I was waiting for perfect, but it never showed up. So I decided I’d better start the journey without it. I thought I needed to be the perfect Christian, wife, mom, have the perfect family, and coin the perfect phrases. Then I’d have something to say. Then God could use my writing. I mean, who am I?
Some words get thrown around like confetti in January— “Happy New Year! What’s your New Year’s resolution?”
But what about when it’s not happy? What about when you don’t know which way is up, and what if you can’t see any resolution for issues in your life, much less make a resolution? While some began the new year with fireworks and hope, others look out on the future through the fog of uncertainty. What then? Continue reading “Now (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)”
What kind of challenges do you face raising preacher’s kids?
It’s hard to remember that they are kids and they are not as far along in their spiritual growth a I am. I need to take the time to train them in the Lord at home intentionally and prayerfully. —Rachel Schmoyer
Having people understand that salvation is personal and individual. And people don’t look at our kids as normal kids. So we have to navigate our children and encourage them on a different scale because they face different challenges than other kids. —Pastor Pablo Catala
Being criticized by others for your kids not being perfect, and having your own feelings of frustration for your kids not being perfect. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
The expectations put on my children to behave and act a certain way by people in the church was quite a burden to me—honestly one of the hardest things for me to face entering the ministry. Leaving a home church where my kids had family to love on them for who they were and not expect them to act like angels but allowed them to be kids—to a church where adults would yell at them or try to correct them, even if I was right there and had a situation under control, was a total shock. The church we took over pastoring had no small children for quite a while before we came, so they were not used to children being children. I learned to talk to women privately, and my husband to the men, and we explained that our children were our responsibility and that we were accountable to God for how we raised them. That they did not need that burden on themselves, and God will not hold them responsible for our children.
Over time this became much better and as new converts and their children began attending, the church learned to have more grace and realized our kids were actually quite well behaved. I also would like to say that people’s expectations do not mean a pastor or pastor’s wife, or any parent for that matter, need to change to please people’s expectations, but aim to please God. We will give an account to God, not men. Having a little grace toward all the children in the church and treating them the same regardless of their parent’s position would help pastor’s kids to not be resentful later on in life toward the ministry or people. —Anonymous, Missionaries to Kathmandu, Nepal
People expect perfection and have no idea the price that preacher’s kids pay—sharing their parents, their homes, their lives, with the people of the church. They feel they must follow in their parents footsteps and find it hard to be individuals. To be unique. To think independently. People expect them to be clones and to mimic the “party line!” Ha! Oh I could tell you stories . . . —Janet Foley
A Preacher’s Kid Speaks~Pastor John Foley
What was it like being raised as the preacher’s kid, (PK)? What are some the pros and cons?
Pastor John Foley: I was into it. I liked knowing my dad/parents and our family were doing something important with our lives. I enjoyed getting to meet all the pastors and speakers. They were always pretty fascinating people.
“Hi Pastor Obermeyer. Would you like to unwrap these statements of yours a bit, which you gave in answer to my questions? Here, Preacher; the floor, or rather, the pulpit is yours! If you wish to take it—go!”
“Okay, rolling up my sleeves, lol.”
Rachael: What most breaks your heart? What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer: The condition of the church these days, which gets so caught up with the world and then wonders why it isn’t being effective. Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.
What I mean is that I see many worldly philosophies and practices actively being taught in the church by ignorant and immature Christians. Spiritual immaturity is rampant, as is Biblical illiteracy. I hear more people offering their logic and opinions than actual Scripture verses. I hear Christians talk about “centering,” themselves, not realizing they are really talking about centering their “chi,” or life energy, which is a complete Eastern thought about how our life energy vibrates out of balance and needs to be re-centered.
Even yoga is designed for this, each position centering and balancing a different part of the chi; and yet we find “Christian yoga,” which is kind of a contradiction in terms, being led in some churches. I hear Christians talk about karma—good and bad karma and how karma is going to, “get that person.” This is horrible. Karma is not the same thing as the Biblical teaching of reaping what you sow despite its popular use even among Christians. Karma is a cosmic force, energy, or presence generated by the sum of a person’s actions, good and bad, which affects the nature of a person’s existence and determines their destiny or fate through transmigration into their next incarnation. That’s a mouthful, but it’s even more than that. It’s also one of the three margas, or paths to Brahman or salvation taught in Hinduism, being the path through works.
All of this comes from paganism and mythology and is completely contrary to Scripture, which teaches against reincarnation and salvation by works. It also puts our trust for justice and vengeance in something besides a merciful God and bypasses mercy altogether. Sadly, so many people today think they get into Heaven by doing enough good things to outweigh the bad, which is why many people struggle with the security of their own salvation in Christ.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that notof yourselves; it is the giftofGod, not of works, lest anyone should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
Karma completely undermines the finished work of Christ on the cross and the hope we have in Him. It puts all the responsibility on us and our own abilities to save ourselves, which is an impossible task. And it isn’t enough just to say you don’t use the word, karma, that way but mean something else, like good or bad luck, (also pagan). The Bible is clear that it is what it is regardless of how you use it (c.f 1 Corinthians 10:19-21). And if that isn’t clear enough, Paul specifically writes that we are to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The Bible is replete with passages, (Old and New Testament), telling God’s people not to be like the pagans and not to do what they do, especially in dance, worship, and lifestyle. We are to be different, set apart, holy. That’s something I think a lot of Christians overlook but really should investigate. Both Paul and Christ warn even further against causing others to stumble in their faith by one’s own misleading actions.
People offer their thoughts and positive energy along with their prayers; again Eastern thought. And they confuse Eastern and New Age meditation, (emptying your mind and thoughts), with Biblical meditation, (filling your mind and thoughts with Scripture and Godly reflection). Christ warns that an empty “house” is vulnerable to being filled with demons, (Matthew 12:44-45). We think if we call it, “mindfulness,” then it’s not the same thing as Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age thought; whatever you want to call it, it isn’t Biblical.
I see churches and pastors getting distracted and becoming more concerned about looks and feels and making sure people are entertained rather than about teaching solid truth and deep faith. We sure get fired up about political and social issues, and we’ve got to look fly in front of people to keep up with the world, while the meat of God’s Word for daily living, spiritual growth, furthering of God’s Kingdom, and changing that world can just take a backseat—as if we don’t truly believe in it’s Power. I hear more motivational speaking than preaching, and those are not the same thing. Sadly, the church is sick and is presenting a shallow Gospel, and then we wonder why so many people, especially young people, question and abandon their faith. They’ve been given a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9) with no saving power. Their need isn’t satisfied. Their faith doesn’t take root because their faith hasn’t been placed in the true Solid Rock of Christ, but sinking sand.
Rachael: If you could tell the Church anything, what would it be? What’s on your heart?
This comes at the expense of a broken heart. —Pastor Pablo Catala
Physical and emotional stress; personal time and freedom; often any sense of security because things change so much in your life; and struggles with self-worth as you are constantly being evaluated, of which you mostly only hear about your shortcomings. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
As a missionary it has cost convenience, comfort, seeing family… but the promised reward of souls far outweigh the costs. —Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal
What is the hardest part of pastoring?
Seeing what people need to do and watching them not do it, no matter how I present it or how I word it, no matter how much time I spent with them and then having to hear the lament of,“Pastor, you were right,” which does not comfort me as I’m seeing the carnage of their bad decisions. —Anonymous Pastor Expecting to be loved, understood, maybe even appreciated? They have no idea how needy we are. —Anonymous Pastor’s Wife
Sometimes your own children reject everything you’ve lived for and still you must keep going. —Anonymous
Realizing how much you don’t know, and feeling like you never do enough, aren’t good enough, or that you might misspeak something heretical. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
What is your biggest challenge and most unexpected hardship in pastoring?
I guess my passion for the church gets me in trouble. —Janet Foley
“And I look around at all these wives and mamas who got. It. Down. Seriously, I’m surrounded by women who don’t just impress me. They terrify me with their apparent perfection,” said my friend, Rebekah.
“Beauty is being real—and letting Jesus do His thing. He’s the master builder, we’re His work in progress. Building sites and renovations and restorations are noisy and messy.
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
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 with 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
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.
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.
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.
Billy 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.
“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)
“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
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.
“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.
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
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.
His question hit me like a bucket of ice water, and it wasn’t even the subject of his blog post. The job of the preacher is to preach the Gospel, to speak truth and make us uncomfortable with complacency, with less than what God wants for us—uncomfortable in our sin. And so he did.
What a profound, thought provoking, convicting, question Pastor, but it’s too long of a list for a blog post. That’s a good question for us all to ask ourselves at the onset of the new year—or perhaps everyday.
My good friend Sue, prays, “ Lord put your arm around my shoulder and your hand across my mouth.” She’s a Proverbs 31 woman
Circumstance will circumvent your plans if you are not intentional with your time:
Time spent in God’s Word and presence
Time with your family
Time developing your skill to fulfill your calling.
Let God define you.
Make priority a priority, or it probably won’t get done. Don’t let the urgent distract you from the important, as the preacher said.
Don’t allow the demons of One-More-Thing, Procrastination, Fear, Discouragement, or procrastination to derail you from what God called you to. Sometimes later doesn’t come, and too late or missed opportunity shows up instead. But if that happens, take heart; Jesus loves you anyway and meets you where you are. Nothing we do or don’t do takes Him by surprise. So, look up, get up and carry on—follow Him. He has a plan.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
Becoming a better person is more important than doing great things. People who strive to be better end up doing great things.
We all fall short but Jesus is the difference maker. His mercies are new every morning. He supplies all our needs when we supply ourselves to him. Not just our physical needs, but our spiritual needs. He can turn our vices into victories, our failures into triumphs—even a ministry to others.
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)
Oh, and I’ll talk about the actual subject of Pastor Payte’s article another time. 🙂
I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.
*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:
I believe Christians ought to be able to consider another’s view, amicably agree to disagree on some things, and still appreciate each other.
I don’t believe in just tossing relationships because of disagreements, nor only having discussions with those we agree with. There is a give and take in relationship and it should be especially so in the Church.
Sometimes we will be right, and sometimes wrong.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.Ephesians 2:2-4 NLT
Some things we won’t know for sure until we get to Heaven. What’s crucial and clear is that we adhere to the Bible’s instructions which dictate the road to salvation and share those with the lost and dying world.
Some issues are worthy of debate, and some aren’t. But even when they are, scripture admonishes us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.
All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.1 Corinthians 10:23 (NASB)
If we do speak, let this govern us:
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Regardless, we don’t need to take it as a personal assault or be offended because others have a different view. Neither should we be offensive.
But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 2 Timothy 2:16 (HCSB)
“Do you just want to be right, or do you want to be effective?” -Pastor Artie Aragon
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
Someone’s passionate adherence to their belief is not necessarily a persecution of another’s. If our heart is to pursue truth and persuade others of it, then we ought not be offended with others’ attempt to proclaim their position, but rather, be patient and open to learn from and teach each other as the situation dictates. We can choose to use opposition as an opportunity to strengthen our beliefs by further study.
Reading is crucial to personal growth and gaining understanding of others and the world. We can’t effectively engage others and present truth if we don’t know where they are. What they believe is the starting point to reach them.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Do not be hasty to close the door on relationships because of differences and lose the chance to influence others with truth.
My desire is to glorify God, to share the Gospel with the lost and encourage other believers.
“Lord help me to be faithful to Your call, to present Truth with grace and love. Help us to be quick to forgive each other when we fall short. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
The real issue isn’t which translation of the Bible Christians choose to read. The problem is people aren’t reading the Bible more—or at all.
May our discourse push us to study, to seek truth, strengthen our faith and pursue Jesus’ heart.
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.
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.
Motorcycles, 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.
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.
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
ABBY: 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 and 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 more 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!”
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.
ABBY: He jumped aboard the bus, yelling as he did, and wearing so many layers of clothes. Who is 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)
It was hotter in the mountains than in the city; hot in the day and hotter at night. The night rain beat 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.
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 morning. 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.
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.
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 needed 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.
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 out 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.
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.
Slum Ministry & Discipleship
ABBY: 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.
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.
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.
ABBY: 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 theirmission trip to Nepal.