path, the aftermath of the rain. I wondered why Bipin had chosen this long and tiring route to his home for lunch that day.

Suddenly, a woman called out to us from the upstairs window of a house. She had fallen asleep and awakened to find that the group she traveled with had forgotten her and locked her inside when they left for the airport that IMG_20170717_120213322morning. She had been praying for someone to come by and rescue her. We retrieved the key from under a flower pot in front of the house, unlocked the door, and she hurriedly left to catch her flight, thanking us and praising God as she did.

We walked past a freaky butchered goat, its head cut off, a machete beside it. They eat goats and chickens there.

Sometimes we choose restaurants based on the rating we gave their bathroom— if they had one. The food is so spicy it makes my nose run and burns my stomach, but I love the momos.

The Rat Race

ABBY: The warm night air clung to us as we trudged up the giant hill on our way home. The bushes by the side of the road rustled and I bent over expecting to find an injured bird, but four rats lept out.

“It’s not a bird, it’s not a bird!” I cried, as we  ran screaming into the busy street and cars and buses brushed my ankles.

We named our animals— like the cockroaches and the pigeons who knocked on the windows.

It’s a Whole Other World Up There On the Rooftop.

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ABBY: I finished washing my clothes and pitched the water over the edge of the roof.

“Hey! There’s a drain up there for that!” my teammate said as water splashed through the window below.

Oops. I didn’t  know.

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Almost every house has a flat rooftop. I went on ours every morning to read my Bible and pray. People walked to and fro on the streets below, winding between the rows of buildings. Nepali women swept every floor of their houses precisely clean, as if they IMG_20170717_094155721needed to get every single speck of dirt out before they could start their day.

The rooftops of the neighboring houses stretched straight across for miles. Laundry draped from lines strung on poles, colorful prayer flags hung from rooftop to rooftop. People washed their hair, bathed and did their laundry on their rooftops. The three-times-a-day-tooth-brusher vigorously performed his ritual.

The lower mountain ranges of the Himalayas loomed in the distance. On days when the clouds parted revealing the taller snow capped peaks, we ran down into the house to tell everyone so they could come up to the rooftop to see. Many of my team went up there at night to listen to worship songs, sing and pray.IMG_20170712_201914231

JACOB: Christian, the only other guy on our team, and I stood on the rooftop praying over the house, for the girls, and the mission trip. We still felt uneasy when we finished, so we stayed up to worship. While Christian let out cries of worship from the front edge, I felt called to the back corner of the roof. I didn’t know what for specifically, but I could feel something dark, something that didn’t belong there.

 “God,” I said, “thank you so much for this place of worship. This place of fellowship and community. Lord you have put something on my heart, you have made something very obvious. Christian and I feel we aren’t alone on this roof right now. I just want to declare your name. Jesus Christ is Lord. I ask that you cast out anything that is here with us and is not of you, for it has no dominion in your house, in this house.”

Suddenly, a tall, dark, muscular, evil, being was coming toward me. It had depth; it was there— in a spiritual sense, but also in a physical sense. It ran at Christian and I, pushing clothes Jacob funout of its way and ducking under the clothesline to get to us. The demon got right in my face, then  disappeared and reappeared on the rooftop of the home next to ours.

Christian and I looked at each other; our hair stood on end. “Did you see it?”

“No; but I felt it!” Christian said.

ABBY: We left the windows open, even when it rained. But still, the thick warm air hung heavy over us. The neighbor’s conversations, crying babies and barking dogs punctuated the night, keeping some of my teammates awake, but I fell asleep.

The Cabin Bar

ABBY: The next time we got the opportunity to stay or go, I went out with the other girls to a prayer walk by a cabin bar where the prostitutes work. It was the most intensely I’ve ever prayed in my life. We walked and prayed for about an hour before going inside.

Men came to the cabin bars to order a drink and a girl. Several rooms for this purpose encircled the dining area.

No one in the cabin bar spoke English, so while we waited for one of the women to come to our table, we prayed out loud. But we were careful not to say the names, God or Jesus, as our ministry leader had warned us not to, so the owners wouldn’t know our intentions.

Such darkness in the room, spiritually and physically.

Tear stained tender cheeks.

When cabin bar workers walked over to our table, the Nepali woman who works in the anti-human trafficking ministry translated for us. We told them we were tourists.

We ordered drinks and talked for awhile.

Her husband had left her. She had been there  about a week. She hated it. She wanted to leave.

That’s where I met Surita and her sweet baby.

We asked her questions about her life and what she wanted to do, her hopes and dreams. She had none.

If a woman seemed interested in escaping, we would ask her if she wanted to talk to us again. We hoped, if she trusted us enough, we could meet elsewhere and tell her about the women’s center, offer her a new life and introduce her to Jesus.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Motorcycles zipped by, a family of four on one, including a newborn. We dodged cows. Three wheeled busses careened across streets with unmarked lanes.IMG_20170712_083041376

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Slum Ministry & Discipleship

IMG_20170712_083515805ABBY: Some of the disciples from Brian’s discipleship training school, choose to minister in the slums to at risk children as their service before being sent out to start their own ministry. These young men are only 18-21 years old, but carry great responsibility.

So, our last week in Nepal, we went to one slum in the morning and another in the afternoon.

The children were down by the river playing  with rocks and sticks as trash floated by. One of the girls yelled something in Nepali and they all came running after us as we walked up the street. We played soccer with them first so hopefully they would sit still for us afterward.

The children sat on the hole studded floor of  the small, dark, cement building watching intently as we told Bible stories. On one of our last days, an older man from the slums wandered into the room and joined us playing a game called Indian Chief. Every time he lost, we made him do a dance in the middle of  our circle, just like the rest of us had to. It was one of my best days in the slums. He danced like one of the young Nepali women performing for the king.

FullSizeRender (1)We sang songs, and the children yelled them back to us in a language they didn’t fully understand and did the motions for them energetically. Their clothes never fit, they rarely had shoes and they smelled so horrible that when they came close you wanted to cover your face. But with their big beautiful smiles and them reaching out wanting to hug you— you couldn’t help but hold and love them, no matter what.

JACOB: ​Nepal is a country of deeply spiritual, hospitable, sweet, and loving people. This trip taught me to find a place in my heart to store compassion. It taught me that no matter what my circumstances are, there is always safe haven in the Lord. This was the first time I experienced the Holy Spirit overseas. It was the best month of my life. Jacob and little boy

I got closer to the team of seventeen people I served with than I ever could have imagined. They are some of my favorite people and will always be a part of my life. Every day I pray for Nepal, the people we impacted there, and for my team.

Absolutely the hardest thing about this trip was seeing our team members get sick, taken off the mission field and admitted to the hospital in the third and fourth weeks of the trip.

The most rewarding, was being able to pour into our ministry family. They were extraordinary. They sacrificed so much and insisted on serving us. Having the opportunity to serve them was incredible. I miss Brian and Ruth and their family very much.

IMG22794329ABBY: My favorite thing about this mission trip was helping our ministry hosts, Brian and Ruth and their family, and spending time the women and children they rescued.

It’s been a privilege to serve in this beautiful country.

JACOB: This spring I’m going on a mission trip to Peru for eight days and in the summer I’m hoping to go to Africa. I feel called to plant churches overseas.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Video, Come On, Won’t you Run Free? Nepal 2017, by teammate Miriam Meeks

And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:15 (NLT)

UP NEXT: It is my honor to interview and introduce you to Reverend Brian Williams and his wife Ruth of Agape Missions whose ministry Abby and Jacob served under on their mission trip to Nepal.

PART 1: #Disciple Maker~ A #Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in #Nepal “I am an Anglo-Indian… a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized…”

© 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

Brother’s Keeper

Are you your brother’s keeper, or a stumbling block, an instrument for his demise? Are you a light to show the way or an excuse for wrongdoing? Are you salt and light or a shadow for sin to hide in? Do you offer a hand up, or a step down?

Are you willing to become all things to all men so some may be won? Is one of those things you are willing to become, righteous? Are you willing to hold yourself to a higher standard for the sake of others— for the lost, or for your weaker brother?

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all edify. 1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brother’s and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 NLT

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

“Your compromise may become your children’s standard,” the preacher said.

If you don’t show your kids that you love your wife, you are telling them that you don’t. Every boy needs to know how to love a woman & your son is watching you to see how it’s done.The man your daughter will marry is greatly influenced by the one she sees in you. #TheFatherEffectBook    http://www.thefathereffect.com    @johnpfinch    #TheFatherEffect 

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. Mark 9:42 (NKJV)

Your kids are following you. It’s your choice where you lead them. -John Finch @johnpfinch    #TheFatherEffect    http://www.thefathereffect.com

Yes, we will each be held accountable for our actions, response to the Gospel, and our obedience to God. But we are still responsible for the influence we have on others. Let it be for good.

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please himself. Romans 15:1 NASB

“God, I fall so short! Change me. Jesus, help me to live in Your Light; to be the light. Amen.”

Lifesong, Casting Crowns:

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Let Them See You, JJ Weeks Band: 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (KJV)

© 2017  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart