Missionaries upend and sometimes risk their lives to serve the Gospel in restricted nations. They are often bold in the face of opposition, while many people in America display passivity in the face of peace, and take for granted our freedoms rather than being grateful for them. American Christianity is uncomfortable with inconvenience. I pray these messages from missionaries who left the comforts and security of their homeland to proclaim the message of Jesus’ love, deliverance, and salvation, will stir your heart.
Anonymous Former Missionary to China: Sharing the Gospel wherever you are is all about leaving the comfortable whether it’s leaving our home or going beyond ourselves. Compassion and caring for people can awaken anyone to go beyond intimidation and our own limitations. We were missionaries in China for four years—that was our commitment. We had a house church, although a lot of our missionary friends had their church in a building.Continue reading “Messages from Missionaries”
Did you think when you became a Christian you would be pastoring one day? Tell me about when you realized you were called to be a pastor /pastor’s wife?
Sophie Foley: I always believed I would marry a pastor. But then again, I’ve wanted to marry John since I was 12, and knew he was called to it.
Pastor John Foley: It was something that came to my mind but I wasn’t clear about. I had some other plans. I watched a world evangelism video of Greg and Lisa Mitchell in South Africa and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I responded to a call to preach. I still wasn’t sure but a man in the church told me if I wanted to I probably was. I felt
moved that God could use my life to make an impact by preaching to people around the world. I thought most people felt like I did. I dedicated my life to becoming a pastor but it didn’t happen for another 8 years or so.
Sophie: We arrived in Malden, Massachusetts on June 2, 2017. We promptly began Bible studies in our home and soon moved to a hall nearby and began having Sunday morning services. My husband, Pastor John, met a group of young men almost immediately, who had been praying for a young pastor for a year. That same week we met a woman and her adult children, who had been praying for a young church as well. Within a few weeks, we had 20+ people attending. It was mind blowing. Truly, God had a people here, He just needed someone to come.
We remodeled and moved into our current building in May of this year and have had such favor with the community. This really has been a dream come true, to serve God here. It is right in the heart of the new downtown development and one block from the T station. We run anywhere from 20-60 people at any given time. —The Potter’s House, Malden MAhttps://www.pottershouseboston.com/
Janet Foley, (Pastor Kevin Foley’s wife & John Foley’s mother): My parents were faithful Methodists, very active in the church, my father teaching the adult class and my mother 3rd and 4th graders, me in the youth choir, etc.. But we never heard the term “born again,” and never heard that we must repent of our sin and truly invite Jesus Christ in to our hearts, which caused a lot of problems in our home!
My parent’s marriage was rocky. I got in huge fights with my dad where he accused me of things I never ever thought of doing. Just because I had incense in my room I was accused time and time again of drugs and lying. Finally I said to myself, if he thinks I’m so bad then…I’ll be bad!!! Where’s some dope? I became a rebellious pot smoking hippie chick at 13 years old. My 21 year old boyfriend turned me on to LSD—I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I was intrigued with the music, yoga and philosophy my brothers brought home from college and the partying, flower children, and concerts of the time. Continue reading “The Call: Why Did You Become a Pastor? (Part 2 in a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastors Wives, 2018)”
PART 3 of 3: Family First or Church First? An interview with dragon slayer, disciple maker, Pastor Brian Williams and his wife Ruth from Agape Missions International, Nepal.
Question 20: How do you have the energy and balance your time between studying, preaching, writing, caring for your family, and other ministries?
Family First or Church first?
Is the God we serve only a community God?
Is the God we serve only a personal family king?
Is the God we serve only a serious father?
Here below is some type of weird ideology based on the world’s value system:
Now, where do we find that in the Bible? Nowhere, can we find any of this in scripture. That unbiblical and soulish concept is propagated by intellectually challenged, worldly people in the church.
Here is another piece of theology that betrays biblical orthodoxy:
Family ministry or Church ministry? But not both as a priority?
Now, where in the Bible do we find such an either/or dichotomy so as to prioritize one over the other? This comes from an unbiblical worldview of splitting values when none is required. This is opposed to the Judeo-christian way of doing things.
Thus seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, is:
Church Family Ministry,
Family IN Ministry and
Family AS Ministry.
Here is what I believe is the pure Bible worldview on family and the kingdom of God. This truth encompasses all three of the concepts below in perfect unity without surrendering any of the three ideas.
Participating in local Church Family events IS ministry.
Families involved in spiritual exercises IS ministry.
Fun family activities in a family IS also ministry.
To speak about Biblical balance in another way, let us look at these three sentences:
Our church is our family and our family is our church.
We are to minister IN our immediate-family/joint-family which IS our ministry too.
Our nuclear family is called to a BE type of ministry, as well as serving God in a DO type of ministry also.
Let us dig a little deeper without excluding any of the three threads mentioned above.
Church Family Ministry
Many families reluctantly drag their kids and their spouses to a local fellowship. It’s a sad thing when a family enjoys every other program in their locality other than a church program. Many research studies show that those who have a committed church community as their primary social network live longer. Do we go to a local church and give our time, talent and treasure to that church community together as a family? Or do we just warm the carpet and do a bench warming activity there? Paul mentioned this priority beautifully in Hebrews 10:25 “Not FORSAKING the ASSEMBLING of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
2. Family “IN” Ministry
Most families wait until their children reach college for them to serve God. Then, it’s sometimes too late because they are already fixed and anchored in their ways. They have received no training at home. If we do not fellowship, evangelize, pray and enjoy the Bible together as a family, why will they do it when they grow up? The Jews were wisely commanded by God to tell their kids stories of what God did. Why? The word of God was supposed to be on their doors. Why? I think it was so they would read it, remember it and enact it every time they went out into society and came back home. They had Sabbath meals with great Bible symbolism so that they could experience Emmanuel in all the areas of their family life. The family that prays and does spiritual stuff together stays together.
Joel 1:3 TELL your children about it, Let your children TELL their children, And their children ANOTHER GENERATION.
3. Family “AS” Ministry
So many people show their families by their lifestyle that they serve a boring God. If our God and our Parents do nothing but pray, read the Bible, go to church and evangelize, then we have shown our God as a fun killer at worst and a dull God at best. Do we dance with our kids? Do we play football with our kids? Do we go cycling with our kids? Do we watch movies with our kids? Do we go on picnics with our kids? Do we read books with our kids? If we have no recreational activities with our kids then we serve and portray our God as a spoilsport, a very grumpy old man who has is no fun and joy. On the other hand, fun was created by God but perverted by the Devil. We must take back what the devil has stolen.The family is itself a ministry and we must enjoy it without having to do stuff that is Christianese only. We are definitely not called to participate in sinful activities but there are other things we could do like, going to, zoo’s, picnics, parties and sports events.
That is why 1 Cor 10:31 counsel’s us in this way “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do all to the glory of God.“
Some concluding thoughts:
The family that prays together stays together.
The family that plays together stays together too.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
Discerning Family Seasons:
So in conclusion, we must strike a healthy balance between investing our time for church community moments and a time for our personal and private family seasons. We must apply wisdom when we are to do which and for how long. Sometimes “family ministry” is the priority, other times the “church family ministry” is the priority, and still at other times, “family fun ministry” is the priority. Only the Holy Spirit can help us put the kingdom first by creating that balance in the prayer closet for each of the days of our week.
On average how much time does it take you to put together a sermon, including research and study?
Depends on Question number 20.
How much time do you spend in personal Bible study and prayer a day?
Depends on Question number 20.
What is the hardest part of being a pastor/ pastor’s wife?
Balancing Question number 20.
What is your biggest challenge in your ministry?
Implementing Question number 20.
What most breaks your heart?
People neglecting the values of Question number 20.
What has being a preacher and your ministry cost you?
Do you ever want to quit?
What keeps you going?
Our quiet time.
What most encourages you?
The ongoing testimony of God lovers.
Who inspires you?
Those who incarnate the Bible in their localities.
What has been the most unexpected benefit of your ministries?
Serving at risk people has brought out the best in me, my wife and five kids.
Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, direction, encouragement, prayer—someone you can be really open with?
My wife has an Indian lady and I have an American and Nepali guy whom we are accountable to.
How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?
Serve them in His power and strength.
What are some things your church and others could do to lighten your load or refresh you and your family so you can better serve God and them?
People living out the gifts that they have been given.This lightens our burden and revives us.
What do you see as the biggest threat to the Church today?
Atheistic believers, worldly Christians and religious denominational-ism.
What do you believe is the key to revival?
Praying and evangelizing.
How do you feel about Jesus’ return, the rapture?
I am to serve Him till He returns. I am a PAN–Millennialist—Everything will pan out when He comes back.
How are mission trip teams like the one my daughter, Abigail, came on with Adventures in Missions this past summer helpful to you and your ministry?
The greatest ministry your daughter and her team left behind was probably not Bible studies, hand-outs and eloquent speeches, (they are great too). But it was mainly by empowering the local leaders in Tami Nepal and our networks.
They did this by birthing and serving long term relationships, by an act of deep interpersonal koinonia in the hearts of the local long term workers. We are hoping for not only short term success for the short space of time they were here but the long term successes by them investing generously their time, talent, treasure, (money and things etc), and touch, (prayer), in me, my family, my team and my partners. This model of “one-another” ministry was lovely to see in practice. Working together with the Holy Spirit and each other is key to our mutual success. This is only possible when short-term people/teams leave a legacy behind with us, their co-workers. Nothing is worse than an individual or team coming here and doing fast and furious ministry all by themselves while the local ministers are just tag-alongs.
The African Proverb is so true:
If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.
Abigail and her team were lovely in being our friends and continue to be close to us by e-mail and Facebook. We pray and hope some of them come back again to be with us.
What is your favorite memory of your ministry?
From Street Kid to Pastor
by Kayla Strickler
Sachin was the name behind the face of a child beggar on the sweltering side streets of Nepal. Street kids are extremely common in this country; they often spend their days begging, sometimes at the urging of their very own families. Street kids typically lie, fabricate tear-jerking stories, or play dumb to coax more money out of unsuspecting travelers. Sachin was a kid that needed no such ploys; he had an obvious physical challenge in one leg. Even so, he traded the street life for a job in the carpet industry when the enticing opportunity arose. And just like that, he became a statistic and joined the ranks as one of thousands of Nepal’s child laborers.
In Nepal, child labor for the carpet industry is rampant. Despite many efforts to bust the business over the last several years, the fight to end child labor is still far from over. World-famous carpets come from Nepal—the smaller the knot and the finer the carpet, the better and more valuable. Consequently, tiny agile hands often work 16-hour days and stitch until their fingers bleed raw.
As Sachin grew into adolescence, working hard hours in this industry, he encountered someone who introduced him to a life of faith in Christ. As a new believer, he began attending a church that was willing and able to put a roof over his head; but this supposed miracle was short-lived. The life of that roof expired when the church abruptly changed their policy and chose to no longer support street kids. As quickly as the roof had been put over his head, it was taken away. Sachin found himself blindsided. He was physically limited, uneducated, and now completely homeless.
In his destitute and dejected state, an Agape affiliate got word about the boy with the sick leg and bleeding, carpet-making fingers. Before long, Sachin came under Agape’s wing to be developed as a leader through an internship, with a roof over his head, and no longer needing to work slave hours six days a week. The boy that was once on the streets now had a roof, food, a family, and above all, a chance in life.
Around the same time Sachin was beginning his journey with Agape, another miracle was being worked out in someone else’s life who would also soon join forces with the mission.
Agrata, a bright and steadfast young woman, joined Agape to grow and help fulfill her calling as a leader. As one of only two Christians in her otherwise Hindu family, she needed a place to live as her current living situation fell through. Staying where she was meant stress and ill health because of the tense environment; going back home to a Hindu family would mean re-crucifying the Jesus so important to her, (since returning to a Hindu family would mean renouncing her Christian faith). Caught between a rock and a hard place, she found a third option and made her home for the season in Agape, where she could live and grow with a community of believers.
Agrata and Sachin’s love grew fast and strong. Two years into their internship with Agape, their romance was a beautiful avalanche rushing down a hill, gaining their faith and maturity before they got married, but to the besotted couple, the avalanche was already gathering great speed. Brian’s wish was that they spend another six months in a development program growing really unstoppable. They quickly tied the knot and set out on their own, blissfully in love and choosing to branch out on their own.
A local church they had been attending helped the couple secure a place to live and work: two rooms, one for a meat business to support themselves, and one room to live in. Soon, they started a family. Life continued in this security for a comfortable length of time. When they were pregnant with their second child, they happened again upon Agape’s staff. When they did, Agrata and Sachin came bearing news of all the great things happening in their lives: pastorship, children, business… Except, one thing was noticeably amiss—Sachin and Agrata had grown weary of working in the meat business, and their hearts yearned to focus more on ministry. They rejoined Agape, reunited in the place they first met—this time with two little ones in tow. But, in the blink of an eye, they chose to return to their church and meat business. Then, the unthinkable happened. The infamous earthquake hit with ferocious strength, and left their home, business, stability, and life all rubble in its grip. Sachin, Agrata, and their two kids were officially homeless.
They came to Agape for help. In Brian’s own words, “Sometimes a couple needs help two or three times, to establish themselves…” And so, with great love, Sachin and Agrata found themselves back at their roots. In another beautiful partnership with Agape ministries, Sachin and Agrata were blessed even more than before. The couple remained with Agape until they were on their feet again after the earthquake. In due time, they had a well and a house built with a room for church, two bedrooms, and a washroom. They now serve faithfully in Nepal, running their own church, bringing more and more people to the knowledge and saving faith of Jesus, the one who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than anyone could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
What is your vision for your ministry, your calling?
Small is Beautiful!
It’s not terribly important how big a work we have, but rather how big a work God does and is doing through us.
Tami Asia Calling:
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
James 1:27PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS in their affliction, and to KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.
Psalms 68:5 A FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS, and A JUDGE OF WIDOWS is God in his holy habitation.
Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even A CUP OF COLD WATER to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly NOT LOSE THEIR REWARD.”
Psalms 113:6-9 KJVWho HUMBLES himself to BEHOLD the things that are in heaven, and IN THE EARTH! He RAISES UP the POOR out of the DUST, and LIFTS the NEEDY out of the DUNGHILL; That he may SET HIM with PRINCES, even with the PRINCES of HIS PEOPLE. He makes the BARREN WOMAN to keep house, and to be a joyful MOTHER of CHILDREN. Praise ye the Lord.
***You can read my post featuring my daughter, Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here: Echoes
****Please respect the request of the interviewees that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post on other platforms.
Part 2: Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas—Continuing the Conversation with Reverend Brian Williams and his wife, Ruth, of Agape Missions, Nepal
Brian, where do you currently preach?
I oversee 200 churches, so I find myself travelling to these pulpits in India and Nepal. That brings me to our vision.We see this fleshed out in Bethesda Bishram, Agape’s second house in Kathmandu, Nepal, and it serves different functions. Throughout the year, you may find it populated by local pastors attending seminars, short-term missions groups working with Agape, or a family trying to get themselves back on their feet.
Bethesda Bishram serves a different purpose than Bethel Ashrm. It is a house for rest, revival, refreshing and renewal for leaders and their families. It is a place of retreat and fellowship.
Agape recognizes the importance of rest because it allows us to listen to the Lord and His will for our lives, because without retreat, there is no surrender. The purpose is to invest in the leaders of Nepal, so that they may be sustained. It gives them a chance to escape the fishbowl experience, the sense that one is always on display, of public ministry and find refuge, strength, and rest in Christ.
Ruth, did you think when you became a Christian you would become a preacher’s wife?
No, but I love the practical teaching style of my husband.
You are a church planter and overseer of churches and the author of five books on Biblical economics. Why is this important? What is your vision?
I have a simple dream. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use these Biblical Economics seminars for the glory of Jesus by helping the priestly people of God walk in financial fruitfulness. My prayer is that the kingly royal anointing would be upon them and that they will experience good success in every area of life. They will be the head and not the tail of their community or society, the top and not the bottom of their locality or village.
My prayer is that:
It is high time that the Peter’s of today walk out their humble calling with their heads held high and not be frowned upon as old school missionaries. The Bible is never out of date and my desire is that there will be an explosion of the biblical Peter model of volunteer missionaries all around the globe. That they will destroy the fads and gimmicks of false doctrine by continuing a life of volunteerism faithfully.
My prayer is that:
The Priscilla’s and Aquila’s of today would not be shunted out of modern missions as irrelevant. My prayer is that many couples would turn their homes into churches and their workplaces into pulpits. That they would not accept being called second class workers of the gospel, which they are not. Accepting a salary or making a profit must never be allowed to be frowned upon by modern Constantine’s. That they would boldly remain in their holy calling thus defeating the false teachers of today who have demonically labelled them as the, ‘half time calling,’ people.
My prayer is that:
The Paul’s of today would continue to faithfully obey the higher calling of God by walking in financial wisdom as per the season they find themselves in. Many times the people of God in this dual model have walked in financial ignorance and so when crushing financial times have arrived they have left the ministry. I hope these books help multiply these amazing street smart Paul model missionaries who will be salaried or free volunteers as and when the need of the ministry hour demands.
You have a ministry for at risk women, rescuing some and their children from the sex trafficking trade and also a ministry to the sukumbasi (slum/street) children as well as developing leaders through two leadership homes. What is the road that led you to these ministries?
The Agape Mission International was founded on the great Commandment (Matt 22:37) the great Commission, (Mark 16:16) and the great Commitment, (Isaiah 61:1-3). The vision the Master gave me in 1998 was of a river flowing down a mountain to the lowest and the least in society. The hurting the helpless and the broken are whom the love of God and the power of God works best in and through very easily.
James 1:27 “PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS, (Children at Risk), AND WIDOWS, (Women at Risk), in their affliction…”
That led us to work with children and women at risk and not just orphans and widows.
Can you tell us about your Women at Risk Ministry?
We have 8 projects for women caught in sexual trafficking and exploitation.
WARM (Women At Risk Ministries) Nepal projects below:
1. A Tailoring Shop.
Therefore, those desiring tailoring skills are welcome.
2. A Computer Lab.
Then, those desiring software and hardware skills are welcome.
3. A Language Class.
Those desiring English Language speaking and writing skills are welcome.
4. A Beauty Saloon.
Also, those desiring beauty parlor and fashion sector skills are welcome.
5. A Food Outlet.
For those desiring cooking, baking and chef skills are welcome.
6. An Adult Literacy Center.
And, those desiring pre-school teacher training and educational skills are welcome.
7. A Candle Making unit.
Plus, those desiring scented candle-making and interior decoration skills are welcome.
8. A Handicraft Products workshop.
Finally, those desiring sewing, jewelry and crochet skills are welcome.
What is the process for rescuing and restoring women from the sex-trafficking trade?
We rescue and restore women from cabin restaurants, dance bars and elsewhere.We have intervention programs as well as prevention programs.
Our training center continues to train more than 50 ladies daily. One girl aged 14 years who was sexually abused in an orphanage was rescued by our team. She is now going to school, and has accepted Christ. Another girl who was married with a child was thrown out of her home after she accepted Christ. She is now taking beautician training amongst us.
From my daughter’s accounts from her mission trip to Nepal, and from reading some of the stories on the links at your site, it seems like many women, some with infants, end up in the trafficking trade as a result of their husband’s abandoning them.Why is this? How does the culture in Nepal view marriage?
Marriage is viewed very highly in Nepal. The problem is that the men find it very easy to run away from their wives and children. I think it’s a manhood issue rather than a marriage issue. Most women remain faithful till the end.
Prostitution and brothels are illegal in Nepal, but trafficking takes place when poor villages girls are falsely lured into better job opportunities. They are tricked and taken to India, the Middle East Muslim majority countries and Kathmandu’s dance bars and cabin restaurants, (actually brothel’s).
Some are called Dalit untouchables. What does that mean?
In Hinduism there is a caste system.The low caste, the high caste and all the rest in-between.The low caste people are the untouchable dirty Dalit people. There is a passage in the Rigveda, (Hindu scriptures), which enumerates the four castes in the being of the Heaven-Man called Purusha. The Brahman is called the mouth of Purusha, as having the special privilege as a priest of addressing the gods in prayer. The arms of Purusha became the Rajanya, the prince and soldier who wields the sword and spear. His thighs, the strongest parts of his body, became the agriculturalist and tradesman,the chief support of society, and his feet,the emblem of vigour and activity, became the Sudra or labouring man, (Dalit-Untouchable), on whose toil and industry all ultimately rests.
Can you tell us about your Children at Risk ministry?
We operate two non formal schools in the slums.We also have a street kids soccer and feeding program.The purpose is to serve the poor but also model these ministries for local churches to start their own work amongst the marginalized.
We minister to more than 100 kids on the streets and in the slums daily.We feed them, give them basic education, play music and football with them and tell them Bible stories on a daily basis. More than 50 of these children now attend children’s church every week.
We want to educate, empower and equip them. Our hope then is that they become good family people with sustainable jobs.
What is the craziest situation you’ve experienced during your ministry that you are free to share?
Every Ministry Has a Judas
by Kayla Strickler
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. 2 Corinthians 2:17
Thirteen years ago began Tamasi’s story with Agape ministries. Tamasi originally belonged to another ministry in Kathmandu run by a reputable African man named Chibuzor (Nigerian for “God first” or “God leads”). Chibuzor ran a successful ministry in the city, but when he fell in love with a Norwegian woman, he elected to leave the beautiful mountains of Nepal for his soon-to-be wife’s homeland. Chibuzor left the ministry he had put so much blood, sweat, and tears into to another African brother. Under this leadership, Tamasi was the ministry manager.
One otherwise still and peaceful night, Chibuzor appeared to Brian in a dream. He bore a message, and through the hazy outline of the dream’s frame spoke: “Brian, I don’t care about any of the office affairs that may occur—I want you to take care of Tamasi, my manager. Don’t let her go. Keep her with you.” Chibuzor vanished. Brian’s eyes opened.
Only one short week later, Brian’s phone rang. It was Tamasi. Through anxious breaths and a crack in her voice, she failed to disguise her worry as slowly the story unfolded. The man who Chibuzor entrusted his ministry to had embezzled everything he could, including money, sensitive documents, and other information from the computer, and had disappeared—never to be seen again. He vanished still $3,000 indebted to the landlord of the rented ministry building, but in his disappearance, the debt now fell on Tamasi. Her plea to Brian was for help, so that she would stay out of jail for a nonpayment that was never meant to be hers.
Brian and Agape ministries stepped in to help. In God’s sovereignty and promise that he works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), when Brian showed up to help Tamasi with the situation, the landlord instantly recognized his face. “Brother Brian!” he shouted. “It is you!”
The two jovially talked. With a puzzled look on her face, Tamasi watched the curiously joyous interaction. It took a moment for the realization to strike: Brian and the landlord were old football friends. Through his glee, the landlord agreed to loosen the reigns on debt collection and simply told Brian to call him whenever he was ready and able to pay. Tamasi’s dilemma and fear of imprisonment were eradicated. But this wasn’t over. A hazy picture of Chibuzor flashed across Brian’s memory. He remembered the dream he had a mere week ago and knew that he was to do more than just help Tamasi stay out of jail. So, looking at her background and skill set, he offered her a job in Agape’s ministry for women at risk.
And so began the long stretch of Tamasi’s work with Agape. For quite a few years, the partnership was fluid. But in time, word started getting back to Brian about Tamasi speaking ill of him and the ministry behind his back. (Nepali culture is known to be indirect in a way that fuels gossip, but this particular flame grew like a wildfire whose smoke was extra poisonous.) Soon enough, other team members couldn’t ignore the flames. They couldn’t ignore the tension in the air. Team members started asserting their opinions that Agape needed to dismiss her from staff, and even Brian agreed. But one thing was stopping him: the memory of Chibuzor speaking to him through a dreamy haze. As Brian remembered Chibuzor’s words, he knew what he had to do. The more he prayed about it, the more he remembered both the dream and the story of Judas. In Brian’s words, “Jesus still chose Judas. Everyone needs to have a Judas.”
And so, even though according to Brian, the last three or four years she was with Agape were “hell on earth,” every year at Christmastime Tamasi’s salary still increased. She was treated exceedingly well, even when Agape didn’t want to and their hearts told them to let her go. Then, out of left field one day, Tamasi unexpectedly left. She explained she was not feeling well; that she needed to stay home and take care of herself. She mentioned her husband and her mother as other reasons. She had been trying to get pregnant; she explained the doctor advised her to rest, and then she may be able to conceive. All seemed like plausible reasons, they thought.
But rotting fish will eventually smell.
Around six months later, all of the Agape students from the women’s center inexplicably started attending another institution. The mystery was solved when Brian learned that Tamasi had started her own center, and the drama unfolded tenfold when he rushed to check the records from the Agape program: Tamasi had stolen and deleted them all. Brian had no way to even contact the women who now attended Tamasi’s program instead of Agape’s. To add exponentially more fuel to the flame, Tamasi had approached one of Agape’s biggest financial supporters and slandered the ministry, spreading accusations of corruption. The donor believed Tamasi’s lies and began to put his financial support towards Tamasi’s ministry instead.
According to Brian, there are many lessons in this story. “She keeps me humble,” he says. Even though Brian wishes he could run into her on the street and confront her, it is a choice to love people—it is a choice to not be offended, and stand ground. It is a choice to love a betrayer despite their betrayal. It is a choice to focus on the fact that Tamasi still does something people will benefit from. It is a choice to lean on the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians describing people peddling the word of God for profit. It is a choice to acknowledge that some preach the word with an attitude that is good and some with one that is bad; but what is most important is that the truth still gets preached. It is a choice to look at people like Tamasi and intentionally not to come against them, even when the opponent is outgunned.
Perhaps most people would choose retaliation. Perhaps many would look at Judas and shout about how he should have never been with Jesus in the first place. But Jesus still used Judas, and every ministry will have one. How will you react to your Judas?
What is the religious climate in Nepal? What is the Anti-Conversion Law?
Nepal is a secular country with some degree of religious freedom. Nepal has gone through dictatorships, civil wars, guerrilla warfare, and earthquakes, which has made the people of Nepal very resilient in good times and bad. Nepal has never been under foreign rule, so it is very welcoming to tourists, but we still must be careful of sharing our faith in a wise way.
The Anti-Conversion Law bill passed in parliament several years ago and it roughly goes like this.
You cannot force anyone to change their religion.
You cannot bribe anyone with money etc. to change their religion.
You cannot force a person to not become an atheist if he/she wants to.
To this they added last month, (September 2017):
You cannot harass any other religion that is not yours.
This Bill was passed into law by the first female president of Nepal. The funny thing is that Christians and all other religions believe and agree with the bill. As you know none of us in the Christian faith convert anyone or practise the above four points. The Spirit of Christ leads them to the Father.
***You can read my post featuring Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here: Echoes
***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.
It is my honor to interview and introduce you to dragon slayer, disciple maker and preacher, Reverend Brian Williams and his wife Ruth whose ministry my daughter, Abby, served under on her mission trip to Nepal. You can read Abby’s account in my prior post entitled, Echoes.
Please welcome Brian and Ruth.
I am an Anglo-Indian. My ancestry is a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized. I look Indian and I am most at ease in an Indian culture but I speak and think with the English language.
Brian Leonard Williams is my name and I grew up speaking English as my mother tongue.
My maternal Grandfather’s name was Edwin Joseph Seaman, a British engineer and part of a group of pioneers of the Indian Railway.
These were the days when British engineering was revolutionizing communication and trade across India, much of it to the benefit of the British.
Image from: On India’s Frontier; or Nepal, the Gurkhas’ Mysterious Land Author: Ballantine, Henry
My biological Father was an Englishman named Edward Canute Roberts. However, after getting my Mother pregnant, Edward left for Australia without marrying her. So I was born in the huge metropolis that is Calcutta in 1970 to a single Mother, Antoinette Matilda Seaman, who had little means to support us; a gritty start to life. To the rescue came my Dad, Roy Ainsley Williams, a gifted diesel-engineer. He fell in love with my pregnant mom Antoinette and they got married. So Roy became My ‘real’ Dad. He was a wonderful Dad in spite of being a hopeless alcoholic. We went for walks together and ate fried fish, it’s still my favorite food. It turned out that Dad Roy was a great friend, but a poor provider. Given half a chance he would sell everything and disappear for several months at a time. I hardly ever saw him sober. I remember yearning for a sober Dad. My Mother rescued the family finances. She was industrious and resourceful, finding work as a secretary. We were poor but never went without food.
I spent the next few years at St Bedes orphanage and boarding school in Chennai, India run by the Roman Catholic Salesians of the Don Bosco order. My Mother scraped and saved money to send me there, searching for every discount and scholarship available.
My Father was Church of England and My Mother was a Roman Catholic. But we only went to church at Christmas and Easter. I had been exposed to religion at school, but essentially I was non-religious; my religion was the dance floor. I lived for dancing and womanizing every Saturday night—Shakin’ Stevens, The Bee- Gees, Boney M. I had all of the vices you would expect from a teenage lad. I remember rewriting and singing hymns for fun in the Chapel with rude and mischievous words, fighting, lying, lusting, cheating, stealing. Not in a big way, I was just one of the lads, and we got up to all sorts of pranks.
When I was nineteen, our family returned to Calcutta. I went to college to study for a Bachelor’s degree in commerce. For two years I continued to play the field. Addicted to women, I danced and drank my way through all of the pleasures that life had to offer. I lived for the day; I was an Epicurean. But the more I filled myself with worldly pleasures, the more empty I felt. Was self-centered pleasure all that there was, or was there a purpose to life? What did life mean? What if I was Michael Jackson, with all that money, fame and success? Would that satisfy? I put myself in Michael Jackson’s shoes. No, it wouldn’t, I decided. What if I had a family, a loving wife and a tribe of happy children? I would take my place in the natural birth and death cycle— would that satisfy? No, it wouldn’t. I came to the conclusion that life was utterly meaningless.
We tagged along from Calcutta with a band, just hanging out, parties and lots of fun—you know the way young people do. I found myself joining a group of music friends in Hyderabad, a large city in central India. Then a band member gave me some prophecy books which had Bible verses and newspaper articles on either side of a page. I was shocked that Bible verses had meaning in current events. I then found a Bible, but when I saw a long genealogy, just a list of names, I thought it was an out of date meaningless book. I threw it in the corner of my room. However, whether out of a sense of politeness or by divine prompting, I decided that I should at least out of courtesy, read a few verses from the Bible, then I would return it. I opened the Bible at random and found the book of Proverbs. It was like holding up a mirror. I saw myself in the words of Proverbs, like the woman at the well. This book told me about myself like no other literature I had ever read. I read right through Proverbs, then Ecclesiastes, warming to its theme of ‘everything is meaningless.’ I thought, I could have written this book. By the time I was reading the book of Psalms I was on my knees in my hotel room committing my life to Christ. That was in 1989.
I read through the Bible three times in just nine months. I welcomed Christ into my life and started attending a Church in Hyderabad. I left my old lifestyle and returned to Calcutta to finish my degree in commerce and was baptized as a Christian. At the age of twenty-two, I was marching to the beat of a very different drum. But I still have a lot to learn from God’s word and daily yearn to feel His hand on my life.
How long have you been married?
My wife is a Nepali from Darjeeling, India, which once belonged to Nepal, but was taken by the British for their amazing tea. Before that, the kings of Nepal sold Darjeeling to the kings of India for a harem of girls, so it’s a very complicated place. Ruth Reshma and I were married in 2001 in Mirik, Darjeeling. We came to Nepal on our honeymoon and never left. So technically we are still on our honeymoon…sixteen years and counting.
How many children do you have? I know some of your children are fostered. Can you tell me a little about them?
We have four sons and a four month old daughter. Three of them are chosen from the womb of my wife and two are chosen from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. One son, Sujan is an outreach leader with Youth With A Mission in Lucknow, India and another son, Sameer, is a youth leader in a Christian school in Denmark. Our two biological children, Samarth and Saran, are in primary and secondary school. Our small boy loves sports and his older brother loves to play the guitar and soccer.
Did you think when you got married you would be fostering children?
Never planned to, but we are pleasantly surprised. Before Marrying Ruth Reshma I went on an 80 day fast for our marriage and family. God told me that I was the sun and Reshma (means moon) would have nine planets in our solar system. We tried to figure out what that actually meant. We have five, so four more planets are yet to form in our family.
Please Describe your Ministry.
I, (Brian Williams), founded The Agape Mission International, (Tami), in 1998 in India, with the goal of living out our biblical calling to assist women and children at risk, as well as to create new apostolic disciples. It started with a church in south India, (which still exists) but is now a movement of 200 plus churches in Nepal and India.We oversee seven head pastors who manage all these churches.
We serve the at risk people group in a multitude of ways.We minister in the slums through our Tara Non-Formal Schools. We have our street kids soccer and food ministry.
We reach out to cabin restaurants and dance bars all the while maintaining a Women at Risk Ministry Center where we offer training for eight different skills for women at risk.The Bethesda Bishram prayer and retreat house is where we give local pastors retreat opportunities as well as a camp to host mission teams into mountain villages.
Bethel Ashrm is a place for mentoring at risk people into leadership as well as marginalised youth from churches who are going through various challenges.
You have other people living with your family. How many people live in your home?
Bethel Ashrm, is our home in Kathmandu, Nepal. Its name represents what takes place there. Bethel means “house of God” and Ashrm is taken from Hebrew and means “fire, head, and water.” Therefore, our vision for Bethel Ashrm is that it would be a place where our mind is set on fire by the Holy Spirit and washed with the water of the Word of God.
Inside Bethel Ashrm, we care for rescued children and disciple four to five young people at a time to start their own ministries and churches both in Nepal and around the world.
We offer Leadership Internships and Apprenticeships for Missionaries going to and from Nepal, India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We also have youth volunteers who are sent to my churches for leadership mentoring.
Along with our five children, we currently have ten other children living in our home. These ten children include kids who were rescued from dance bars, the streets, abusive homes, or abandoned during the earthquake.
How did this came to be? Did you and your wife envision your home like it is when you married?
Nope. One day I returned from India and found that my wife had closed down the staff boys and girls houses and had taken a house so we could all live and learn together. We were then taught by God to make it into a “live and learn” house for our family and others.
Ruth, how long was your husband away when you moved your family to a different house and brought all these people to live with you?
Did he have any idea you were going to do this or was it a complete surprise when he returned home?
A total surprise.
Were you worried about what his response would be?
Nope. He came home and I took him to the new community house.
You have 15 children and several adults living in your home. How do you orchestrate meals and household chores?
Good and healthy delegation. Even the teens cook.
Brian, what were your first thoughts when you returned home and found out what Ruth had done?
I was stunned, and then realized it was the best ministry decision we ever made. Still shocked daily at seeing this ministry become the bedrock upon which all other ministries grow.
*To be continued in Part 2: Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas
**Read my prior post featuring Jacob’s and Abby’s stories of their mission trip to Nepal here:Echoes
***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.
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.
“Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ.” – Billy Sunday
The preaching of the gospel and salvation of souls is the primary focus and call of the Gospel. It is biblical that all else done in the name of the Church, as representatives of Jesus, should be done with this ultimate purpose in mind.
The Great Commission:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
Many organizations start out with this focus, but lose it as they get overwhelmed by attempting to meet the the endless physical needs of the people they are serving with their humanitarian work. This is something to be mindful of, so as to stay balanced and faithful to Jesus’ mandate.
The Bible Says:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?Mark 8:36 (NKJV)
But the Gospel is not a buffet. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like in the Bible and ignore the rest. It’s all or nothing; we must ingest the whole thing.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”James 1:27 (NKJV)
“..and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”James 2:16 (NKJV)
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:34-44
Pray, Send, Plant, Establish, Support, Nurture:
Neither our home church, nor Adventures in Missions are organizations with a “drop a bag of rice and run” mentality. But rather, both believe and are are invested in planting, helping establish, supporting, and nurturing ministries that are dedicated to planting themselves in the nations among the people they are serving. We must seek to serve both the spiritual and physical needs where we are called, with a hand up, not just a hand out.
We each have different callings and how we fulfill them will play out differently for each of us. It is Biblical to serve first in our home churches and communities, but there are different seasons in which some are called to go; some to stay and send. But even those who stay and send get to go, as the sender is linked by their investment of prayer, finances, and encouragement to every impact the missionary makes for Jesus in the lives of other people.
In July my 18 year old daughter, Abigail, leaves on a month long mission trip for Nepal with Adventures in Missions. In spite of turning 18 and wanting a car, she has chosen to forego a month of pay from her summer job to go and work unpaid serving the Nepali people. I love her heart and her boldness. Abby’s team will need prayer support for their endeavor. As of today, Abigail also still needs to raise another $1,861 for her mission trip.
“Why do you want to go on a mission trip so badly?”
“Why do you care?”
I never understand their whys. As a Christian we are commanded to care for people and share God’s love with as many as possible. If I work hard enough I know I can raise enough money to go on a mission trip. Even those out of town outreaches on Saturdays- I don’t have anything to do a lot of Saturdays, so, of course I’m going to go. “Why not?” I find myself saying so often. The opportunity is there, and it makes no sense not to take it.
No, I don’t think I’m too young. There is no such thing as too young to serve in the best way possible and do God’s will for your life.
“Do these things when you’re old enough to appreciate it,” they say.
I know I’m capable of appreciating it now. God has put an overwhelming love in my heart for people now, so why not put it to use now? If I waited until I was older, what would I do now? I’m not waiting until I’m older because I’m capable of making a difference now.
I’m not doing this to have a good experience, or to better myself, but to better other people. Until I have ministered God’s word to people who can give me nothing in return, I have not lived.
“God, please use me now. My life is yours; do as you please with it.”
People ask me, “How can you send your children away?”
“Why do allow your children to go to these far away and dangerous places?”
“Aren’t you afraid? Won’t you miss them?”
Here’s my answer. Yes. But I would Rather give my children to the cause of Christ than have the world steal them away.
There is really nowhere safe in the world anymore. Our older daughter Anna went on a three month mission trip to Kenya in 2013. Her team of thirteen girls was sent to serve in one of the most unattractive and unsafe towns in the country. The terrorist attack took place while they were there- but it took place in one of the nicest and seemingly safest areas.
When Abby went to visit and help out family who are missionaries in Lithuania, we didn’t book her on the lesser known airline which had a day layover in an unstable country. She did reach her destination unharmed. But a few weeks later, it was that same reputable airline that she had traveled on, Lufthansa, that was intentionally crashed by the copilot into the alps, thus killing all on board. My heart breaks for the people impacted by these tragedies.
So, where is safe? The only safe place is in Christ. We really just have to be ready. Safe is in the hands and will of Jesus. Safe is a right heart with God.
Which heart should I feed? She is young. She was only 16 when she went to Swaziland and will just have turned 18 when she leaves for Nepal. I am her mom, and I see the pull of the world and our culture. I also see that little bit of edginess and that youthful lust for a little risk, a little adventure. I see her heart for people and for God, that thirst to know God more and to do something that matters. It needs expression somewhere. So let that expression be found in the cause of Christ.
I challenged her and asked her in 2015, “Why Swaziland? Why not somewhere closer, cheaper, and safer?”
Her response was, “It seems to be the area of greatest need. And I don’t want to go somewhere easy.”
She could spend the month of July lining her pockets with silver from a summer job and shopping at the mall with friends, or relaxing on the beach… And that would be okay. But instead, in 2015 she chose to go and serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a hand up to a destitute, disease stricken people in the tiny African nation of Swaziland. How could I say no to that?
This Summer, in July 2017, her desire is to go on another month long mission trip. This time it is to Nepal.
I know there are plenty of people that need the Gospel preached to them and their needs met, right here on the home front- and Abby does outreach locally. But who am I to tell Abby, or anyone else, where God is telling them to “Go ye,” if God has laid somewhere on their heart? I held her back for a year the first time.
Here’s to the little girl with the little bit of an edge to her. The little girl with the gumption to reach for a dream and follow her heart for Jesus. I love you Abby.
So, if God speaks to your heart and leads you, go ahead and hit: DONATE