seasons of ministry
Greetings, Remnant Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, in dark and troublesome times. Take comfort in knowing the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
"[T]hat, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich (II Corinthians 8:9)."
This amazing truth yet further distances the message of the Holy Scriptures from manmade religion where gods and goddesses, demons and devils, do what they do for their own sakes, who make poor that they might be rich. But praise God, Jesus Christ is something far different, freedom from the bondage of manmade religion:
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe (I Timothy 4:10)."
And, just as we should preach the Word both in season and out of season, even so must our labor and ministries yield, both in season and out of season, to the Head of the Body:
"[T]hat in all things he might have the preeminence (Colossians 1:18) . . . "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:11)."
There are many irksome aspects of American Churchianity, not the least of which is the existence of a whole slough of Christian "ministries" named after the men who founded them, unconnected to local church bodies, and/or bound to a predictable program that leaves no room for changing seasons and the guiding hand of Providence. With Full Proof Gospel Ministries, may these things, by God's grace and mercy, never be! Recently, I passed by a large trailer bearing a huge ministry logo with a person's name (i.e. undoubtedly the head-hancho) in the title. I chuckled and was instantly reminded of a support check we received from a sweet elderly lady years ago. It was made out to "Jesse Boyd Ministries." Now, this gracious saint probably made an honest mistake and simply assumed that I had followed the example of most TV preachers and traveling "evangelists" in terms of ministry nomenclature. That unexpected check was truly provision from the Lord during that season of ministry; notwithstanding, the mere thought of a "Jesse Boyd Ministries" was bothersome, galling, and vomit-inducing. You see, I am a nobody, a mere unprofitable servant, striving simply to do those things commanded by our Lord (Luke 17:10) while accountable to the local church and obliged, though I admit not always cheerfully or willingly, to endure the seasons and stewardships of ministry, even those that require my presence in the background and not on the front lines or at the uttermost corners of the globe. It's not about me nor should it ever be: it's about the Lord Jesus Christ, it's about doors of opportunity that He opens, it's about preaching Him with boldness to the lost both at home and abroad, it's about discipling the brethren both at home and abroad, it's about partnership with local church bodies, it's about sending other missionaries and enabling them from afar, and it's about those fellowhelpers to the truth (III John 1:8) who hold the ropes and undergird the effort. As far as the aforementioned check, FPGM's bank amazingly deposited it into the ministry account without any question. And that, my friends, was the brief lifespan of any "Jesse Boyd Ministries." May that notion lie dead and dormant, never to rise again :)
It's been a little more than two months since my last post to this blog, and during this time, I have found myself mostly behind a desk or with my nose in the books, far from the front lines and not exactly elated about it. Notwithstanding, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's convicting testimony in Philippians 4:11:
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
There are seasons in ministry, as there are times and seasons to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1): a time to go and a time to stay, a time to preach and a time to teach, a time to upbraid and a time to disciple, a time to be supported and a time to support, a time to lead and a time to delegate, a time to carry out and a time to make ready. Lately, it seems, my days have been spent attending to the latter half of these duplets, and the Lord is showing me in this season of ministry that I must cheerfully yield and be content for the greater good. You see, as mentioned, FPGM is not "Jesse Boyd Ministries." By God's grace and through His blessing of growth, we now have other missionaries and partners on the front lines who need stateside logistics support. And, it has been my privilege to provide such these past few months. Ricky Springer has been busy preaching the Gospel to Israeli backpackers and local villagers way down in Patagonia, Argentina; and many seeds have been sown in partnership with local bodies of Christ. Now, with the austral winter in full swing, the Israelis have migrated north to Peru and Ecuador; and it's mostly rainy and quiet in Bariloche. In a little more than a week, I will be rendezvousing with Ricky and another missionary brother in Lima, Peru for two weeks of outreach to Israeli backpackers and local villagers in known hotspots like Huarez, the Huayhuash Cordillera Blanca, and Cusco. Around July 8th, Jon Lane from South Dakota will join Ricky and me for another two weeks of the same, this time venturing north into Ecuador and possibly Columbia (more on this journey later). July 22nd, Lord willing, Ricky will be returning with me to the United States to tie up some loose ends and establish a base for himself here in North Carolina. God only knows what the Fall will hold for him and for me and my family. But, such are the seasons of ministry. Please keep praying for this brother and for Full Proof Gospel Ministries as we continue to send him out to the front lines and support him there.
It has also been a great pleasure to undergird and support the efforts of Brother Bishnu and his team of faithful Nepali evangelists on the front lines in Kathmandu and remote parts of Nepal. You see folks, we have found that by training faithful brethren and then supporting them stateside, a whole lot more can be accomplished at uttermost corners for a much cheaper price tag than permanently sending or relocating an American missionary family. The key is to be able to find and train up trustworthy brethren who will actually take initiative and do the work. The Lord has provided us such a blessing in Brother Bishnu and the team that labors with him. Much has happened since our departure from Nepal last year, including:
- Printing and distribution of 120,000 Project Jagerna Scripture portions during the Nepali year 2069 (20,000 beyond our 100,000 in 2069 goal)
- The planting of two churches in the Kathmandu Valley and the opening of a Gospel Outreach Center in the Jawalakhel neighborhood
- The targeting of numerous large religious festivals with open-air preaching and tract distribution
- Regular outreach without incidence at Ratna Park
- The training and sending out of three local missionaries
- Expansion of outreach in Nepal's remote and unreached Far West
- Evangelism and discipleship trainings for village church bodies
And, the best part about this season of ministry is that God took Jesse Boyd off Nepal's front lines and stuck him in the background. He doesn't need me or FPGM to accomplish his purposes in calling people to Himself, but oh, what a privilege it is to be a part of it, even if the seats are in the "stateside nosebleed section." Recently, the Lord gave me, FPGM, and some of you who might be reading this the great pleasure of helping to meet a handful of real needs for our Nepali ministry partners. Bishnu and I decided to take the needs solely to FPGM's Facebook audience and see what the Lord would do. In a week's time, God provided the funds to print 20,000 Nepali Gospel tracts, 20,000 Project Jagerna Gospels of John, funds to cover the support of three Nepali missionaries for two full months, a year's rent for our Project Jagerna storage facility, rent for the Jawalakhel Gospel Center, and enough money to purchase a much-needed 4WD Jeep to help transport theProject Jagerna materials into remote corners of Nepal now accessible by rough dirt roads. God's people gave roughly $7,500 toward these needs, and FPGM has almost enough left over for another Scripture portion printing that will inevitably be needed later this year. Wow, Facebook does have redeeming qualities :) Praise God for FPGM's network of like-minded Facebook friends. The jeep, a 1996 Gypsy, has already been used for an outreach in Balaju. Just the other day, I received this email correspondence from Bishnu:
"Finally, we bought the same Gypsy that we all had prayed for. I pursued that man and found out that he had been busy moving things to be ready to leave the country. So we praise God for this vehicle and also we would like to THANK YOU all for your kind heart to donate for this vehicle for God's glory. We really appreciate it and it will prove to be a very effective means to deliver the Gospel materials. We also used it last Friday when we went out to preach the Gospel at By-pass Balaju chowk. So once again we really appreciate your financial help and ask for many more fold of blessings upon you from our King Almighty. God bless you all. I'll update on the ministry here shortly, before I head down to Kapilbastu for a Baptism program in our local church. Personally also, I would like to thank you Daju for your hard effort to raise the fund for the Gypsy as always. Thank you very much and God bless."
It's stuff like this that helps me, one whose heart burns for the nations, to find contentment even in stateside seasons of ministry. Thanks to all of you who were a part of this. Please keep praying for Bishnu and the brethren in Nepal. Political instability is on the rise, and the open door for preaching the Gospel we have found there could slam shut at any time.
On another note, I am convinced that a balanced evangelism ministry must yield to seasons of teaching and discipleship that others might be equipped to go out and preach the Gospel to the masses. Going all the way back to January 13th, the Lord has given me the privilege to teach on Sundays from the Book of Revelation at New Testament Christian Fellowship, one of FPGM's supporting churches. If you are interested, podcasts of these teachings can be found HERE or on iTunes. This Spring, FPGM has also been given unique opportunity to disciple some of the younger brethren from this same church in the work of bold evangelism. Brother Nate Henderson, since his joining our tour of college campuses in the Deep South back in February, has continued going out with us to preach and hand out Gospel tracts at a few local college campuses and in nearby Charlotte at the abortion clinics and in downtown. Also, it was my great privilege to wrap up this Spring semester of campus preaching by taking Daniel Middleton (a relatively new believer with a zeal and a passion for open-air preaching) out to California where we labored on San Francisco Bay Area campuses from April 20-30th in partnership with Blessed Hope Fellowship and Brother Shawn Holes. We had an awesome team and were able to target five campuses: Merced College, UC Santa Cruz, Delta Junior College, De Anza College, and Sacramento State. The preaching was great, and many Gospel tracts went out.
On this trip, we also threw Brother Daniel to the wolves per se in downtown Santa Cruz (a demonic stronghold), and he preached with Holy Spirit fire. I am so impressed with this brother and count it an honor to be training him. Like Nate, he has also been going out with us locally and is more than willing to take a day off from work to do so. Pray for the Nate and Daniel, that the Lord will continue to use them. I marvel how the Lord has allowed me and FPGM, broken vessels, to disciple folks over the years who catch a vision and then go out to the front lines where they then become, in many respects, my teacher, mentors to disciple me. This can be said of Brother Ricky, Bishnu, Brother Dylan, and several others. And, when God takes guys like Ricky into their own ministry niche, he never leaves us empty-handed in terms of discipleship ministry. He always brings others along. In martial arts, it is said that a good sensei raises up students who eventually become the sensei's teachers. The same can be said for biblical discipleship. Effective (sorry, I hate using that word in view of American churchianity's constant misuse of it, but you know what I mean) discipleship disciples in such a way that those mentored then become true biblical mentors to those who discipled them. I love it. FPGM, an evangelism ministry, has been involved in this type of discipleship from day one; and may we never shy from this season of ministry, even if it means absence from attractive front lines.
One of the most gratifying aspects of our recent California trip was the opportunity I had to take Daniel out for an entire day of outreach on the streets of San Francisco, revisiting some favorite haunts from my first days of open-air preaching eleven years ago. One of those was the corner of Mission and 24th down in the Mission District. Back in 2002 on a Saturday in October, Russ Taylor and I preached at that spot, surrounded by Communists and Marxists peddling their propaganda. We thought we were wasting our time until two young men approached and asked with conviction: "What must we do to be saved?" Antoine & Anthony called on Christ to save them that day. I don't know what became of those two, but I know the Lord did something at that place and time, in their lives and in ours. I am constantly reminded of this incident because as I flip open my trusty old KJV Scofield Reference Bible that I have been preaching with since the first time I ever delivered an open-air sermon (that was in Fairfax, CA surrounded by witches, potheads, and occultists), I see their names and the date of that encounter scribbled across the top of the fly-leaf. Wow, when I consider where the Lord has brought me since then, I bow my head speechless. Anyway, God was good to allow me to return to that place almost eleven years later and preach with conviction. And, it was an honor to have Daniel right there by my side.
That particular day was absolutely gorgeous in the city by the bay. We walked more than ten miles and also preached to a tough crowds at the corner of Powell & Market and at the corner of Haight & Ashbury. Back when I attended seminary out there, we frequented Haight-Ashbury for preaching on Friday nights. Those were good times. Here was one of my Facebook posts at the end of the long day of outreach with Brother Daniel:
"So, after a long day in which we walked more than 10 miles and preached in 3 locations, we are taking the BART back to East Bay. Things wrapped up in the Haight District, a dark place where some brothers and I used to preach regularly on Friday nights 11 years ago. Very few tracts went out there today, and many scoffed; but the Word was preached and the name of Jesus was lifted high in a den of devilry. One young man named Boston, he looked like he had a rough life, asked for a stack of tracts to give to his homeless friends and petitioned us to pray for him. He thanked us for preaching there. Let's lift this man up to the Lord; he needs Jesus. Maybe it was for him and him alone that we were in that place. Thanks for your prayers today. It was a real blessing to go back to the first places I ever lifted up my voice for the sake of the Gospel in the open air. And, it was an additional blessing to have Daniel at my side. He has become a bold preacher of righteousness, and I have been amazed to sit back and watch The Lord work through him this week. Tomorrow, we fly home. Well, the train just popped out of the water; we are barreling through Oakland now."
brother daniel preaches at market & powell in san francisco
Whoa . . . these past couple of months haven't been an off-season of ministry after all. And, the front lines aren't always at some far corner.
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33)"
In my last blog post, I promulgated the following prayer request:
"We also covet your prayers for Brother James, one of pastors we have labored alongside in Bangladesh, a Muslim country. We have been endeavoring over the past few months to help this brother secure a tourist visa to America so that FPGM can bring him here for evangelism training and to help better equip him for the very difficult work there in his own country, another place where believers see real persecution. You might remember that we were able to do a similar thing with Bishnu back in 2008. Initially, James’ application was rejected; but a local Congressman has since contacted the Dhaka Embassy on our behalf, and we have made a 2nd appeal. Please pray that the Lord “moves the heart of the king” per se and opens this door. I cannot go into any further details at this point; just pray that our dear brother, a bold man of God, gets the visa. If he does, we are trusting the Lord to then provide financial means to make the journey possible sometime in the spring or summer."
Well, God did what exactly what we prayed for, and James was issued his visa a few weeks ago. He will be spending a month or so with Full Proof Gospel Ministries on America's front lines in September/October. During that window, Lord willing, Ricky Springer and I are planning to take him on a college campus preaching tour, soaking in as much of the Continental United States as possible. This will be a time of discipleship and evangelism training for this brother in a context where he can preach freely without the threat of persecution that is normative in his home country. Please pray that the Lord brings all of this together. What an awesome way this will be to kick off the Fall semester on the college campuses. And, since both Ricky and I labored with James in Bangladesh, I am stoked that Ricky will be back on the homefront to join us. If any of you would be willing to open up your home for us and James while we travel (i.e. if our path comes through your neck of the woods), it would be a huge blessing. Stay tuned for more information.
Well, the seasonal winds are changing, and I can write with conviction that I am grateful for the recent hours of desk time. In every ministry, there is a time for preparation, and this cannot be neglected. I have spent many hours re-immersing myself in the Spanish language and studying the Scriptures so that I can be as poised and equipped as possible for the very unique opportunity in Peru and Ecuador that I already mentioned. On June 17th, I will be driving to Miami, stashing my car for a month, and flying down to Lima, Peru (cheaper to do this with a roundtrip out of Miami than to fly roundtrip from Charlotte, believe it or not . . . and I get to avoid outdated poor-service American carriers). There, I will rendezvous with Ricky and Dylan, and we will immediately head up to Huarez to make preparations for an 8-10 day trek at high altitudes in the Huayhuash Range of the Central Andes. This slog is known as one of the best treks in the entire world, and for some reason, Israeli backpackers flock to it this time of year. Our desire is to follow them, utilizing the unique environment (i.e. far from the typical distraction of hustle and bustle) and the hours of downtime in evening camps to communicate Yeshua Ha'Messiach to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. We will part ways with Dylan sometime around July 3rd and then hook up with Brother Jon Lane from South Dakota about July 8th. During the five-day interval in between, Ricky and I hope to target Cusco, another Israeli hotspot. When Jon arrives, Lord willing, we will migrate north into Ecuador and Columbia where we hope to preach Christ in some plazas, distribute a whole mess of Spanish Gospel tracts, and also target a few more Israeli haunts. We're leaving the specifics up to the Holy Spirit and look forward to how all this plays out. This particular time of year is the best in terms of weather at the Equator, and the best in terms of finding Israeli backpackers. It will be a fitting way for Brother Ricky to close out his own season of ministry in South America, at least for the time being. Come July 22nd, we will fly back to Miami and then make the drive home together. Please pray for this missionary journey. Pray for God's provision, for an open door of utterance, for soft Jewish hearts to hear and believe the Gospel, for opportunities to edify and encourage local brethren, for traveling mercies, and for our families who remain behind. I am so excited about being able to return to South America, this time without the overhanging distraction of the business fraud, wicked deception, and betrayal of my longtime martial arts colleagues that proved such an interference down there back in November and December. The Lord reward them according to their works.
Praise God for seasons of ministry, whether it be at home or abroad, whether it be on the front or in the background. Praise God for freedom from the bondage of predictability and obsessive pre-planning. And, praise God for the conviction and leading of the Holy Spirit.
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:8)."
May it ever be so with me and all of us here at Full Proof Gospel Ministries. Thanks for holding the ropes in prayer and through your generous support. Stay tuned for news from the South American front . . .
Jesus is the LORD,
Jesse & the Boyd Family