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.
“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!
“ … as those who have been chosen of God …
put on a heart of compassion … ”
Dear Ministry Friends & Partners,
As I shared in “Part 4” on our series of reports on our Nepal earthquake relief efforts, the Tibetans are some of the least reached and least responsive people on earth. After several hundred years of foreign missionary attempts to share the Gospel with them, the number of Tibetan Christians remains miniscule.
Yacob, Yondon (Yacob & Linda's son), Pala,
Amala, & Linda Tshering.
According to Nima “Pala” Tshering, the acknowledged patriarch of Tibetan Christianity, there are less than 300 known Tibetan Christians in the entire world. And many of them were reached for Christ through his unique ministry and children’s home in Kathmandu. It is known as Champa Choeling, or “Place of Love.”
It has been our joy to be in close partnership with Pala “Father” Tshering and his son, Yacob Tshering, for over 25 years. One of the things I have learned from my close fellowship with them across the years is that Tibetan Buddhists are seldom impacted through personal witnessing by Christians. For generations they have been dedicated to the Dalai Lama as their incarnate deity. He is both their spiritual and political leader – their Christ-substitute. They look to him alone as their source of salvation. He continues to be one of the most revered and respected people in the world today with untold numbers of believers and admirers outside the Tibetan world.
Because compassion is one of the cardinal teachings of Buddhism, the Tibetan people are receptive and responsive to “acts of compassion.” And since the Bible refers to God as the “Father of compassion and God of all comfort …” (II Cor. 1:3), He is the ultimate source of authentic compassion, Who alone can give spiritual assurance and comfort to the human soul.
The whole message of the Bible is one of compassion as a result of God’s loving passion for the world. Therefore, the Old Testament is filled with references about God’s compassion toward His people – even when they rejected Him. But He also revealed His compassion to those who did not know Him – as Jonah found out concerning the wicked and idolatrous Ninevites (Jonah 4:11).
Likewise, the New Testament is filled with examples and parables of compassion through the life of Christ since He alone is God’s compassion incarnated in human flesh. Because of His deity and humanity, He lived a sinless virtuous life … died a vicarious death on the cross ... followed by His victorious resurrection from the dead!
Is it any wonder then that the Gospels and Epistles are filled with exhortations for Christians to follow the example of Christ and constantly give themselves to acts of compassion? As I often share in preaching and teaching, compassion is not pity. You can have pity on someone and never get involved. That’s what the Priest and Levite did in the story of the Good Samaritan, as exemplified by their passing by the wounded and dying man “… on the other side of the road” (Lk. 10:32).
The definition of the Biblical word for compassion is to be “deeply moved in the heart.” It is a reaction that compels action. It is a response to human need that will not allow you to “… pass by on the other side of the road.” Compassion compels you to become involved and do all you can – even if it means risk … danger … sacrifice … leaving your comfort zone. Like the Good Samaritan, true compassion will always make you cross the road … cross the office … cross the locker room … cross the classroom – to meet a need.
That’s what Yacob and the young people of Champa Choeling have been doing, because you have helped us put resources in their hands. And how we continue to thank God for the truck we were able to buy for them this past year due to the generosity of one of our American partners. We never imagined then that it would become a “donkey for Jesus” to distribute earthquake relief supplies!
Two of the older girls from Champa Choeling helped Yacob
load the truck with more relief supplies to take to the
Tibetan Refugee Camps.
Yacob unloads gifts of compassion at one of the Camps.
As you recall, two devastating earthquakes took place on April 25th and May 12th – two days that shook and shattered Nepal and changed her forever. These now two-month-old series of earthquakes have given fresh opportunities to our Tibetan partners to do acts of compassion through the love of Christ. And your giving has helped make it possible.
Sometimes you only need to touch … smile … hug … or weep to express compassion. But that was not sufficient for the wounded man on the Jericho road. He needed tangible expressions of compassion. In his desperate and dying situation, he needed someone to stop and help him … come to his side … pick him up … dress his wounds … carry him to an inn … pay his bills … stay involved long enough to get him back on his feet again.
That’s what Yacob, his wife Linda, and the young people of Champa Choeling have continued to do since the devastating earthquakes. Two months later, the aftershocks continue. So, Yacob and team have been visiting again some of the largest Tibetan Refugee Camps, with practical expressions of the compassion of Christ. Like others in Nepal, many of the Tibetans are still living outside under tarps and tents due to the unsafe nature of their former houses or apartments.
A few months ago, I visited these same Tibetan Camps with Yacob in Kathmandu and Pokhara to distribute the Solar Digital Bibles. Because of your financial support, they have given money … food … clothing … medicine … solar digital players of the Bible in Tibetan … to as many as possible.
As you can see in the pictures in this report, many of the people they have reached out to are very elderly Tibetans who will soon be in a Christless eternity. So pray for these older ones especially, that God’s Spirit would draw them to belief in Christ as a result of these acts of Christian compassion.
Also, pray that the “oral word” that is being sown in their hearts and minds through the Solar Digital Players in Tibetan would take deep root in their hearts, according to Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13:8.
Only the truth of God’s Word can liberate them from their endless fingering of prayer beads … mindless chanting … reliance on fetishes … spinning of prayer wheels … flying of prayer flags … endless walking around the Buddhist stupa … and misguided worship of the Dalai Lama as their god. They are hopelessly lost in religion, because they do not know about the personal relationship they can have with God through Jesus Christ.
A PIZZA PARTY WITH JESUS!
Your prayers and partnership also made possible a special party for the children of Champa Choeling to celebrate these latest relief distributions. They enjoyed pizza and ice cream – a rare treat for everyone. What a joy to bring this fun, food and fellowship into their lives after weeks of trauma, fear and uncertainty through the earthquakes and continual aftershocks!
Linda Tshering (pictured in the black hat), sits with
the children and young people of Champa Choeling.
They are seen here wearing the new tee shirts and holding
new towels that we recently were able to send over, thanks
to the generousity of a ministry partner here in the states.
Pray that God will call many of these precious children to be
His missionaries back to Tibet and to the Tibetan Diaspora
in Nepal, India, and the West.
We also pray that some of you will help us support these precious Tibetan children and teenagers for $35 a month. It would be a great investment in the present and future evangelism into the Tibetan world through the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus.
In His love & compassion for Tibetans,
JL & Patt
PS: If you have not already read the book on Pala Tshering’s life, “A Tibetan Monk’s Story, we would love to send you one FREE. There is also a companion introductory video – much of which was filmed inside Tibet. It would be a timely video to play for your Sunday School Class, Youth Group or Home Bible Study. Pala, who is now 99, will turn 100 this January 1st! Pray for his continued health and strength as he continues to minister God’s Word till the Lord calls him home!
“Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
defying His glorious presence.
For the look on their faces bears witness against them;
they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
TELL THE RIGHTEOUS IT WILL BE WELL WITH THEM,
FOR THEY WILL ENJOY THE FRUIT OF THEIR DEEDS …
The Lord takes His place in court; He rises to judge the people.
The Lord enters into judgement...
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes …
they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty
and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel,
Therefore, the Lord’s anger burns against His people;
His hand is raised and He strikes them down.”
(Isaiah 3:8-9; 5:20-25)
Dear Friends & Partners,
God’s sobering words of commentary about the fatal “political correctness” of ancient Israel have been spoken again this past week from both the Supreme Court and the White House. This historic watershed case known as Obergefell vs. Hodges, legalized gay marriage in all 50 States – and thumbed its nose in God’s face in the process.
No doubt this latest unbiblical, unconstitutional, unnatural and un-American decision will go down in the annals of the Supreme Court history with the same spiritual, legal and social infamy as Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973. This now decades old 7 – 2 decision by the Supreme Court legalized the murder of millions of unborn children in the womb of their mother by unethical and greedy doctors who were supposed to save lives – not take them. This latest decision will result in the legalization of hundreds of thousands of same-sex unions that God calls an abomination – along with scores of other sins (Lev. 18:22).
While Roe v. Wade destroyed the sanctity of life, Obergefell v. Hodge destroyed the sanctity of marriage. In both cases, the highest court in our land exalted their supremacy over the supremacy of God. In doing so, the “Supreme Court” became the “Extreme Court” in legalizing practices that are extremely dangerous spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, culturally and economically. Through their arrogance and folly, they sat in judgment against God. They legally nullified the authority of God’s Word through their abuse of human authority.
In a 5-to-4 vote, same-sex marriage was given all of the same “rights and respect” of traditional heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman. It is now the “law of the land.” The majority Judges (Kennedy, Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsburg & Breyer) won the day over the dissenting Judges (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas & Alito). So in our so-called democracy, 5 liberal, leftist judges imposed their “wisdom” and will over the will of millions of Americans! Just as President Obama has used “Executive Privilege” to legislate decisions by fiat, the Supreme Court has done the same thing. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote:
“If you are among the many Americans – of whatever sexual orientation – who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
Writing for the majority, Judge Kennedy redefined marriage as a relationship between “two people” rather than between a “man and a woman.” This was his fourth major legal opinion in favor of gay rights since 1996. Finally he achieved his long-fought-for goal of the legalization of “gay marriages” by exalting them to par with “traditional marriage.”
While our democratic system of “majority rule” has basically been a good political system for America – it is not how the Kingdom of God is operates. God’s Kingdom is theocratic – not democratic. In God’s Kingdom – which America is not – there is only one will that rules and reigns supremely – God’s will! And since America has long since legally abrogated and undermined our Judeo-Christian Foundations, we can no longer be considered a “Christian nation” – if that were ever the case!
Every knowledgeable Christian fully understands that America is a diverse country racially, ethnically, politically and religiously. And the Commander-in-Chief is the President of all the people – not just some of the people who share his political values. We understand the reality of diversity, plurality and multiculturalism. But while we do not expect non-Christians to embrace the authority, values and morality of the Bible, we should be able to expect the church to do so! Sadly, many in the so-called “affirming churches” – just like on the Supreme Court – have become “…wise in their own eyes” to the degree that they too “defy” God’s clear revelation. They have become “supreme” in their own wisdom and judgments.
In legalizing this decision, the Supreme Court has called “… evil good and good evil … darkness for light and light for darkness … bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” The result will be more national “… evil … darkness … bitterness” as a people and nation – all because the majority won.
The Bible reveals, however, that virtually every time the “majority ruled” – the majority was wrong! A timely example is when the ten spies overruled two Godly men who had God’s perspective – Joshua and Caleb. The result of this democratic vote was forty years in the wilderness where a whole generation died and never got to the Promised Land. This Supreme Court “majority rule” – loudly praised by President Obama – has legally detoured America deeper into the morass of a national wilderness from which we may never return! We have crossed bridges of no return – and burned them behind us. We have made moral detours from which there are no exit ramps.
I found it sadly ironic that President Obama called the primary plaintiff, James Obergefell, and heartedly congratulated him from the Oval Office while Obergefell was standing on the steps outside the Supreme Court. And, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in the background, accompanied this congratulatory call! Yet another American icon co-opted by the gay community to support their “civil rights.”
Shortly after this personal phone call, Obama praised this decision from the White House saying that it finally proved that “ … all Americans are created equal.” His erroneous statement clearly affirms the cry of the gay community that this is the way God created them (More about that fallacy later). For Obama, this legal victory was also the fulfillment of one of his inaugural promises to fully support “gay rights” all the way to the legalization of “same-sex marriage.” It will be a part of his presidential legacy for which history, the American people, and God will judge him.
In praising this decision by the Supreme Court, Obama said this was one of those historic moments when “Justice had come like a thunderbolt.”
In reality however, this is not gay JUSTICE – but God’s JUDGMENT that will come like a thunderbolt! And ISIS is but the first thunderous rumblings of this sovereign judgment against America and the Western World that has embraced this sexual and social decadence. Another judgment that will ultimately destroy us is our national debt that has put our children, our grandchildren, and us in economic bondage for generations to come.
CIVIL RIGHTS & GAY RIGHTS
All of the recent “racial riots” around the country pitting the police against the Black community is but another foreboding sign of a “nation divided against itself” that cannot long stand. And I am especially saddened by the millions of African Americans who have been co-opted into the LGBT movement through an equation of racial “Civil Rights” with sexual “Gay Rights.” In doing so, they have given up the moral high ground of their just cause. While “Civil Rights” is a moral issue; “Gay Rights” is an immoral one. One is mandated in the Bible. The other is condemned.
Add to this growing new racial divide the business decline … the unemployment rate … the crime rate … rampant drug addiction … the collapse of our schools … the dependency of millions on government hand-outs – and the signs of decadence, decay and dissolution are screaming “Judgment!” all around us!
As they watch annual “gay pride” parades flaunt every form of sexual perversion and deviation imaginable, is it any wonder why these fundamental Muslims see America as the “Great Satan?!”
And as they recently witnessed millions of Americans celebrate the sex change of Olympian Bruce Jenner into the hybrid female, Caitlyn Jenner, is it any wonder that they feel they must destroy our culture before it destroys theirs? In their minds no one but the devil could inspire such perversion and empower such legal and social acceptance of unnatural affections – all in the name of freedom and democracy! And any religion – whether Judaism or Christianity – that embraces and endorses this unnatural sexual behavior must also be decadent and far inferior to Islam!
ABNORMALITY BECOMES NORMALITY
In America this ruling is being loudly affirmed as another major step forward and upward in man’s evolutionary climb out of the sexual prejudice, marital bigotry and social discrimination imposed by religionists – primarily Christians. This ruling gives the approximate 390,000 “same-sex marriages” the same legal rights in every area of society as “traditional marriage.” In reality, it is not an evolutionary step upward – but a devolutionary plunge downward, into moral decadence and social decay!
As the Bible clearly says, this decision by the Supreme Court is nothing but “switching the price tags” and labeling “evil” as “good”… “darkness” as “light”... and “bitter” for “sweet.” As the plantiff Obergefell proclaimed, "Our love is equal to your love." But changing the price tags does not change reality. And the price we will increasingly pay for legalizing abnormality as normality will cost us everything as a nation. Sodom and Gomorra learned this through national judgment and destruction. America will too.
Therefore, this ruling brings us another precarious step closer to national judgment and destruction. God did not ignore the arrogant pride and rebellion of Israel but “ … took His place in court … to judge the people.” And as always, His judgment started with the “… elders and leaders” (Isa. 3:13-14) – which is why I would hate to be in President Obama’s shoes or those of the 5 affirming Justices on Judgment Day! They will one day learn the reality that God’s Supreme Court is sovereign, and neither His holiness nor moral laws can be compromised. And before the bar of God’s perfect and righteous bar of judgment, there will be no higher appeals. At that time, there will not be 9 Judges sitting on the bench – only God who is the just “Judge of the universe” (Gen. 8:25; Deut. 32:36; I Sam. 2:10; I Chron. 16:33; Ps. 7:8; 9:8; 50:6; 82:8; 96:10; 110:6; Isa. 33:22; Joel 3:12; Mic. 4:3; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom. 2:16; II Tim. 4:1, 8; Heb. 10:30; 12:23; Ja. 4:12; I Pet. 4:5; etc).
The date of this latest Supreme Court ruling had historic significance for the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). That’s because the first openly defiant pro-gay rally in America took place on the morning of June 28, 1969 in New York City. In Greenwich Village there was a counter-culture bar known as the “Stonewall Inn.” It was predominantly a “gay bar,” whose primary patrons were gays and other sexual deviants such as transvestites, transgenders, the effeminate, and male and female prostitutes on the prowl. This primal demonstration became the benchmark for the LGBT community, and for all other annual “gay parades” from then until now. As you probably saw on the news, it was one of the primary places of celebration for the Supreme Court ruling. In doing so, the highest court of our land endorsed the lowest sexual behavior of our society! The Supreme Court embraced the immoral values of Greenwich Village! What a tragic irony.
THE WHITE HOUSE OR AN OUTHOUSE?
In anticipation of this positive ruling by the Supreme Court, President Obama hosted an LGBT Celebration at the White House just a few days earlier. Sadly, much of the behavior was more fitting for an “outhouse” than the White House! Even he summarized the diverse gathering as a “rowdy crowd.”
To welcome and celebrate this gathering of sexual deviants and sympathizers, the White House was bathed in the rainbow colors of the gay flag. The use of these colors is yet another perversion of a Biblical symbol they have hijacked for their “rainbow coalition” of human sexual deviation! They would have us believe that any and every sexual preference and perversion is created by God and endorsed by the bright and beautiful “gay colors” under the arch of His rainbow.
So it was blasphemous for the American White House to be bathed in the rainbow colors of the gay pride movement. It said to America and the world that the White House had now become “their house.”
How sad that I can’t remember the White House ever being bathed in the patriotic “red, white & blue” of the American Flag to celebrate the homecoming of our soldiers from the Middle East. Some real colorful bias there!
While Obama called the White House “his house,” it is in reality the “people’s house,” because no president lives there indefinitely. In America we have no “Royal Family” who inherit the White House permanently. It is the American people who decide who temporarily resides there during his tenure as President with the First Family. So the White House should always be a place of dignity – not degradation. It should be a place of “national pride” – not “gay pride!”
Because the White House is a symbol of your house, and my house, as American citizens, it should be a shinning symbol – a light set on a hill, for all of the highest values and virtues we stand for as a people and nation. The behavior of its temporary residents should always reflect the values of the majority of the American people – not those of an extreme few.
EULOGY OR EXPLOITATION?
To me, it was a tragic irony that the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage took place on the day of the funeral for slain pastor and politician, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, held at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. These events were just hours apart on Friday June 26th. While I have great appreciation for some of the things that Obama said in that eulogy, like many others, I saw it as an exploitation of a unique opportunity to pontificate on his agenda – especially the lingering residual racism in America, along with educational reform, minimum wage, prison reform, and gun control. And while he did a pretty good job of imitating Black preaching, he fell far short of great Black preaching that is so characteristic of African American churches across our country. His “political preaching” was more reflective of his previous pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, than the great past and present Black preachers who are far more Biblically informed and theologically sound.
And while we all appreciate President Obama’s emphasis on “God’s grace” throughout his eulogy, he fell far short of a presentation of what God’s “Amazing Grace” is really all about – whether you recite it, sing it or preach it. Simply put, God’s amazing grace is summed up in the person and work of Jesus Christ. As I listened twice to his eulogy and read the transcript, not once did I hear President Obama every mention the Name “Jesus.” A “generic god” is acceptable – though marginally politically correct. That’s because you can project onto a “generic god” the name of Allah, Buddha, Krishna, mother, father or abstract nature. But to mention Jesus is totally politically incorrect! But there is no “Amazing Grace” without the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ!
Even a superficial reading of the New Testament reveals the inseparable relationship between “God’s grace” and “Jesus Christ.” Jesus was the very Incarnation of God’s grace (Jn. 1:14). As Paul succinctly summarized it: “…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17). Paul expressed God’s eternal grace this way:
“God saved us … not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus …” (II Tim. 1:8-10).
Note: For your further study on this take time to look up these few selective verses about Jesus Christ being God’s source of “Amazing Grace”: Acts 15:11; Rom. 5:15; 8:9; 16:20; I Cor. 1:4; II Cor. 13:14; Gal. 6:18; Eph. 1:3-8; 2:8-9; Phil. 4:23; I Thess. 5:28; II Thess. 1:12; I Tim. 1:14; II Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:6-7; Phlm 25; I Pet. 5:10; II Pet. 1:2; 3:18; Rev. 22:21.
So my friends, it is nothing more or less than God’s “Amazing Grace” that can “… save wretches” like you, me, gays, lesbians, transvestites, homosexual or heterosexual adulterers, idolaters, alcoholics, drug addicts, liars, thieves, swindlers, murderers, jihadist, racists, bigots, hypocrites, blasphemers, gossips, gluttons and the greedy. Did I miss anyone?!
After Paul wrote a list of “saved sinners” like this in which he specifically included the “… sexually immoral … adulterers … male prostitutes … homosexual offenders, he clearly stated twice that none of them “… would inherit the Kingdom of God.” But because of God’s “Amazing Grace,” Paul did not stop there. He shared the GOOD NEWS…
“And that is what some of you WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:9-11).
Praise God, all of our sins can be in the past tense of that word “were” – but only because of the Amazing Grace of Jesus Christ! That’s why God promised His people who were faithful in the midst of national unfaithfulness: “Tell the righteous it will be well with them.”
And that word “righteous” does not mean that we are innately “right” as Christians. It does not remotely suggest that we can have a “holier than thou” or “better than you are” mentality or attitude. God’s “Amazing Grace” always results in humility – not haughtiness. We know we have no righteousness in and of ourselves. This crucial Biblical concept simply means that we have accepted the imputed righteousness that God freely gives us through Jesus Christ. And the proof that we have accepted His righteousness is that we walk in the “paths of righteousness” – which means living by God’s principles rather than those of the Supreme Court.
CHRISTIAN OBEDIENCE or CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
Because of this extreme ruling by the Supreme Court, the time will soon come when Christians will have to boldly come out of the shadows and stand up and be counted. Not only will we need to stand firmly on the exclusive “Amazing Grace” that is only available through Jesus Christ, we may soon have to lovingly disobey our Government through “Civil Disobedience.”
As Christians we are commanded by God and the Bible to be the best citizens we can be and do everything in our power to “… live at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). But whenever and wherever there is a direct conflict between the Laws of God and the laws of man, we must say with the Apostles: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29). Our “Supreme God” will never compromise with our “Supreme Court.” Neither can we if we are “worth our salt” and “worthy of our light” as Christians (Matt. 5:13-16).
Let me briefly outline in closing why a Bible believing Christian cannot buy into this latest political correctness that is so incorrect from a myriad of perspectives …
Unfortunately, there will be no conclusions any time soon about this latest illegal and immoral rendering by the Supreme Court. It will only deepen the divide between the American people. Obergefell vs. Hodges will no more resolve the homosexual issue than Roe. Vs. Wade resolved the abortion issue.
The greatest and saddest division will be that which will take place among professing Christians. Between “affirming churches” and “opposing churches.” Studies reveal that a majority of the younger generations – the “millennials ” – have shifted their opinion to a pro-gay perspective. Just as the case on other social issues, they have compromised the clear moral absolutes of the Bible for moral relativism. They are not able – or not willing – to “connect the dots” from what the Bible reveals to what they feel. Social norms and subjective feelings have trumped objective facts. The “disconnect” between “belief” and “behavior” no longer matters.
Once again the discernment of the radical difference has been lost between “good and evil … light and darkness … sweet and bitterness.” As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, this spiritual discernment and ability to “connect the dots” is the difference between infancy and adulthood and maturity and immaturity. It is only the “… mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity … ” (Heb. 5:14-6:1).
Our blind acceptance of these latest legislations from the Supreme Court House and Presidential pontifications from the White House are but fresh opportunities for Christians to clearly discern the difference between “good and evil … light and darkness … bitterness and sweetness – and freedom from bondage!
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion out of reverence for God” (I Cor. 7:1)
In His Righteousness through Amazing Grace,
PS: Here is a “Letter to the Editor” that Patt wrote to our local newspaper in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. I wanted to share it at the end of this op ed for your further reflection.
IF I HAD A FLAGPOLE
If I had a flagpole, I’d lower my American flag to half-mast after the recent Supreme Court decision regarding marriage. Surely, they have lost their way and exchanged the truth for a lie. How sad! Sad that the Court wants to cookie-cut us into believing that trading morality for perversion is a logical step toward a healthy society. God will not be mocked. He will discipline and punish those He loves. For those who hold a high opinion of God and His word, there will be no doubt that this is true. For those who don’t hold such a view, my opinion will not be considered valid.
“But the Supreme Court has ruled and the new law will be upheld throughout the land. You must obey it.” My response is that the Supreme Court is not God. I only obey Him.
At least, for now, we still live in a country that allows freedom of speech, freedom of religious expression, freedom of opinion. A quote attributed to President Abraham Lincoln: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
With a heavy heart,
“Deborah, a prophetess…was leading Israel at that time.
She held court under the Palm of Deborah…
and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided.”
Dear Ministry Friends & Partners,
As you open this email this Tuesday, June 23rd, the Funeral Service will be taking place for Elisabeth Elliot in the auditorium of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. Because of her prolific writing career, Elisabeth was on staff there for many years with the title of: “Writer in Residence.”
With her death and passing through those “gates of splendor” that she wrote about to describe her first husband, Jim Elliot, one of the authentic prophetesses of our generation has been lost to the church and Kingdom of God.
Elisabeth died at the age of 88 in her home in Magnolia, Massachusetts, on June 15, 2015. She was born to missionary parents living in Belgium. She went to Wheaton College where she majored in Classical Greek to prepare herself for a life of Scripture translation among unreached tribes in South America.
After her graduation, she went to Ecuador in 1952 to minister to the Auca Indians, now known as the Huaorani. She married Jim Elliot in 1953. Together they returned to Ecuador to “reach the unreached.”
Jim Elliot, along with four other missionaries – Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and their pilot, Nate Saint – set out by faith on “Operation Auca,” to reach and evangelize this illusive tribe that had little or no contact from the outside world. They made contact from their airplane with the Huaorani along the Curaray River, and were encouraged by several seemingly “friendly encounters” over a period of weeks.
The young missionaries planned a longer visit deeper into the jungles. But their plans were “sovereignly preempted” by the arrival of a larger group of about 10 hostile Huaorani warriors, who killed Elliot and his four companions on January 8, 1956. The bodies of the 5 men were eventually found downstream.
Their story of spiritual heroism and missionary martyrdom was documented in the wonderful movie produced a few years ago, End of the Spear – a movie I would encourage every Christian family to watch.
Elliot and his companions felt their mission to this unreached tribe was far more important than their own lives. As a result, he wrote the phrase that has become synonymous with his short life and ministry:
Elisabeth Elliot believed that the only way any Christian could find real fulfillment in life was to “ … have our hearts set on God’s glory above all else.” As her life and books testified, she set her goals on living for eternity, and this conviction carried her through many trials and tribulations she faced throughout her life. In many ways, the fourth stanza of the hymn, “We Rest on Thee” could summarize her life.
“We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.”
It is telling that the wives of the martyred missionaries sang this hymn at their memorial service – a hymn also sung by their husbands before they entered the Auca territory. What a testimony of faith and fidelity!
While her name became a household word to anyone knowledgeable about missions, she always remained humble and self-effacing. As her husband, Lars Gren, said of Elisabeth, it was her sane estimate of her own importance and capabilities that allowed her to deal with all of the attention she received as a result of her speaking and writing. “She looked at herself as an ordinary woman thrown into the limelight. … She never pushed herself forward.”
How refreshing Elisabeth was in our era of “spiritual superstars” who become intoxicated with their own importance!
As all of us know who followed her public ministry, Elisabeth stopped traveling and speaking in 2004 as her health worsened. When she realized she was losing her memory, she put into practice what she had long preached: “From acceptance comes peace.” And as Lars said in an interview: “Elisabeth turned to the Bible for comfort, especially Isaiah 43:2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Lars further shared that Elisabeth handled dementia just as she did the deaths of her first two husbands. “She accepted those things because she knew that they were no surprise to God. It was something she would rather not have experienced, but she received it.”
OUR FRIENDSHIP WITH ELISABETH & LARS
By the time Patt and I had graduated from college, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot were missionary icons to us. Their names were at the top of the list as Twentieth Century Christian missionary models – and he and his 5 slain companions were spiritual heroes. They were models of the kinds of missionaries we aspired to be as far as faithfulness to God’s call is concerned – live or die.
While we never met them during this phase of their lives and ours, their testimonies and stories greatly impacted our missionary mindset. After graduation from college in 1964, Patt went to Ecuador as a short-term missionary and I went to Asia. While we did not know at that time where God was leading us, we were confident our life trajectory was set for global missions.
In the intervening years, Elisabeth went back to Ecuador to continue the ministry her husband had started – taking with her their only child, Valerie, who was a toddler. Ultimately Elisabeth returned to America, and married again – this time to Addison Leach, a professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in 1973. Sadly, he too died a few years later from cancer and she was widowed a second time – all of which Elisabeth faced with resolve and relinquishment to the sovereign and sustaining grace of God.
Much to Elisabeth’s surprise and chagrin, in 1977, she married yet a third time to a young chaplain, Lars Gren. He was blessed to be her husband and companion for the next 36 years.
It was during her marriage to Lars that her speaking and writing ministry expanded across America, Europe and other parts of the world. Lars was not only her loyal and loving husband; he was her best “PR” man. He arranged her many invitations to speak to events of every kind. She was often a major speaker at the historic Urbana Missionary Conference held every 4 years, where she became one of the rightful heroes of the next generation of Christian leaders and aspiring missionaries.
Elisabeth would speak and Lars would run her “Book Table.” This soon evolved into a weekly 15-minute radio program titled “Gateway to Joy,” which is still played on many radio stations. The program most often began with these words:
"You are loved with an everlasting love – that's what the Bible says – and underneath are the everlasting arms. This is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot...”
Elisabeth was featured on this radio program from 1988 – 2001. Then her battle with memory loss through dementia and her failing health prevented her from continuing. As Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint who was Jim Elliot’s pilot, said: “It was this disease that robbed her of her greatest gift.” But yet one more time, Elisabeth accepted with peace and joy what the sovereign hand of the Lord had graced her with. She knew that none of this had caught her Heavenly Father off guard.
These Aucas have found forgiveness through the grace
of Jesus Christ!
Knowing some of these things about Elisabeth through her books, radio program and public speaking – I could never have imagined that God would grace us with a personal friendship with her and her husband, Lars Gren! They were “spiritual heroes” that we never thought we would be able to get to know personally – and have them stay with us in our home several times when they were speaking for our ministry, New Directions International.
Elisabeth speaking at a seminar that we sponsored at our NDI Headquarters
in Graham, North Carolina.
While Patt and I had read her writings – and made them “required reading” for the young people we were disciplining and mentoring – we never dreamed we would have them “under our roof” and “sitting at our table” where we got to know them both – close-up and personal!
Patt: Elisabeth and Lars were delightful to get to know. Very opposite and yet thoughtful of each other – I knew there was hope for J.L. and me by watching them inter-react! Her teachings were always cogent and challenging. Afterwards, when we returned home, we found they were great fun and we laughed a lot! One evening, she played our baby grand piano like a Southern Gospel pianist/singer, throwing her head back and lifting her voice – a perfect imitation! That was quite an accomplishment since she was a Yankee (like me)!
They had been to Florida and brought us fresh grapefruit. At breakfast the next morning, Lars asked if he could have one, which was fine with us. But, Elisabeth was mortified that he wanted to eat one the “gifts”. Lars said, “Oh Dahlin’, this is J.L. and Patt. It’s OK with them. They’re just like family.”
She will be greatly missed, but lives on in the replaying of her radio programs by BBN, her devotionals available on her website: www.elisabethelliot.org. and her books. J.L. has listed her many books at the end of this email, but three that ministered to me and helped me at just the right time were: These Strange Ashes, Twelve Baskets of Crumbs, and Discipline: the Glad Surrender.
Many people will quote her insightful thoughts at the memorial service today. One of my favorites is this one: “I want to encourage you to believe that the will of God is always far different from what we imagine, far bigger, far more difficult, but unspeakably more glorious.” Thank you, Elisabeth, for your impact on my journey of faith. And, thank you, Lars, for faithfully caring for her all these years, and making it possible for the rest of the world to know her better.
As far as Elisabeth is concerned, I am overwhelmed by the impact of her shy, reserved, quiet, self-effacing, deep and dignified life. When I heard about her death, not only these descriptive words about Deborah from the Book of Judges came to mind, but also the words of Ezekiel’s lament over Israel: “What a lioness was your mother among the lions” (Ezek. 19:2).
And what a bold and fearless lioness Elisabeth was! There was not a politically correct bone in her body! She would stand tall and unashamed in the face of conflict or criticism when it came to the authority and absolutes of God’s Word. Whether the issues were feminism, marital fidelity, sexual purity, servant leadership or financial integrity, Elisabeth was unflinching and unmoved by the prevailing tides and trends of acquiescence and compromise. She did not speak or write to be popular or politically correct. She spoke and wrote to be Biblically correct. In all she said, wrote or counseled, there was only one issue: “What does the Bible say?” That’s why she was an authentic and unapologetic prophetic voice to our world.
For Elisabeth, it was not her opinions that mattered – but rather God’s will, and our total abandonment to that will – live or die! She knew from the Bible and personal experience that that was the only way to find lasting peace and joy in life.
Thankfully, there is no conclusion to a life like Elisabeth Elliot lived. Because she lived with an “eternal perspective,” her impact is both temporal and eternal. Patt and I will always be grateful that the Lord graced our lives with a friendship with both Elisabeth and Lars. When I heard of her passing through those “Gates of Splendor” through death, I called Lars to express my love and condolences. He recognized my voice immediately and said: “JL, where are you – in Africa or India?!”
At the bottom of his annual personal letters – known as “Ramblings from the Cove,” he would write gracious notes of invitation for us to come up to visit and stay with them for a few days. In one of his last ones, he wrote:
“Dear Patt, since J.L. is probably in Timbuktu, why don’t you come on up and visit us. June – October are such pretty months here at ‘Strawberry Cove.’ There is always a longing for ‘one more visit’ and it will be so till ‘ … time will be no more.’
Make JL welcome when he returns home and love to you both.”
Lars & Elisabeth
A picture of Lars & Elisabeth, visiting Ireland.
They sent this to us in their earlier days of travel
Lars, faithfully at Elisabeth's side, until the Lord called her home.
God never put two more opposite people together than Lars and Elisabeth. He was and is the quintessential “Southern Gentleman” with a syrupy Georgia drawl that was the complete opposite of Elisabeth’s prim and proper New England English where every word was precise and proper! And if they could live together and learn to communicate for over 3 ½ decades for God’s glory – there is hope for any marriage!
Thanks, Lars, for being our friend. And I hope we can still get that visit in to ‘Strawberry Cove’ and reminisce over our mutual love and respect for Elisabeth. Thanks also for all you did to make her speaking and writing so available to all of us. Your combined spiritual legacy will only be fully revealed in heaven!
Until then, may God raise up more prophetesses like Deborah and Elisabeth who will be “ … lionesses among the lions!”
In His Sovereign love, grace, peace and joy,
JL & Patt
PS: Below is a list of the major books written by Elisabeth Elliot. If you haven’t read them – you should. There are one or more of her books that will speak to virtually every issue you will face in your Christian life – whether or not you are a missionary. We also refer you to her website: www.elisabethelliot.org.
“When the day of Pentecost came … there were staying
in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under
heaven … and Arabs … ” (Acts 2:1, 5, 11)
Patt and I with Pastor Ra'ed on our recent visit to Jordan.
Dear Ministry Partners,
For a month now, I have been sending you weekly updates about our ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts in Nepal. Since the two epic earthquakes on April 25th and May 12th – followed by dozens of aftershocks – you have helped us to become immediately and vitally involved through our Nepali “boots on the ground” in Kathmandu.
Patt and I are so thankful for those of you have been praying and giving for these efforts headed by Pastor Hanok Tamang, my original Nepali partner dating back to 1989. Along with the efforts of Yacob Tshering among the Tibetans, and Sister Laxmi reaching out to children, we have completed over 15 major deployments that have directly helped over 30,000 people – primarily suffering Christians who have basically lost everything.
Hanok just sent me this summary by the Government, which shows the magnitude of this problem:
“Government just declared three cities, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur as "Crisis Zone for a year," where 96,900 homes were destroyed and 73,054 houses were damaged, and 1,029 houses were demolished. So, when you come in fall time, you will still see much of rubbles in many places, still being cleared.”
As I shared in my last report titled “Tarps, Tents & Tin,” we have made the necessary transition from temporary shelter to semi-permanent shelter. While the more than 2,000 tents and tarps we distributed have been very helpful, the people now need something stronger for the monsoon rainy season that has started. Because of this need, we have begun to purchase bulk quantities of “metal roofing sheets” that are 10’ X 2.5’. And due to the problem of “supply and demand,” we have bought all of the metal roofing we could find. More is on order and will arrive next week.
While these relief efforts have been going on in Nepal, our many other partnerships and projects in other countries have continued. But due to the high priority of the Nepal crisis, we just have not taken the time to report on our other ministry partnerships – that are just as important to God and us.
In the Christian life and ministry you seldom have the luxury of a singular focus. There are always multiple fronts in spiritual warfare – just like in physical warfare. You have to be a “multitasker” for the Kingdom! The Apostle Paul was constantly doing this as he worked and ministered in one place, while being proactive with the spiritual and physical needs of other churches in other cities and providences.
Now that we have a bit of a slow down in Nepal due to the lack of availability of the metal roofing sheets, I want to update you on one of our partnerships in the Middle East.
FROM THE “HOLY LAND OF HINDUISM” TO THE “HOLY LAND OF CHRISTIANITY”
The picture above is Patt and I with a wonderful Christian Arab brother, Ra’ed. In the picture at left, Pastor Ra’ed is seen with his family. The Lord sovereignly connected us with him in Jordan. (For security reasons, we have withheld his full name.)
Like so many other Arab Christians in Israel and Jordan, they trace their spiritual heritage back to the First Century Church that was born in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. As a result, these Arab Christians consider themselves some of the “original Christians” who compose one of the oldest Christian traditions on the earth – predating the birth of Mohammed and Islam by hundreds of years. As one Christian Bishop told us when we were in Jordan: “We have almost 5 centuries of Christian history that predate the rise of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula. And you will never even read about it in our history books!”
ARAB CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE
Sadly, these contemporary Arab Christians with such an ancient heritage are the special objects of the hatred and persecution by radical Islamic jihadists – such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. For a number of decades, “Arab Muslims” have been persecuting “Arab Christians” all over the Holy Land and Middle East. As a result, the Christian populations have drastically dropped as they have been vilified, marginalized, persecuted, beheaded, crucified or expelled from their countries. This has been nothing short of a “Christian genocide” against Arabs who are followers of Jesus Christ! It is a contemporary “Islamic crusade” against Christianity meant to eradicate every vestige of Christendom from the land of its origin! And our American media continues to be largely silent about this Holocaust against Christianity that has now become a global reality!
Just like there were Arabs in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost who were converted, baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit and a part of the First Century Church – God is still building His Kingdom among Arabs today. In fact, there are far more “Arab Christians” than there are “Messianic Christians” (Jews who believe in Jesus as the Messiah).
Arab brothers like Ra’ed are boldly sharing their faith in Jesus Christ in some of the most dangerous places in the Middle East (that I cannot name for security purposes). But they are not only taking the Gospel of Christ to different Arab tribal groups in the Middle East, they are ministering to both Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have fled by the hundreds of thousands before the bloody onslaught of ISIS and other radical Muslim groups.
MINISTRY TO UNREACHED ARAB TRIBAL GROUPS
As one of the most ancient Arab countries, there are many tribal groups in Jordan who have never heard the Gospel. Some of these ancient Arab tribes are animistic and spiritistic, while others have converted to Islam – especially “folk Islam” that is a syncretism of Islam and their ancestral religious traditions. Some of the more famous groups are the Bedouins and Druzes, who have had little Gospel impact.
We praise God for Arab partners like Pastor Ra’ed and his wife who are reaching out to these unreached Arab tribal groups with practical expressions of the Gospel. And in the process, individuals are coming to Christ – many through dreams and visions that they are supernaturally receiving from God. As a result, small house churches are being established.
Hospitality and eating are sacred in the Arab culture, so eating together
is a vital part of every visit!
MINISTRY TO IRAQI AND SYRIAN REFUGEES
Pastor Ra’ed, his wife, and team make regular outreaches to these refugees living in Jordan. While most of the refugees from Iraq are Christians, the majority of the ones from Syria are Muslims. The Pastor and his team obviously have an open door and rapport that no outsider could ever have. In addition to sharing food and clothing, they also share the “Solar Digital Bibles” in Arabic that we supplied them with. This way, God’s Word is heard in their heart language. Through their holistic approach, the Gospel is being shared through practical acts of mercy.
MINISTRY TO CHILDREN
In every refugee situation, the children are always the most vulnerable. But they are also the most open and responsive to the love and compassion of the Gospel. Pray for Pastor Ra’ed and his team as they take every opportunity to have special outreach ministries to mothers and children. In one area alone, they had a program for over 1,500 children who received gifts and the Gospel together. He hopes to reach over 3,000 children this summer in special ministry events.
MINISTRY THROUGH THEIR HOME CHURCH
Pastor Ra’ed established an Arab church in a part of Jordan where there is no Christian witness or presence. It is in an area where the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most puritanical Islamic groups, is very strong. But in spite of the opposition, God is blessing this indigenous Gospel ministry to Arabs by Arabs. As is the case in every country, the ministry by nationals to nationals is proving to be the most effective way to build God’s Kingdom in those unreached areas. These “sons of the soil” are God’s chosen and anointed instruments to build His church and help fulfill the Great Commission to “ … make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit … ”(Matt. 28:19).
HELPING A NEW MINISTRY WITH A “DONKEY FOR JESUS”
Because of the generous giving of our partners, we were able to buy this van for Pastor Ra’ed, at a cost of $9,000, for his ministry to Arab refugees. His other, older car had worn out, traveling the rough roads leading across deserts, mountains and valleys to the remote villages and refugee camps in which he ministers. There was a missionary leaving Amman for the States who had this excellent van for sale. So because of your generous gifts, we were able to buy and commission this new vehicle as a “donkey for Jesus” to carry people and relief items to the remote villages and border towns of Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
TEACHING ABOUT THE ISIS CRISIS
Recently Patt and I were asked to teach a class of high school students at the Burlington Christian Academy (BCA) on the challenges of ministering cross-culturally. It was a timely opportunity to share with these students about the “ISIS Crisis” and our work in Jordan through your partnership.
This was a special privilege, since I am one of the founders of this Christian school nearly 3 decades ago. But it was especially meaningful because the teachers of these classes are two of our ND alumni, Rev. Bill Mitchell and Rev. David Morrow. Our daughter April also teaches at BCA, and 4 of our grandchildren attend school there, while our oldest grandson, Matthew, just graduated from BCA this year!
Sharing about Cross Cultural ministry. At right, Rev. David Morrow, J. L., Patt,
and Rev. Bill Mitchell.
PACKING FOOD FOR ISIS VICTIMS
Patt and I had the joy of participating in a special Pack-A-Thon for ISIS victims in Iraq, sponsored by Feed The Hunger. As most of you know, our son Joseph now heads the ministry of Feed The Hunger, formerly NDI.
Thanks for being a “Kingdom Multi-Tasker” with us on these two current front-burner crisis issues. We appreciate your faithful praying and giving more than words can express! You are touching and transforming the lives of needy brothers and sisters in Christ in these two different regions of the world. Both will be long-term recovery processes. We will not have the luxury any time soon of saying finished … completed … job done. But that’s the nature of life, marriage and ministry. Each is a life-long process. Thanks for “hanging in there with us” so we can continue to meet as many needs as possible in His Name.
My next report will share about another exciting partnership and project for Iraqi Christian refugees that you have helped make possible. I know you will be blessed and encouraged by it. Until then we are …
Praising the Lord for His provisions through you,
JL & Patt