If My People… New England Night of Prayer ~Pt. 1 of a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives in Honor of Pastor Appreciation Month 2018

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Pastor Winslow, I interviewed you and your wife, Suzanne, as part of my series of interviews with Pastors and Pastor’s Wives for  Pastor Appreciation Month two years ago.You were missionaries to Mexico for 27 years and pioneered and planted churches there. Can you please bring us up to date on the church in Mexico what you’re doing currently?

Continue reading “If My People… New England Night of Prayer ~Pt. 1 of a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives in Honor of Pastor Appreciation Month 2018”

Herald

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Spring

The earth stirs from slumber

As winter’s white blanket slowly slips from her

The Maker calls

And she thrusts her soft green carpet

Through the moist, dark, soil

Trees fling forth new growth

Leaves unfurl, clothing bare branches

They bow in gratitude to The Master

 

Reeds dance and wave in gentle breezes

Reflections of sunlight on morning dew

Teardrop shaped

Diamonds, pearls

And rainbows

 

The birds sing out their sweet serenade

A song of praise to God for all to hear

Daffodils burst from their hiding places

And turn trumpet like faces to the sun

 

Lilacs stretch—

And reach for the sky

Their fragrant blossoms fill the air

Shout!

Spring is here

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Purple_Lilac_Herald

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Psalms 19:1 (HCSB)

But ask the animals, and they will instruct you; ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you; let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10 (HCSB)    

Letter to a Skeptic

Dear heart,

You seem to have a lot of emotion toward a God whom you say doesn’t exist and to those who know him. I wonder what led you to embrace unbelief? What wound, what pain, what disappointment have you laid the blame of on The Creator, the heart healer, the giver of and meaning to life? Sin and Satan are our enemies—Jesus is a good God.

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His ear is inclined to our cry. The Bible says God saves our tears in a bottle and one day He will wipe them all away for those who follow Him into eternity.

You call Him a fairy tale. But I know Him. He is more real to me than all the here and now you can touch and see. It is only logical that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the incomprehensible majesty, the lofty thoughts and mighty ways of our fathomless, infinite God.

He is higher than happiness; He transcends and brings purpose to pain. Jesus gives joy in the journey. He is my comfort, my sure and steady reference, my passion, my God. He is all encompassing goodness and grace. He is my hope, my help, my redeemer, my beloved.

Click black box below or here for reading of He is Risen, by Rachael M Colby 

aaron-burden-642437-unsplashYou compared faith in God to a child believing in Santa Claus. Well, in the story of Santa Claus, He comes to bring gifts to the good children. But Truth is, Jesus comes and gifts Himself to us. He gives the gift of His presence to wayward children lost in the depravity of sin and senselessness. He finds us and lifts us from the poverty and destitution of our sin and bestows us with the riches of His grace. He cleanses us and clothes us in His righteousness.

I cannot make you believe. 

The Bible says all creation praises The Lord and is a testament to Him

Man is the only one who is hard of hearing and blind to what is before him

Wake up! Open your eyes and see

Listen, He’s calling your name

He loves you.

He is not made for us, but us for Him.

The all powerful, omnipotent God

Scooped up a handful of dust

Breathed into it, and made humanity

He made us for Himself, so we could know Him.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

Click for Movie Trailer: The Case for Christ

The true story of Lee Strobel, an avowed atheist,  journalist, and an award winning legal editor with the Chicago Tribune. Lee embarks on a quest to disprove the claims of Christianity, but instead his investigation reveals unexpected discoveries which could radically change his world.

Click arrow below twice to play Lee Strobel’s video on Twitter about his new book, The Case for Miracles or click HERE

Click for: There is a God, Carman, (Official music video)

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  Romans 1:20 (HCSB)

More Apologetics Resources for Seekers, Followers, Writers—and Skeptics too 😉

Lee Strobel on YouTube

Cold Case Christianity, with J. Warner Wallace

Sean McDowell- Bringing Truth to a New Generation

Stand to Reason  “Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.”

The Real-Life Miracle That Absolutely Shocked Lee Strobel

CrossExamined.Org

Colson Fellows, A Powerful Nine-Month Entrepreneurial Discipleship Training Program for Christian Worldview in Action

New York Apologetics

Devotional Series: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – EARS, By Phyllis Clark Nichols

Devotional Series: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Eyes, By Phyllis Clark Nichols

Join the Conversation at #HealthyFaith Chat on Twitter for a lively, challenging and inspiring Q&A time on Biblical topics and how they relate to culture and our lives

How to Participate: All Welcome whether you are familiar with the books and resources or not. I lead the chats Mondays and Saturday’s about once a month. Type #HealthyFaith in the search bar at top right, then chose “Latest” at top left corner to see conversations in the chat thread in chronological order. *Make sure to include #HealthyFaith in all your comments so participants can see them.

Special Thanks

Phelix Estinvil of Mastermind Marketing, (mastermindmg.net) Audio file creation

Waterfall painting by Ariel Maria Aaltonen (Colby)

aaron-burden-235761-unsplash  aaron-burden-642437-unsplashPhotos by Aaron Burden on Unsplash 

Dear reader,

If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 4 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉

*If you haven’t yet read my Billy Graham post, here is the link to: What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

God bless you and thank you for reading.

© 2008, 2017, 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

BGEAinK.C.04-56Journal entry, January 16th, 2018

I’m not one to put people on pedestals. Even as a teenager I never had posters of celebrities on my walls. I guess fame in of itself does not impress me and I see people as just people—flesh and blood. I see the polls online asking if you could meet or spend time with any of the people they list, who would you choose. Their  lists are comprised of several Bible characters, great classic Christian authors, or other historic heroic leaders who have since died. It’s always a tough, if not impossible choice. But my heart says the one I most want to meet is not on their lists and we are blessed that God has graced us with still having my choice among us—Rev. Billy Graham.

It is one of my dreams to meet Billy Graham, but I fear I would be wasting his time as the only thing I’d probably be able to say is thank you. But maybe that’s appropriate when you are in the presence of greatness like his. Perhaps it not so much a time to talk, but a time to listen if he graced me with some of his wisdom—content to sit with him for a moment and just be—just enjoy being in the company of Billy and Jesus. When someone is as close to Jesus as Billy is, you can be sure when you are in his presence you are in Jesus’ presence too, and Jesus said, “Where two or three or gathered in my name there I am in their midst.” 

                   Journal entry, February 21st, 2018

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The day I’ve feared for so long has come and the world is a little darker for it. I cried today. I cried for me, I cried for you. I cried for the world for our great loss. But I did not cry for Billy. On this sad but jubilant day I’m sorry for myself and the world, but rejoicing for Billy as he is welcomed home by his Savior whom he so faithfully loved, served, and proclaimed.

Billy Graham was raised on his parent’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Great Depression. He gave his life to Christ just shy of his sixteenth birthday. He preached on six continents in 84 countries. He prayed withBilly_2 and gave spiritual counsel to our presidents and leaders worldwide. Through his crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies he preached to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries and touched millions more lives via television, radio, film, internet, and through his books. Billy reached out to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the least in society and God granted him audience before rulers. He was humble so God raised him to honor.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV

VIDEO: Billy Graham: One Man. One Purpose. One Message. A photo tribute journey through the life of Billy Graham.

This is the inscription on Billy Graham’s grave marker:

Billy Graham November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018

 Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ

John 14:16

That’s it—for the man who was the greatest evangelist in history.

Billy and his beloved wife, Ruth, were both buried in caskets made by inmates of the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. That man is determined to continue preaching to us, even from his grave.

VIDEO: Making Billy Graham’s Casket

Billy Graham was greatness wrapped in humility, which is what real greatness looks like. Like Jesus.

The same man known for his graciousness and humility is also known for his righteous passion. Like Jesus toppling the tables in the temple, Billy wasn’t afraid to fly in the face of cultural norms and injustices such as communism, apartheid, and segregation. He ripped down the ropes segregating blacks from whites thus hosting the first truly integrated revival meetings, and was friend and co-laborer with Martin Luther King jr. .

The deepest problems of the human race are spiritual in nature…The problem is the human heart, which God alone can change. —Billy Graham

Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Click here to watch the rest of: Taking Down the Ropes of Segregation

Billy was a cup of comfort and a nod to can-do in a harsh and discouraging world.

A journalist once set out to investigate Billy, but found nothing to discredit him. The journalist’s conclusion about Billy Graham was, “He is a man without shadows.”

Nevertheless, judging by a few articles and social media posts I’ve read, some have formed opinions about Billy based on parts of stories about him rather than the whole, the beginning, rather than the conclusion of a matter. Billy wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes, but he admitted his shortcomings and made amends. He kept himself accountable.

Christian means Christ follower. Those who make Jesus their Lord and are governed by His Word, the Bible, will sometimes find themselves on the opposite side of issues than secular culture. God sets boundaries because He loves us and for our good. He is the definer of morality. But know this, though our beliefs differ from some, that does not mean we disdain or wish ill on those who chose to use their free will to live otherwise. It distresses me that some don’t understand it’s possible to disagree with people and still love them. Because we love people, we cannot support behavior we believe harmful to them. Because we love God we strive to be faithful to His Word and will for our lives. Christians are just sinners saved by the Savior’s grace, trying to share Jesus, the author of and answer to life. 

Billy hated sin and how it destroys lives, but he loved people. Jesus hates sin, but He loves the sinner. He gave His life for us. 

“If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this—God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.” —Billy Graham

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.”

Jesus said, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

Billy was faithful.

He was the salute to my Sunday mornings when I was a little girl.

I was raised in Jamaica by my grandparents until I was nine years old. On Sunday mornings I’d run into their room, jump onto their bed and curl up at the foot of it. Grandpa would reach for the knob on the old wooden radio that sat atop his dresser and with a twist and a click, it burst to life with— “This is Billy Graham coming to you live…” and George Beverly Shea singing, How Great Thou Art, and we’d listen to Billy preach before we went to church.

George Beverly Shea, How Great Thou Art, 1969

I vowed  growing up that I wouldn’t fall into the same pit some of my loved ones fell into. I didn’t want to repeat their mistakes, but as hard as I tried to climb that mountain it was like a landslide under me. At 20 years old my life was in shambles and as I stood weeping I heard the words recorded in the Bible that Job’s wife had spoken to him, “Curse God and die!” It wasn’t the first time suicide had knocked on my door. I fell to my knees. “No!” I said. “God I’m not going to curse You. I still believe in You. Help me.”

Later, I found a Billy Graham Decision Magazine in my mailbox and I remembered Billy’s preaching when I was a little girl and how it comforted me. The address label indicated the magazine owner lived on the other side of the complex. “Hello,” I said. “I have your Billy Graham magazine. But I’d like to read it for a minute before I give it to you, if you don’t mind.”  He chuckled and we arranged a time to meet by the pool which separated our buildings, but I never showed up. I was so caught up reading, his knock startled me. I opened the door to meet the gentle smile of Rev. George Horton, a Baptist minister.

Billy was a stepping stone on my road to salvation. He was someone sure in a shaky world because he stood on the Rock, the foundation of all eternity.

I just wanted to say thank you for showing us what grace looks like, what faithfulness, righteousness and humility looks like.

IMG_2408Billy Graham was a light in the dark, a night light of sorts. A steady reference, a clarion call in the midst of an unsteady world of shifting sands. He was faithful to God and faithful to his call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now he has received his reward. The dawn of a new morning has broken on Heaven’s horizon for Billy Graham.

Our life is a vapor—shorter for some than others. I have a question for you. When you step out of this world and into eternity will you find yourself at Heaven’s or Hell’s gates? Is there eternal life or eternal night waiting on the other side for you? The choice is yours. God longs for you. 

They say you should use scripture sparingly when you write. But the Word of God is alive and powerful and able to accomplish way more than any words I could ever write. 

“I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with authority, quoting the very Word of God—He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart.” —Billy Graham

All your goodness won’t get you to Heaven. Jesus said our our righteousness is as filthy rags.

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

Short is short. We all miss the mark.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. John 8:34 (NKJV)

But no matter your sin, it’s not enough to keep God from loving you. He wants to give you a new life, destiny, peace and joy.

IMG_2409For 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 did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 (NKJV)

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6 (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)

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeedJohn 8:36 (NKJV)

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 (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)

Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (NKJV)

“You ask, ‘What is repentance?’ Repentance means that you say to God, ‘I am a sinner, I’m sorry for my sins, I’m willing to turn from my sins. But Lord, You have to help me to turn. I’ve tried so many times to give up things I know that are wrong, and I just can’t do it.’

Then, by faith, receive Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Open your heart and say, “Yes, lord Jesus, Come in. I’m ready to follow you.'” —Billy Graham

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)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)

VIDEO: 1957 Billy Graham How to live the Christian Life 

A Prayer of Commitment

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In your name. Amen.”  — BillyGraham.org/Commitment

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Click here if you need a church home.

If you are committing your life to Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association would like to know, and so would I. You may send me an email via the Contact by Email box or leave a reply in the Comment box at the end of this post.

You may contact the Billy Graham Evangelical Association here:              1-877-2GRAHAM/ 1-877-247-2426                                                        BillyGraham.org/Commitment

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“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” -Billy Graham

Yes, Billy. This world is not my home. It’s just the road to where I’m going. Heaven is my home, and Jesus is my prize.

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. Psalms 116:15 (NKJV)

Well done, thou good and faithful servant. 

I’ll see you on the other side, Billy.

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

An Invitation from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE

More Videos and Links to Resources

Billy Graham’s, Steps to Peace With God

Blog post by author Jerry Jenkins who helped Billy write his autobiography, Just as I am Precious Memories: Billy Graham 1918-2018

Remembering Billy Graham Special- The Tami Jackson Show with Jerry Jenkins

Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham

Billy Graham A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist, Terry Whalin

Books by Billy Graham

In His Own Words: Billy Graham Talks About Heaven

Touching Moments from Billy Graham’s Funeral Service


Billy Graham: A Life Remembered – Billy Graham TV Special

Billy Graham’s 99th Birthday: Notable Reflections

A Tribute to Billy Graham, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Billy Graham Audio Archives: Over 1,600 Sermons spanning over 60 years of ministry

https://billygraham.org/tv-and-radio/radio/audio-archives/

Billy Graham Educational Resources (Lesson plans for elementary school through high school.)

Notable Reflections

https://memorial.billygraham.org/notable-reflections/

The chain reaction of influence and conversions of men who became preachers and leading to Billy Graham’s conversion (Toward end of post.)

Christianity Today magazine, founded by Billy Graham: April 2018 issue, Billy Graham 1981-2018

Decision magazine (Founded by Billy Graham)

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association https://billygraham.org/

An Invitation from The Billy graham Evangelistic Association: 

“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE.

Gift

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_OnYour_Heart_GiftIn all your giving and getting don’t forget The Gift. Sometimes it feels like I’m just running ahead to the next thing without ever being really present in the present, and the urgent and the flashy, crowds out the important that’s right in front of me.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. They sought shelter but there was no room in the inn. Jesus wants to shelter in your heart. Is there room within?

Are you too busy to be blessed this Christmas? You can be lonely or lost  in a crowd. Maybe that something you’re looking for is Someone—the Someone called Jesus and the gift of Himself,  His comfort, His peace.

The name “Jesus” means salvation. There is power in His name.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

He is also called: Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Emmanuel, The Word, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Alpha and Omega, Author and Finisher of our faith, the Resurrection and the Life… His names state His purpose, His plan, and who He is. Savior is the name that redeems us.

I think my favorite name of Jesus is the one that meets me where I am at the time.

Emmanuel means God with us, because Jesus is God incarnate—God in the flesh. He is with us when we become born again. He said he would never leave us or forsake us.

Link to: Noel, by Todd Smith of Selah

God donned human flesh and subjected himself to the human experience. He was born to die so we could live. He endured temptation without sin and defeated sin and death to offer us salvation.

The incarnation proves God’s love for us is such that He walked among us to win us to Himself.

Holy left Heaven and inhabited humanity.

He was willing to go to the extreme to redeem.

It is impossible to save ourselves. If it were possible, Christ wouldn’t have needed to die for us. The only payment for the penalty of sin is a sinless sacrifice. We all fall short. Only Jesus is sinless and therefore able to save. His mercies are new every morning when we stumble.

He is the Way and the way maker.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

You see, when God steps in, the impossible becomes possible. Jesus in us overcomes sin and births new life— new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit who conceived Christ and raised Him from the dead, resides in us—that same power. Amazing.

Most kings stay in their comfortable palaces and have little to do with the lowly. Kings are usually served, not servants. Jesus, the King of kings, traded his crown for the cross. He stepped out of Heaven and into humanity to serve and offer salvation to all—from mighty rulers to the humblest of citizens

Link to: Chris Tomlin – Noel (Live) ft. Lauren Daigle

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9  

God chooses the humble for He is Humble. Those who have little, and are not distracted by the fool’s gold of affluence and self-sufficiency are often more aware of their need and open to God.

He gives grace to the humble.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty I Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)

God goes where others hesitate or refuse to go.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and The Lamb of God. His birth was first announced to shepherds

Link to: A Charlie Brown Christmas – True Meaning

I wonder if Mary and Joseph heard the angel’s proclamation to the shepherds?

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“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” John‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬ ‬‬

Jesus is the Light of the World who shines in darkness and brings hope for humanity.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)

“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” John‬ ‭10:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

‬‬Do you know Him?

Holy became lowly, humility donned humanity and gave Himself to us. What a gift— God, the gift giver, became the Gift and gave Himself.

““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John‬ ‭10:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I have no gift to bring, Pa-rup-a-pum-pum. Do you know, the only things we can actually give Jesus are bad and broken things? We can give Him our anger, our hurt, our bitterness, our broken  hearts, broken promises, broken lives and dreams, our sin.

Any good things, any abilities I have to offer are gifts from God. The only good in me, is Jesus working in and through me.

All I am really offering when I do anything of value, is giving back to God what is already His which He graced me with.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalms 51:17 (NLT)

I want you God. And You want me. Miracle.

Here I am, Lord; send me. Here’s my heart, Lord; use me.

Give me words to praise You. Words to lead others into Your presence.

Help me to minister to others as You will me to, Lord, and trust You to meet my needs.

I will cast my cares at the foot of the cross, in the hands of my Creator. You can too.

Link to: TobyMac – O Come, All Ye Faithful (Audio)

Oh great glory and grace

Light dispels darkness

When a sinner meets the Savior

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Jesus loves you and He wants you too.

I want to know you more, God. All I want for Christmas and every day, is more of  you, Jesus.

Will you give yourself to Him and to others so they can know Him?

Go there, He says. Go to them and bring Me to them. Be My hands and feet and show them My heart, Jesus says.

Do you want the Gift of Him?

God will make much out of little when we give ourselves to Him and His work. He gets the glory that way. 

Jesus is the Gift. Go Tell it on the Mountain. Link to: Go Tell It On The Mountain, performed by Victory Chapel, Chicopee MA

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and new year from our house to yours.

Tattoo_it-on_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Jesus-God's_Gift_To_you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 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