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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

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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 that 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 they are 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

Pastor Appreciation, Halloween & The Reformation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month!

Don’t forget to show your pastors and their wives and families how much you appreciate them. But remember, it doesn’t have to be the designated month to show appreciation to your ministers and others in your life.

My pastor issued a challenge to our church this week to make a commitment to go out of our way to edify one another from now until the end of the year. He is hoping by then we will have developed a habit of it. I’m hoping you will consider accepting the challenge too.

For those who started following my blog less than a year ago, or any who wish to share my 2016 sixteen part series of interviews with pastors and wives from around the world, here are some excerpts and the links to a few of the posts.

Part 1:

What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?

It has cost me nothing yet everything. There is no price too great when serving the Lord.   -Pastor Wayne Shaffer,  New Life AG, Altoona PA

My will for the will of God.  -Pastor Patrick Jordan, The Door CFM,  Jamaica West Indies

What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today

People who like to wear the Christian badge, but that’s it. It’s part of their Facebook profile, but not part of their personal profile. They are not converted. -Pastor Chip Ganiear,  Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA

Continued at: Shepherd Princes & Sarah’s Daughters~ A Series of Interviews with Pastor & Pastors Wives from Around the World

Part 10 poems & link to post: What God Said

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rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_warrior

Part 14 rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_what-_if-jesus-_held-_you_to_the_standards

I felt like he could look right through me. I couldn’t stand him….  My pastor is not perfect; he’s just a man, as are all preachers. But he’s the man God provided to shepherd my soul….  I’m not speaking of blind following. Pastor worshipers don’t do well in their walk with God, because sooner or later they wake up and realize the god they created has failed them, or offended them and they derail as their reference was on the man and not the God the man represents. Likewise, those who are like a horse who shies from his groomer when his bridle is reached for, refusing to be led, don’t fare well…  Continued at: I Call Him Pastor

Part 16:

What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?

Tolerance. Christians should be discriminating. They should exercise sound judgment; not no judgment. -Anonymous

What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?

Cultural relativism,

Biblical illiteracy,

Prayerlessness,

Fat baby syndrome from so little exercise,

Lack of spiritual curiosity,

Gun shy evangelists. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA

If you could tell your church anything about yourself, your family, or anything else what would it be? What’s on your heart?

I love the LORD Jesus and He is my rock and salvation, that what you “feel” in your heart might not be what is real in God’s word, that truth conquers lies and light dispels darkness and there is no sin that cannot be overcome by grace. This I would tell them… and so much more. -Pastor Michael Duncan, Author, Speaker, Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA

Continued at: A Fire in My Bones

Highlights from Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives from Around The World 2016 (You may need to pause the video to give yourself more time to read some of these slides)

Please consider using any of the variety of social media or the email button below my posts to share this series with other pastors, pastor’s wives or your church. (Tag a pastor or pastor’s wife:)

 

Some of  my upcoming posts will feature interviews with ministers and their wives so they, and their stories can receive the understanding, encouragement and appreciation they need and deserve.

Halloween and the Reformation and Some Freebies

Did you know that the day known by many as Halloween is also Reformation Day? On October 31st 1517, a young Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther,  posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, challenging several Roman Catholic practices and doctrines. This year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of this event that sparked the Protestant Reformation.

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The movie,  Luther by Torchlighters, tells His story and includes a documentary on Luther and the history of the Reformation. It was made for families and recommended for ages 8 and up.

Pastor’s wife and writer Rachel Schmoyer is sharing her free #Halloween #gospel kids tract for you to distribute. You can access the PDF download here:  https://rachelschmoyerwrites.com/2017/10/06/trick-or-treat-gospel-tract/

Please feel free to print and distribute my handout for Halloween also. Here is the PDF for it: Scarier tract

Scarier

Do you know what’s scarier than Halloween? What’s scarier than ghosts, goblins, witches, and horror movies? Scarier than your worst day ever. Do you know what’s scarier than the recent tragic headlines?

It’s spending eternity separated from the God who loves you so much. He put on human flesh, was born, and lived, and gave His life on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)

Jesus was born to die so we could live. He rose victorious over Hell, so you don’t have to go there, so you can know Him, to offer you salvation and Heaven as your eternal home.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Do You Know Him? Do you want this?

Salvation is there for the asking. If you’re ready, you can pray like this:

“Jesus, I believe you shed your blood, died on the cross, and rose from the dead for me. I repent of my sin. I ask you to forgive me and come into my heart. Help me to live for you in Jesus’ name, amen.”

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

If you prayed, it is important that you find a church home that preaches the full gospel, so you can grow in your faith and have the fellowship and support of other believers. Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Christian_Fellowship_Ministeries_CFMThis site may be able to help you find one:      http://www.worldcfm.com/

You can also link to my page Redemption Center for more on salvation and to my post where I respond to the often asked question: How can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

Echoes (Nepal Mission Trip Report)

Yes! I’m almost finished with my Nepal article. It will be posted early this coming week.

I sent the following to a friend as I stayed up working on the Nepal article last night. Prayer is my therapy. Sometimes I pray on paper.

Bit by Bit

Tipity-tap, tipity-tap.

Bit by bit.

Just lay one word down.

Then another, and another.

Each builds upon the other.

Line on line.

I think I can, I think I can.

Help me, Jesus- Here goes.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Plinkity-plink.

Plink.

It’s 5am.

Tipity-tap, tipity-tap, tipity-tap… 🙂

Hey, writer, do you frequently pull late nights and all-nighters too?

To my friends who faithfully pray for me as I write—Thank you. I need you. I feel your prayers.

*Echoes (Nepal Mission Trip Report) will be posted this coming week.

© 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

Ramshackle Soul

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Ramshackle_Soul

The King has ransomed my ramshackle soul

I was lost and languishing

A wayward wanderer

He bought me and brought me in

I am adopted and adored

He turns my sorrow into song

My pain into praise

I know the heart healer-

He holds my hand

I know the mind mender

He makes broken into beautiful

The Prince of Peace

My Savior

He stills the storm and stirs my soul

My heart is the castle of my King.

*Nepal Mission Trip report coming soon! Thank you for your patience. ❤ 🙂   

 © 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  #TheFatherEffecthttp://ow.ly/7dk030ftW3T

“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://ow.ly/7dk030ftW3T

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:

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Consecrate

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

 

Diamonds

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Diamonds

You don’t have to like everything you create. Sometimes the purpose of creating is to minister to others or for someone else’s enjoyment. You just need to have a measure of peace with your work, know that you’ve given it your current best and keep learning; keep practicing. For example, I paint a little and have some pieces I don’t like, but the people who own them do, and that’s great— because the artwork was for them and I don’t have to look at it hanging on my wall.

To my fellow writer Brian who inspired this post, I say:

Brian, you have held on for too long to let go now. The lessons learned on the journey prepare us for our destination. Humans are by nature too self indulgent and lazy to spend as much time and tears on something, as you have on your writing, for the desire toward it to not have been set in your heart by your Maker. But talent is a seed and it must be cultivated. So get back to work! Much weeding often precedes reaping a good harvest.

Powerful writing isn’t achieved by merely composing words, but by the pouring out of a heart onto the page.

Write out of your passion

Write out of your pain

Write out of your trials

Write out of your triumphs

Write out of your hurt

Write out of your healing

Write what matters

Write what ministers

Let the scars of your story be heard by others. Doing so diffuses the enemy’s lies and our wounds become weapons of light. -Allen Arnold, The Story of With

The inclination to abandon unfinished work reminds me of those who habitually break up with the person they are dating,  just so they aren’t the one to get dumped. It’s their way of avoiding rejection, failure. They still lose. Sometimes in our efforts to self preserve we self sabotage.

It’s important that you not just write, but finish. Completing a project builds confidence, and confidence silences doubt. -David Corbett

It’s one thing to set something aside for awhile and work on another. It’s a different thing to abandon your work. Fleeing your duty doesn’t save you from failure.

Stopping at third adds no more to the score than striking out. -Babe Ruth

So, you fell down. Get up! The only real failure is quitting when you are called to carryFullSizeRender-001 on.

You will never know who your work will impact until you put it out there. But first you have to finish.

Natural diamonds take years to form as carbon encapsulated deep within the mantle of the earth is subjected to intense pressure and heat. Something of greater value is created than it’s original state by going through time and process.

Pressure

Life will steamroll you if you let it with the day to day dramas. But as the preacher said,  don’t let the urgent distract you from the important. You will have to make time for what is most important in your life; you will never find it. My priorities are, God, family, and the tasks which fulfill my calling.

Heat

Fire forges; fire purifies.

Elements introduced in the process of a diamond’s formation can also affect its color and clarity. So too trials color our lives. According to my gemologist friend, Robert, the whitest diamonds are found in greatest abundance in Russian mines due to the effect of the extreme cold of the earth’s surface there.

Cold

In those times when I can’t see where I’m  going and I don’t feel like carrying on, I cannot allow my emotions or lack thereof to govern me. My faith in God, His Word and calling for my life lead me. I fulfill  my part by doing the work I know to. I just start and lay one word down on the page, and then another, and another… Sometimes the power is in the going.

Editing is like mining. Like Kimberlite, the volcanic rock, which transports diamonds from deep within the earth to the surface, everything that fires your inspiration is not going to stay. Some of it is just to get your words on the page. Then the mining, cutting and polishing begins.

We too must leave our original sinful state and go through process, if we are to be transformed and into a  new creation- a precious son or daughter of the King of Kings. We are His treasure.  

Time

It takes time to form a diamond. It takes time to form character. And it takes time to form a writer. It took more than two years to cut and polish the Centenary Diamond. The skilled diamond cutter reveals the brilliance of the gem.The better the cut, the brighter the diamond.

Do you want your work to sparkle? Do you want to be the real deal, to reflect the brilliant light of Christ? It’s going to take time and process, becoming transparent and having a teachable spirit. You must yield to the Master’s cut.

I want to be polished and perfected, faceted into His perfect plan.


Writing starts deep in the heart and soul. For me it starts with time spent with God. I cannot write without Him.

With God, the priority is always presence over performance, intimacy over independence. -Allen Arnold, The Story of With

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NKJV)

Jesus is my breath. I pray through every piece I write. I write with Him.

I realize that if I can accomplish something purely in my own strength, those dreams are way too small. Allen Arnold, The Story of With

It’s often a terrible spiritual battle as I write. Doubt and fear hound me, I battle oppression, discouragement, depression and exhaustion. Sometimes the battle is from within; I can be my own worst enemy. But often it is from without.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Writers of truth are a threat to Hell, so we should expect assaults. We need to put on our full armor- be battle ready word warriors and continue to pray for one another.

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

“God,” I said, “why is this so hard?”

“How else will you be able to minister to others if I don’t take you through here?”

Life is demanding; it has a way of taking mad turns. But all our struggles and failures provide opportunity for God to grow us and bring a turnaround. They enable us to encourage others on their journey.  If everything came fast and easy, I’d probably think it was my doing— I couldn’t empathize with others, or learn to lean on God and His approval.  

Much of my inspiration comes from my pain, struggles and failure and my desire to help others. I take my assignments from the needs around me and my God above me. I can invite Jesus into my inadequacies, all my inabilities, for He is my enabler. Jesus meets me in my mess and He is enough. I press through. Sometimes I must write through the darkness and into the light. There comes a point when it’s like the dawn and the fog lifts and God’s presence falls and there is joy.

I know I am small. I have much to learn. But I’m not depending on myself. I’m depending on Christ. Christ is my qualifier and He has a way of making much out of little when we give ourselves to Him. He is faithful, so I hold on, carry on, and write on, for His glory.

“Here’s my pen, Lord.”

*I take full responsibility for all flaws in myself and in this article. I’m undergoing time and process. Blessed to write for my God; privileged to sit under the mentor-ship of author Jerry B Jenkins as part of his writers guild.

**Special Thanks:

The Gemological Institute of America

LAM Goldsmiths

Maeve

Robert, my gemologist friend, also known as, “my gardener friend.”

© 2017  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Common Sense

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Common_SenseI got my first “hater,” response to one of my articles a few weeks ago on Twitter. Lol! Sigh.

Of course I seek to present truth with grace and pursue peace with all men as I share the Gospel through my writing. To paraphrase several authors though, everyone can’t love you; you have to have some haters too or you must not be really saying anything, believe anything or be making a stand for anything.

If you create work that matters and share it, you will attract critics. – Bryan Hutchinson

We should always look for ways in which critics can help us grow. We should always humble ourselves and listen to voices of disagreement.

The reality is this: You are not in this creativity business to make everybody happy. That’s impossible. What you’re called to do is say something worth disagreeing with, to change the world — in some small way — with your words. If you’re doing that, you’re on the right track. – Jeff Goins

Like rejections, a few “haters,” are part of the process, the road to successful writing and to having a positive impact.

 So, congratulations are in order! Here’s my first one:

  “It would be a lot more efficient to get your religious b.s. out of politics so we can make common sense laws instead of religious ones.” -Nicholas Corey, @flipsidernick2

I choose to instead heed counsel such as this:

So go say something awesome, something worthy of criticism. And if it does get flamed, thank God someone’s listening. -Jeff Goins

Bryan also says to write what scares the _ _ _ _ out of you.

Okay.

Hmm… Speaking of common sense laws- imagine the empty prisons, what a nicer world this would be, if we all endeavored to follow religious laws like:

-Honor your father and mother

-Don’t commit adultery

-Don’t covet, steal, murder…

 Hey! Those religious laws sure sound like common sense to me!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. Psalms 33:12 (NKJV)

 Remember this, America?

The United States of America’s Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Mark 3:24 (NKJV)

Come together America; Get it together.

But we cannot secure lasting peace as a nation whilst we wage war against the counsel of the Almighty.

My depiction of Uncle Sam represents different races because the racial tensions in our nation greatly grieve me. The schism in our nation, between fellow citizens and in our government also saddens me. Hence, I have shown Uncle sam with two skin colors and eyes of different color and his jacket is split in half, one color on each side representing our two main political parties.

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their per-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,” Acts 17:26 (NKJV)

Some need to speak up against racism. Others need to quit fanning the flames of the racial divide.

God will hold us accountable for our words, or our lack thereof.

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36 (NKJV)

The moral regression, the voracity of some who wish to squelch our hard won freedoms, and the apathy of others in these matters is of concern. By the grace of God, I will stand for righteousness, hold fast to our freedoms, our Godly heritage, and to the Gospel mandate.

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Matthew 12:30 (NKJV)

And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Luke 7:23 (NKJV)

I’ve had a few things simmering on the back burner for awhile now, including the above painting. Thanks for the nudge, Mr. Corey. God bless you. I’m praying for you.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

To be continued.

© 2017 Rachael M Colby       Tattoo It On your Heart