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.
“Do you not say:
'Four months more and then the harvest?'
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!
They are ripe for harvest!"
Dear Ministry Partner,
If I have ever known a man who is passionate about the ripe harvest fields in India, it is Bishop Ezra Sargunam! He summarizes his mission philosophy this way: “Win the winnable while they are winnable!”
I have amplified his succinct mission motivation with my own similar ministry philosophy:
Across the years I have learned from painful and costly experience that it is the “rest” – Christians and non-Christians alike – who eat up your time, energy and resources and leave little or nothing to show of eternal value! Sadly, it is the faithless … visionless … loveless … passionless … prayerless … powerless … giveless … in the church who are the greatest impediment to the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission! Neither Bishop Ezra nor I have little time or patience for such people!
Our joy and commitment is to team up with people who are passionate about the “open doors” that are before us – whether in India or other parts of the world. Bishop Ezra, too, is passionate about intentionally partnering with those who will join him in the fulfillment of the Great Commission specifically in India – the second most populated country on earth. He also believes that God has not called him to focus on the people groups in India that are resistant, but to focus primarily on those who are responsive – like the tribals, low caste and marginalized millions of India.
(All over the world there are people groups that are highly resistant to the Gospel – like the Tibetans I wrote about in a previous report in this series. In those places, the Holy Spirit has not sovereignly moved spiritually to the degree that He has changed the “closed doors” into “open doors.” Until the Lord sovereignly “opens hearts,” there will continue to be “closed doors.”)
These words of the Lord Jesus are Bishop Ezra’s life-focus: “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut” (Rev. 3:8). As a result of Bishop Ezra’s unshakable commitment to Christ’s promise, the Evangelical Church of India (ECI) is one of the fastest growing churches in India – and has been for decades. They plant an average of one to three new churches every week in some part of India – with a faith goal of one church a day! As a result, ECI currently has 5,800 local churches and another 5,000 house churches.
By the time of their “Diamond Jubilee” in 2056, they plan to have 100,000 local churches with 10 million members! That’s vision! That’s faith! That’s love for the lost! That’s obedience to the Great Commission! That’s commitment to Christ’s proclamation: “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:18)!
It has been my joy and privilege to partner with Bishop Ezra for over 3 decades. We have preached together in many conferences … held leadership seminars … built scores of local churches … baptized thousands of new believers … supported ECI evangelists and church planters … bought bicycles and motorcycles for pastors … built and sponsored “Happy Homes” for orphaned and destitute children … done relief work after natural disasters … initiated self-support projects with sewing machines, and given goats to the poor and needy.
All of this has been done in the spirit of Paul’s words and example: I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel …”(I Cor. 9:22).
Our more than 3 decades of ministry partnership with Bishop Ezra and ECI have been made possible through the generous partnership of friends like YOU here in America! Because of your love, prayers and financial gifts, you have left an indelible spiritual fingerprint on the India sub-continent for time and eternity!
So, I hope you will be blessed, encouraged, challenged and motivated by the report and pictures below. They conclude my series of reports on my recent “3 Weeks In Asia.” But they do NOT conclude my continued ministry with Bishop Ezra and all of the other partners I have written about in these reports. By God’s grace, those partnerships will continue until the Lord returns or calls me home to heaven!
CONFERENCE IN DARJEELING
After my time of ministry at the Bethany Children’s Home and Holy Palace Hospital, I met Bishop Ezra in Siliguri for an historic one-day conference for evangelists and church planters.
This conference banner summarizes the emphasis of the conference on
evangelism and church planting.
The praise and worship was enthusiastic as always!
Because of a foot infection (probably from baptizing in dirty water!), Bishop
Ezra has to often move around these days in a wheel chair. But this has not
slowed him down. Even if he has to preach sitting down, Bishop Ezra
is still passionate and contagious in his ministry!
It was a joy to meet two new partners at the conference,
Aasif & Archana (last names withheld to protect their
identity). Aasif is a converted Muslim, and Archana is
a converted high caste Brahman.
Aasif shared his incredible testimony, telling of his radical conversion from
being a Muslim jihadist to a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. His wife
also shared her testimony of her equally dramatic conversion from
high caste Hinduism to Christianity.
It was my privilege to preach the plenary message for the conference.
As is usually the case, many people attending the conference came
forward for us to lay hands on them, and to pray for them
and their ministries.
There were more than 500 delegates at the conference.
FROM DARJEELING TO KOLKOTTA
Following the conference in Siliguri, Darjeeling, we boarded our flight to Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. Like many Asian and African countries that were under colonialism, they changed the names of their countries and cities from those imposed by foreigners to indigenous names predating colonialism.
We gathered at the Calcutta Bible Seminary (CBS) for the semi-annual ECI “All India Conference” (AIC). There were more than 500 pastors, evangelists and leaders from ECI churches all across India. Kolkata is known as the “Home of the Modern Missionary Movement” due to the influence of William Carey. However, it is also equally known as the “graveyard of Christian missions” due to the miniscule impact Christianity has had on this historic city of nearly 5 million people.
It is because of the unique history of Kolkata that ECI planted a Bible School and Seminary there in the heart of the spiritual darkness. As you saw in my previous report, we partnered with ECI in starting the “Calcutta Happy Home” there for needy children. That children’s ministry is now housed in the first building ECI bought to start CBS in many years ago. And due to the unique spiritual history of Kolkata and the wonderful large new CBS campus, it was the perfect place for the AIC Conference. Across the years I have had the privilege of attending many of these AIC conferences and hear the wonderful reports of the ECI pastors from all across India.
There is nothing like the worship and singing of 500 pastors and evangelists!
FELLOWSHIP WITH OLD & NEW FRIENDS …
SHARING THE PREACHING TIME WITH DEAR FRIENDS & PARTNERS …
At the closing of the AIC Conference, we gathered outside to take a group picture. What a joy to fellowship and partner with these brothers and sisters from across India.
See if you can find "Waldo Williams"!
Before closing this last report, I wanted to share a few pictures from the new “Goatery Project,” as Bishop Ezra has named it. As we have done in a number of other countries, we have partnered with ECI in distributing goats to some of the poorest of the poor in the rural villages where they are doing evangelism and planting churches. We gave a gift of $1,000 seed money to start this goat distribution project with ECI. Bishop Ezra and his pastors have been overwhelmed with the positive response this new self-support project is receiving.
We need to fund many more goats for this self-support project for the poor. Since Christmas is just a few weeks away, we hope that many of you will “buy a goat” for Christmas for $35 each. Or buy a small herd of goats for $100 or $200. Because they are hearty, give nourishing milk and reproduce well, you can help change a widow’s or poor family’s life through the gift of one or more goats. So, this Christmas, “give a gift that will keep on giving!”
“HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER!”
In the early days of the “New Directions” musical ministry, one of our signature songs was: “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, usually sung by our greatly loved Black soloist, Charles Alston, now at home with the Lord in heaven. Whenever we sang it in those early days of ministry, God used it mightily to touch people’s lives. So, when I had a little fun at the end of the AIC Conference and pulled Bishop Ezra around the CBS compound on this rickshaw, it reminded me of that great old song! Let me also remind you …
Most people do not know the supposed genesis of this song title. It goes back to the 19th Century. In 1884, James Wells, Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland, wrote a book titled: The Parables of Jesus. In it he tells the story of a little girl carrying a big baby boy. Seeing her struggling, someone asked if she wasn't tired. With surprise she replied, "No, he's not heavy; he's my brother!"
Whether the writers of this song, Bobby Scott and Bob Russell, had this story in mind when they pinned the lyrics, we do not know for sure. If not, they should have! Regardless, it is a very appropriate background for the true spirit of the song. After it was first recorded in 1969, it became a hit in America and around the world. In many ways it became the “secular hymn” of the Civil Rights Era. For those of you not old enough to remember that song from the 1960s, let me remind you of the great lyrics:
"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
The road is long
with many a winding turn
that leads us to who knows where,
who knows when.
But I'm strong,
strong enough to carry him.
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
So on we go,
his welfare is of my concern;
no burden is he to bear,
we'll get there.
For I know
he would not encumber me,
he ain't heavy, he's my brother.
If I'm laden at all,
I'm laden with sadness
that everyone's heart
isn't filled with the gladness
of love for one another.
It's a long, long road
from which there is no return
while we're on the way to there
why not share?
And the load
doesn't weigh me down at all.
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
He's my brother.
He ain't heavy, he's my brother ...
So, thanks for helping me pull – or push – as many of our partners like Bishop Ezra as far as possible to where the Lord wants them to go! When you help carry them, you help them carry hundreds and thousands of others. And as you do, especially remember these lines:
“So on we go,
his welfare is of my concern;
no burden is he to bear,
we’ll get there…
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother …”
“So on we go” for the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom,
JL & Patt
Patt and I hope that each of you will have a very special Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends – just as we plan to do. And as you enjoy Thanksgiving, know that your prayers and gifts have brought great thanksgiving to needy people in many countries through your partnership with us this past year! We look forward to our continued co-ministry in 2015 for His Kingdom and glory.
“May God Himself…sanctify you entirely.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(I Thessalonians 5:23)
Dr S. S. Rai and the staff of the Holy Palace Hospital.
Dear Ministry Partners,
The words above by the Apostle Paul could easily summarize the spiritual and medical philosophy of Dr. Suresh Rai and the “Holy Palace Hospital” he founded over 2 decades ago. It also represents our life-long commitment to holistic ministry and missions. That’s because God is concerned about the whole person – not just his spirit or soul.
Dr. Rai praying with a patient for God's total healing.
Unfortunately, most physicians, whether in America, Asia, Africa or any other country, only treat part of the person – not the whole person. The medical treatment only deals with the “fruit” of the problem rather than the “root” of the problem. That’s one of the reasons there is so much chronic sickness in people‘s lives. According to Paul’s words through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are all tripartite beings who are spirit, soul and body. Or to express it more correctly: “We are a spirit that has a soul that lives in a body.”
Because of that Biblical conviction, I have often summarized our ministry and mission philosophy this way: “We believe in the whole Gospel for the whole man by the whole church to the whole world.” And anything less than that is a truncated Gospel!
Properly understood, then, there is no division between the so-called “Spiritual Gospel” and the “Social Gospel.” They are two sides to the same theological coin. Like faith and works, they cannot be separated. One is our “right foot” and the other is our “left foot.” To try and walk on one without the other is to go nowhere fast, but when used in Biblical balance, there is forward and upward momentum.
I believe that one of the reasons God sovereignly connected me with Dr. Rai nearly two decades ago is because we share this holistic ministry philosophy. After his dramatic conversion to Christ, he left his successful and lucrative Medical practice in the larger cities of West Bengal and started to minister to the poorest of the poor. To do this more effectively, he sold his tea plantation and bought land to begin his “bush hospital” – where he has been ministering ever since – primarily to the thousands of Nepalis who work the tea plantations in the area.
The Holy Palace Hospital is on the outside of a small Indian town known as Naxalbari in Darjeeling, India. At the time he began his medical ministry in this area, it was a hotbed of radical Marxism, Communism and terrorism. The dominant religions were Hindu fundamentalism and tribal animism. In spite of the dangers and constant threats, Dr. Rai stuck it out. Across the years his compassionate holistic medical ministry has earned him great respect among the people – from the high caste … to the low caste … no caste … and outcaste.
The male and female inpatient wards at Holy Palace Hospital.
Dr Rai also trains nurses to work as health professionals in other
rural "bush clinics", where they go regularly to hold medical camps.
Dr. Rai is a Medical Doctor in the order of Doctor Luke in the New Testament. He has the heart of a doctor as well as that of an evangelist and church-planter. He is also ordained as a minister.
Dr Rai mentors his staff spiritually as well as medically, through
morning and evening devotions and daily chapel at the Hospital.
Through the years, God has allowed us to partner with Dr. Rai and help him upgrade and expand his hospital facility. We also have helped recruit short-term medical teams from America to go in and work alongside him.
Our latest project this past year was to help him build a new Out Patient Clinic. This enabled him to separate outpatients from those needing inpatient hospitalization.
It has also been a joy to see Dr. Rai, his wife Mary, their son, Johny and his wife, Angie, develop various income-generating ministries. Through their pharmacy, Christian Book Store and Craft Store, they are generating funds to help support their medical ministry.
Johny & Angie stand in their Christian Book Store. Johny also serves as
Administrator of the Hospital. At right is pictured the pharmacy that helps
with their self-support.
Angie in the new Craft Store that she is developing.
Once the Out Patient Clinic was completed and dedicated, we turned to refurbishing the current hospital – beginning with the badly rusted metal roofs. In the pictures below you can see the before and after pictures of the roofing project that has just been completed.
The new rust-proof-for-life metal we helped purchase. Dr. Rai prays
for himself and his workers as they begin to put on the new roof.
Because Dr. Rai's father was in the lumber business, he grew up
learning how to build. So he is a bi-vocational doctor-carpenter!
Doing all of the work themselves saved a lot of money on the
The completed Hospital roof in back of the new Out Patient Clinic.
It was a joy to see the completed roof on my visit this trip!
No more ugly rust or leaks!
After the Hospital Roof was completed, they turned their attention to the 6 Agape Homes we built a decade ago. They too were very rusted because of the long periods of rain and moisture during the annual monsoons.
The old and new roofs side by side.
The roofing project for the Hospital and 6 Agape Homes cost $8,000, generously
donated by a Family Foundation in Charlotte, NC.
Now that these main buildings have been re-roofed, there are several other buildings that also need new roofs. We are praying for a gift of $3,500 to re-roof these buildings pictured below. Then the Hospital Campus will be completed.
On the left is the Hospital Canteen, and on the right is the Isolation Ward.
The Staff Dining Hall and Staff House.
SWEATING FOR JESUS
Because of the failed Tibet trip, I was able to have two extra workdays at Holy Palace. We primarily did some much-needed renovations on the Agape Homes that are used for foreign medical workers who come short-term, as well as for "well to do" patients who want more privacy - which also generates funds to help support the Hospital.
Closing in the eaves with wire mesh to keep out the pigeons, and making
screens to keep out flies and mosquitoes.
Painting and repairing doors, and tiling the bathrooms.
We bought some local baskets in the nearby market to use in decorating the Agape Homes. This is where I needed Patt to help out since she has great taste in decorating using local materials!
Buying and using these baskets was especially meaningful to me
since we built a church for these simple basket makers years ago.
They are considered some of the lowest caste people. We
appropriately called it the "Basket Church."
One of the other important areas of partnership with Dr. Rai and his son, Johny, is gardening. In order to help them grow nourishing fresh vegetables to eat and sell, we introduced the “Bucket Drip Irrigation” kits provided by our friends at Chapin Living Water. It has been exciting to see several gardens on the Hospital Compound developed as I have taught the staff this simple – but revolutionary – method of gardening.
FROM PHYSICAL GARDENING TO SPIRITUAL GARDENING
Because I had expected to be in Tibet on Sunday, I had the unexpected opportunity to worship with Dr. Rai and his staff at the Hospital Chapel. Since building this chapel was one of our early projects with Dr. Rai, it was a joy to preach there again – having had the privilege of doing so a number of times across the years. Dr. Rai presided, Johny led the praise and worship and I preached the Word.
The following morning we had just enough time to attend the morning chapel with the staff and nursing students before rushing to the airport for our flight to Kolkata.
Jack Franck, my traveling associate, shared his testimony with the nurses and staff.
We presented the nurses with new white hose,
generously given by a friend who produces hosiery in NC.
Dr Rai sent us off with the traditional Nepali "Shawl of Honor."
A final embrace before leaving for the airport - reminding us that
building covenant relationships is the essence of our
calling, because God is a relational God!
We covet your prayers and partnership for our on-going holistic co-ministry with Dr. Rai and Holy Palace Hospital. We need your continued financial help to make more renovations and additions to their Medical Campus.
Also, if you are a Medical Professional and would be interested in going to Holy Palace for short-term Medical Ministry, please contact us. We have nice, comfortable “Agape Homes” for you to stay in. Working alongside Dr. Rai, you would have the opportunity to give much-needed medical help in the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus. And as a result, neither you nor they will ever be the same!
In His Holistic Love,
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one
of the least of these … you did for Me.”
Dear Ministry Partners,
Children are near and dear to the heart of God! Jesus demonstrated that in His earthly ministry by His actions and teachings about the centrality of children:
Because of clear exhortations like these from the Lord Jesus, ministry to children has always been a high priority for Patt and me. Our first ministry together before we were married back in 1964 was in a children’s home in Versailles, Kentucky. We started ministering there on weekends while we were in college and seminary. We have not stopped ministering to children since then.
When I travel and minister abroad, children are always a high priority for me. That’s why I try to visit our children’s homes or children’s ministries in various countries. And as I visit the children, their ministry to me is greater than mine is to them! Staying close to children keeps you “young in spirit.”
Across the decades, God has graced us with the privilege of ministering to hundreds and hundreds of poor, orphaned and at-risk children. As a result of the support and sponsorship of our partners here in America, we have been able to build a number or orphanages or children’s homes in various countries as God has sovereignly directed. Through them we have been able to provide safety, shelter, nourishing food, clothing, education, medical care and vocational training – all in a strong Christian environment.
After decades of child sponsorship, scores of our “adopted children” have now completed the equivalent of primary school, high school, university or Bible College. Many have gone into full time ministry as evangelists, church planters, and pastors, while others have become nurses, teachers, and workers in many other honorable walks of life. Some have continued to work with other children who are still at risk, living where they once lived.
We could write volumes of wonderful stories of the changed lives of children who have been supported by our partners across the decades. To say the least, these children’s programs have been transformational and have changed the destinies of these children for time and eternity!
On my recent 3 weeks in Asia, I was able to visit the following Children’s Homes:
Each one of these Children’s Homes deserves a full report because of all that is taking place. At two of the homes, we are in the process of making major building additions. In another one we have made some important infrastructural additions.
In this report I wish we could also picture and profile each individual child in the various homes. But time and space do not permit me to do so. The average sponsorship for these children is $35 a month – which we send 100%. And we are currently in need of new sponsors due to an increase in the number of children!
It is also important to know that our policy in each home is to take only orphans, semi-orphans or high-risk children whose parents or relatives cannot care for them. Through these partnerships, we seek to care for the “poorest of the poor” that would have little or no hope without the long-term help of these homes.
Through the following pictures and captions, I will summarize a few highlights of each of our current homes in Asia that I visited on this trip. As you look through these pictures, I know your heart will be touched by their smiles and joy. And one day you will meet them in heaven where they will thank you personally for your love, prayers and support!
ANGURAH CHILDREN’S HOME
Tabitha Tamang, daughter of our long time partner, Pastor Bharat Tamang, established this Children’s Home. Tabitha and Pastor Tamang are both Nepalis working among the hundreds of thousands of Nepali Diaspora living in Delhi – mostly in horrible slums. Each of these children came from those deplorable slum conditions, where Pastor Bharat does evangelism and plants house churches.
Today, however, each child is growing and thriving physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually through the love and care of the home.
Three nutritious meals each day, and a safe place to live, play and learn.
Wearing the new socks we took to them, and reading the Word before church.
For the past 6 months, we have been working on an addition to the church building to give more room for the children – all made possible by a businessman friend here in America.
Delhi was my first stop in India before going on to Nepal, and we were able to spend the night in the Home and then dedicate this new two-story front addition – beautifully tiled inside and out. Because the following day was Sunday, we combined worship with the dedication program.
The beautifully tiled exterior, and interior remodeling.
Following the dedication we enjoyed a wonderful church service led by Pastor Bharat.
The youth group led the music and ministry, and the children participated in the service.
Pastor Bharat dedicated the tithes and offerings which were given,
as well as gifts of rice for the poor among them. We were blessed to take part
in the Lord's Supper with the congregation.
Jack Franck, my traveling associate, shared his testimony.
It was my privilege to preach as Sister Tabitha interpreted into Nepali.
The next morning before we flew from Delhi to Kathmandu, we climbed to the top of the Church and Home to survey the final phase of our renovation, where the baptismal has been relocated from the first floor. We are now in the process of closing in this roof area with a 4-foot brick wall to make it safe for the children to use.
Before leaving for the airport and our flight to Nepal, we walked the children to school and said goodbye until our next visit.
Patt and I thank God for the faithful monthly support from my sister Judy Baer’s “Closer Walk Bible Study Group” in Lawton, Oklahoma. Through their yearly garage sale, they are able to raise the funds needed to support this Angurah Children's Home.
HIMALI CHILDREN’S HOME
This Children’s Home is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It was founded and is still run by Laxmi Tamang, an incredible woman of God and entrepreneur for her 25 adopted children.
Because of the shift in emphasis at Feed The Hunger (formerly NDI), we have been asked to take back over the monthly support of this Home. After my visit on this past trip after several years of absence, I knew in my spirit that the Lord wanted us to resume the sponsorship of this Home for the immediate future. So we took a step of faith and gave them the money to cover the children’s school fees and books for the month of September ($1,500).
The current Himali Children's Home, needing to be relocated and enlarged.
At right, the children are pictured when they were younger.
Laxmi Tamang, matriarch of the Himali Children's Home.
Jack was presented with the traditional "Shawl of Honor"
after meeting Laxmi.
Because of the excellent manner in which Laxmi has operated this Home,
she has received a number of commendations from Goverment Officials.
The Himali Children's Home as been recognized as one of the best Children's
Homes in Nepal! At right are some of the many academic and athletic
awards achieved by the children.
Over tea, Pastor Hanok, Laxmi and I discuss the future of the Home. Pastor
Hanok with one of the "real trophies" of grace at the Home.
Meet Sashikala, who is 20 years old, and has been at the Home
since she was a small girl. She is now excelling in her studies
in Microbiology and assists Laxmi in running the Home.
One of the dorm rooms for the boys, now in need of paint
after over a decade of use.
The Himali Home Kitchen. Because there is no electrical power in Kathmandu
for 8-10 hours each day, we purchased a small solar power unit for the Home,
making it possible for the children to have light to study by at night.
Laxmi with the laptop computer we also purchased for the Home,
and for the students to use in their studies.
The children send their thanks for our support, and for the gift of the
Solar Power unit and the new laptop computer.
Patt and I are praying for a church, Sunday School Class, or individual
to help us with the monthly support of these wonderful children!
While each of our Children’s Homes is unique, this one is especially so because it is the only known indigenous Christian Home for Tibetan children in the world. The name “Champa Choeling” means “Place of Love” – descriptive of how the Home originally was started several decades ago when Pastor Nima “Pala” Tshering began adopting orphans and needy children of refugees escaping from the Chinese take over of Tibet.
The Tshering family. I am welcomed by Pala with the traditional
"Shawl of Honor". At 98 years old/young, he is still recognized as the
patriarch of Tibetan Christianity. We praise God for our more than
20 years of partnership and fellowship!
When God sovereignly connected me with Pala, Amala, Yacob, Linda Tshering and the children, they were all staying in a small second story flat in Kathmandu. They desperately needed more space. So by faith, we began to look for a larger house we could purchase for them. In time we were not only able to buy one house outside Kathmandu, but a second also – which houses their Home and church to this day.
Having been “expelled from Tibet” on this past trip, we had several extra days we could spend at Champa Choeling fellowshipping and working with the children – most of whom are now teenagers or older. We have sponsored them since they were small children. Many others have already graduated and are gainfully employed in Nepal, India, Canada or America.
Champa Choeling had been without a vehicle for several years. Recently, we were able to purchase a good used Toyota Truck for them through the generosity of an American businessman partner. This trip gave me the personal opportunity to see and enjoy the new truck!
Prior to the purchase of the new, used truck, this 20-year old motorcycle was
the only means of transportation for the Home. Now, this strong 4-wheel drive
truck extends the ministry of the home.
Due to our failed trip to Tibet, we had several extra days when we got back to Kathmandu. To "redeem the time", I sponsored “work days” with the young people, buying the cleaning supplies, lumber, stain – whatever we needed to “clean up” and “fix-up.” We had a great time cleaning, repairing and working together in both of the Homes that are side-by-side.
Cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom!
Staining the front door and washing windows.
It was challenging to wash the windows on the third floor!
Cutting boards for our "pigeon war"! These are not "torture racks", but
boards we made to keep the pigeons from nesting on the windowsills!
Since the kids cooked for Jack and me, I brought in pizza and KFC one night for them – both rare treats for them and us! We ended our time together with cake and ice cream!
Preparing Tibetan Mo-Mos for us to enjoy.
Since my last trip, two Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurants have opened
in Kathmandu. However, the chicken is much spicier than in America.
Like us, the Nepalis like their chicken "finger lick'in good"! And, because
KFC is now in Kathmandu, more American Christians will hear a
"culinary call" from the Lord to do mission work in Nepal!
In addition to KFC, Pizza Hut is now in Kathmandu, and each child had
their very own pizza. Amazingly, we take our"fast foods" around the world
far more quickly than we do the Gospel, which often spreads very slowly!
Yacob cuts the cake for the party, and by the time that I left, each
child had experienced a "chocolate high" and a "sugar rush"
from the sweets!
What fun to bring this kind of joy to these children!
We also brought new hose and socks, graciously donated
by a business friend and partner in North Carolina,
for the children to use for the upcoming cold winter weather in Nepal.
Because we were unexpectedly in Kathmandu on Sunday, we enjoyed the weekly Tibetan Church Service in the “Upper Room” of Champa Choeling.
At 98, Pala still preaches weekly at the Champa Choeling Church! He led
the music, worship and offering before I delivered the message.
Some of the graduates and alumni of Champa Choeling return each week for
the Sunday service, since this is the only indigienous Tibetan Church service
in the country.
After church, the children and young people enjoyed a time of fellowship
with their alumni friends. Jack paused for a picture with some of the
children before they left for school and before we flew to East Nepal
to continue our "Asian Kingdom Adventure", and visit with two
other Children's Homes.
BETHANY CHILDREN’S HOME
After our unexpected longer visit in Kathmandu, we took our flight on “Buddha Air” to East Nepal. There we crossed the border from Nepal into India, staying overnight in the “Agape Homes” on the compound of the Holy Palace Hospital (the focus of my next report), then driving to Jaigaon on the Bhutan border.
Just like Champa Choeling is exclusively dedicated to Tibetan children, the Bethany Children’s Home is dedicated to Bhutanese children. The founder and director, Sarita Thapa, is Bhutanese, as is her adopted son and Administrator of the home, Markus Mukhia. Originally all of the children were from Bhutan. However, in the last couple of years, they have taken in several abandoned children from Bihar, India.
Following our long drive from West Bengal to Jaigaon, Jack and I were met at the BCH with fresh, cold apple juice from Bhutan. We were then greeted with the traditional “Shawl of Honor”, in the royal gold color of Bhutan.
After our warm welcome, we focused on the new two-story dormitory that we are building for the children. It will replace the old, deteriorating “Bamboo Dorm” that they have been using for many years.
The old "Bamboo Dorm" was disassembled, then reassembled on the roof of
one of the existing buildings. It will be used temporarily while the new concrete
dorm is being built.
Pray with us that the new concrete dorm will be finished
soon so that the kids can move out of this temporary shelter.
The new large multi-story cement Dorm now taking shape …
Markus showed Jack the blueprints for the new dormitory.
After spending time going over the new Dorm, we took a quick visit outside of town to their new garden area. Sister Sarita and the children are wonderful gardeners and raise a lot of the food they eat. However, the new Dorm will take up most of the small space they had for gardening inside their compound. So the new larger garden area that we helped them fence in will provide many more vegetables.
Unfortunately, elephants recently assaulted their new garden, going through the cement poles and barbed wire like they were sewing thread! It was an expensive lesson, so the next crops will contain only small vegetables that do not attract elephants like the corn and sugarcane did!
OUR PARTING PARTY
Back at the BCH Compound, we had a party for the children as I always do when I visit them. We had special Indian somosos, chips, and sodas, followed by ice cream and cake.
We also shared warm hose and socks for the children to wear in the coming
cold weather. The passion of these children in praise and worship is
always such a blessing and challenge!
Sister Sarita, founder, director, and matriarch of
Bethany Children's Home, with her adopted son,
Markus, administrator of the Home.
After Sarita’s dramatic conversion to Christ, she became one of the pioneer evangelists and church planters inside Bhutan. Since her mother was a renowned witch doctor with strong demonic powers, the news of Sarita’s conversion spread rapidly – opening many wide doors of ministry for her. After this, she started “adopting” orphans and needy children. To this day she has had no regular support. We are praying that the Lord will lay it on the heart of one of our female partners in America to start supporting Sarita for $100 a month.
Markus, our administrator, who is also a Bhutanese
Evangelist and church planter.
Pray for Markus as he continues to supervise the building of the new Dorm under the watchful help of EMI (Engineering Ministry International), who are helping us with the design and construction. Pray also for Markus as he continues to go into Bhutan to do evangelism and mentoring of new believers in house churches. Each trip costs an average of $100. Since he hopes to get married sometime in 2015, we are praying for a sponsor for him for $100 a month so he can continue his vital leadership at the BCH.
Pray with us for the completion of this new Dorm that has been funded by one of our partner churches in NC for $25,000. We are anxious to get the children moved in with the boys on the first floor and the girls on the second floor.
CALCUTTA HAPPY HOME
The last ministry stop for me on this 3-week “Asian Kingdom Adventure” was Calcutta, India – now known as Kolkata. This historic city was the focal point of the Modern Missionary Movement through the passion of William Carey. Sadly, it has also become known as the “graveyard of missions” because of the little impact Christianity has had in this teaming city of nearly 5 million people!
Our involvement in Kolkata goes back more than two decades through our partnership with Bishop Ezra Sargunam and the Evangelical Church of India (ECI). He first invited us there to help with the establishment of the Calcutta Bible College and “Happy Home.” I have continued to return to Kolkata regularly since then for ministry.
This year, I was invited back to the “All India Conference” (AIC) of ECI that was held in Kolkata. Over 500 ECI pastors and delegates converged there from all across India. This historic Conference will be the subject of my last report in this series. It was a special joy to meet for the first time Pastor Samu Singh, who is the new Director of the “Calcutta Happy Home.”
After the conclusions of the AIC, I made a visit to the “Calcutta Happy Home.” Just as was the case with several other Children’s Homes, this one was no longer going to be supported by NDI/FTH due to their shift in emphasis to feeding programs. So I was asked if we would bring it back under the umbrella of JLPF for a transition time. After this visit and update, Patt and I are thankful for this new opportunity to help out.
Since my last visit to this “Happy Home” several years ago, almost all new children have come in to take the place of those who have graduated and aged out of the program. It was special to meet our new “adopted children” before flying home to the States. My visit there and party for them was a wonderful way to conclude these 3 weeks of travel and ministry in Asia.
These three beautiful children welcomed
us with fragrant garlands of flowers.
We met this wonderful new couple, Pastor Samu Singh
and his wife, Rita, who live at the Home, and
are the adoptive parents for the children.
Both Samu and Rita are from a Bengali background that is especially appropriate since Kolkata is in West Bengal. Samu was raised in an orphanage himself, so knows personally the life-changing difference a children’s home can make. He and his wife are both graduates of Calcutta Bible Seminary (CBS) that originally started in this same facility many years ago.
Seminary students from CBS assist the Happy Home weekly in their ministry to the children. This partnership with CBS is especially appropriate since the Happy Home is the original home of CBS before they moved to their current campus.
Three of the seminary students who assist at the Happy Home.
The children prayed, sang, danced and recited Bible verses for us.
After they entertained us, I hosted a party for them, just like I did at the other Children’s Homes I visited on this trip. It is always a delight to my spirit to watch these children enjoy a drink, cake, and ice cream – many for the first time in their lives.
After the children enjoyed every crumb of their cake and licked their fingers clean, we took a quick tour of the Home. As you can see, it is over 40 years old and aging – like me! We would like to relocate in a bigger and better place, but due to the cost of land and building in Kolkata, that is impossible. So, for the foreseeable future, we will have to make the best of our current situation. We hope to do some painting and renovation soon as the Lord provides the resources through our partners here. This would be a great “Christmas Project” for a church, Sunday School Class, Bible Study or business entrepreneur.
While the current building looks rather bad, it is still structurally sound. If you had grown up on the streets of Kolkata – or in the train station, like some of these children – this building would be “heaven on earth!” By God’s grace and your help, we will give it a major “face-life” inside and out in the immediate months ahead. Together we can make a BIG difference in this facility – starting this Christmas!
Pray for Pastor Singh, his wife Rita and their wonderful helpers from CBS as they continue to run this “Happy Home” for the glory of God and for the good of these precious children.
Rescued from living on the platforms at the train station.
Patt and I are SO THANKFUL for the doctor friend from Eastern North Carolina who has been supporting this “Calcutta Happy Home” from his practice from the very earliest days until now. We thank God for entrepreneurs like him and his wife who are so faithful and generous in their financial support of needy children like these. We pray that others of our partners will catch their mission vision and spirit of generosity.
Thanks for taking the time to take this trip with me through the 5 Children’s Homes we visited on this trip. As you have looked into these beautiful faces, know in your heart that you are making a BIG difference in these children’s lives. The 3 little girls I am holding above were rescued from living at the railway station in Kolkata. Now they have a heavenly life by comparison – physically and spiritually – because of this Happy Home.
So my friends, just for the cost of a cup of coffee a day at Starbucks, or a Big Mac at McDonalds, you can provide shelter, food, clothing, medical attention and education for children like these. And remember: 100% of what you give goes directly to the child through JLPF. We do not take out a penny for our administrative costs – which is made possible in part through the support of a Family Foundation in NC. And as you help us support children like these, remember again the words of the Lord Jesus I started this report with: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these … you did for Me” (Matt. 25:40). And because you did it for them unto Him, Christ assures you: “I tell you the truth, you will certainly not lose your reward” (Matt. 10:42).
In His Love for them,
JL & Patt
PS: In my previous emails I asked you NOT to share the contents on any social media. But this one I encourage you to forward to as many of your friends as possible!
YEAR END GIVING
As the year comes to a close, it is not too early to prayerfully plan for your year end giving, whether through monetary donations, items for our partners, or Stock Transfers. Please contact us at JL, Patt & Friends, PO Box 4066, Glen Raven, NC 27215 or email@example.com. for additional information, or click on www.jlwilliams.org/donate to give via PayPal. God bless you!
Dear Friends and Partners,
As you can see, I’m here in Calcutta, standing outside the venue for a one-day conference on evangelism and mission. Our long time partner and friend, Bishop Ezra Sargunam, and the Evangelical Church of India (ECI), sponsored the event. It was such an honor to be among so many Christians who have a heart for evangelism and missions in India, and beyond her borders as well.
We were all inspired by the passionate and moving testimony of this converted Muslim, who had been a radical jihadist before he came to the Lord. Now he is a radical for Jesus, leading many Muslims to faith in Christ – including Mullahs (Muslim clergy) – and serving as an evangelist for ECI! His wife is a converted Hindu Brahmin (upper class) who is being used mightily of the Lord to bring high caste Hindus to faith. They are a unique couple from very diverse backgrounds that the Lord is using in amazing ways here in India.
When you receive this brief report, Jack and I will be in the midst of one more conference for our final days of ministry in Calcutta. Interestingly, we begin our flight home on October 31st, Halloween Day. So, Satan is getting the worship he diabolically craves, whether through Halloween in America, or through Hinduism and Islam in India. To that end, I hope that you have already read my article on Halloween and shared it with others. If not, you may click here to read Duck Dynasty: A Halloween Decoy.
I’m looking forward to next week’s blast when I can give you a detailed report on all that the Lord did on this 3 week trip through His will and your prayers!
For Him in India,
After a day of outreach in central Nepal.
Dear Friends and Family,
J.L. has had a busy and exciting 10 days in Asia! The highlight was getting to share the Gospel with an almost totally unreached people group, who were very receptive to hearing the Good News, and eager to discuss the messages. I’m sorry that you will have to wait until he gets back home to learn more of the details, as some security issues are still involved.
Both he and Jack Franck are thankful for your prayers as they travel and minister for the next 12 days: for fruitful times with our partners in Nepal and India, and for good health and a quick recovery from a stomach bug!
With Halloween just around the corner, J.L. wanted us to post his writings on the subject again. Excuse the fact that we are using the one from last year, but the truth about unmasking Halloween is true every year. Please click on the picture of the pumpkin to read Duck Dynasty: A Halloween Decoy, and feel free to download it, reprint it and/or share with friends and family.
With blessings and gratitude for your love and support,