Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?

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

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

Making sure that in the midst of building God’s church I don’t lose my marriage or children to the devil’s lies. Stretching time and making sure none of the 3 most important elements of your life are not cheated: God/ family/ work. —Pastor Pablo Catala Continue reading “Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?”

From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_From_Dope-Dealer_to_Hope_DealerI recently had the privilege of being on an outreach team to help Pastor Pablo and Nicole Catala’s pioneer church in Bridgeport CT. I was struck by how laid down, how wide open and vulnerable their hearts and lives were for God and the people of their city. I watched them love people with the love of God. I watched the ease with which they outreached, their children alongside them—truly a team, like a machine in sync. I took note of their home. Everywhere I turned there were photographs of their family and decor that shouted in unison about God and family. I learned their story later and asked them to share it. Here it is.

The  Catala Story

IMG-4281Nicole Catala: One night my husband and I were fighting and basically done with our marriage. We both never had an example. We were only 6 months married and wanted to go for a divorce! That night my husband packed his clothes and left the house. The very next day I got a flyer from someone that there was going to be a healing crusade right across the street in Poe Park, put on by Victory Chapel in the Bronx, NY. As I was looking at the state of my life I knew I needed a miracle. I didn’t want my life to be just like the life of my family: Divorced, having multiple children from different men. I decided to go to the first night of the healing crusade. I was in a state of depression at only 18 years old and felt there was no hope for me and my eight month old son. Continue reading “From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer”

Seize the Night! Do You Know What’s Scarier than Ghosts, Goblins, Witches & Horror Movies & Scarier than the Recent Tragic Headlines? (Bonus: The Reformation, Pastor Appreciation, & Halloween Freebies)

Tattoo_it_On_Your-Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Seize_The_Night_The-Reformation_Halloween_Pastor_AppreciationSeize the Night! 

Today is a day of great opportunity. Sadly, many Christians do not seize the opportunity. Many lock their doors and turn off the lights, as if in hiding from the very people who need the gospel message who would come right to their door if the lights were left on. Many get caught up in the revelry of Halloween and blend in with the dark way the world celebrates it and seem to forget we are called to be light to a dark world. May I encourage you to seize the night? Every year I hand out candy to all who show up at my door along with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. I also believe it’s fine to use this opportunity to dress up as something wholesome and/ or portray a positive message in costume, (such as Christian themed, patriotic, heroes), while handing out Gospel tracts and church flyers. The right costume could start conversations to share the Gospel. What other night do multitudes of households in America willingly throw open their doors to the knock of a stranger or even for a neighbor?

Below are two free downloadable tracts for Halloween, one for small children and the other for older children and adults. I invite you print them to hand out with candy,or as you go door to door,or elsewhere in your travels tonight.

(Scroll past, A Special Announcement, for a bit on The Reformation and a bit more on Halloween and scary things and places.)

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

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

What if we seized every night and day as an opportunity to share the Gospel and encourage others?

A Special Announcement!

Happy Reformation Day and happy Pastor Appreciation Month to all pastors and their wives!

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14 (NKJV)

November is the month we celebrate thanksgiving here is the USA, a holiday commemorating the pilgrims who fled to America so they could freely preach and practice their Christian faith. Thanksgiving commemorates the day on which the Plymouth colonists invited their Wampanoag allies to a shared celebratory autumn feast in thanks for their first successful harvest and God’s provision. Today we also use it as a time to acknowledge all we are thankful for.

I am most thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ, and I am grateful for the men and women who answered and are faithful to their call to be pastors and pastor’s wives— those dedicated to harvesting of souls for the Gospel.  So, I will be continuing my series of interviews with pastors and pastors wives throughout November. The articles are many and varied in content. Don’t miss their stories and their wise counsel. It’s okay to be thankful for  pastors and wives in November too, right? How about if we showed our appreciation all year long? 🙂

Here are the links and some excerpts to the first three parts in my 2018 pastors and pastor’s wives interviews, followed by those for the prior two years.

Part 3 of 2018 Pastors & Pastors Wives Interviews: Life as a Pastor’s Wife

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What has being a pastor’s wife cost you?

Compared to Christ, there’s no match. —Nicole Catala

This is a tough question. I feel that on one hand, it’s such a relief to see this question posed, and I want to dive right in. On the other hand, I’m somewhat afraid to… —Anonymous

What is the hardest thing about being a pastor’s wife?

Living in a fishbowl. Having people place impossible expectations on you.. Anonymous

Having to share my husband’s time with so many people. —Angelica Obermeyer

What is your favorite thing about being a pastor’s wife?

The effect this has on our family is profound. We are…

Part 2 of 2018 Pastors & Pastors Wives Interviews: The Call: Why Did You Become a Pastor?

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I realized that following Jesus meant devoting my entire life beyond church attendance…I realized that God wanted all of me…During the message it was as if a lightning bolt sent a message saying, “This is what you are going to do for the rest of your life.” —Pastor Chad

I just wanted what my Pastor had, and ran with it… —Pastor Eric Quiles

Part 1 of 2018 Pastors & Pastors Wives Interviews: If My People

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_2ndChronicles714_If_My_People_It seems like the church has become uninvolved. It has become inward focused—More focusing on efficiency of services as opposed to efficiency of outreach and any outreaching toward the lost..The church can’t be ashamed to preach the gospel because it’s the solution…

Part 1 of 3 of 2017 Pastor & Wife Interview: Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

“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…

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

Part 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 10 poems & link to post: What God Said

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

Part 16:

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

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

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

Cultural relativism,

Biblical illiteracy,

Prayerlessness,

Fat baby syndrome from so little exercise,

Lack of spiritual curiosity,

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

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

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

Continued at: A Fire in My Bones

Halloween and the Reformation and Free Downloadable Halloween Gospel Tracts

Did you know that the day known by many as Halloween is also Reformation Day? On October 31st 1517, a young Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther,  posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, challenging several Roman Catholic practices and doctrines. This year, 2018, marks the 501st anniversary of this event that sparked the Protestant Reformation.

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

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

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

Scarier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Know Him? Do you want this?

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

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

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

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

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

Pray for Your Pastor Text Campaign

Text the word PASTOR to 74574 to sign up to receive either daily or weekly prayer reminders with suggestions for praying for your pastor and a matching scripture reference via text message. 

Next up: More exciting and heart challenging interviews with pastors and wives!

© 2018  Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo It On Your Heart

CLICK HERE to sign up for the TATTOO IT ON YOUR HEART NEWSLETTER to receive my blog posts, occasional notifications of special events, offers, and free downloads by email.

The Call: Why Did You Become a Pastor? (Part 2 in a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastors Wives, 2018)

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_aaron-burden-unsplash-Why_Did_You_Become_a-PastorDid 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

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Pastor John and Sophie Foley and children, Malden, MA (Boston area)

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 MA https://www.pottershouseboston.com/

 

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Pastor Kevin and Janet Foley, McMinnville Oregon

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)”

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

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

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

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

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Part 2: Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas—Continuing the Conversation with Reverend Brian Williams and his wife, Ruth, of Agape Missions, Nepal

Brian, where do you currently preach?

I oversee 200 churches, so I find myself travelling to these pulpits in India and Nepal. That brings me to our vision.We see this fleshed out in Bethesda Bishram, Agape’s second house in Kathmandu, Nepal, and it serves different functions. Throughout the year, you may find it populated by local pastors attending seminars, short-term missions groups working with Agape, or a family trying to get themselves back on their feet.

FullSizeRender (5)-001Bethesda Bishram serves a different purpose than Bethel Ashrm. It is a house for rest, revival, refreshing and renewal for leaders and their families. It is a place of retreat and fellowship.

Agape recognizes the importance of rest because it allows us to listen to the Lord and His will for our lives, because without retreat, there is no surrender. The purpose is to invest in the leaders of Nepal, so that they may be sustained. It gives them a chance to escape the fishbowl experience, the sense that one is always on display, of public ministry and find refuge, strength, and rest in Christ.

Ruth, did you think when you became a Christian you would become a preacher’s wife?

No, but I love the practical teaching style of my husband.

You are a church planter and overseer of churches and the author of five books on Biblical economics. Why is this important? What is your vision?

I have a simple dream. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use these Biblical Economics seminars for the glory of Jesus by helping the priestly people of God walk in financial fruitfulness. My prayer is that the kingly royal anointing would be upon them and that they will experience good success in every area of life. They will be the head and not the tail of their community or society, the top and not the bottom of their locality or village.

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FullSizeRender (8)-001My prayer is that:

It is high time that the Peter’s of today walk out their humble calling with their heads held high and not be frowned upon as old school missionaries. The Bible is never out of date and my desire is that there will be an explosion of the biblical Peter model of volunteer missionaries all around the globe. That they will destroy the fads and gimmicks of false doctrine by continuing a life of volunteerism faithfully.

My prayer is that:

The Priscilla’s and Aquila’s of today would not be shunted out of modern missions as irrelevant. My prayer is that many couples would turn their homes into churches and their workplaces into pulpits. That they would not accept being called second class workers of the gospel, which they are not. Accepting a salary or making a profit must never be allowed to be frowned upon by modern Constantine’s. That they would boldly remain in their holy calling thus defeating the false teachers of today who have demonically labelled them as the, ‘half time calling,’ people.

My prayer is that:

The Paul’s of today would continue to faithfully obey the higher calling of God by FullSizeRender (9)-001walking in financial wisdom as per the season they find themselves in. Many times the people of God in this dual model have walked in financial ignorance and so when crushing financial times have arrived they have left the ministry. I hope these books help multiply these amazing street smart Paul model missionaries who will be salaried or free volunteers as and when the need of the ministry hour demands.

You have a ministry for at risk women, rescuing some and their children from the sex trafficking trade and also a ministry to the sukumbasi (slum/street) children as well as developing leaders through two leadership homes. What is the road that led you to these ministries?

The Agape Mission International was founded on the great Commandment (Matt 22:37) the great Commission, (Mark 16:16) and the great Commitment, (Isaiah 61:1-3). The vision the Master gave me in 1998 was of a river flowing down a mountain to the lowest and the least in society. The hurting the helpless and the broken are whom the love of God and the power of God works best in and through very easily.

James 1:27 “PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS, (Children at Risk), AND WIDOWS, (Women at Risk), in their affliction…”

That led us to work with children and women at risk and not just orphans and widows.

Can you tell us about your Women at Risk Ministry?

FullSizeRender (8)-003We have 8 projects for women caught in sexual trafficking and exploitation.

WARM (Women At Risk Ministries) Nepal projects below:

1. A Tailoring Shop.

Therefore, those desiring tailoring skills are welcome.

2. A Computer Lab.

Then, those desiring software and hardware skills are welcome.

3. A Language Class.

Those desiring English Language speaking and writing skills are welcome.

4. A Beauty Saloon.

Also, those desiring beauty parlor and fashion sector skills are welcome.

5. A Food Outlet.

For those desiring cooking, baking and chef skills are welcome.

6. An Adult Literacy Center.

And, those desiring pre-school teacher training and educational skills are welcome.

7. A Candle Making unit. FullSizeRender (7)-003

Plus, those desiring scented candle-making and interior decoration skills are welcome.

8. A Handicraft Products workshop.

Finally, those desiring sewing, jewelry and crochet skills are welcome.

What is the process for rescuing and restoring women from the sex-trafficking trade?

We rescue and restore women from cabin restaurants, dance bars and elsewhere.We have intervention programs as well as prevention programs.

Please read more here:

http://womennepal.blogspot.com/

http://womenstorynepal.blogspot.com

Our training center continues to train more than 50 ladies daily. One girl aged 14 years who was sexually abused in an orphanage was rescued by our team. She is now going to school, and has accepted Christ. Another girl who was married with a child was thrown out of her home after she accepted Christ. She is now taking beautician training amongst us.

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From my daughter’s accounts from her mission trip to Nepal, and from reading some of the stories on the links at your site, it seems like many women, some with infants, end up in the trafficking trade as a result of their husband’s abandoning them.Why is this? How does the culture in Nepal view marriage?

Marriage is viewed very highly in Nepal. The problem is that the men find it very easy to run away from their wives and children. I think it’s a manhood issue rather than a marriage issue. Most women remain faithful till the end.

Prostitution and brothels are illegal in Nepal, but trafficking takes place when poor villages girls are falsely lured into better job opportunities. They are tricked and taken to India, the Middle East Muslim majority countries and Kathmandu’s dance bars and cabin restaurants, (actually brothel’s).

Please read more here:

http://fleshtradenepal.blogspot.com/

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Some are called  Dalit untouchables. What does that mean?

In Hinduism there is a caste system.The low caste, the high caste and all the rest in-between.The low caste people are the untouchable dirty Dalit people. There is a passage in the Rigveda, (Hindu scriptures), which enumerates the four castes in the being of the Heaven-Man called Purusha. The Brahman is called the mouth of Purusha, as having the special privilege as a priest of addressing the gods in prayer. The arms of Purusha became the Rajanya, the prince and soldier who wields the sword and spear. His thighs, the strongest parts of his body, became the agriculturalist and tradesman,the chief support of society, and his feet,the emblem of vigour and activity, became the Sudra or labouring man, (Dalit-Untouchable), on whose toil and industry all ultimately rests.

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Can you tell us about your Children at Risk ministry?

We operate two non formal schools in the slums.We also have a street kids soccer and feeding program.The purpose is to serve the poor but also model these ministries for local churches to start their own work amongst the marginalized.

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We minister to more than 100 kids on the streets and in the slums daily.We feed them, FullSizeRender (2)-005give them basic education, play music and football with them and tell them Bible stories on a daily basis. More than 50 of these children now attend children’s church every week.

 

We want to educate, empower and equip them. Our hope then is that they become good family people with sustainable jobs.

Please read more here:

http://streetkidsnepal.blogspot.com/

http://streetkidstory.blogspot.com/

http://slumschoolnepal.blogspot.com/

http://slumstory.blogspot.com

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What is the craziest situation you’ve experienced during your ministry that you are free to share?

Every Ministry Has a Judas

by Kayla Strickler

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. 2 Corinthians 2:17

Thirteen years ago began Tamasi’s story with Agape ministries. Tamasi originally belonged to another ministry in Kathmandu run by a reputable African man named Chibuzor (Nigerian for “God first” or “God leads”). Chibuzor ran a successful ministry in the city, but when he fell in love with a Norwegian woman, he elected to leave the beautiful mountains of Nepal for his soon-to-be wife’s homeland. Chibuzor left the ministry he had put so much blood, sweat, and tears into to another African brother. Under this leadership, Tamasi was the ministry manager.

One otherwise still and peaceful night, Chibuzor appeared to Brian in a dream. He bore a message, and through the hazy outline of the dream’s frame spoke: “Brian, I don’t care about any of the office affairs that may occur—I want you to take care of Tamasi, my manager. Don’t let her go. Keep her with you.” Chibuzor vanished. Brian’s eyes opened.

Only one short week later, Brian’s phone rang. It was Tamasi. Through anxious breaths and a crack in her voice, she failed to disguise her worry as slowly the story unfolded. The man who Chibuzor entrusted his ministry to had embezzled everything he could, including money, sensitive documents, and other information from the computer, and had disappeared—never to be seen again. He vanished still $3,000 indebted to the landlord of the rented ministry building, but in his disappearance, the debt now fell on Tamasi. Her plea to Brian was for help, so that she would stay out of jail for a nonpayment that was never meant to be hers.

Brian and Agape ministries stepped in to help. In God’s sovereignty and promise that he works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), when Brian showed up to help Tamasi with the situation, the landlord instantly recognized his face. “Brother Brian!” he shouted. “It is you!”

The two jovially talked. With a puzzled look on her face, Tamasi watched the curiously joyous interaction. It took a moment for the realization to strike: Brian and the landlord were old football friends. Through his glee, the landlord agreed to loosen the reigns on debt collection and simply told Brian to call him whenever he was ready and able to pay. Tamasi’s dilemma and fear of imprisonment were eradicated. But this wasn’t over. A hazy picture of Chibuzor flashed across Brian’s memory. He remembered the dream he had a mere week ago and knew that he was to do more than just help Tamasi stay out of jail. So, looking at her background and skill set, he offered her a job in Agape’s ministry for women at risk.

And so began the long stretch of Tamasi’s work with Agape. For quite a few years, the partnership was fluid. But in time, word started getting back to Brian about Tamasi speaking ill of him and the ministry behind his back. (Nepali culture is known to be indirect in a way that fuels gossip, but this particular flame grew like a wildfire whose smoke was extra poisonous.) Soon enough, other team members couldn’t ignore the flames. They couldn’t ignore the tension in the air. Team members started asserting their opinions that Agape needed to dismiss her from staff, and even Brian agreed. But one thing was stopping him: the memory of Chibuzor speaking to him through a dreamy haze. As Brian remembered Chibuzor’s words, he knew what he had to do. The more he prayed about it, the more he remembered both the dream and the story of Judas. In Brian’s words, “Jesus still chose Judas. Everyone needs to have a Judas.”

And so, even though according to Brian, the last three or four years she was with Agape were “hell on earth,” every year at Christmastime Tamasi’s salary still increased. She was treated exceedingly well, even when Agape didn’t want to and their hearts told them to let her go. Then, out of left field one day, Tamasi unexpectedly left. She explained she was not feeling well; that she needed to stay home and take care of herself. She mentioned her husband and her mother as other reasons. She had been trying to get pregnant; she explained the doctor advised her to rest, and then she may be able to conceive. All seemed like plausible reasons, they thought.

But rotting fish will eventually smell.

Around six months later, all of the Agape students from the women’s center inexplicably started attending another institution. The mystery was solved when Brian learned that Tamasi had started her own center, and the drama unfolded tenfold when he rushed to check the records from the Agape program: Tamasi had stolen and deleted them all. Brian had no way to even contact the women who now attended Tamasi’s program instead of Agape’s. To add exponentially more fuel to the flame, Tamasi had approached one of Agape’s biggest financial supporters and slandered the ministry, spreading accusations of corruption. The donor believed Tamasi’s lies and began to put his financial support towards Tamasi’s ministry instead.

According to Brian, there are many lessons in this story. “She keeps me humble,” he says. Even though Brian wishes he could run into her on the street and confront her, it is a choice to love people—it is a choice to not be offended, and stand ground. It is a choice to love a betrayer despite their betrayal. It is a choice to focus on the fact that Tamasi still does something people will benefit from. It is a choice to lean on the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians describing people peddling the word of God for profit. It is a choice to acknowledge that some preach the word with an attitude that is good and some with one that is bad; but what is most important is that the truth still gets preached. It is a choice to look at people like Tamasi and intentionally not to come against them, even when the opponent is outgunned.

Perhaps most people would choose retaliation. Perhaps many would look at Judas and shout about how he should have never been with Jesus in the first place. But Jesus still used Judas, and every ministry will have one. How will you react to your Judas?

                                                         ~~~*~~~

What is the religious climate in Nepal? What is the Anti-Conversion Law?

General Information:

Nepal is a secular country with some degree of religious freedom. Nepal has gone through dictatorships, civil wars, guerrilla warfare, and earthquakes, which has made the people of Nepal very resilient in good times and bad. Nepal has never been under foreign rule, so it is very welcoming to tourists, but we still must be careful of sharing our faith in a wise way.

Specific Information:

The Anti-Conversion Law bill passed in parliament several years ago and it roughly goes like this.

  • You cannot force anyone to change their religion.

  • You cannot bribe anyone with money etc. to change their religion.

  • You cannot force a person to not become an atheist if he/she wants to.

To this they added last month, (September 2017):

  • You cannot harass any other religion that is not yours.

This Bill was passed into law by the first female president of Nepal. The funny thing is that Christians and all other religions believe and agree with the bill. As you know none of us in the Christian faith convert anyone or practise the above four points. The Spirit of Christ leads them to the Father.

So it’s business as usual…

We are open to get persecuted but not because of our foolishness. Therefore, all our churches and work in the slums and with women offer practical education, job skills and adventure evangelism with local churches, so we will always be okay. Of course the enemy goes around like a prowling lion and we must be alert also.

*To be continued in Part 3: God, Family, ministry. Which is priority? 

**Did you read Part 1?

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

***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.

 © 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart