“Through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
(II Corinthians 9:11)
Dear Ministry Partners,
Patt and I send you our special Thanksgiving love and greetings. We pray that you will have a very special Thanksgiving week and day with family and friends, just as we intend to.
I also hope you will take a few minutes off from cooking … eating … football games … watching the Thanksgiving Parade … napping – to peruse this report. It will add a BIG THANKS to your Thanksgiving Day.
Frankly, we have been preparing for Thanksgiving all year long – all made possible by your love, prayers, compassion and financial support. There is not time or space for us to even begin to share just one picture from each of our beloved national partners. But I am going to try and summarize as many as possible in this pictorial report.
Please take a moment to at least scroll through the following pictures showing just some of the things that you have made possible this year. It is our prayer that these pictures will bring “extra thanks” to your Thanksgiving Day.
So buckle your seat belt as we make a whirlwind trip to many countries and corners of the world where “ … your generosity” has resulted in “ … thanksgiving to God.”
PRE-THANKSGIVING IN THE BAHAMAS …
This past weekend, Patt and I made a quick pre-Thanksgiving trip to Freeport, Bahamas, where we went to fellowship and minister with Pastor Wilbur Outten and his wife, Barbara – partners of over 30 years. Wilbur is the pastor of the Freeport Bible Church, whom we have had close partnership with for decades.
As we arrived, there was a strong topical storm with horrific rains. When we got to the church, the men were having a “cook-off” competition as part of this month’s emphasis on men, with the theme of “game-changers.” And under Pastor Wilbur’s leadership, these men are real “game-changers” for the Kingdom of God in the Bahamas.
So look and “lick your lips” at what they were cooking under the tent – each one seeking to surpass the other as the best cook with the best recipe!
When we were finished foundering ourselves on BBQ Ribs, smoked conch and chicken Hawaiian, we prepared for our two Sunday services – which were great “Thanksgiving Celebrations.”
The praise team led in enthusiastic worship, and the men, dressed in their
favorite "athletic jerseys", presented a special song.
After Wilbur’s gracious introduction, I spoke on “Being a Game Changer for the Kingdom of God,” wearing my T-shirt representing the persecuted church – especially those under assault by ISIS and Islamic terrorism.
On Sunday evening I did a Global Mission Overview for the key leaders of the church – with a special emphasis on the “Persecuted Church.”
After I spoke, Wilbur showed a picture of their first mission church in India built in partnership with ECI and us. He renewed his challenge to build more this next year.
INDIAN THANKSGIVING (WITH LOTS OF HOT CURRY!) …
The above picture of Pastor Wilbur with their sister church in India is a good transition to Bishop Ezra Sargunam and the Evangelical Church of India (ECI). As you know, we have been in close partnership with ECI for over 3 decades.
Across the years, Bishop Ezra has been unrelenting in evangelism and church planting across India – both among the responsive groups and resistant groups. As a result, they have now planted:
Today they average planting 3 new churches a week in some corner of India – with a goal of planting one a day! That’s a vision that will put renewed mission thanks in your Thanksgiving!
Patt and I will be returning to India in January 2016 to participate in the “Diamond Jubilee” (75 years) of ECI’s ministry. At that time, Bishop Ezra will “pass the leadership baton” to others as they continue to press toward their vision of 100,000 churches and 10 million members!
While we have been in active partnership with Bishop Ezra and ECI in conferences, church buildings, agape pastor’s homes, children’s homes, etc., we are now emphasizing various self-support projects such as sewing programs and goat-raising (bottom of report). These self-help projects bring special thanksgiving from widows and needy women.
SINGAPORE THANKSGIVING …
One of Bishop Ezra’s students is Pastor Joseph Jabemany. He studied under Bishop Ezra in Chennai as a Bible College student and caught his vision for evangelism and church planting. As a result, he pioneered the Yishun Evangelical Church in Singapore, which primarily ministers to the thousands of Tamil Indians living and working in Singapore.
We began our partnership with Pastor Joseph over 30 years ago. Through the years his work has grown in Singapore, Malaysia and India. As a result, they have been funding the building of small churches in rural India. To date they have built 143 village churches – with each one bringing praise and thanksgiving to the local people. And all of this is from one moderate church in Singapore of just several hundred members. This begs the question: “How many mission churches has your local church funded in other countries?!”
Pray for Pastor Joseph as he leads his church on their march to reach their goal of 200 rural churches in India by the end of 2016!
THANKSGIVING IN NEPAL (WITH DHAL BHAT) …
As you know, since the killer earthquakes in April and May, we have been deeply involved in relief and rebuilding under the leadership of Pastor Hanok Tamang, our original partner in Nepal dating back to 1989. And as per Paul’s exhortation in Galatians 6:10, our primary focus has been on helping the “needy saints” who lost their homes and livelihoods.
After the first phase of relief distribution, we moved to tarps and tents, then to small metal houses. Now since winter has set in, we are doing blanket distribution for warmth. Each family gets one large blanket – which the whole family sleeps under. Can you imagine?! Currently we are focused on 300 more Christian families who lost everything in the earthquakes and aftershocks.
Pastor Gyan Sunawar, who heads the Everest Base Camp Outreach, is also proactive in relief and development in his area of Nepal.
In spite of the killer earthquakes and on-going after-shocks, the church continues to grow weekly. Just this week Pastor Hanok sent these pictures of over 20 new believers who were baptized in the river – which was very cold this time of year!
The trusty truck – or “donkey for Jesus” has been busy night and day carrying relief and rebuilding supplies since the earthquake. This past week it was filled with new believers going to the river for baptism.
The new believers and other church members have a special service “down by the river side” before the baptism.
Pastor Hanok teaches the group on the significance of baptism as followers of Christ who will be “ … buried with Him in baptism.”
Identified with Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
Twenty new believers and followers of Christ in Nepal.
THANKSGIVING IN THE HIGH HIMALAYAS …
Another key partner many of you are familiar with is Pastor Sangge Sherpa. He has been instrumental in evangelism and church planting – literally at the “top of the world.” Many of you followed him through a life-threatening fall that almost cost him his leg. But by God’s grace and some good medical care, he is back in the high Himalayas sharing Christ, planting house churches and baptizing new believers. Say a special Thanksgiving prayer for him on Thursday.
Sangge standing in Lukla, the highest fixed-wing
airport in the world - and the most dangerous!
Taking the Gospel to remote villages where it has never been heard.
Establishing small house fellowships along the way.
Baptizing believers in the icy waters of the Himalayas.
REFUGEE THANKSGIVING AMONG ISIS VICTIMS …
With the recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon and the Sinai, the attention of the world this Thanksgiving is especially focused on ISIS and other franchised terrorist groups. Because they have declared the headquarters of their Islamic theocratic Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the Middle East is tenser than ever before in history. Hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered through suicide bombers, executions, crucifixions, beheadings, burnings and wanton acts of barbarism – all in the name of Allah. Millions who have escaped death have become refugees overnight in countries like Syria and Jordan. Untold multitudes have flooded into Europe seeking asylum.
As a ministry, we continue to do all we can to help with the more than 12,000 Christian Refugees in Jordan. Father Khalil Ja’ar is one of our primary partners whose church has become a major refugee center – mostly for Christians from Iraq who were sentenced to “conversion or death” by ISIS.
Words are inadequate to describe our thanksgiving for him as he seeks to minister to this multitude in his church every day. He has truly become a father to the fatherless.
Since we have now sent out the last designated funds to him, we hope many of you will be moved to give a special “Thanksgiving Offering” for our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
THANKSGIVING AMONG REFUGEES IN EUROPE …
A day after my recent departure from India with Murli Menon, he left for several weeks of ministry in Germany and Austria, where he goes annually to teach and preach. Murli was especially excited about this trip because of the opportunity he would have to minister among an even more diverse group of people from many countries. Here is an email I received from Murli today, complete with a couple of “selfies” …
I’m having such fun sharing faith with Iranians, Iraqis, Kurds, Syrians, Nigerians, Eritreans, Albanians, Germans & others. I’m deeply impressed by German response to the refugee crisis. Their compassion is Biblical & I am hoping to write a detailed report in the coming days. Thank you for your prayers.
Since Murli will be in Europe through Thanksgiving, pray especially for him that God would continue to give him safety, wisdom and discernment in ministering to this diverse group of people.
THANKSGIVING IN MALI …
In addition to the horrific Islamic Terrorism in Paris a little over a week ago, there was also a major act of Islamic jihaddism in Bamako, Mali. It took place at the most famous hotel in the city, the Radisson Blu, resulting in the murder of 27 people.
In response to this Islamic barbarism, we once again saw that President Obama will still not connect the words “Islam” and “terrorism.” He continues to use more vague terms like “extremism” and “radicalism” – but completely disassociates from the religion of Islam that has clearly birthed and nurtured all this carnage! More and more of our military and terrorism experts are agreeing that until our President and his administration are willing to “name our enemy,” we cannot defeat it.
We are thankful that our primary partners, who have relocated to Bamako from Timbuktu, are all OK in the wake of this latest terrorism in Mali.
In past reports you have read about Pastor Nouh Yattara (above), Professor Mohamed Yattara and Pastor Mohamed Ali. They each continue their very busy ministry activities in Bamako and other parts of the country as travel as terrorism permits.
Professor Mohamed continues to lead his “Bible School in exile” in Bamako from Gao, after al-Qaeda ravaged the city.
Pastor Mohamed Ali and his wife had a thriving ministry in Timbuktu until the Islamic terrorists took over the city for over a year. Even though the French routed the terrorists, Pastor Ali's ministry had to be relocated to Bamako.
Both a preacher and a musician, Pastor Mohamed Ali is a unique
instrument for God's Kingdom in Mali.
THANKSGIVING FOR BUILDINGS…
Through the generous partnership of people like you, we have had a number of significant building projects taking place this year in several countries. I especially give thanks for the large “African Tabernacle” in Hwange, Zimbabwe, under the leadership of Pastor Simon Mkolo. Our partnership with Pastor Mkolo also goes back nearly 4 decades.
Now that the major structure has been completed, we have been tiling the inside of the Tabernacle. In addition to using it regularly for their own ministry, they are able now to rent it out to other groups, which help generate funds for their own ministry.
In addition to tiling the African Tabernacle and building a large chancel area, we have also funded a large kitchen - which is almost completed.
It will be a joy to visit this Conference Center, and to see these new buildings
on my upcoming trip to Zimbabwe in December.
THANKSGIVING FOR ANIMALS …
A number of our national partners in several countries are especially thankful this Thanksgiving season for goats, pigs and chickens we have helped them to purchase. Often a few animals can make the difference between life and death … poverty and prosperity … health and sickness … sending children to school … medical help.
So as you enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey or ham, give special thanks for these gifts of animals that many of you have helped make possible. And pray that the animals would stay healthy and reproduce – bringing food and help to their owners.
In Manipur India with Pastor Soia Chinkhosoi…
In Zimbabwe with Pastor Godfrey Mkolo…
In Kenya with Philip Kabiru…
THANKSGIVING FOR GARDENS …
As you know, helping set up “drip irrigation gardens” has been a passion and priority of mine since the very earliest days of our ministry. Not all of our partners are in situations where they have the land for gardens. But whenever possible, we help them start gardens of various size. And since Thanksgiving Day cannot be separated from food in America, I am thankful for all of the food we are helping people enjoy through our various gardening projects. Here are several …
In West Bengal, India with Johny Rai …
In Haiti with Pastor Esperandieu Pierre …
In India with Murli & Usha Menon …
There is really no conclusion to Thanksgiving! It is not the celebration of a day – but the life-style of the Believer. When you consider God’s incredible gift of grace to each of us through the Lord Jesus, we cry out with Paul: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (II Cor. 9:15).
While I could go on picture after picture … partner after partner … project after project … page after page – I must stop! Otherwise, you will not give thanks for the length of this report!
May God give you a blessed Thanksgiving Day with family and friends – knowing from these few pictures, that your spiritual family is far BIGGER than you may have thought – and your circle of friends encompasses the globe! And it just doesn’t get better than that!
Now go eat some more turkey and dressing with a new heart of thanksgiving!
Thankful for your partnership,
JL & Patt
P. S. It is hard to believe that the Christmas Season is right around the corner! And many of you have already started shopping for those special gifts for Christmas 2015. This Christmas, it is our prayer that you will remember a special Christmas gift for one of our national partners in the Third World.
Just like the Magi traveled a long distance to present their gifts to the baby Jesus, your gift through JLPF will travel to some of the distant corners of the kingdom of God. Many needs will be met by your love gift, and many grateful hearts will praise the Lord for your generosity!
For Kingdom Advancing Gift giving ideas, please click on the picture of our 2015 Christmas Brochure at right. Thank you in advance for your gift of love to our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ in the Third World!