tides of ministry, they come in
Greetings, dear brethren, in the Name of the One who is from everlasting to everlasting. As Moses penned by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit long ago: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). As for sinful man, this same Psalm later states the obvious: “For all our days are passed away in wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:9-10).
On January 19th of this year, Yasutaro Koide, the oldest living man at the time, died at 112 years of age. The oldest living person at the present, Susannah Mushatt Jones, was born in Alabama in 1899, is now 116 years old, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. In my years of ministry in Nepal, I have encountered several in the mountain villages that are said to be over a century in age. Can you imagine what these people have beheld with their eyes, what they have experienced with their hands, the tides of life they have been forced to navigate with their sanities? Think about Ms. Jones, the changes she has seen growing up and growing old here in America. Yet, she lived through it all, she endured—World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, the 1970’s gas lines, the economic hardships of the early 1980’s, the turn of two centuries, etc. etc. Do you really think one Republican primary or one little presidential election is that big of a deal in the whole scheme of things?
When you live to be 116, whether or not Hillary Clinton or some Republican apparatchik gets elected to the presidency in November, are there not other things in this “tale that is told” (Psalm 90:9) of far more importance? Life will move on; mankind will endure; America will go on toward its end; and all will march as it has been written until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to set up His Kingdom. The tides of life will ebb and flow, and there is nothing new under the sun. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, sodomite foolishness, Christian persecution, Mohammedan mayhem, wars, and rumors of wars—“That thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And behold, “all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Therefore, see the tides of this life under the sun as they are: the predictabilities of a fallen world and the inevitabilities of what is prophesied in the Word of God. Endure the tides of this life as through the eyes of a supercentenarian. And, heed the words of Moses in the 90th Psalm: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom . . . And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it” (Psalm 90:12-17). Just as getting married and having children during the Holocaust that would make grandchildren (who would then populate the Modern State of Israel) was the greatest of all vengeances the Jews could have exacted upon the Nazis, even so, our resting in God’s truth and in His Messiah; our living well; our rowing with the tides of life; our rest and joys at home amidst family and friends; our Bible in our hands; our peace making the LORD, not America, our true dwelling place; our obeying God rather than men; and our raising up children to do the same—this is the greatest and sweetest revenge against the fools that solicit our votes and claim that the nation and the world rise or fall depending upon what happens in a little election in one country at one point in time in all of history. LOL.
As for us here at Full Proof Gospel Ministries, the tides of life ebb and flow; the tides of ministry come in, and they go back out. And, as the upcoming election draws near, we have much more important things to be concerned with in terms of the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. The Jews are lost and in need of their Messiah. The Gentiles are lost and in need of the Gospel. The Church is floundering and in need of genuine revival. So, we row WITH and NOT AGAINST the tides of ministry, and we take what the LORD in his sovereign Providence chooses to give to us. If you, dear brethren, will endeavor to do the same, you will find peace amidst the chaos. And soon, our Bridegroom will come for us in the clouds!
This is my first official 2016 Travel Blog post, and much has transpired, both at home and abroad, since my last entry just before Christmas. Thank you for your continued prayers and support despite the lull in reporting. The tides of ministry now necessitate that I bring you up to speed, for now more than ever, we need the prayers and support of the brethren.
team yeshua 2016
Yes, the LORD has brought together another team of volunteers for a summer of outreach to Israeli backpackers in Northwest India. Two young men hail from South Dakota, and another from Nebraska. A fourth brother hails from California, one sister from Illinois, and a second sister from just down the road here in North Carolina. It's a good group with missions experience; and from these I expect good things. It was a bit of a rough patch through the mustering phase, but the Divine Hand of Providence was at work all along. Why am I surprised? Unlike last year, I will be assisting Brother Ricky in the leading of this team for the entire term of service, AND my family will be in Ladakh with us. Moreover, we will be able to work in closer connection with some local persecuted brethren that we have helped to supply and disciple since last summer. I am also hopeful that our team will be able to hook up with some Israeli believers who will be coming over from Israel to minister the Gospel to their own people. The Great Commission opportunities are abundant, but so is the prospect of spiritual attack. Please be in prayer for us ahead of this venture. Recently, some laborers with valid visas were kicked out of India because of Gospel work there. There is always the chance that one of us could be denied entry upon arrival, so please start praying now that the Lord will blind the eyes of the authorities to our intent as He has done so many times and in so many places throughout the years.
I am reminded of a time back in the Spring of 2012 when we clandestinely carried a hearty supply of Scriptures and Gospel materials across the Nepal border into Tibet. My bag was flagged, and the Chinese officer located the materials. He inspected them and called his superior officer over to assist. He plainly examined and thumbed through Tibetan tracts and Chinese tracts that clearly said "Jesus Christ" on the front. Smuggling such material into Tibet was very much illegal, and as Ricky, my wife, and children stood waiting for me, I knew I was caught and would be denied entry. I silently prayed that the Lord would blind the eyes of these men and allow me across the border to join my family. After a couple minutes, the superior officer turned away, the border agent resealed the ziplock bags, and the material was stuffed back into my bag. He then looked at me and said, "You may proceed." The LORD had blinded their eyes just as He had done countless times during the Cold War when faithful brethren carried the Word of God across borders into the Soviet-bloc. Please pray for this same blindness as we endeavor to enter India with Team Yeshua. Brother Ricky will be going in ahead of us by a few weeks to make preparations. His safe arrival will prove a good test case.
Team Yeshua is scheduled to arrive here in North Carolina on June 4th. There will be a week of orientation here with some good guest speakers coming in to assist with the training. Lord willing, we all depart out of Atlanta on June 11th, and the team will return to the States on August 18th.
For security reasons, you won't be hearing much from us on Facebook or on this blog while we labor in Ladakh. Any reports, like this one, will be password protected. Of course, God is in control concerning our abilities to continue to labor in South Asia, but we are called to be "wise as serpents" (Matthew 10:16). Thanks for your understanding.
Here are some specific things you can pray for with regard to this summer:
- That God would send the Israeli backpackers to us; that larger than normal numbers will transit through this tourist season; and that many would attend our weekly Shabbat meals (i.e. a typical Jewish sabbath meal followed by a Bible study)
- Last year, 27 Hebrew New Testaments were received by Israelis; we would like to see that number surpassed this season.
- That we would be used to build up, encourage, and strengthen the local brethren who know persecution
- Last year, people of 38 different nations were confronted with the Word of God. We would like to see that eclipsed this year amongst the Gentiles--local Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and foreign tourists.
- That the Lord would put us in the path of many Nepali-speaking migrant workers that we might distribute the Scriptures to them in their language (an ongoing ministry of our Project Jagerna)
- That God would preserve us from sickness, injury, and health-related issues that can be commonplace at high altitude
- That the Lord would bind the powers and principalities that oppress the spiritually dark uttermost corner of the earth where we will be living; that He will check the evil intent of wicked men against us; and that even our dwelling place would be a bright light.
- That our Heavenly Father will provide the things necessary to make this long and expensive journey to a remote place; that each team member will be able to raise his or her needed support; that the Lord will provide for Ricky's needs; that He will supply the funds necessary to travel with my family, for the roundtrip airfare alone for a family of five is enough to purchase a reliable vehicle
Thank you for your faithful intercessions, supplications, prayers, and support!
team yeshua NEPAL
Typically, the Israeli tourist season in Ladakh is sandwiched between two seasons in Nepal, a major spell in the autumn months, and a smaller one in the Spring. In fact, an Israeli backpacker was killed in last spring's Nepal Earthquake, a sad story that you can read about HERE. In view of these cycles, Brother Ricky is based more permanently in Kathmandu, and since September, Christian Parks, a young man from last summer's Team Yeshua, has been helping him with Israeli outreach there. After a lot of preaching in Kathmandu, a lot of pursuing Israelis into the mountains and to the beaches of Goa, a solid month of training Ladakhi believers who came down to winter in the foothills, and a lot of hard work in partnership with Brother Bishnu in terms of earthquake relief, Christian will be returning to the States on May 16th. Please pray for traveling mercies. This young man has a real desire to return to South Asia on a more permanent basis and will need to get some affairs in order first. Please pray that God brings things together and opens a door for him. It has been a real pleasure having him serve alongside FPGM in both Ladakh and Nepal; and he was a huge help to Brother Ricky. If anything, the experience highlighted our need to start using volunteers in Nepal on a more regular basic, particularly as regards ministry to the Israeli backpackers. No more thinking about it; we are going to move forward.
This Fall, we aim to bring in a volunteer team Nepal to partner with Brother Ricky, Brother Bishnu, local Nepali brethren for three good months of outreach "to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16), an inaugural Team Yeshua Nepal. The term of service will be September 15th-December 15th, and we are seeking 3-6 volunteers (ages 18-25) who are interested in doing real missions at the end of the earth. Thus far, we have appointed one team member, a young lady who worked with us last year in Ladakh. We need at least one more young lady and can accommodate up to another plus three young men. If you know anyone who might be interested, please have them contact us for an application ASAP. The total support we ask these team members to raise for a 13-week term of service is $3,500. This will cover everything except personal effects and food (food is real cheap in Nepal, by the way); and that includes roundtrip airfare and housing.
Our greatest prayer need in this particular matter is personnel. We need team members. I am reminded of how the Apostle Paul commended the churches of Macedonia for their giving, an example that actually shamed the wealthy Corinthian believers. Why were these poor believers able to do what they did for Paul in their poverty? It was because they "first gave their own SELVES to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God" (II Corinthians 8:5). This is where true giving begins. Please share this need with your local church bodies and with those you deem worthy or able to be a part of this work. We really need to have a team formed by July 15th.
TO BE CONTINUED . . .