Worth Every Minute
Two hours is a small price for Bhima to pay. He’s made this journey countless times, but when you’re feeding the hungry, the joy is worth it all.
Pastor Bhima travels to the surrounding villages of his home, sharing the love of Jesus with many who have never heard Christ’s name. When Bhima came to a town two hours away, he discovered that several people were hungry to learn about God. So he kept returning.
A Village Steeped in Religion
The majority of the villagers believe in karma and are bound in superstition, and most don’t know how to read. But these hard-working farmers will not put up with anyone mocking their faith.
Padma, a quiet young woman in the town, has worshiped and sacrificed to idols since childhood. Her family is often separated, because her father works in a different state, but she works hard to help her mother and brothers take care of their home. A dedicated student, one would never guess from Padma’s smile the difficulties she has to endure to make it through school.
Tormented by Spirits
Why they chose her, Padma didn’t know, but every time she tried to concentrate on her studies, demons attacked. She wanted to learn but frequent headaches prevented her.
Padma and her mother visited many doctors, but no one had answers to free Padma from her misery.
Pastor Bhima happened to visit Padma’s home one day and shared the Gospel with her mother. Padma arrived later, and he got to pray for her. Padma’s mother noticed a difference in her daughter after the prayer, so she asked Bhima to keep coming. He gladly consented and visited often, reading from God’s Word and asking God to heal Padma.
Where Two or More are Gathered
Bhima invited two believers from his hometown to begin a regular prayer meeting in Padma’s home. One day, as the three believers prayed over Padma, she fell down unconscious, but Bhima and his friends continued to intercede for her deliverance and the Lord rescued her. In moments, Padma stood up, fully restored.
Padma and her mother were overjoyed and thanked the believers profusely. From that day on, Padma started to attend prayer meetings, and gradually God convicted her heart of her need for Jesus.
Now, there is a wide-open door in this village to hear the message of Jesus. The people are amazed at what God accomplished in Padma’s life and they see the power Christ has over darkness. Padma also joyfully shares her testimony with others, and no one opposes her witness because they are so happy that she is healed.
Old Friendship Brings New Life
Kaaliya was home from Bible college and eager to share how God was working through his first year, but not everyone shared his enthusiasm. In fact, his old friend Baalaark looked like he was about to burst into tears. When Kaaliya finally asked what was wrong, crying was exactly what Baalaark did.
While the friends had lost touch over the years, Baalaark’s family had fallen apart. His parents fought every day, and his efforts to unite them were traded in for a divorce.
“I don’t know what to do,” Baalaark said. “I did my best to make them understand, but it was worthless. I feel embarrassed, and I don’t want to show my face to anyone out of shame. I just want to finish my life.”
Despite his despair, Baalaark hoped his friend might advise him. Was there a way to save his parents’ marriage? For them to live in dignity and peace?
Kaaliya knew exactly what to tell him.
Friend’s Plea Answered
Kaaliya’s father was a pastor, and over the past semester, Kaaliya had been training to become one, too. He comforted Baalaark, prayed for him and shared the Good News that Jesus has the power to transform lives.
As Baalaark listened, he felt an overwhelming sense of peace and asked Kaaliya to share this message with his parents. That night, the whole family chose to follow Christ.
Over the next two weeks, Kaaliya connected Baalaark’s family with his father’s church, and they began regularly attending Bible studies and meetings. Meanwhile, Kaaliya continued sharing Jesus’ love with everyone he met.
As Baalaark’s family grows in their new faith and others respond to Christ’s call, Kaaliya knows this is only the beginning. With each new year of school, he’s working toward a lifetime of service—a lifetime of seeing families united under the redeeming shelter of God’s grace.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
My family – like many in the U.S. – has been touched deeply by addiction to drugs and alcohol. I’m sure many of you can relate. At one time or another, most of us took drugs or drank too much, and years of real, vibrant life were lost to the scourge of addiction. However, when one of my brothers was miraculously, instantaneously delivered and healed of addiction to heroin, alcohol and other substances, our entire family was transformed. The miracle we saw in Steve changed us all, and one-by-one we gave ourselves to Jesus.
This dramatic ending (really a beginning for us) doesn’t usually happen, because drugs and alcohol take their toll before a mind and heart addled by narcotics can absorb the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Steve, however, was shown love and freedom by two of the most Godly women I’ve ever met – Ruth Wynne and Betty Adams, of the Jesus House in Oklahoma City. They loved Steve when no one else would, and he responded. Unfortunately, many people die in their addictions, and families are torn apart because they never receive a credible witness of God’s love. If any of you readers would like to share your story – whether it be sad, painful or glorious – you can post it as a Comment below so others can benefit from your experience.
Tragically, addiction is found all over the world, not only in the U.S. and other affluent countries. Below you can read the account of a family in India that found freedom and healing through the love shared by the people of Gospel for Asia. Transformations take place when we boldly and lovingly care for and empathize with others.
Please read this testimony, then respond by praying for the work of Gospel for Asia, and giving financially to support their efforts. Thank you!
Javesh Crosses the Bridge of Hope
SACHI WATCHED HER HUSBAND BECOME MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT ON ALCOHOL to get through each day. She and Javesh had small children to feed, but whatever money he made, he used on his addiction. The situation grew worse, and their food was beginning to run out.
The only glimmer of hope in Sachi’s and Javesh’s lives was that their son Chakor was enrolled in a Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center. They knew he was being cared for and given a nutritious meal every day.
While Chakor received the opportunity to learn and grow, things were looking grim for the rest of the family.
One day, during a regular visit to the family’s home, the staff members from the Bridge of Hope center realized how dire Chakor’s family situation truly was. After meeting with the family, they decided to offer Sachi a job as a cook at the center. She was overjoyed at the prospect.
The new job meant income, and an income meant their family wouldn’t have to starve. Sachi was very happy to be able to meet all her children’s needs again.
God Answers Their Prayers
The Bridge of Hope staff continued visiting with and praying for the family, and slowly, Javesh’s life started to change. He stopped drinking alcohol, and he began to use his wages to provide for his family again.
Through the prayers and friendship of the Bridge of Hope staff, Sachi and Javesh saw the love of Jesus and knew that He cared very much for them. The couple and their children embraced the hope that can only be found in Christ.
Today the family attends the local fellowship together, and their home is full of God’s peace. Not only has their outward situation changed drastically, but their inner lives were transformed as well.
Here’s an article that outlines the troubles of alcohol abuse in India.
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WITH HANSEN’S DISEASE? I don’t either.
Hansen’s disease — also known as leprosy — is one of the world’s oldest maladies. Leprosy is a bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system, particularly the nerves of the hands, feet and face. As the body absorbs cartilage into its system, victims of the disease slowly lose their fingers, toes and even limbs. While leprosy has been eradicated in the west, it is still active and greatly feared across Asia because of the disfigurement it can cause, the social stigma it carries, and because it can be transmitted through close contact with a patient.
There are tens of thousands of people suffering from leprosy in more than 1,000 leper colonies throughout South Asia. The social stigma is devastating, perhaps even worse than the disease itself. However, leprosy can be totally cured without permanent damage if medical help is sought immediately. Unfortunately, in remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late. And sadly, only those among the cured who have no visible deformity will be able to integrate back into society. All others will have to live in leper colonies — alone or with their families — for the rest of their lives.
In the midst of this hopelessness, the light of Jesus Christ is breaking through, bringing hope to those who have been brushed aside by society. Please pray for Gospel for Asia’s leprosy ministry, that many suffering from this terrible disease would embrace the Savior, who is reaching out to them in love. GFA-supported missionaries in the leper colonies show Christ’s love by cleaning wounds and changing bandages, by giving medical care, by making special shoes to protect the people’s feet, by helping with household chores, by providing food, but most importantly by telling the people of and showing Christ’s love for them.
Recently a group of students traveled to Asia and visited a leprosy colony. Click the photo below to watch and share Ashley’s powerful story (but HD seems to short it out).
Here are some web resources:
Thank you for sharing the plight of these unseen, yet precious people!
(Feel free to listen while you’re reading.)
YOU ARE MY SHELTER by Elisha’s Request
I received this devotional from a good missionary friend of mine the other day, and it suddenly seems relevant to the discussion at hand. Please take the time to read it, and apply as necessary.
Come Before Winter
“Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica-Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.” 2 Timothy 4:9,10
“Come before winter.” These words have been rehearsing in my heart and spirit for weeks now. When Paul penned these words he was in prison. The cold chill of abandonment was upon him. He recounts how he was deserted in his faithful quest to preach the Gospel. Those who had been with him in the journey, those trusted friends had abandoned him. So his plea is to his most faithful disciple: “Come quickly and come before winter.” He needed his cloak and he needed his parchments. His time was short, death was drawing near.
I wonder if you and I can identify with Paul’s sentiments? No, we aren’t in a damp, cold and dark prison. Not in a natural sense. But there are many prisons. Some of us have been hurt severely by those we trusted most. And if we aren’t careful the winter of the heart can set in. It’s the season of the heart when it gets bitter cold. The sunshine becomes dimmer and dimmer. All the love and passion you have grown in your heart could be frosted over. And once that happens death isn’t far off. Does this seem extreme to you? It doesn’t to me. I have seen the face of bitterness on loved ones. I have also seen it in the mirror. It has a look all its own. It’s tense and hard and its poison springs forth in very short notice. It also cripples the person under its curse.
If anyone could have been victim to the winter of the heart it was Paul. Yet Paul knew the cure. Even with death at his door literally Paul chose to move forward. He encouraged Timothy and the church. He pleads with Timothy not to forget the gift the Lord has given him. Next he decides to allow the Lord to judge those who hurt him. He knew that only the Lord is the perfect judge of the heart of man. He asks that this abandonment not be held against them. Lastly, he proclaims faith in God’s goodness toward him. He knows that the Lord will strengthen him and preserve him for His Heavenly Kingdom.
Perhaps you are in the spring season of the heart. All that springs forth is good and loving and delightful. Please be mindful of those around you. If you see a brother or sister in pain take time to pray for them. Pray that the Holy Spirit will come quickly for them. Pray that He guards their heart from the cancer of bitterness. Pray He comes before winter. Paul asked for his cloak. We can ask that the Lord cover those we love with His cloak of love and righteousness. Only His covering will protect their hearts.
Father, guard our hearts from anything that is not of you.
Written By: Laurie L. Ferris
Have you ever suffered from an ingrown toenail?
There’s no pain quite like it, because you can’t get away from it. With every step the tenderness becomes more acute – the throbbing and discomfort graduate into pricking, stinging, shooting, burning, stabbing torment.
Trust me, I’ve been there. In fact, I let it go for so long that when I finally went to a podiatrist, he said he’d never seen one as bad as mine. So he took photos to submit to a medical journal.
What an idiot! All I had to do was treat my big toe’s affliction from the start, and I would have avoided all kinds of agony. But no, I let it go.
What followed was surgery, removal of the entire nail, bad regrowth (do you know how long it takes a toenail to regrow? 12-18 months!), another removal and regrowth, surgery again, until now: there’s a narrow, discolored, misshapen, hard, thick nail acting as a poor substitute for the healthy keratin that used to be there.
And it will never be right. The trauma that my toe suffered turned a minor, fixable problem into a permanent, scarred, sometimes painful appendage.
Is this a picture of the American Church today?
Focused inward. Growing deeper into itself. Causing pain and discomfort to those connected to it. Infection creeping in. Redness and swelling puffing out the sides. Oozing pus, blood and bodily liquids. Excruciating pain.
Nasty, isn’t it? But can we take an honest look at it?
Why is it so difficult to trim the Church properly? Why will we not admit that there’s a problem? Maybe because none of us want to lose control over or involvement in “our ministry.”
You know, all those things we do at church that keep us occupied with ourselves. Classes for inner healing, dieting, financial success, divorce recovery, discovering our spiritual gifts and where we fit in. Fellowships around quilting, crafting, eating, manhood, womanhood, fatherhood, motherhood and getting out of the hood. Services for inner healing, outer healing, personal prophetic utterances and fillings and fillings and fillings and fillings and fillings …
Am I stepping on any toes yet?
OUCH! That hurts. Sorry. I realize there are valid and necessary ministries and practices of the Church mentioned above, but if that’s ALL we do, then we’re unbalanced, ingrown, self-absorbed and uncaring.
If we think that’s God’s Grand Plan for the people of this planet, then we are downright delusional. C’mon, people, we’re supposed to give Him away!
The more we wrap the “foot” of the Church in a tight, repressive shoe of self-focused activities, the more we suffer. As we continue to look inward we neglect looking outward, and our true ministry – to reconcile the world unto God – is left undone.
God is love. He saved us from sin and brokenness, degradation and eternal damnation. He became us, then took our place of shame to set us free.
So now we’re free.
Why do we want to bind ourselves up and keep all this Love to ourselves? All God wants is for us to give it away. To be a blessing to the nations. As Abraham’s spiritual seed, we are called to bless all the families of the earth, and we’re not going to get that done when we continue to linger at the altar of brokenness.
We’re fixed already! Let’s put those things behind us and move on to what we are created to be. Sons and daughters of the Most High God. Children of the King of the Universe. Followers of Jesus Christ, the Savior of our very souls.
This is who we are. Can we now trim off the excess please, before it grows down beneath the skin of our churches and infects us all?