blessed be the name of the LORD
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Baruch haShem Adonoi. Greetings in the name of our Lord and our God, Jesus Christ. (John 20:28). It is with great joy that I write to you all and give testimony concerning the past two months of ministry. One of the local pastors that we have labored alongside in Bangladesh was able to come to the United States for training in evangelism and to testify of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. We traveled in a giant loop around the whole country, preaching together to students on the American college campuses and people on the city streets. I do sorrow seeing such a wayward and rebellious nation, but that does not suppress the joy of the Lord in me. Brothers and sisters, seek the Lord fervently to keep your love alive and your joy full (John 15:11). Do not be hardened by the abundance of iniquity that clouds this country of ours. Bless the Lord! Bless His holy name forever. And, abide in His love.
As you know from Jesse’s last blog post, entitled Go Tell ‘Em, Pastor James Roy from Dhaka, Bangladesh joined us in North Carolina back in September to begin our ministry together. In partnership, we wanted to go to the streets and college campuses so that James could evangelize in the United States, his foreign mission field. James shared at a few churches in the area here and we did some local evangelism to ease into the long trip around the country. Folks, you must understand that the American college campus is a very dark place, and you don’t just whimsically go preach there. Neither should you in any place for that matter. We began our journey on September 30th by driving straight north into Michigan. Once on the Upper Peninsula, the three of us rendezvoused with some other solid brethren to make up a solid team of evangelists. It is always a pleasure for me to preach beside others of the faithful.
As we began to go onto campuses and preach, James was able to have a look into the heart of the American people. He began to understand how we, as a nation, once knew God, but we have now forgotten the Lord to serve ourselves. I was talking to James about the country and asking him about what he had seen. He told me that Americans are “too independent and they are not Christians.” What did James mean? He elaborated by explaining that we are all so wrapped up in ourselves and so relegated to OUR own space; OUR own property; OUR own time; OUR self-centered desires. He said that he sees many hurting people. “But how do you get through to them, brother?” Through the facade of Facebook and the outward image, America conceals a corrupt heart and soul-damaging sin. James, and the vast majority of Christians from countries around the world, assume that America is a Christian nation. As James discovered, this is far from true. A Christian is dead to self. Yet sadly, America is wholly given over to the idolatry of self. On the college campuses, you get a clear EKG reading of the American heart and where this country is headed. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of government in the next.”
One thing that I have realized, having traveled around the world and having experienced many adverse situations and then afterwardreturning to the United States: In a Muslim country, you see men who worship Mohammed; in a Buddhist country you see men who worship Buddha; in a Hindu country you find many paths, but all ultimately worshipping the minions of Brahman; and in Communist countries, you find many fools claiming that there is no God. Here in the United States, we are worse than all of them. We have embraced every god under the sun. Hinduism may worship 300 million gods, but I still believe America is more idolatrous and is under a greater condemnation than any of the examples I listed above. For we do not simply “allow” these religions; we embrace them in one way or another with open arms. And, America has even birthed several prominent worldwide cults herself: Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, et. al. So, while on the college campus, the preacher really has to be on his toes. At any given outreach, you might have Muslims, Catholics, homosexual humanists, and nominal Christians all coming together for the purpose of opposing the Gospel message. Don’t worry . . . all you need to do is preach Christ. I think one of the most remarkable things about Jesus was His ability to always quote or allude to Scripture rather than arguing about which religious way is better. While in Minnesota, we were preaching on a campus where many students had gathered. James had a few lively discussions with a group of Muslims and there were Jewish students passing by along with several so-called “atheists” (Atheism is a temporary condition, by the way). Once things calmed down a bit, two young men came walking up and stopped right in front of us. They began kissing and slobbering all over each other in defiance and mockery of the preacher. James was astonished and disgusted! You see, James comes from a Muslim country. In Bangladesh, the people would never be so disrespectful. They might despise the Gospel and beat or kill someone for speaking against Mohammed, but they would never react with such disrespect, mockery, and disdain. Oh, and as for the two young men kissing: James said that if they were to do that in Bangladesh to Christian preachers, the Muslim men would have publicly castrated them, burned them, and then dumped their bodies into the Buriganga River. That is Islam. And yet, on American college campuses, the homosexual will join hand-in-hand with the Muslim hypocrite to oppose Jesus Christ. The world will always find at least one common theme to rise against: Almighty GOD and His Annointed, the Lord Christ Jesus. That particular day, James preached, “You get all of this education. It cannot save you. Education cannot give you eternal life. The terrorist leaders and some of the most wicked people in the world are educated. Education cannot save you.” The answer for fixing this country and the world is not education. It is Jesus. We were blessed to have a foreign missionary like James preach such a message to our ailing land.
On this particular college campus preaching tour, we drove more than 9,500 miles and preached Christ in the open air on 25 campuses, most of them campuses Full Proof Gospel Ministries had never visited. James was with us until Las Vegas from whence he flew back to New York City and then onward to Dhaka. But, he didn’t leave us without preaching one last message to America, this time in front of the Bellagio Casino down on the Las Vegas Strip with masses of Americans wandering to and fro with thoughts, actions, and intents of the heart far from Jesus and the God of our Founding Fathers. It was a powerful scene - a Bangladeshi who grew up in abject poverty in a Muslim country preaching repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ on American turf to Americans who ought to know these things. I was reminded of the stark truth of Deuteronomy 32:21:
They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
There is so much more I could write concerning the blessed fellowship and mutual service we shared with Brother James out on the American road, but I will spare you the ugly details, particularly concerning some things that transpired on the campuses. Everything really is upside down; but the Lord still reigns. Below are some videos that Jesse prepared from our journey. Take a look, and you will be edified. In the one featuring some of James' preaching, you will see him preaching the Gospel to Native American inmates in a county jail in South Dakota. He was able to share his testimony and call these men to get right with the Lord. You see, Christianity is not “the white man’s religion” or “the religion of the Western Hemisphere.” Christianity permeates every segment of ethnicity around the world. It was great to see how James stood as a testimony of this truth, not only in that jail, but to many from American sea to shining sea. You'll also see a video highlighting three preaching excursions we made into "dangerous" Mexican border towns after James returned to his country. We opted to to this as a direct result of opposition to the preaching of the Gospel we were receiving in the United States. The irony of the whole thing was stark, and the Gospel went forth in Mexico abundantly and without opposition. I still cannot get a certain image out of my mind. In El Paso, we were kicked off the campus of UTEP and threatened with arrest for handing out Gospel tracts and preaching. So, we decided to salvage the day by going over to Juarez on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, supposedly a very dangerous place (we experienced no trouble, nada). There, we preached in Spanish in a public plaza, handed out many, many Gospel tracts, and even spent time discipling a Christian brother. As we walked back over the bridge into the United States later that afternoon, I couldn't help but notice a large message inscribed on a hillside overlooking Ciudad Juarez. In Spanish, it read: "The Bible is the truth. Read it!" Later, I discovered that this message was clearly visible from all over El Paso, even from the campus where we had been earlier extracted. In a way, it was Mexico bearing a testimony that condemns America, just as Sodom, on the Day of Judgment, will condemn those cities in Israel that rejected the preaching of Jesus. Sheer profundity. Viva Mexico!
Anyway, enjoy the videos:
a bangladeshi missionary preaches in america
preaching Christ in "dangerous" mexican border towns
one can preach the grace, mercy & love of God, and they still call it hate
usa or ussr?
great acoustics at the grand canyon
On the trip, we also had the privilege of meeting up with a handful of other evangelists and fellowshipping with some solid churches. We were also blessed to hear some good pulpit exhortation from Pastor James. He really wanted to exhort the American Christians to fervency in prayer. Many times, he would take us to Matthew 26:40 and pinpoint a statement made by Jesus as His greatest hour of affliction approached. The hour had come for the Christ to be delivered into the hands of his accuser, and the ones he loved the most ceased praying and fell asleep:
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
James then rebuked us: “I think that as Christians you should be able to pray at least one hour.” He showed that the Lord was grieved when the ones He loved upon the very real cross of suffering and shame could not pray for even one hour. It should be noted that an exhortation to pray for an hour is not legalism. For we know that even though the disciples failed to pray for that hour, Jesus Christ still sent them the Comforter and committed the Gospel ministry into their hands. James often exhorted us to be specific in our prayers as we offer up supplications to our Lord. We must even overcome our sins by prayer and fasting. I’ll tell you two very beautiful testimonies that James gave of prayer in his own life. As a young man, James was rebellious and heavily into drugs. He was engulfed in his sin and had no power to come out of it. Many people hated him, even his own family, because of his malicious activity as a drug addict. James even hated himself for being so wicked. But then, after reluctantly attending a Christian meeting, he was overcome with the words “Jesus loves you.” This is such a simple statement that holds such great power! James was converted that day and decided to move out of the city away from the temptation of drugs and their easy access. While in his home village, he began praying for God to liberate him. Spending three months praying and reading his Bible, James overcame his sin and the power of his addiction. One day at a time James, by the power of God, overcame sin through prayer. Oh that I myself would seek the Lord in such a way to overcome my own sins and triumph in resisting the devil! My friends, James’ testimony did not end the day he was converted. It did not stop the day he moved back to the city after overcoming his addiction. James went on to Bible school to learn as much as he could about the Lord and committed himself to ministry. Today James’ testimony of Jesus Christ continues, and I say with confidence that it will continue for all eternity. That is how your testimony should be. If your testimony of Jesus Christ is finished, then you do not know the Lord and you need to be saved.
After James went to Bible school and was married, he and his wife began to pray specifically for a bed in their house. What they had was really insufficient. After seeking the Lord and having a bed miraculously given to him that matched what they were praying for, down to the very dimensions of of it, they immediately committed the bed to God. God was gracious to answer their prayers and James, with his wife, gave it all to the Lord and even decided that their own home belonged to the Lord as well. They began having a Bible study in their home. Where did the attendees sit? On the bed around the Word of God. As this Bible study outgrew the bed and the room where it was housed, a church was formed and planted. Now, some years later, through much prayer and faith in the Lord, 27 churches have been planted across Bangladesh, directly tied to that original Bible study on a bed that God provided in response to specific prayer. And now, the original church that began in James' home has two meetings each week because even the building they presently rent is too small to hold them all at once. Today, it is also customary for James' church body to meet once every week so as to pray for hours. And once a month, the men of the church meet to pray a whole night; seeking God for everything and in specifics. This is something that brings the boasting pride of Christians in America to shame. Forget the false converts; Jesus doesn’t even know them. Christian, you and I should be in prayer far more fervently than we are today.
Again, what an honor it was to have James join us in the United States for ministry. As mentioned, he preached his last message on the Strip in Las Vegas to a crowd of drunken revelers. After James flew home, Jesse and I continued on to Southern California for a week of campus preaching and then traveled back across the southern frontier of the country all the way to North Carolina. We preached at a few campuses along the way and also, as already noted, stopped in a few border towns to walk across into Mexico. It was nice to revive the Spanish in our minds that we had been using in South America a few months prior and to preach in a few Mexican ciudades. After having endured harassment from constitutionally-ignorant authorities for a month, we entered into Mexico with a breath of fresh-polluted air. Ahh Freedom! We could preach openly con toda liberated, and the people only thanked us for coming to preach the Word of God.
When we stopped in El Paso, Texas and visited the city of Juarez, Mexico, we stayed with a sweet couple who gave us a lot of fellowship. Jesse and the man of the house began conversing about different Christian music from the 1970's that they enjoy. Eventually, this gentlemen pulled out an old vinyl LP and let down the needle. It was the 1973 Lamb I album, and I heard some Hebrew: "Baruch hashem haMashiach Yeshua. Baruch hashem Adonai!" Wow, blessed IS the name of the Messiah, Jesus. Blessed IS the name of the Lord! Amidst all the trials of life and the darkness of this present world, the Lord is still blessed. After six weeks of driving, we arrived home in North Carolina, and I bless the Lord for what great ministry HE hath done. I’m so very thankful to have had James in my country crying out against her sins and calling us to return to the Lord. I also want to thank all of you who have been in prayer for us.
Everything seems to stay very busy with Full Proof Gospel Ministries. The time is short, how can it be any other way? Personally, I can testify and vouch concerning Jesse’s zeal and diligence to faithfully steward his calling to preach and minister to the saints around the world. Nowadays, he is doing far more than when this ministry began back in 2004. Much of the ministry I am able to do is a direct result of his logistical footwork and fervent assistance. I don’t know how he manages the administrative duties and continues to go out preaching so often. In 2012, Jesse and I went to the college campuses for the Fall semester just before I went down to Argentina to do Jewish evangelism. Jesse joined me in Peru earlier this year and we had a whirlwind of activity before we came back to the States together. Next, I was able to make a trip to Oklahoma so that I could gather up a few things and relocate to North Carolina before having James arrive so we could start this latest college campus tour. Now, having returned, I am again getting everything in order to leave the country for yet another six months. All of this is only possible by God's grace and through proper stewardship and diligence and the support of fellow Christians who desire to further the Gospel around the world.
In two weeks, I will be flying back down to South Africa. Jesse and I were there in 2011 preaching with a few brothers around the country. Now, as I return, I will be bringing more Bibles and gospel tracts for those brothers to continue doing ministry. I am planning on being in the country for about six months to specifically reach out to the Jewish people who live there. As you can see from Jesse’s last post, Go Tell 'Em, Full Proof Gospel Ministries has decided to make Jewish evangelism a priority, primarily by appointing me as one sent to the Jewish people around the world. I could not believe how often I would end up finding Jewish students on the campuses we visited this past Fall. God is doing something on a major scale with Israel. We are blessed to be a part of that. As for South Africa, it has one of the largest Jewish populations per capita in the world. When I arrive there, Lord willing, I will be investing in the work of sharing Messiah with the Jewish community in Cape Town. I look forward to sharing about Jesus as the Messiah through the Hebrew Scriptures and learning more about the Bible myself. So, please pray for ample opportunity to share with the Jewish community there. FPGM has already purchased tracts, Bibles, and plane ticket for December 10th, all in faith. Flights to South Africa are far from cheap, and the area where I will be living has a higher cost of living than the rest of the country. FPGM does wait until missionaries reach a certain "level of support" before sending them to labor in the field where God is calling. No, the ministry is sending me in faith, trusting that the Lord will make all the necessary provision. I am excited to see how all this plays out. I hope that as you have read this update, you can see how God honored the specific prayers listed in the previous update. Now, pray and be a part of what we are doing going forward. Thank you in advance.
Here are a few ways you can exercise your prayer life in specifics after the manner in which Brother James exhorted the American Church:
- Pray for funding for FPGM as it has endured some recent setbacks in terms of committed monthly support (approximately $800/month)
- Pray for James and the Christians in Bangladesh; these experience real and regular persecution
- Pray for Christians in this country to be strengthened and convicted to worship Christ and repent of a love for self
- Pray for Israel’s safety and salvation
- Read your Bible and listen as the Lord directs your prayers
May you all be encouraged by this testimony. Our God is alive and shall remain exalted in His glorious majesty. He has called you into His holy love. Flee your sin and live presently: walking with Jesus Christ, giving glory to His name, and praising Him always. Baruch hashem Adonai!