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.
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,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
When you open this email I will be on the long flights to India and Nepal –16 hours direct. I will first land in Delhi for a night and day to visit the Anugurah Children’s Home. After that I will fly on to Kathmandu for a couple of days of meeting with as many partners as possible. Then we will begin our long, arduous drive into Tibet – the subject of my next email. But until then, be praying for this strategic time with my very first national partner in Nepal, Hanok Tamang.
Every time I come across this picture of Hanok and me in our archives, I rejoice over God’s incredible faithfulness! This picture was taken in 1990 in the very earliest days of our ministry partnership. Before that time, I hardly knew where Kathmandu, Nepal was! Could not have spelled the word correctly – much less pointed it out on a world map! As an old song said, Kathmandu was just one of those “ ... far away places with a strange sounding name.” Now it has become one of my “homes away from home” that I dearly love!
When this picture was taken, we were on location in a remote Nepali village where we had dedicated a new church and Agape Home. Our partnership has not ceased since then. And I am leaving this weekend for another time of ministry with Hanok in Nepal, as well as ministry with partners in India on each side of my time in Nepal – Delhi going in, and Kolkata coming out. I will also be making a historic trip into Tibet for a week – which I will write about in a future email.
As I wrote in a previous email, marriage and ministry are parallel callings from the Lord. In reality, one is the foundation for the other. In other words, your ministry can be no better than your marriage. Since they are both sovereignly orchestrated, we must take those primary relationships as seriously as God takes them. To neglect one is to undermine the other. That’s because relationships are eternal. God is not into divorce – whether in marriage or ministry, because it seeks to separate what God has sovereignly joined together. From the Biblical perspective, death is the only thing that can sever human partnerships – whether in marriage or in ministry. So until death, we are to do everything in our power to nurture relationships and partnerships. And when there has been a breach due to sin or immaturity, reconciliation is the order of the day until the relationships are restored.
Therefore, because of God's faithfulness, our relationships with others should be as “eternally secure” as our relationship with Him is through Christ. Sadly, this is not often the case. As a result, we start and stop relationships in both marriage and ministry for the most carnal and immature reasons. Sadly, relationships in the church are as fickle and as flippant as in the world.
Relationships then are the only thing we will take out of this life. We leave everything else behind – most of which will ultimately be reduced to ashes (First Corinthians 3:13-15). Only the Kingdom of God will remain – and the relationships it is based upon through Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit.
Like any dynamic relationship – especially between “Type A” personalities, my relationship and partnership with Hanok has never been static. Neither has my relationship with Patt! Both are imperfect – but both are still growing, productive and fulfilling through God’s grace, love and forgiveness. And on this next trip to Nepal, another chapter will be written in our ongoing relationship for the Kingdom.
Below are some pictures from past and present projects we have partnered together on. And these few pictures represent only the "tip of the iceberg" in our 3 decades of partnership. But I hope they will be a source of blessing and encouragement to you because it has been the prayers and support of partners like you that have made all of these many years of co-ministry possible.
Hanok at a radio interview about the
growth of the church in Nepal.
The Aradhana Church in Kathmandu has always been Hanok’s platform of ministry throughout the country. Several weeks ago, there was a special Thanksgiving Service celebrating over 30 years of ministry through Aradhana (meaning “worship”). Dr. Niicanor Tamang, who was the first pastor of Aradhana, returned for this special event.
Hanok, the honored guest of the day, with Dr. Niicanor Tamang
and his wife, Elizabeth Tamang.
As Dr. Tamang was honored, he also honored Hanok for being an unselfish leader who has spent his life raising up and mentoring other young leaders.
Dr. Tamang and Elizabeth received an appreciation letter in the form of
a metallic plaque by Durgasing, a leper who is one of the founding
members and leaders at Aradhana.
Because of Hanok's heart for children, they have always been a priority at Aradhana. Since Hanok and his deceased wife, Jamuna, were never able to have children, they “adopted” many needy chldren and partnered with us in building several Children’s Homes in Nepal. The following pictures are from a recent Sunday School children’s program.
The children read the Scripture and led in worship.
In addition to being the senior pastor at Aradhana for over three decades, Hanok has also played a key role in NCFN (National Church Fellowship of Nepal) serving three terms as President, which is longer than anyone else has held this position. It was through out partnership with Hanok and NCFN that we have sponsored many pastors, leaders and women’s conferences throughout the country.
Hanok teaches church leaders from across Nepal. The 3 former
Presidents of NCFN: Pastor Hanok, Dr. Simon Pandey,
and Dr. Mangal Maharajan.
Hanok giving an address to the Pastors and leaders at NCFN's annual conference.
Hanok continues to encourage and mentor the new young leaders of NCFN.
At right, Hanok is teaching at NCFN Theological Training on the
subject of Discipling and Mentoring process for leadership development
and sustainable growth.
Participants listen attentively as Hanok teaches.
Hanok intreprets for Pastor Nima Tshering, the patriarch of Tibetan Christianity.
Dr. Ron Nikkel of Prison Fellowship honors Hanok at their recent 25th anniversary
for his service as one of their founding Board Members in Nepal.
Hanok translates for Patt at a National Women's Conference
in Kathmandu several years ago that was sponsored by NCFN.
Like all senior pastors, Hanok performs many marriages in Nepal at Aradhana church and her daughter churches around the country. Christian marriages are a great contrast to traditional Hindu or Buddhist ones, so a great opportunity to witness of the Gospel and the church as the Bride of Christ.
Another privilege and responsibility for Hanok is ordaining people into the ministry and praying for the sick. Miraculous healings are one of the ways God manifests His love and advances the church among unbelievers.
A crucial part of the Great Commission is “ … baptizing in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” And these many baptisms that take place each year are public opportunities to witness for Christ. But when I first started going to Nepal, it was a one-year prison sentence to convert to Christianity, a three-year prison sentence to seek to convert someone, and a six-year prison sentence to baptize someone! As a result, most of the Christian leaders in Nepal have been arrested and imprisoned for their faith and obedience. Fortunately, today there is a measure of religious freedom as a result of Nepal’s move from a monarchy toward democracy.
As a result of the explosive growth of the church throughout Nepal, we have partnered with Hanok in building literally several hundred church buildings like this rural one below.
A supportive ministry to building church buildings was to build Agape Homes for pastors and other needy Christians who either had no homes or lived in substandard conditions. These Agape Homes below were build some 19 years ago and are still meeting the needs of people and helping the churches to grow locally.
The Bible says: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things” (Rom. 10:15). Because of that admonition, we have often had the opportunity of putting the “Gospel feet” of some of our national partners on bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, cars and trucks. Due to the growing ministry of Pastor Hanok, Aradhana Church and the NCFN, there was a great need for a strong vehicle to transport himself, people and supplies throughout Nepal. So, nineteen years ago we bought this used Toyota truck. It has been used to deploy evangelism teams, Jesus Film teams, relief teams, and to transport wedding parties and dead bodies by the dozens. I have ridden the length and breadth of Nepal in it for years. And as a result of its constant use as a “donkey for Jesus,” it has had to be in the repair shop often.
We have now repaired the “Red Truck” for the last time, as spare parts for it are no longer available. Additionally, the government has passed a new law that disallows any vehicle over fifteen years old operating on the roads. So this old warhorse for the Kingdom will soon have to go to the stable and be sold for junk parts.
However, through the generous donation of one of our ministry partners, we were able to recently purchase this newer Toyota 4-Wheel Drive truck for the ministry. It has already been put into use to pick up where the old red truck had to stop.
Pastor Hanok and some of the church elders from Aradhana dedicated
the new truck for service. The new "donkey for Jesus"
on a typical mountainous road in Nepal.
After recent storms and mudslides in Nepal,
Hanok used both trucks to carry relief supplies
to victims who had lost everything.
Hanok speaks with an elderly lady who lost her sons, daughters-in-law,
and a dozen grandchildren in the landslide. The people leave the
distribution with both physical and spiritual relief.
Seizing every opportunity through word and deed to share the message of Christ.
Hanok and Elder Deepak praying with new Christians, as they have
accepted Christ as their personal Savior. Hanok with a dear elderly man,
now in his 80's, whom he led to Christ and baptized over 20 years ago.
One of the daughter churches of Aradhana is the Khokona Leper Church. Through partnership with Hanok and Aradhana, we were able to build them a beautiful church building almost 20 years ago. Hanok continues his mentoring relationship with this dear leper pastor.
Pastor Hanok with his elderly mother who is in her 80's.
His father was a very influential Buddhist priest who
never came to faith in Christ that Hanok is aware of.
However, his mother is a strong believer, and comes
from her rural village in Kathmandu to visit Hanok
several times a year.
Thanks for your prayers and partnership with me in Nepal through Hanok. While he is not our only partner there, he is the very first national partner God sovereignly networked me with in 1989 on my pioneer trip to Nepal. Our relationship and partnership has grown since that time. And through him, God has networked us with scores of other young leaders we have sought to “encourage, equip and empower” for ministry. By God’s grace, our partnership will continue until the Lord returns or until he calls me home – maybe from some remote village in Nepal! My only desire until then is to be faithful as God is faithful. Or to echo the words of Paul: “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace” (Act 20:24).
Because of my increased mission travel this fall, I need your help in replenishing my special “Mission Travel Fund.” The current trip to India, Nepal and Tibet has depleted my travel account. In November I have a trip to Zimbabwe followed by a trip to Kenya in December – my last major trip for 2014. So I encourage any of you who can to make a special gift to “ … assist me on my journey,” to quote the Apostle Paul (Rom. 15:24). I will be most appreciative for your financial help in sending out this “donkey for Jesus!”
For His Kingdom & Glory in Nepal,
“In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers…”
I have the honor of standing with Rev. Murli Menon (India),
Bishop Trevor Manhanga (Zimbabwe), and Pastor Rodney Frazier
(Wakefield Family Church in Wake Forest, NC).
Dear Friends & Partners,
What a full and exciting service for Patt and me this Sunday in Wake Forest, NC! We truly experienced the glory of the Lord as we worshipped multi-culturally and multi-racially. But before that report, let me begin with a brief study on the church.
It is impossible to be a committed Christian and not be committed to the Church – both local and universal. While the Church was born in Jerusalem on Pentecost, it matured and came of age in Antioch.
Two truths about these two great churches …
First, while the Jerusalem church was largely Jewish, the church at Antioch was largely Gentile. That’s because the Jerusalem church was primarily parochial – while the church at Antioch was more global. An authentic New Testament church must be both.
The true church of Jesus Christ must be firmly anchored locally but have its sails set globally. Otherwise, the church becomes ingrown rather than outgoing. She becomes selfish and self-serving – rather than selfless and self-giving.
That’s the model of the church at Antioch. That first century church is the model church that we should seek to emulate and duplicate in the twenty-first century.
One thing is for sure: Jesus is passionate about the Church – which is His Bride. He came to this earth with one goal in mind: “I will build My Church,” Jesus proclaimed, “and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:19). Over 2,000 years of church growth have proven Him true beyond any doubt.
Jesus has an eternal love affair with the Church. She is His top priority and passion. So you can’t love Him without loving her! Jesus and His Church are one – they are inseparable and indivisible. To accept one is to accept the other. To reject one is to reject the other.
Sadly, we have many who call themselves Christians today who have not “connected the dots” between Jesus Christ and His Church. Or they have sought to “disconnect the dots” from Christ to the Church. While they are believers, they are not “belongers” – which is a spiritual oxymoron! It’s a contradiction of terms! It’s like saying: “I believe in marriage and love my spouse – I just don’t want to live with them!” Impossible!
Three spiritual powerhouses for the Lord Jesus:
Bishop Trevor, Pastor Rodney, and Reverend Murli.
Second, the church at Antioch had a balance of “prophets and teachers.” Note the plurality of both terms. A careful study of the names of these leaders clearly reveals that the church in Antioch was both multi-racial and multi-cultural. There wasn’t just one “super-star” preacher, prophet or teacher who was expected to be the fourth member of the Trinity – to be everything to everybody all the time! Another impossibility. The Biblical model is a plurality of leadership – not “solo-leadership.”
At Antioch, there was a Biblical balance of both. And balance is the key word here. As I often teach: “Prophets will ‘stir you up' while teachers will ‘dry you up.’ But as they minister side-by-side as twin graces and callings, they will ‘build you up.’”
So, through a consistent balance of the prophetic and didactic, the Holy Spirit will “grow you up” – so that He can then “send you out” – just like He did with Paul and Barnabas from the church at Antioch.
It has been our joy and privilege through the years to help establish churches after the Antioch model in America and in other countries. It has been exciting to see this Biblical and ecclesiastical DNA produce strong churches in many remote corners of our world. But it has also been exciting to see God use this model to transform existing, tradition-bound churches from being exclusively local to inclusively global – churches that develop a balance of up-reach … in-reach … out-reach.
Pastor Rodney Frazier, Founding Pastor, and his wife, Pastor Valerie, who
opened and led the order of worship for the Mission service.
This past weekend, Patt and I were once again privileged to participate in a special Mission Sunday at the Wakefield Family Church in Wake Forest, NC. (www.wakefieldfamily.org), founded a decade ago by Pastor Rodney Frazier, along with his wife, Sister Valerie. Soon after his retirement from the NFL, he moved to the Raleigh area as a business entrepreneur. A mutual friend, Dr. Jim Seymour, brought him to visit me at NDI, where Rodney was deeply impacted by the global outreach with which God had graced us.
After making a number of mission trips to Africa through our “Ministry to the Motherland” initiative led by Dr. Seymour and me, “Pastor Rod” was forever changed. His vision and passion quickly encompassed the world! So, he built global missions into the DNA of his church from the very beginning. It has only deepened and widened since then!
Reverend Murli Menon and Bishop Trevor Manhanga.
Two of our strategic national partners, Bishop Trevor Manhanga from Zimbabwe, Africa, and Rev. Murli Menon from Coimbatore, India, were a part of the service. And what a powerful and anointed service we experienced through the Holy Spirit! The Sunday morning service started at 10 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. – 3 ½ hours long – and no one wanted to go home! That’s the way authentic spiritual worship impacts you. That’s why we read this telling verse about the church at Antioch:
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said: ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3).
This past Sunday was truly an “African-Asian-American” church service – just like we will enjoy eternally in heaven! You too can have a similar service in your local church by inviting in gifted and anointed national leaders like Bishop Trevor and Murli.
The Wakefield Worship Team and the children led
the service with wonderful mission music and dance.
Pastor Rodney and Sister Valerie with Evangelist Elizabeth Strickland,
who has served the Lord through mission work around the world
for 28 years, and is supported by Wakefield Family Church.
Murli brings greetings and a challenge from India. A new Kingdom
friendship and partnership has begun between Murli, Valerie, and Rodney.
Bishop Trevor preached a powerful message on accepting our position in Christ
as being loved by the King. In accepting that position, we can move forward
with confidence in our families, our church, our communities, and the world.
There was a great outpouring at the end of the service,
as almost the entire church came forward for prayer.
Pastor Trevor exhorted the believers to accept how
precious they are to God, and to fulfill their spiritual
destinies in Christ, both locally and globally.
The women of the church did a wonderful job in preparing and serving this
delicious "international buffet" with foods from around the world.
Murli went for the Indian vegetarian dishes first!
Patt enjoys this delicious meal that appealed to
every palate ... another way to highlight missions!
While Bishop Trevor has already returned to Zimbabwe, Murli will be here through the month of October, and still has some openings in his ministry schedule. He would be delighted to come to your area for church services, mid-week home fellowships, Bible Studies, businessmen’s luncheons, etc. You can call or contact him through us: firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly at: email@example.com. He may also be reached by cell phone at 336-684-5103.
Patt and Sister Valerie, who has also traveled
to Africa to minister, will be returning in
November with her husband and two children.
Invite a national pastor to meet your church family and share his passion with them. You and your church will never be the same, and you will become more and more like the saints at Antioch!
P.S. For further study on missions, I recommend my book, A Strategic Paradigm in Missions. This book outlines the strategic paradigm shift that needs to occur in the current thinking on global missions: so that instead of cross-cultural missionaries going "over there" to accomplish projects, they first and foremost focus on building relationshps. Please click on the picture at right to order a copy.
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Standing in Delhi with Pastor Bharat Tamang
and his daughter, Tabitha.
Dear Ministry Partner,
Over a dozen years ago we had the privilege of building and dedicating a church in Delhi, India, for the Nepali Diaspora there. It is estimated that there are nearly a half-million Nepalis living in Delhi – mostly in slum situations. They compose much of the labor force for building and construction.
A few years earlier, God sovereignly connected me with Pastor Bharat Tamang, through Pastor Hanok Tamang, at a Conference we were sponsoring in Kathmandu, Nepal. At that time I learned about Pastor Bharat’s pioneer ministry among the large number of Nepali Diaspora in Delhi. He had planted several small church fellowships, but had no permanent place to meet. Through a gracious gift from the VanWingerden Family Foundation, we were able to build them this beautiful Anugurah Church.
To help Pastor Bharat travel all over the capital city of Delhi in his ministry to the Nepalis, we equipped him with a motorcycle that was provided by one of our ministry partners.
Each year Pastor Bharat sees a number of Nepalis come to faith in Christ through his gift of evangelism, prayer and healing. After a time of being discipled, they are given water baptism – which is an important public declaration of their faith in Christ.
Pastor Bharat’s daughter, Tabitha, worked at her father’s side in ministry. While his passion was reaching adult Nepali workers in the slums, Tabitha had a passion to reach out to the children. So she started a number of programs to reach out to them through Sunday School and VBS. Most of these children were very poor.
As is often the case, Tabitha identified a number of children who were either orphans or semi-orphans. So she took a step of faith and “adopted” them. Most were undernourished and sickly. Soon the children began to flourish physically and spiritually as a result of good nutritional food.
We helped Tabitha make a few modifications in the church structure to house these children. As a result, the Anugurah Children’s Home was born.
Tabitha enrolled the children in a nearby school for the first time. Through her love, care and tutoring, they quickly excelled. We started a sponsorship program for these children and have been supporting them monthly ever since.
My sister Judy Baer and her “Closer Walk Bible Study Group” raise funds each year to sponsor this Children’s Home through their annual Garage Sale.
As all of us know as parents: as children grow, their needs grow. As the children have gotten older, we have had to make separate rooms for the boys and girls. In addition, they needed another room where they could study and play.
As always, we did not have a dollar or rupee to start with. So we joined Pastor Bharat and Tabitha in praying for God to miraculously supply this need in His perfect time and way – which He did. God placed on the heart of a businessman and his wife to give a gracious gift that would cover the cost of this entire project. And they were relatively new friends and partners to Patt and me. While they have never yet been to India with us, they have made an indelible footprint there for the Kingdom of God by funding this Children’s Home!
So as a result of their generosity, we recently undertook a major renovation and expansion of the Church and Home to give the children more room through this large, two-story addition. At left, Patt and Tabitha stand on the site of the addition and below are some summary pictures of the building process that is now 98% completed.
Building supplies are purchased to begin the project.
Pastor Bharat prays for God's anointing and blessing on the work, and
on the workers, before the construction project begins.
Before the new foundation could be laid, the old septic tank
had to be emptied and destroyed.
After the old septic tank was cleared away,
the new foundation wall was constructed.
God blessed us in this project through the partnership of friends at EMI (Engineer Ministries International). As a Non-profit Christian Development organization, the architects, engineers, and design professionals of EMI "donate their skills to help children and families around the world step out of poverty and into a world of hope." While based in Colorado Springs, EMI has a regional office in Delhi, and was able to send out several of their engineers to inspect and guide the renovation and building process.
The new larger septic tank was built, and the construction of the next
two floors began.
The walls go up for the large Study Hall on the first floor ...
Once the walls go up, the roof is prepared and poured for the second floor ...
After the second floor is completed, the finish work begins ...
The inside rooms are painted, tiled and completed ...
The beautiful two story addition now completed ...
The final phase that is near completion is the roof of the Church and Children’s Home. There will be an awning room and railings where the children can play, and church functions, baptisms, and other events can be held. I will have the joy of spending two nights there on the first leg of my upcoming Asia trip in October. Please be in prayer for our special dedication of the addition on Sunday, October 12, 2014.
On behalf of Pastor Bharat, Tabitha and the children, I want to thank each of you who have prayed and partnered with us in this wonderful project among the Nepali Diaspora in Delhi, India!
In His Love For Children,
JL & Patt
P.S. In my previous email titled "Good News From Ghana", I told you of the dynamic message preached by our friend and partner, Bishop Trevor Manhanga at our recent conference in Ghana. We are excited to let you know that this video is now available on YouTube. Please click on the picture at right to be blessed and challenged by this most gifted and anointed communicator and preacher of the Gospel!
“ … those with clean hands will grow stronger …
they go from strength to strength … ”
(Job 17:9; Psalm 84:7)
Dear Ministry Partners,
There is a popular leadership maxim that says: “Momentum is a leader’s best friend.” In many ways that’s true. Whether in marriage, ministry, missions or the marketplace – momentum is essential for growth. However, it is also crucial to remember that building momentum takes time and effort. It’s like pushing a stalled car from a dead standstill.
Overcoming inertia in life, marriage or ministry takes a lot of effort – what I call “sweating for Jesus!” Sadly, most young couples in marriage and young Christians in leadership want success without sweat. But the two are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. However, if we will consistently put in the “sweat equity” by faith and obedience, we will build that positive traction and forward momentum that will make things happen for God’s Kingdom and glory. Over time, that momentum will increase in our sphere of influence – and even far beyond our expectations.
But after a half-century of ministry, it has been my experience that no one builds strong momentum with a large impact overnight – unless it is based on dishonesty, deceit and deception. There are no lottery tickets for spiritual success in life. Neither are there any “get rich quick” schemes when it comes to authentic monetary momentum. Prosperity comes and fortunes are built one dollar at a time.
Neither does God make “overnight successes” when it comes to ministry. In any and every area of life, it takes time to build positive traction through a long obedience in the same direction. And that obedience must start first in marriage. That’s because marriage and ministry are parallel callings. One can be no stronger than the other. That’s why I often teach young leaders: “If you want a strong ministry – build a strong marriage first.” Since marriage is the foundation for ministry – it will either be shaky or solid. A good marriage is the single most positive momentum builder for a strong ministry.
Another important Biblical principle is this: Momentum is based upon maturity. Immature individuals make for immature marriages and ministries. So the more an individual matures, the more his relationships and partnerships mature – or should mature.
Biblical history and contemporary experience show that ministry maturity flows out of individual maturity. Simply put, mature ministries are led by mature people – like the ones you will read about in this report.
None of our national partners reached individual or ministry maturity overnight. Like many of us, they are still very much a “work in process.” While not perfect, each one is in the spiritual process of “… pressing on to maturity” in Christ and for Christ (Heb. 6:1).
Therefore, the more mature we are in marriage, ministry, missions or the marketplace, the stronger our momentum will be for the Lord. If we are honest we know that none of us becomes mature in our area of giftedness and calling quickly. Instant sainthood is a spiritual fantasy! There are no short cuts to maturity in any area of life. That’s why success in any endeavor takes time – and plenty of it.
When it comes to maturity, I often teach this simple principle: “God can grow a mushroom overnight – but it takes Him decades to grow an oak tree!” Sadly, we have a lot of “mushroom ministries” all over the world that are “here today and gone tomorrow!”
Any wonder, then, that God said of His people: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” (Isa. 61:3). That summarizes the purpose for all ministry momentum – to glorify God. Our good works are for the “ … display of His splendor,” not our own.
Also, for height and breadth to be sustained – whether in an oak tree or in a Christian – there must first be depth. That’s why God established this principle of growth in the physical, spiritual emotional, mental, social and economic realm: My people will “ … take root downward and bear fruit upward” (II Kings 19:30; Isa. 37:31). Any wonder that Paul exhorted young Christians to “ … be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being … rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith” (Col. 2:7).
That’s how you can tell the difference between a “ministry in the Spirit” and a “ministry in the flesh.” If a ministry is truly “ … a planting of the Lord,” then it will reflect God’s nature and character. Authentic spirituality is always evidenced first and foremost by agape because the “ … fruit of the Spirit is love," meaning that we must be “ … rooted in love,” which is the nature of God (Eph. 3:17; Gal. 5:22; I Jn. 4:8).
Therefore, the greatest builder of momentum in marriage, ministry or missions is LOVE – and lots of it!
Patt and I are awed and humbled by the forward, upward and outward momentum God has continually graced us with in marriage and ministry for a half century! He has given us influence far wider than we could ever have imagined – or deserved. In this final season of our lives, we are experiencing more and more ministry and mission momentum. And we are acutely aware that “ … the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23).
Each week, exciting ministry reports come to us from our beloved partners in many countries of the world – far more reports than we can adequately share! This ministry momentum has out-paced our time and means of reporting. Each of these ministries deserves more attention than we can give them in our weekly email reports because of the momentum they have developed for the Kingdom. However, we do our best to report to you as the ones who make this possible, through your prayers and financial support.
Patt and I hope that you will be blessed and encouraged by these brief “summary reports” about a number of our partners.
Our partner Markus, who is a native born Bhutanese, makes regular trips inside Bhutan from the Indian border to share Christ, meet with home churches, and to encourage new believers. Since Bhutan is a mountainous country, there is a lot of hiking to do to reach these remote home church fellowships.
Markus trekking in to meet with small home church fellowships,
scattered in the mountains of Bhutan.
Sharing God's Word with these underground Believers.
Meeting and encouraging house church leaders. A new believer ready for baptism.
In a previous email, we shared about the need of Pastor Santosh Ramdam for a new van for his Bhutanese Church in Atlanta. The one that we gave him several years ago died beyond repair – with over 250,000 miles on it. Through one of our local ministry friends, we were able to buy a used van for them.
However, the “new” used van is over 30 years old with 90,000 miles on it! So we are still looking for a donation of a newer 15-passenger van for Pastor Santosh’s church ministry. Pastor Santosh continues to minister among the 65,000 Bhutanese Nepali Diaspora in America, individuals who have been repatriated from East Nepal, where I first began working with them some 3 decades ago.
Pastor Santosh laments the death of his old van.
The new used van we were able to purchase for Santosh for $1,000. After the
van arrives in Atlanta from Burlington, some of the church members pray and
give thanks for the "new" vehicle.
Pastor Santosh's church in Atlanta meeting in a rented building.
Pastor Gyan Sunawar has headed the EBCO (Everest Base Camp Outreach) since its inception over 20 years ago. He has planted churches all the way up to Mt. Everest Base Camp – where churches had never been planted before in history. In order to help with the evangelism and church planting, he started a small Bible School in Jiri, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Each year he trains and mentors young Christian leaders to evangelize and plant churches in this mountainous region.
Pastor Gyan addresses this year's graduates from the Bible School
that we help support monthly.
The new graduates receive certificates, and are commissioned for ministry.
Please pray for this year's graduating class.
The new Bible College students for this year - ten new evangelists and
church-planters in the making!
Sadly, there are monsoon rains and mudslides almost every year in Nepal. As a result, many homes are washed away with a great loss of life. Once again this year, Pastor Hanok headed a relief operation to take in supplies to those who had lost so much.
Some of the devastation to homes and lives caused by the horrific mudslide.
Pastor Hanok buys supplies with funds provided by our partners through JLPF,
and loads two truckloads of food and cooking supplies for the needy.
Two trucks purchased by our ministry partners transport the food supplies,
and the older red truck is newly repaired and loaded to capacity with relief items.
The new truck recently purchased for Pastor Hanok, provided through the
generosity of a ministry partner, is also used for carrying in relief supplies.
Pastor Hanok helps distribute food and cooking supplies to those who
have lost everything.
A victim of the mudslide carries a heavy bag of rice home to feed his family.
Hanok shares with an elderly woman who lost her entire family in the mudslide.
One of our ongoing partnership ministries is to distribute animals to needy people – primarily women and widows. This helps these precious ladies to stand on their own two feet and provide for themselves and their children. Pastor Godfrey Mkolo, assisted by Tailos, has been a key catalyst in this animal distribution program in Zimbabwe.
Tailos and Godfrey prepare for a goat distribution, and Godfrey assists the women
as they receive their goats.
Each woman pledges to give back their "first born" goat to the program
so that other needy women can be blessed. At right, pigs are ready to
Last year we were able to build a large, beautiful “African Tabernacle” for one of our oldest partners in Zimbabwe, Pastor Simon Mkolo. But there was also a great need for an “Ablution Block” (toilets) for the hundreds of people who use this facility regularly. So, through the generous donation of $25,000 by a ministry partner, we have almost completed this much-needed facility.
Tailos, who supervised all of these building projects, stands with me in front
of the "African Tabernacle". The nearly completed Ablution Block, with
one side for men and the other side for women.
The foundation for a new home for Tailos has been laid and prepared
on the Conference Center Campus. The total cost of his new home
is just $3,000 - half of which we have already sent by faith.
We are now praying for a matching donor who will give the other
$1,500 to complete this much needed home for this dear brother.
Each year it is my privilege and joy to spend a half-day teaching a Leadership Seminar for Rev. Woody Lamm and Pastor Ron Harris. Both Woody and his wife Nancy are former NDI staff members. Woody was an NDI Board Member and is now a member of the Board for JLPF. Founder of PMOS (Piedmont Men of Steel) along with Pastor Harris, Woody and Nancy with Ron and Patricia are raising up and mentoring the “down-and-outers” who are struggling to rise above a life of crime and substance abuse. They are helped and supported by beloved NDI icon Rev. Herbie Spruill. Through the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, these men’s lives are being transformed into trophies of God’s grace! So it was a special honor for me to spend time teaching these leaders for the fifth consecutive year when I am in country.
Teaching the leaders of the various North Carolina chapters of PMOS.
Herbie always blesses and challenges us with his tearful exhortations
and joyous rendition of his trademark song, "I Feel Good". As I stand
between Pastor Ron Harris and Pastor Woody Lamm after the recent
Leadership Seminar, I feel that I am between two spiritual giants
for the Lord Jesus!
Thank you for this opportunity to share a brief ministry and mission snapshot from a few of our strategic partners. Through their faithfulness, each has built strong ministry momentum for the Lord Jesus. And it has been our joy to do all we can to help them build some of that spiritual momentum for God’s Kingdom in their sphere of influence – all because of God’s grace and your partnership!
In Him … through Him … for Him, all things (Rom. 11:36),
JL & Patt