I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need
but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech
but with actions and in truth.
I John 3:17-18
Dear Ministry Partners,
One of the realities we all struggle with is "compassion fatigue." As our world staggers from one political or natural disaster to another, it is so easy to become numb to the suffering plight of others – especially if they are on the other side of the world from where you live.
The disciples faced this with the hungry multitudes. As a result of being overwhelmed by the immensity of the need in relation to their meager resources, they said to the Lord: "Send them away ... " (Mark 6: 36).
I can relate – can't you?!
But the Lord does not send them away – He sends us to them with our meager resources. And as we go by FAITH and give what we have, He adds the miraculous and multiplies the resources He has entrusted to our stewardship. That's what He has been doing in Nepal since the dual earthquakes in April and May.
Below is the latest email from Pastor Hanok with some more encouraging pictures. I hope you will be blessed by seeing more of the fruit of your LOVE and DEEDS through the compassion of Christ ...
These are some of the latest metal homes built by our team members for our loved ones of household of God. I am sending them to you with a joyful heart as the Lord has been providing the resources. To this date we have built 73 metal homes and brought in and provided the secured shelter for 73 families. We are nearing to our goal to built 115 metal homes, exclusively for the household of God. Thank you for all that you have been doing through your partners to help us and for blessing so many families with metal homes as special gift of love to protect their families from the heavy rain of monsoon.
Please continue to pray for Hanok and his two building teams who have been tirelessly working in the hardest hit regions of Nepal building these temporary 'Metal Houses' for people – especially for the needy saints whose homes were destroyed or damaged beyond repair.
We have now deployed 100% of the money God has provided through partners like you. There are still many more needy Christians who are in tents or homeless during the current monsoon rains. Pray with us that God would be pleased to miraculously send and multiply more resources to build more 'Metal Houses.'
Finally, rejoice with us over God's timely miraculous provision of this new '3-Wheeler' motor scooter for Ratna Rai, one of the deacons of the Aradhana Church, who has been crippled from birth. His old wheelchair was worn out beyond repair. Two young men, who went to Nepal for us to work with Hanok, met Ratna and saw his need. They appealed to their family and friends back home to help with the $2,000 to buy this motor scooter and kit to convert it into a '3-Wheeler.' We rejoice in their proactive love through WORD and DEED in meeting this need. Their practice of compassion has empowered Ratna in his ministry through the Aradhana Church, especially to other handicapped people in Kathmandu.
Thanks for your faithful partnership with us through WORD and DEED,
JL & Patt
HOMES BUILT BY LOVE…
“What good is it, my brothers,
if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?...
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’
but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
Homelessness is a tragic problem wherever it exists in the world! All over America and in First World Countries, there are untold thousands of people who are homeless as a result of their own free choices and bad decisions. Alcohol, drugs, laziness, irresponsibility, crime, poor financial decisions and relational estrangement put them in their homeless state as “street people.” Sadly, unwise government welfare programs and entitlements have helped keep them there – now intergenerationally.
Others, however, are homeless through no fault of their own. They are there because of the bad decisions of others – starting with their family, or lack thereof. Divorce, desertion, abuse, joblessness or natural disaster have forced them to the streets or to “homeless shelters” to survive.
Early in my travels in so-called Third World Countries, I quickly saw the need for two types of houses: First, spiritual houses – or church buildings – for God’s people to meet in, so we helped build a lot of simple, culturally sensitive church buildings. Second, there was a great need for small physical homes for poor Christians and Christian pastors, who were basically homeless or living in substandard structures. They were people who would never have a house of their own to live in without the help of someone else. Additionally, this need for housing increased quantumly after political upheavals or natural disasters.
Because of these needs, the Lord led us to start an initiative that we called “Agape Homes,” or “houses built by love.” This program was jump-started by a businessman friend who was in the Home Building Industry. As a result of his generosity, and others who joined him, we were able to build dozens of homes for needy people in places like Nepal, India, Africa and Haiti. While that program formally ended after I retired from NDI, we have continued to help with “crisis housing” following natural disasters – like this most recent one in Nepal that left hundreds of thousands of people completely homeless.
On the one hand, we hope you are not OVERWHELMED with the number of pictures that follow; but on the other hand, we want you to be OVERJOYED with what your prayers and gifts are making possible! And as you enjoy the security of the home you live in, know that you are bringing that same sense of security to these brothers and sisters in Christ during this current monsoon season.
My earlier reports focused on the “relief” phase of our work in the worst hit areas of Nepal – including the distribution of some 2,000 tarps and tents. Now we have shifted to this current “rebuilding” phase due to the annual monsoon rains. We have been building these small, corrugated “Metal Houses” as quickly as possible to get as many people as possible out of the rain. Just today I got an email from Pastor Hanok Tamang, who has primarily headed all of our work in Nepal through two building teams from the Aradhana Church that he pastors …
Glad to know that you have received the metal home pictures sent directly from my iPad you brought me on your last trip. It has been a great and vital tool in ministry. By Friday, we will be able to send even more pictures than these. There is a great demand for these ‘metal houses’ as the HEAVY RAIN HAS BEEN POURING DOWN EACH DAY. It is so exciting to see as God has been enabling us to bring more and more people under the protection of the metal homes each day as our team members have been building and completing the metal homes. While each building situation is different, the skill of our building team members have been sharpening each day as the Lord graced us with the resources. And the local Christians have salvaged what they could from their old destroyed houses to put in their temporary metal ones. Thank you, JL, for all that you have been doing to bless the needy family members. Our thanks also to your generous partners.
Thanks to all of you who have prayed and partnered with us in this rebuilding phase. While these “Metal Houses” may not look like much more than a “storage shed” by American standards, they are literally lifesavers for these dear brothers and sisters in Christ in Nepal.
Their smiles of thanksgiving say it all!
As I was finishing writing this latest report, Hanok called me. It was early morning and he was already on the road to another hard hit area with his building team. So, more pictures will follow next week. While I don’t want to bore you with a lot of seemingly similar pictures of small metal houses, I want you to be able to rejoice with these brothers and sisters from different tribal groups who are now warm and dry as a result of these “Agape Homes.” They are the result of FAITH and WORKS in action for God’s glory and the good of others – just as James said should be the norm for each of us in our Christian lives.
Thanks for being a proactive Christian who proves their faith through practical deeds (James 2:18)...
JL & Patt
PS: Please forward these pictures to some of your Christian friends and business associates who might be blessed by being a part of this Agape Home program for homeless saints in Nepal.
“… to Him who is able to do far more abundantly
than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work
within us, to Him be glory in the church …”
Mt. Everest in Nepal Great Sahara Desert in Mali
Dear Ministry Partner,
Across the years God has literally led us from the snows of the high Himalayan Mountains to the sands of the great Sahara Desert – and many exciting and challenging places in between. In the early days of our ministry, I could never have imagined that the Lord would sovereignly lead us to such different and diverse places – all for the purpose of extending His Kingdom to the unreached … under-reached … and out-of-reach people groups!
In my last few weekly reports, I have focused on our on-going relief and rebuilding efforts in Nepal, and the same with the persecuted and displaced Christians from Iraq and Syria as a result of the ISIS Crisis. But in this report, I want to connect the dots from “Kathmandu to Timbuktu.”
Pastor Nouh Yattara Pastor Hanok Tamang
TWO STRATEGIC PARTNERS
Whether our ministry has been in Mali, West Africa, or Nepal, what we have accomplished in those remote regions has been done through our strategic partnership with indigenous national leaders with whom God sovereignly connected us. These “sons of the soil” are our spiritual and physical “boots on the ground” doing evangelism, church planting and discipleship – as well as relief and development after natural or man-made disasters. Two good examples are these men pictured above – Pastor Nouh Yattara and Pastor Hanok Tamang.
After the Islamic jihadists took over Timbuktu and the north of Mali, we partnered with Pastor Nouh, the first national Christian pastor in the city, to help the Christian refugees who fled to the south for refuge. And after the earthquakes in Nepal, we partnered immediately with Pastor Hanok as you know from my recent series of reports.
TWO STRATEGIC CITIES
While Kathmandu is a major Mecca for Hindus and Buddhists from around the world, Timbuktu is the same for Muslims. Kathmandu has some of the most holy sites in the world for both Hindus and Buddhists – while Timbuktu is the fourth holiest city to Muslims because of its ancient sand mosques arising out of the Grand Sahel Desert.
PHYSICAL & IDEOLOGICAL EARTHQUAKES
Both Nepal and Mali have recently been through great cataclysmic events. Nepal was shaken to her foundations through two “physical earthquakes” in April and May – leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Many of their ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and shrines were destroyed – with their fallen gods and goddesses in the dust and rubble.
Mali, on the other hand, was left in carnage by a “political earthquake,” created by a group of Islamic jihadists known as Ansar Dine, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. Tens of thousands of people were displaced from northern Mali to the southern part of the country due to their attacks. This intensified the crisis within the “House of Islam,” as the division widened between the so-called “Moderate Muslims” and the “Radical Muslims.”
FROM TIMBUKTU TO BAMAKO
Because Pastor Nouh is the pioneer national Christian leader and church planter in Timbuktu, he is a marked man to the Islamists. As a converted Muslim, he is one of the most knowledgeable scholars on Islam I have ever known – especially Folk Islam.
When al-Qaeda overran and occupied the city of Timbuktu, they also took over Pastor Nouh’s home. Over a year later when Pastor Nouh and his family had to flee in the face of the advancing French Forces, their home was basically “trashed". By God’s grace, we were able to rebuild it for them.
While Pastor Nouh’s church in Timbuktu continues to meet weekly, led by one of his team, he is now ministering to the Christians of the Diaspora in Mali’s capital city of Bamako. He and his wife Fati have been dear friends and partners with Patt and me for a number of years.
Pastor Nouh and Fati have three grown sons who live and work in America, and they also have adopted children they have been raising in Mali. We praise God for this wonderful African “extended family” model, that often makes orphanages or children’s homes unnecessary.
However, the house they moved into in Bamako had no space for their extended family – now all teenagers. So, over the past few months, we have helped them build an addition to their house in Bamako for their adopted children, each of whom I know well. This $10,000 renovation project was made possible through a generous gift by one of our ministry partner couples who have a great heart for what God is doing in Africa.
So rejoice with Pastor Nouh, Fati, the children and us over this completed project for a unique Kingdom family in Mali …
The addition was done by closing in a balcony on the second floor
and adding additional rooms.
Cement blocks are bought, and brought in ... the balcony is closed in ...
The walls go up ...
The new roof is poured and cured ... the outside walls are plastered ...
The electrical wiring and fixtures are installed ...
A new bathroom is built, and new girls' and boys' bedrooms with bunk beds ...
... a place to enjoy for studying and sleeping.
A CONTAINER OF RELIEF SUPPLIES
Through our partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, we were able to help Pastor Nouh fill and ship a container of household goods and relief items for the displaced Christians from northern Mali.
Pastor Nouh and Fati packed donated items in America ...
After being shipped across the ocean, the container is taken over the Niger River
The contents of the container are distributed to the displaced
Christians from Northern Mali.
Whether we are ministering in Kathmandu, Timbuktu, Delhi, Singapore, Port-au-Prince – or anywhere else the Lord leads us – we want you to know that it is your prayers and support that make our work possible.
It matters not whether we are helping build temporary “metal houses” in Nepal for earthquake victims, or permanent homes for persecuted and displaced Christians, it is all made possible through your spiritual and financial partnership. That’s why Patt and I want you to know how much we deeply appreciate your faithful “… partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:6).
We send out these weekly email updates on our various partners and projects to bless and encourage your hearts as you see what you are helping make possible in some of the most unique and remote parts of God’s vineyard. By doing so, you are helping fulfill some of those “… good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in …”(Eph. 2:10).
In His joy through serving others in need,
JL & Patt
PS: Here are a few pictures from our earlier times of ministry in both Timbuktu and Bamako with Pastor Nouh and Sister Fati.
“Now we know that if the earthly house we live in is destroyed,
we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven,
not built by human hands.”
(II Corinthians 5:1)
Dear Ministry Partners,
It’s been 2 ½ months since the first of the two devastating earthquakes hit Nepal on April 25 and (May 12th) – followed by scores and scores of aftershocks. Hundreds of thousands of homes were totally destroyed.
The Nepali Government recently declared the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur to be “crisis zones.”
While we could not nearly meet all of those needs, the Lord directed us to concentrate on helping Christians “ … whose earthly houses were destroyed.” We made this focus because of Paul’s exhortation:
“While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, but especially to those who belong to the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
We have been continuously involved in this relief work since the dust began to settle the day after the first earthquake on April 25. And we did not have to wait to deploy a team of foreign aid workers – most of whom would not know the geography, language or culture. Our immediate involvement was made possible by our Nepali “boots on the ground,” primarily headed by Pastor Hanok Tamang, our very first partner in Nepal dating back to 1989.
Patt and I are so thankful for the prayers and proactivity of our ministry partners. Your generosity has made it possible to touch so many needy people, with the practical love and compassion of the Lord Jesus.
In case you did not see this in one of my earlier reports, to date we have been able to provide the following:
Now by necessity, we are shifting our emphasis from relief to rebuilding. That’s because of the arrival of the rentless annual monsoon rains!
The following pictures of the first “Metal Houses” may not look very impressive from the perspective of our large, strong, and fully furnished American homes. But they are an answer to prayer to those who were either homeless or had nothing but a tarp or tent to take them through the current monsoon season.
Each home costs an average of $1,000. And while the basic pattern is simple and similar, they each have to be adapted to the size of the family and to the land available. Later on, this same corrugated metal will be used for the roof of the permanent homes they hope to eventually build. Here is the breakdown …
BUYING & DELIVERING THE METAL …
BUILDING THE SMALL HOUSES …
OUTSIDE VIEW OF THE HOUSES …
INSIDE VIEW OF HOMES …
CHRISTIANS THANKFUL FOR THEIR TEMPORARY HOMES …
OUR BROTHER BUILDERS …
In the New Testament we read about how God called two sets of brothers to follow him and be His disciples: Peter & Andrew, James & John. Pictured above are two Nepali brothers, Joshua & Bhairam, who are heading up two different construction teams building these “Metal Houses” with the local Christians. Their father trained Joshua and Bhairam as builders from the time they were young. Since they were part of Aradhana Church pastured by Pastor Hanok, he appointed them as our builders for this phase of our rebuilding project. So pray for their health and safety as they travel and help the homeless Christians build as many houses as possible – as fast as possible due to the monsoon rains.
Right now Pastor Hanok has received hundreds of urgent appeals for these “Metal Houses.” At this point, he has cut the list down to 120 families who are the most desperate and needy. We hope that many of you will help with a gift of $1,000 to build an entire house, or a gift of any amount that we will combine with others to complete these metal homes.
Homelessness is one of the most vulnerable situations any person can ever be in – whether in Nepal or America! As Christians, we are thankful that God has promised us an “… eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” It was that house that Abraham looked to by faith because its “ … architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). That’s the house that Jesus told His disciples and us that He was going ahead to heaven to “ … prepare for us” (Jn. 14:2).
Until then, we are thankful for our temporary “earthly homes” – both our physical bodies and houses, to live in, until He calls us to our “eternal home.”
Helping house the homeless saints in Nepal …
JL & Patt
“The Israelites are to set up their tents by divisions,
each man in his own camp under his own standard.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
This is just a quick email to wish you a “Happy July 4th” weekend! If there were ever a time we as Americans need to be reminded of the founding principles of our great Republic, it is now.
Our Founding Fathers laid a strong Judeo-Christian foundation for our liberty based on the principles of the Bible. As a result, America has achieved the greatest level of freedom and prosperity for more people than the world has ever known. America still stands today as the world’s only remaining “super-power.” Sadly, those Biblical principles are being assaulted and insulted from every side. And, because of this assault, we are tottering as a nation, and precariously close to the moral “tipping point” to decay, decline and destruction.
In the process of our decline from national greatness, our “grand old flag” does not have the respect she once did at home or abroad. As many patriots are saying: “Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us!” The “stars and stripes” are being challenged and desecrated by many extremist groups who want to either destroy it – or co-opt it for their own biased and unworthy purposes. But that flag symbolizes our independence and freedom as a people and nation.
Both Biblical and secular history testify to the fact that flags … banners … standards … have always played an important part in a people’s history, ethnicity, culture and national identity. From the verse above you can see how important a “tribal flag” or “family crest” was to the ancient Israelites. They had struggled to maintain their identity as God’s people during their several hundred years of sojourn and slavery in Egypt. Very early into their Exodus, each tribal family group camped “… under his own standard.” It distinguished them as God’s people in general and their tribal family in particular. They were not Egyptians – they were Jews. And the flags of the “Twelve Tribes of Israel” are still much in use in Israel to this day.
Sadly, there were many times in Israel’s history when the Twelve Tribes turned against each other and were guilty of tribal genocide. Much blood was shed as they sought to dominate each other. This tribal and ethnic division increased their idolatry and apostasy – which led to their defeat and loss of their homeland. Ultimately, it led to their dispersion as a people among the nations of the world. This “Jewish Diaspora” continued until the prophesied re-gathering started in1948 when Israel became a sovereign nation again.
Here in America we have been seeing the same racial, ethnic, sexual and social rivalry turn into divisions and demonstrations between Blacks …Whites … Latinos … Asians … Native Americans ... straights … gays … rich … poor. We will soon find out what ancient Israel found out: “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mk. 3:25).
As the maxim says: “If there is one thing we have learned from history – it’s that we haven’t learned from history.” Because of our sin and ignorance, we keep repeating and reliving the evils of history over and over again – leaving more human carnage in our wake.
Our world in general, and the Middle East in particular, is being divided and destroyed by opposing countries and ideologies like ISIS, the PLO, Iran, Syria and Turkey, who each want to destroy Israel.
Add to these regional Middle Eastern flags the Russian and Chinese flags that are aggressively extending their influence locally and globally, and the “Battle of the Flags” intensifies! Both of these countries are seeking to supplant America as the world’s greatest “Super Power.”
But when the curtain of history falls, there will only be one flag left flying – and that will be none of the flags pictured in this email. There will only be one flag hoisted above the universe – God’s flag. This is clearly prophesied in the revelation of the Bible. As you will recall, the ISIS group who was seeking to destroy the children of Israel during the Exodus were the Amalikites. As a result of their hate and hostility toward the Israelites, God said He would “… be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” However, He assured His people that He would ultimately “… blot out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven.”
You remember the story …
As long as Moses held up his hands with the “rod of God,” the children of Israel prevailed on the battlefield. When his hands got tired and dropped, the Amalikites prevailed and routed the Israelites. So, Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands and “… Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”
After their defeat under Joshua’s leadership, we read this crucial verse: “Moses built an altar and called it ‘The Lord is my Banner.’” (Ex.17: 8-16). Moses clearly understood where the victory came from. It was “ … not by might, nor power, but by God’s Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). The same is always true in all spiritual warfare – whether on an individual or a national level. And the only hope now for America is that we follow the example of Moses, and rebuild that altar that acknowledges, “The Lord is our Banner!”
The prophet Isaiah saw a vision of God’s Messiah hundreds of years in advance. He would be that unimpressive small “shoot” that would bud from the seemingly dead “ … stump of Jesse.” But, the “Spirit of the Lord would rest on Him – the Spirit of wisdom … understanding … counseling … power … knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Ultimately this, “Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious” (Isa. 11:1-2,10).
The “signs of the times” indicate more and more clearly that we are getting closer to that day of His triumphant return. Then and only then will all of the hostile Antichrist Amalikites of this world be destroyed and Christ will reign supremely and “… His place of rest will be glorious.”
Until then, we can enjoy His true freedom, not through INDEPENDENCE, but through total DEPENDENCE upon His Spirit and Word. And because of His love, mercy and “Amazing Grace,” we can have unbroken fellowship with Him because “… He has taken me to the banquet hall and His banner over me is love!” (Song of Songs 2:4). What a banner of unconditional love under which to live your life!
So, wherever you celebrate this Fourth of July, I hope you will do it proudly under the American flag. As you do so, thank God for the political freedom we still have as Americans. But, more importantly, I hope you will celebrate your spiritual freedom because “The Lord is your Banner” and ”His banner over you is love!” Now that’s something worth celebrating for time and eternity!
FINAL WORD OF CAUTION
Many of our military and law enforcement personnel are warning Americans to be especially careful and “on guard” this weekend. That’s because while we are celebrating our July 4th, Muslims are celebrating their month-long Ramadan – their holy month of fasting that commemorates the reputed revelations of Allah to Mohamed through the angel, Gabriel. This year Ramadan lasts from June 17 – July 17, overlapping our July 4th. As a result, we have the Muslim and American Independence days in direct opposition to each other.
But, this is also the one-year anniversary of the Islamic Caliphate declared by Abu Barkr al Baghdadi, the spiritual and military leader of ISIS. He is promising a ten-fold increase of rewards in paradise for all who die as martyrs in jihad during Ramadan! He has sent out a call for all ISIS members and sympathizers around the world to carry out acts of terror in the name of Allah – especially in Europe and America. There is no more opportune time for them to do this than over the July 4th weekend.
These several factors coming together could well create the conditions for the “perfect storm” as far as Islamic terrorism is concerned. These fanatics will especially look for “soft targets” involving a lot of people that will bring spectaculars results – which they will maximize for their propaganda through the social media.
So, be alert. Be on guard. Be vigilant. Be attentive to the circumstances around you so your celebration will not turn into tragedy.
Finally, I started this op-ed on the American Flag and I want to end there. Just a few days ago, a Christian friend sent me this brief video on the history of our “National Anthem,” The Star Spangled Banner, that you may view by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/YaxGNQE5ZLA.
Don’t let your July 4th weekend go by without taking a few minutes to watch this stirring video. And if you have children or grandchildren, watch it with them. It will give you and your family renewed pride and patriotism as Americans – and new respect for our “Grand Old Flag.”
GOD BLESS AMERICA … OUR GOD IS OUR ONLY HOPE!