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.
“Later Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus…
He was accompanied by Nichodemus.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
It has always been my commitment to be on some “cutting edge” for the Lord Jesus over Easter. That’s why I have seldom been home for Easter in over 4 decades. In the earlier days of the New Directions, as pictured below, we were on the beaches of North and South Carolina sharing Christ with tens of thousands of college students who were there for “sun, sand, surf, suds and sex!” Few if any were there to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus!
After that season of ministry ended for me, my Easters have been spent in countries like Haiti, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, and Nepal – sharing Christ and celebrating His victory over sin, death and Satan. Since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the heart of our faith, Easter is just too crucial a time not to be proactive for Him.
There are too many needs, challenges and opportunities in America and around the world for us to be content with new Easter clothes … Easter bunnies … Easter baskets … Easter egg hunts! And as important as special Lenten observances, Easter Sunrise Services and Easter Cantatas are, they can be self-serving substitutes for the radical spiritual transformation the resurrection makes possible.
Since the events of Easter separate Christianity from all other religions, it is a time we must seize for the Kingdom of God! So whether in your own local community or in some remote part of the world where Christ is not known, all of us need to seek to strategically make the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus known.
This year the Lord has led me to Kenya for a special outreach to the “Samburu elders”, April 17-19. Through the years, we have held many outreaches to the Samburu morans, or warriors, through our partner, Stakwell Yurenimo – because he was a moran. We have had many special programs for children through sports, camps and VBS. In the last two years we have held historic conferences to the Samburu women, through Patt’s leadership. Through these outreaches, we have seen scores accept Christ and follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
But usually the real “power brokers” in any society are the older men – the chiefs and elders. They make all of the major decisions that influence and impact everyone else. They are the shapers of the culture and guardians of tradition. As such, they are often harder to reach than the children, young people or women. They are the ones who not only resist the Gospel the most; they are also the persecutors of the ones who become Christians.
I have shared the verses above about the key role that two “Jewish elders” – Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus – played in the burial of Jesus Christ after His death on the cross. The disciples and women were powerless before Pilate and the Roman Government. But we read about how these two “secret disciples” used their elder-ship influence to secure the body of Jesus:
“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs…and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there” (John. 19:38-42).
So, these two old Jewish elders – both “secret disciples” because of their fear of the Jews, rose to the challenge. They used their social influence and financial resources to care for the body of the Lord Jesus! And in doing so, their secrecy and silence were forever broken! We hope, pray and expect to see the same thing take place among some of the elders of the Samburu people.
With that firm calling and conviction, this Easter we will be holding a historic “Elder’s Conference” for key Samburu men. In addition to teaching them from God’s Word, we will also be giving each one a “Solar Digital Player” with the Bible in the Samburu language. On my last trip there, some of the elders said to me:
“You have had Conferences for the morans, children and women. And you have given them the players in our language. But what about us? When are you going to do the same for us?”
We have been praying and waiting for such an open door with these Samburu men for years. So this was a huge break-through! And this Easter is the time the Lord has led us to hold this strategic conference.
Some of the former Samburu morans are now “Junior Elders” who accepted Christ when they were warriors. During this conference, we want to nurture and encourage them also. I will be preaching and teaching alongside my Samburu son, Stakwell.
I need your spiritual and financial partnership for this historic conference. We need support to feed the 50+ men one good meal a day, plus tea in the morning and afternoon. We will give each of them a “Solar Digital Player” and a small gift. Finally, I am also in need for my own personal travel expenses to Kenya. Our budget for this mission is as follows:
So please make a special “Easter Gift” of whatever amount the Lord puts in your heart to give – whether $20, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000. Every penny will be used to advance the Gospel among the Samburu people – this time through the junior and senior elders. For your convenience, you may donate online through PayPal at www.jlwilliams.org/donate/.
In His Resurrection love & power for the Samburu Elders,
PS: I also have a friend going over to help finish Stakwell’s house. His name is Craig Burr, and this will be his third trip. He is an ace mason and carpenter. So any additional funds that come in will go toward the remaining balance that we need to complete Stakwell’s house.
“Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”
(Zech. 4:10; NLB)
Dear Ministry Partner,
Greetings from the beautiful campus of Impact International near the city of Coimbatore in South India. This was my final stop on my “Asian Kingdom Adventure Trip” to Asia before returning home to the States. My time here was with my long-time partner and friend, Murli Menon.
Since this was my last stop, this is also my last report on my recent 3 weeks of travel and ministry in Asia. Thanks for those of you who have made the entire journey with me through this series of reports. I hope you are not travel weary!
As I have written before, I am somewhat apologetic for writing such long reports! But on the other hand, I am so humbled and thankful for all God has done across the years through our Asian partnerships and on this past trip that I want to share as much as possible with you! These reports are not for me – but for you! That’s because it has been your faithful spiritual and financial partnership that have made all of this possible. So just as Paul “…gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them…” (Acts 14:27) – I am doing the same through these reports to you.
MINISTRY & MISSION PARTNERSHIPS
As the Bible clearly demonstrates, God’s work always starts with “small beginnings.” Regardless of the ultimate size of the work, it always starts small. Large and lasting works start from “small beginnings.” There is no such thing as an instant BIG work. Every building begins with the first small foundational stones. And the foundation of a building is largely below ground and unseen. It’s the same with ministry or mission vision. It is unseen by others in the visionary’s heart and mind long before it becomes a physical reality that can be visualized by others. It always starts from a “small beginning.”
In the same way, every long journey begins with the “first step.” And the “first steps” in ministry and missions are always toward relationships – which means covenant relationships rather than convenient relationships. It is God who sovereignly orchestrates the networking of people together in Kingdom relationships that result in covenant partnerships for the accomplishment of His foreordained will and works “…which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).
So in God’s economy, partnerships always precede projects. That’s because God is a relational God. He is into eternal relationships. The doctrine of the Trinity proves that. So it is our partnerships – not our projects – that are eternal. That’s why Kingdom relationships are always an end in themselves – not just a means to an end.
Tragically, many of our relationships in ministry and missions are nothing more than functional partnerships, where we come together to accomplish projects or reach goals – and usually those of the foreign missionary at that. Then sadly, when the goal is accomplished, the relationship is over. But Paul never approached missions that way. That’s why he could say in truth and transparency to his partners, “I have you in my heart” (Phil. 1:7; II Cor. 7:3). He loved them with a sacrificial parent’s love:
“We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (I Thess. 2:7-8).
Paul’s self-giving love is heard loud and clear when he wrote: “I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well” (II Cor. 12:15). That’s what parenting is all about – physically and spiritually. Self-giving and self-sacrifice is the mark of authentic spiritual partnership! And the church locally and globally needs a fresh commitment to that kind of Kingdom partnerships! That’s why Jesus told His disciples: “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35).
It is because of our commitment to relationships that all of our reports are wrapped around the partners God has sovereignly networked us with. It’s not about us – but about them. It’s the parallel truth about the purpose of church and worship: it’s not about us – it’s about God! So again, our ministry is not about us – it is about them. Ministry and missions is not about the accomplishment of our purposes. It’s about doing all we can to “encourage, equip and empower” national leaders to accomplish in their country, culture and context what God called them to do.
IN THE BEGINNING IN INDIA…
My very first partnership in India began in December 1986. It was with Murli Menon. By divine appointment and human arrangement, he met me in a sea of pulsating Indian humanity when I first stepped off the plane in Bombay – now Mumbai. And if you have ever been to India alone, you know how comforting it is to see a familiar face!
This first visit was arranged by his father-in-law, Thomas Samuel, who was one of the early evangelical patriarchs of India – and is still going strong for the Lord well into his 8th decade.
Murli would ultimately marry Thomas’ daughter, Usha, who would become a great companion and compliment to his ministry. In time they had 3 children of their own: Natasha and twin sons, Nathan and Tahan.
It was a joy to do many conferences with them across the years.
Together Murli and Usha have pioneered one of the most holistic ministries in India touching needy children – especially girls rescued from female infanticide.
He also has a thriving Bible College for training young leaders for the church in India. It is located on the border of a national park and wildlife reserve in a former coconut plantation – as beautiful a setting as you will every find in India, America or any other country!
When Murli and I stood on this land a few years ago and believed by faith that the Lord would make it possible for us to purchase it – He graciously did!
The new classroom block built in our honor by NDI under the leadership of our son, Joseph.
The final phase of the classroom block that still needs completing for $25,000.
Great care is taken in construction not to destroy any of the coconut trees. These trees help support the ministry through the annual harvest and sale of coconuts.
Murli and I have also partnered together to do relief and development work after the killer Asian tsunami of 2004, as well as the devastating cyclone that hit the State of Orissa recently.
Asian Tsunami in 2004
Orissa Cyclone, 2013
In addition to having winsome and winning personalities, both Murli and Usha are wonderful speakers, teachers and ambassadors for what God is doing in India today. Because of his knowledge of Eastern Religions – especially the Hinduism he was raised in, he is in great demand in both America and Europe as a speaker – where he travels annually to preach and teach in churches, universities and business forums. Since he was raised in a business family of accountants, he is especially attuned to the world of business, commerce and entrepreneurialism.
Another amazing thing about Murli is his versatility and flexibility in life and leadership. I never imagined that this young man from the city of Bombay would also become such an astute gardener and agronomist! He has literally taken our drip irrigation programs to a new level – onto his rooftop! In addition to bountiful vegetable gardens and beautiful flower gardens, he has pioneered “rooftop gardening” on the top of his home and Guest House.
So side-by-side, Murli and Usha are growing people … growing vegetables … growing flowers … growing fish – and in the process growing the Kingdom of God in India!
Murli and I have also had the joy and privilege of traveling and ministering together in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya and America. Because of the high population of Indian nationals and expatriates living in Kenya, Murli had an especially great impact there among both Indians and Kenyans.
It has been an incredible joy to partner with Murli and Usha across nearly 3 decades! And it has also been exciting Kingdom synergy to network Murli with some of our other key Asian partners: Bishop Ezra Sargunam, Hanok Tamang and Yacob Tshering.
So Patt and I hope that you will keep Murli, Usha and their family and ministry on your prayer and partnership list. You cannot invest spiritually and financially in a more worthy Kingdom family!
In His Love for India,
JL & Patt
PS: When you receive this final installment on my Asia Trip, I will be landing in Nairobi for a special series of meetings over Easter with the Samburu tribe with our partner, Stakwell Yurenimo. Over the years we have had many outreaches to the children, morans (warriors), women – but never the “tribal elders” because of their resistance. They have never invited us to hold a special conference for them until now. So we covet your prayers for this historic outreach!
“It has always been my desire to
preach the Gospel where Christ was not known…”
Bishop Sargunam welcomes Franklin Graham for ministry in India.
Dear Ministry Partner,
This part of my Asia Report begins nearly 30 years ago. It was May of 1987, and Franklin Graham had asked me to be a speaker at a Pastor’s Conference in Bangladesh, sponsored by his then young organization, Samaritan’s Purse (SP). After that Conference, we were commissioned to go into Burma – now Myanmar, to encourage some of his partners there. Following our brief time in Burma, we were to go on into India to dedicate some new “ECI Churches” and “Jesus Wells” funded by SP.
It was on that trip that I first met Dr. Ezra Sargunam, head of the Evangelical Church of India (ECI). Our hearts and spirits connected almost immediately. He was passionate about reaching the unreached all over India with the Gospel. To do so, he was especially focused on those most responsive people groups where God’s Spirit was at work – the Dalits, or untouchables … the low caste … no caste … outcast … the Gypsies … the tribal groups – all of whom were marginalized spiritually, socially, educationally and economically. His rallying cry was: “Win the winnable while they are winnable!”
His first goal was 100 churches. Then 500 churches. After that, the seemingly impossible goal of “1,000 churches by the year 2,000.” By faith, passion and sacrifice, they reached that goal two years ahead of schedule. So in 1998, ECI dedicated its 999th and 1,000th church! And as part of their dedication ceremony, they baptized over 2,230 new believers – the largest known mass baptism in India’s history at the time.
It was my privilege to participate in all of those events through a unique “ECI Partnership” that consisted of Samaritan’s Purse, OMS International, International Coop, ECC Ministries, Vision Trust, the Korean Evangelical Holiness Church and NDI. This coalition of Christian organizations that came together to support ECI demonstrated the “power of partnership” between a national ministry and her foreign partners.
For nearly 3 decades now, it has been our privilege to partner with Bishop Sargunam and the Evangelical Church of India. We have done so by helping to build scores of ECI Churches, and build and support “Happy Homes” for orphans, semi-orphans and needy children. We built many “Agape Homes” for pastors and needy homeless people. We have participated in many Pastor’s Conferences, Women’s Conferences, and Marriage Conferences. We sponsored wells and water projects, and self-support sewing programs. We bought scores of bicycles and motorcycles for evangelists, church planters and pastors – anything that would help Bishop Sargunam and ECI “win the winnable while they were winnable.”
I also had the joy of participating in his oldest daughter, Sunlight’s, wedding. Likewise, Bishop Ezra participated in my oldest daughter Trish’s wedding. So our families also grew up together.
We worked at his side in relief and development after the horrific killer Asian tsunami that struck on December 26, 2004.
One of the many fishing boats we funded, which allowed the fishermen to start over in business.
Because of our close partnership with ECI in church planting, it was fitting that we build a special church in India for the “30th Anniversary” of NDI – which was dedicated in 1998. We did not know at the time that this church would be strategically located at the seashore, to the degree that it became a major relief center after the tsunami.
Hundreds of tsunami victims outside the church receive relief supplies.
It was a special joy to return to the “The Church of the New Directions” on this past trip for special services. Since it was the “International Day for Women,” I preached especially to the women of the congregation.
Ten sewing machines are put in churches by the Lydia Fellowship to train needy women to support themselves. Pictured at right are the sewing teachers for this self-help program.
Some of the needy children now being supported by this church.
And as always, all of these diverse ministry partnerships and projects with ECI were made possible through your spiritual and financial support.
So it is always a joy for me to return to India and spend some time in fellowship and co-ministry with my dear friend, brother and partner, Bishop Ezra. At the age of 75, he has not lost his passion for the lost and for evangelism and church planting among the responsive people groups of India. With over 3,500 ECI churches across India, they are now steadily marching toward their goal of 10,000 churches and 100,000 home churches!
My latest focus of partnership with Bishop Ezra and ECI has been the development of the “Hope City” project. I visited there again this trip for a special anniversary service with Bishop Ezra. We had a “watermelon harvest for missions!”
Watermelons for evangelism and missions!
An unexpected joy at Hope City was to see the young man pictured below, Mr. Gunaseelan, who grew up in our first ECI “Happy Home.” He is now an Office Manager in a school, active elder in his ECI church, good preacher and tither. He recently earned and gave $2,500 to help build his home church. So he is a living fruit of the transformation that our “Happy Homes” have made in the lives of scores of needy children.
Before leaving Chennai and ECI on this trip, I had the joy of visiting a church being built in honor of my long-time friend and partner, Jimmy Byrd – who is now at home with the Lord in heaven. After his death, his widow, Linda, and sister, Vickie, gave funds to build an ECI church in Jimmy’s honor. This was very fitting because Jimmy, along with his father, had visited India with me on one of my early trips.
Jimmy and C. R. Byrd in India.
Bishop Ezra had completed another church in Jimmy’s memory, but the Hindu militants took it over. So this new church that is almost completed replaces that one that is now in legal contention in the courts of India. It was a joy to visit the church in progress and unveil the dedication plaque. I will dedicate the completed building on a future visit to India.
Thanks for continuing this Asian Mission Trip with me. One more report and we will be done for now. But we covet your special prayers for the Christians in India as they prepare for the upcoming Parliamentary elections. While I was there, the political campaigning was in full swing. It looks like the Congress Party will lose power to the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), which will win under the leadership of Narendra Modi. They are the Hindu party with the rallying cry of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. That means all other religions are suppressed – especially Christianity and Islam. So in India there is an unusual coalition of Christians and Muslims as the two major “minority religions” that are discriminated and persecuted by the Hindu Fundamentalist.
But regardless of which political party is in power – or the increased persecution against Christians, God is mightily at work across the whole Indian subcontinent building His Kingdom! The Gospel was taken to India by the disciple, “Doubting Thomas,” before the end of the First Century. It has been growing ever since. This fact proves that Christianity is not of Western origin. It is not the “white man’s religion” because the Indians had the Gospel long before America existed as a nation. If anything, Christianity is an “Indian religion” that we have adopted as Americans!
But we know that Christianity is not a religion at all – whether Indian or American. It is a living relationship with God made possible only through the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus – through His indwelling Holy Spirit!
Patt and I are privileged and humbled to continue to be a part of Christ’s great church-planting work through our 3 decades of partnership with Bishop Ezra and ECI. And we are especially thankful – and proud, to work with Kathiroli, Bishop Ezra’s daughter and our adopted Indian daughter. She is leading the “Lydia Fellowship” of the thousands of women in ECI. And her two daughters, Swarti and Sruti, are at her side and following in the spiritual and entrepreneurial steps of their great grandmother, grandmother and mother! What a joy to have two “adopted grand daughters” like them. The future of ECI is secure! (Please click here to see the latest issue of the ECI Church Planter Magazine.)
Kathiroli is a great expositor of the Word. Some of the thousands of ECI women in the Lydia Fellowship, headed by Sunlight, who are having a great impact for the Kingdom.
My adopted Indian daughter, Sunlight, and her two daughters, Swati & Sruti, my Indian granddaughters!
For His ancient and contemporary church in India,
JL & Patt
PS: As many of you know, while my partnership in India with ECI began because of Franklin Graham, it really began before I was born. That’s because my parents went to India early in their marriage and intended to return for life. But World War II kept them from going. However, they raised us with a vision for the world in general and India in particular. So our first ECI project was to build an ECI Church and Happy Home in their honor. I will be eternally thankful for this spiritual and missional legacy from them!
“Our dear friend Luke, the doctor…sends greetings”
Dear Friends & Partners,
Thanks for continuing to retrace my recent Asia Kingdom Adventure with me. As you have seen in the first two reports, it was a full and fast-moving trip – like all of mine tend to be. So buckle your seat belts as we fly in this report from Nepal to the border of India where we crossed into West Bengal.
Fortunately for me, my first point of ministry was at the Holy Palace Hospital, founded and headed by our long time partner, Dr. Suresh Rai, and his son Johny. Since I left Nepal with some sickness, it was a timely visit to Holy Palace Hospital.
On my annual visits there, I always stay in one of the several Guest Houses we built on the campus a number of years ago. As soon as I arrived, Dr. Rai sent a couple of nurses to check my blood pressure – which was fine, and start me on some antibiotics for my cold and cough.
Getting a timely check-up at Holy Palace Hospital
Dr. Rai and a new Christian India surgeon who is becoming a medical partner. Dr Rai ministers spiritually as he ministers medically.
So like the Lord sovereignly brought “Doctor Luke” into Paul’s life as a “…fellow worker” and traveling companion (Phil. 24; II Tim. 4:11), He timed my visit with Dr. Rai at Holy Palace perfectly! Even though I had a bad cough and had lost my voice through laryngitis, I was still able to be active and help with some projects. Since rest is a four-letter-word to me, I find that work is my best therapy and balm for healing. So I was busy at Holy Palace working with Dr. Rai’s son, Johny, on some landscaping and gardening projects. My only problem was in having to use sign language for my communication!
Johny Rai and his wife, Angie, with one of the children at the Hospital.
Johny (right), and a Hospital staff member, planting ferns along the outside Hospital wall. Beautification with paint and flowers.
Making a quick trip by motorcycle to buy paint for the Hospital sign - always an adventure on Indian roads! Painting the first coat for the Hospital sign at the gate. Even if I could not talk, I could still paint.
The new sign that was completed after I left.
Other than fellowship with our partners there, my primary purpose was to see the newly completed “Out Patient Department” in operation.
The newly completed OPD.
Dr. Rai greets patients waiting to be seen at the clinic. This new OPD makes it possible to separate the outpatients from the inpatients.
I also went to Holy Palace to help make final plans for the new roof we are getting ready to put on the Hospital through the generous gift of $6,000 by one of our ministry partners. As you can see from this picture, it is much needed since the old one is badly rusted due to the annual monsoon rains. So be watching for future reports of the beautiful new non-rust roof on the Hospital.
The old, badly rusted roof, that will soon be replaced.
My brother-in-law, Dr. Keith Thompson, has been making annual trips to Holy Palace for a number of years. He works along side Dr. Rai at the Hospital as well as going out to remote villages to give medical care to the poor. While he ministers medically, my sister, Hannah, teaches with Dr. Rai’s wife, Mary.
Across the years Dr. Rai and Dr. Keith have developed a wonderful fellowship and partnership through medical missions.
Dr. Keith doing medical ministry in rural villages as Mary Rai interprets.
My sister, Hannah Thompson, with Mary Rai, a long-term partnership. Hannah teaching the nursing students and staff.
Dr. Thompson with Dr. Rai and the Holy Palace Staff.
A number of years ago we bought this second-hand Ambulance for Holy Palace. It now needs replacing. We are praying for a partner with a heart for medical missions who will give a gift of $10,000 to replace this old Ambulance with a new one.
The old ambulance that desperately needs replacing. Flat tires like this are a constant problem in India.
Before finishing my visit at Holy Palace Hospital with you, I want to send an invitation to any doctor friends to go to Holy Palace on a medical mission. Dr. Rai is always eager to have visiting physicians and medical teams to come for a period of time. So if you are interested, please let me know.
VISIT TO THE BHUTAN BORDER
My traveling associate, Lee Bunn, at the Phuentsholing Gate leading into Bhutan.
After my brief stay at Holy Palace, I hired a vehicle to drive me to Jaigaon, on the border of Bhutan, to visit our partners at the Bethany Children’s Home (BCH). In addition to visiting all of my “adopted children” there, my primary purpose was to help make final plans for a new Dormitory to replace the old, dilapidated “Bamboo Dorm” the children have been using for many years.
The soon to be replaced "Bamboo Dorm".
Earlier this year, a team of engineers from Engineering Ministries International (eMi2) traveled to India to spend a week at the BCH drawing up plans for the new Dorm. We thank God for their strategic partnership in this project.
The eMi2 team from America and Delhi with the BCH kids and staff.
And we are so thankful for a gift of $25,000 from one of our partner churches here in America that has made Phase 1 of this project possible!
The team making measurements for the new Dorm.
After measurements are taken, the initial drawings are done onsite. Since BCH is landlocked, we have to expand "upward", multi-floors, rather than expand outward.
It was a joy to be joined on this part of the trip by two Indian lady engineers from the eMi2 office in Delhi, Ligy Abraham and Madhulika Baronia. Ligy and Madhulika are doing the follow-up design work on this new multi-story Dorm.
Ligy & Madhulika going over the eMi2 designs with us.
Discussing the plans with Markus and David, Sarita's son. The eMi2 sisters, Markus (left), David (right), and me on top of BCH, where the new addition will be built. The mountains of Bhutan are in the background.
One of my priorities is to always check on the small drip irrigation garden that is producing so many delicious fresh vegetables for the children. With the building of the new Dorm, our concern is not to destroy their small gardening area that is so beneficial to the children.
Sister Sarita and Markus in the garden.
The children picking fresh vegetables.
Some of the fresh fruit and vegetables.
The children have now surpassed me in growing vegetables!
As they do for everything, the children give thanks for their harvest. The fresh fruit is a special treat!
It was also a joy to see the new well in full operation. Because of two generous gifts of $6,000 from ministry partners, BCH now enjoys fresh, clean water, and is also able to sell water regularly to neighbors. The income from the sales helps to pay their electric bill.
Sister Sarita and the children pray and thank God for their new well, which provides an abundance of fresh, clean water.
Another priority for me is to meet with Markus, who is not only the Operational Manager of BCH, but is also an evangelist who makes trips across the border into Bhutan regularly to do evangelism. He also visits a number of the house-churches he has helped plant and nurture, and distributes the “Solar Digital Bibles” we provide him. Since he was born in Bhutan, he has no problem in going in and out of Bhutan – which no foreigner could ever do.
Meeting with Markus, an Evangelist and the Operational Manager of BCH.
Markus trekking into Bhutan to visit house churches.
Leading worship in one of the house churches with Bhutanese Christians, most of whom speak Nepali.
A "Solar Digital Player" which contains the Bible in Nepali. An elderly, illiterate man inside of Bhutan, hearing the Word of God in his own heart language.
A must for every trip is to sit in on the daily morning devotions of the children that start at 6:00 AM. I am always convicted by their passion in prayer and praise! And they pray daily for me and my entire family, as well as for our partners like you. Sadly, I do not see this kind of passion among most Christian children in America.
A time of worship and praise, led by the children. The reading of God's Word.
The prayer and praise are literally heavenly. As Jesus said, the Kingdom of heaven belongs to children like these.
At the end of each of my visits to BCH, I always “throw a party” for the children. I look forward to this as much as they do! It is a fun time of letting them enjoy some special treats that they would not normally get – like ice cream, cake and chocolate milk! So thanks for those of you who help us sponsor these special parties on visits like this – as well as at Christmas time.
Sarita's daughter, Pramila (left), helps with the party.
After the party, my friend Lee Bunn shared a song with the children, and enjoyed some special hugs from them.
Before we left Jaigaon and BCH, Lee and I bought a new heavy-duty bicycle for each of the older boys. They will use these to go back and forth to the market to bring back food and supplies.
Thanks for continuing this “Asian Adventure” with me! We only have two more stops to go in the following two reports – so don’t miss them! In “Part 4” we will go to Chennai to be with Bishop Ezra Sargunam and ECI (Evangelical Church of India). Then in “Part 5” our last visit will be with Murli Menon, two of our longest partnerships.
One quick final note: When you receive this latest report, I will be in Haiti and Abaco for 5 days. I am making a quick trip there to check on the “Onaville Church” for earthquake victims that we recently built, as well as the several large drip irrigation gardens we are helping with. We will also check on the greenhouse and farm in Abaco for Haitians and Bahamians. So I covet your prayers for this brief follow-up trip.
P. S. And as we enter the Lenten Season, don’t forget to click here for an in-depth study from my book The Passionate Christ. I pray this book will enhance your devotional studies this Easter, and that it will be a blessing to you as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!
“I thank my God…
because of your partnership
in the Gospel, from the first day until now…”
Dear Ministry Partners,
In my first report, I shared with you some of the history of my quarter century of travel and ministry in Nepal. I trust that brief missiological “walk down memory lane” gave you a bit of an overview of the depth and breadth of our relationships and partnerships there – all sovereignly orchestrated by the Lord. It has been His work from start to finish – and He hasn’t finished yet!
The “abiding fruit” (Jn. 15:16) of our many years of spiritual and financial investment in Nepal only demonstrate again the Biblical principle of how God’s people are to “…take root downward and bear fruit upward” (II Kings 19:30; Isa. 37:31). In other words: “The stronger the root, the richer the fruit.” So often as Christians we concentrate on breadth when God is first interested in depth. With the American fixation on numbers and size, we are oriented toward “how big” when God is concerned about “how deep.” It is this misplaced emphasis on numerical growth that causes so much of our work to be “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Again, that’s because of breath without depth – or evangelism without discipleship…conversion without commitment…faith without faithfulness. It is an emphasis upon a change in belief without a change in behavior. So we must give more time, attention and resources to changing the “root of the problem” rather than the “fruit of the problem.”
Most of all, we must pray with the Apostle Paul that we would be “…rooted and established in love” (Eph. 3:17) – which is the fruit of authentic Christian living and serving (Gal. 5:22). Since agape love is the basis of God’s relationship with us – it must also be the basis of our relationships with others. In other words, we must establish covenant relationships rather than convenient relationships. His love and compassion – empowered by the Holy Spirit, must be the motivation and modus operandi of our good works. Otherwise it is only the “…sounding gong or clanging cymbal” of selfishness and “do-goodism”.
In this report, I will summarize 4 of our other Nepali-related partnerships. The first one is with Nepalis in Delhi. The next one is our Tibetan partnership in Kathmandu. The third one is a new church built among the Tamang Tribe by a partner church in America. The final report is from a self-support project in Kathmandu that is a part of our Kingdom Entrepreneur initiative.
In one sense, I apologize for such a long report! But on the other hand, I rejoice that we have SO MUCH to report to our partners and investors like you! So be blessed and encouraged by these following pictures…
NEPALI PARTNERSHIP IN DELHI
Pastor Bharat Tamang meeting me at the Delhi Airport.
Like some other people groups, the Nepalis are very mobile. As a result, there are large Nepali Diasporas in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Bhutan, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – and now America. While no one knows the exact numbers, there are well over a half-million Nepalis living and working in Delhi, India – most in deplorable slum situations.
Years ago we partnered with Pastor Bharat Tamang – through our partnership with Pastor Hanok Tamang. We met him in Kathmandu at a Pastor’s Conference we were sponsoring through NCFN. He was visiting from Delhi, where he was one of the pioneer ministers among the Nepalis. His daughter, Tabitha, was also involved in ministry with him – primarily to needy Nepali children who were orphans or semi-orphans.
A number of years ago, we partnered with Pastor Bharat in building the Anugrah Church. Later it was also modified to house the Anugrah Children’s Home, headed by Tabitha. Pastor Bharat is a great prayer warrior and God has given him the spiritual gift of healing – which has been used to bring many to faith in Christ, followed by baptism.
Baptizing new believers.
Since I have to fly through Delhi on my way to Nepal, I always stop off and spend a night with Pastor Bharat at the church. That way I can get an update on his ministry, as well as visit the 8 children in the Children’s Home.
My associate, Lee Bunn with Pastor Bharat outside of the Anugrah Church where we over-nighted. Lee enjoying meeting the children over breakfast before they left for school.
Some of the children showing me their schoolwork in English. The site where we are planning to build a two-story addition for the Children's Home just as soon as the Lord provides the $3,000.
The top of the church where we also plan a small addition, so the children can have a place to play, and the church can use for activities. Pray with us for the immediate $10,000 we need to make this addition for these wonderful Nepali children.
VISIT WITH TIBETAN PARTNERS
A top priority for every visit to Nepal is to spend time with Pastor “Pala” Tshering and his son, Yacob. As you know from past reports, Pala (“father”) is considered the patriarch of Tibetan Christianity. His ministry, Champa Choeling is the oldest known indigenous Tibetan ministry in the world. He has just turned 98, and is still strong in spirit. After Yacob’s first visit to the States a few months ago, it was good to be back with him and all of the Champa Choeling children.
I am greeted by Yacob and the young people of Champa Choeling. Greeting Amala Tshering, Pala's wife.
Pastor Hanok and Pala have been close friends for decades. I took in more "Solar Digital Players" of the Scriptures, recorded by Pala, for distribution among Tibetans.
Pala enjoys listening to himself through these "Solar Players" provided by our partners for $25 each.
Yacob explains the future vision of Champa Choeling as we are praying for land to relocate and expand their ministry. It was a joy to take in new clothes for all of my adopted Tibetan sons and daughters - some of the future leaders of Tibetan Christianity.
Our current biggest need and prayer request is for a grant of $25,000 to buy a vehicle for Champa Choeling. Yacob has a 20-year old motorcycle that needs to be replaced with a good vehicle that he can drive to the various Tibetan Refugee Camps to minister and distribute the “Solar Digital Players.” Perhaps your church or business could underwrite this need – which can greatly enhance and advance the outreach of Champa Choeling to the thousands of Tibetans living in Nepal.
NEW CHURCH BUILT FOR TAMANG PEOPLE
As you know from my first report, one of the initiatives we partnered with in the early 1990s was the “Unreached People’s Project,” headed by Pastor Hanok and the Aradhana Church. Scores of previously unreached people groups in the remote regions of Nepal heard the Gospel for the very first time. Untold thousands came to faith in Christ – often as a result healings, miracles and deliverance from demons. Hundreds of simple churches were built for these new believers to meet and worship in. That church building movement has continued to this day.
On this latest trip, it was a privilege to dedicate the Dungu Khola Church, planted by Pastor Sundarman Tamang – himself a convert from the Unreached People’s Project (click here to read his exciting story and the brief history of this church).
As you will see from the pictures, I started on the mountainous trek to the church. However, I came down with the first stages of sickness half-way up the mountain and had to let Pastor Hanok and Lee Bunn go the final, steepest way to dedicate the church.
So put on your trekking shoes and head up the mountain with our team after we took the river as far as we could go…
The long journey begins in this "little red truck" that we purchased 17 years ago - which now desperately needs replacing.
The Katasingh River that Hanok and I have trekked up many times across the years. During the non-monsoon season, this public bus services remote villages a few miles up the river.
One of the many river crossings we made as we headed to the church dedication. The end of the "river road" where we had to leave the truck.
Pastor Hanok with Pastor Sunderman Tamang, who founded the Dungu Khola church. The first part of our path from the river up to the mountain where the church was located.
Because Lee Bunn is an avid hiker and camper, this trek was an exciting "Kingdom Adventure" for him. Starting up the mountain with Bible in hand for the church dedication.
The more we hiked, the more the skies turned dark, and the more my stomach rumbled with food poisoning! The cow shed where I took shelter while the others went the last way up the mountain for the dedication.
They brought tea and bread to me, to strengthen me.
The final roof sheets were being put on as our team arrived. All of the building materials were carried up the mountain on the heads and backs of the church members.
Some of the precious Tamang children who greeted our team. Inside the church was decorated for the dedication program.
Church members eagerly waiting for the ribbon cutting. Pastor Hanok and Pastor Sunderman prepare to cut the ribbon.
Pastor Hanok leads in the dedication prayer.
As always, the singing, praise and worship is heavenly! In Nepali tradition, the women sit on the floor on one side of the church, and the men sit on the other side.
Some of the church members pause for a picture before our team treks back down the mountain. Pastors Sunderman and Hanok arrive back at the river, soaking wet from the rain.
I unexpectedly met Pastor Dorje and his wife, who originally led Pastor Sunderman to the Lord. The scar on Pastor Dorje's foot, where he was bitten by a viper many years ago, as he ran through the night to rescue one of his church members that was being beaten by an angry mob.
Members of the Dungu Church giving praise to God, and thanks to you for making their church possible. We have many more rural churches like this that need sponsors, for $3,500 - $4,000.
SELF-SUPPORT SEWING CENTER
One of our final major projects on this trip was to visit the newly completed “Barnabas & Dorcas Enterprise.” It is also under the spiritual umbrella of the Aradhana Church, but headed by Bhim Bahadur Nepali.
Through the gracious investment of several of our partners, we were able to equip Bhim and his family with a number of sewing machines. He now employs over a dozen people who were previously unemployed. This is the kind of job-generating and self-support micro-industry that we love to jump-start through our Kingdom Entrepreneur (KE) initiatives.
On this past trip I basically emptied our KE account to buy a new diesel generator for Bhim’s small company, which cost $1,000. Since power is off now 12 hours a day, it was almost impossible to operate and expand his business. So I hope that some of you will make a generous gift to our KE Fund so we can continue to help jump-start or expand such micro businesses.
The newly refurbished "Barnabas & Dorcas Center" for micro-enterprise. Pastor Hanok with Bhim Nepali's family, who are active members of the Aradhana Church.
Lee Bunn is welcomed by Bhim and his daughters to the Sewing Center.
Bhim operating one of the electric machines we purchased for him. Bhim shows us a new, large "on-going" order for baby clothes for a local hospital.
Some of the women who are being trained and employed at their sewing business. Due to power problems, both manual and electric machines are used.
One of the dual-powered sewing machines, that is both manual and electric. The new diesel generator that we purchased for Bhim's business, which enables Bhim to operate during the normal 12 hour power blackout each day in Kathmandu.
Some of the backpacks that Bhim produces. "First-fruit" backpacks for needy children.
Some of the needy children Bhim blessed with new school backpacks as some of his tithe to the Lord. Thanks for investing with us through KE to help national entrepreneurs like Bhim and his family.
Thanks for being a Kingdom Investor with us in what God is doing in Nepal. I hope you sense something of both the depth and breadth of our ministry partnerships there – all made possible by our ministry partnerships here in America!
In our next report we will fly from Nepal to India and to the Bhutan border where we will visit partners and projects there. So be watching for those coming reports. Until then, I boldly ask as many of you as possible to send in a gift of any amount to replenish our KE Fund so we can meet more needs in the Name of Christ. Whether you can give $10, $25, $50, $100 or $500 – every gift will be strategically invested to bring spiritual and entrepreneurial blessing to worthy brothers and sisters in Christ!
Investing with you where God is investing,
JL & Patt