Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Making Plans...in the Midst of Apprehension

Throughout October, e3 Legacy has daily received requests from families and individuals exploring the possibility of going on a mission trip in 2015. They are gathering information, asking questions, and making plans. While they are expressing excitement about this new adventure in their walk with God, we also are detecting a tinge of apprehension and fear. Thoughts of the financial cost, feelings of inadequacy, busy schedules for their children and themselves, health or food limitations are just the beginning of what is racing through their minds. Fortunately, we can go to God's Word for comfort and focus.  

God is clear that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). We're encouraged that through the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus, we can think clearly and reject the lies of God's and man's enemy and walk in freedom of fear to do the good works that God has selected for us.

The following statements are from team members who served in Nepal this past August:
  • "We learned a lot about God's financial provision and blessings."
  • "I'm glad we did it (went to Nepal) in our second year of marriage; I definitely think it brought us closer together. Just seeing other families with their children on this trip made me realize how much I want that for our (future) kids because these kids were fearless about telling people about Jesus."
  • "This trip was so much more than I imagined it would be."
  • "It was more impactful and more powerful than I had imagined and am so thankful we went."
  • "This trip was the biggest blessing for our family."

Could 2015 be the year that you join God internationally to tell others about Him? If that idea overwhelms you, know that you are in good company. Truly, when we are weak, He gets to be strong. Please contact us to begin exploring what's involved in going. In the meantime, enjoy this humorous look at our fears about going on mission with God. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Through Their Eyes

God continues to meet us and our team members as we step out in obedience. Often He is working in us on a personal level and as a vessel for what He wants to do in someone else's life. Here is just a sampling of what impacted some of our team.

Julia, a wife and mother with two children in college, shares about her encounter with a teacher:

"The Lord healed many people physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Praise God!! In the village of Taragana, Biswanath, a junior high school teacher, accepted Christ! He then stood up and preached to his neighbor, who promptly accepted Jesus at that moment! When our team returned for a discipleship meeting, Biswanath explained that he told his principal about Jesus and that the principal was so excited to hear this Good News that he coming to Biswanath's home that afternoon to be discipled.  It is amazing to see the multiplication process in action from believer to new believer and so on!

We encountered many who had never heard the Gospel, and this experience taught me that we must continue to GO!  The Lord has so blessed us here in America that without those who give generously many would not have had the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Thank you so much for your hearts that made room for people you haven't even met, in a country you probably won't visit, to pray faithfully for their souls."

Byron brought his family of four to serve together, and here he shares a lesson God was teaching him through this work in Nepal:
"There were so many dramatic, powerful and amazing experiences; it often felt like we were living through the book of Acts, which really helped me to settle on what impacted me the most--hearing God speak! Several months before the trip I was given a teaching series about “Hearing From God”. I started the uncomfortable process of being still, being quite and listening for God to speak.  However, with a mind that has random ideas like a bouncy ball, an unpredictable work schedule, two busy boys and a wife who has never heard of down time, I only started to scratch the surface before the trip.

While on the trip, God had an amazing habit of putting me into situations where I was outside of my comfort zone with no experience or knowledge to pull from in order to move forward. In other words, if He did not say or do something, NOTHING would happen! It is really amazing how when I allow God to place me in situations where He must show up, He does! I was recently told that the most important scale by which to measure the effectiveness of a mission trip isn’t the amount of souls saved or bodies healed. Those are God’s responsibility and that fruit is in His time. The most important measure of a mission trip is “are you closer to Jesus, do you know Him better than you did at the start”? So for me, hearing God speak was the most powerful experience of my trip and left the largest mark on my life as a follower of Jesus.  God still speaks; all I have to do is be quite and listen!"

Nathalie built a close connection with Marwin, a young mother in her village: "My team and I met Marwin on Tuesday. She was very kind and opened her home to us instantly. We noticed that her leg was wrapped and found out her leg had been fractured when an ox ran into her. We prayed for her leg and each time we did she felt the pain decreasing. She was able to get up with her cane, which she wasn’t able to do before! I proceeded to share the Gospel with her using the EvangeCube. Her eyes were locked and engaged in the story. I extended the invitation to receive Christ and there was no hesitation. We went through the salvation prayer together and immediately set up a time to meet the following day to study the Bible. At the end of the day, she made her way down from the top of the hill to attend our children’s program. As we were walking out of the village for the night, she was already sharing her testimony with her friends! I was so encouraged! Now fast-forward to Friday, our last day in the village. I went to say good-bye to Marwin and her neighbor, who also accepted Christ earlier in the week. I’ll never forget what she said to me: “Thank you for coming to Nepal to share Jesus with me. I will see you again in heaven.” I was so touched by her gratefulness that I held her and we cried together."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

God's Salvation Power

Twenty-one year old Katie approached a Buddhist family sitting in their yard. Here is her story: "After sharing God's story from Creation to Christ, I did not feel led to ask them if they wanted to accept Jesus' free gift, yet, so I asked if they needed healing for anything. The man and woman said yes, their legs. I prayed and asked them to stand, and they said it was somewhat better. I prayed again; they said it was almost completely healed. Then I asked them to repeat a prayer after me. Again, they received more healing. Finally, I asked them to pray silently and ask God to heal them. Then they stood up and were completely healed! The man got up and literally started running around. His smile was unbelievably large. After that, this family of five all accepted Christ! When I returned to disciple them, two more people were there. They, too, were healed and accepted Christ. God is so good!" 

Katie and her disciples
A mom of two young girls, left them and her husband at home and traveled to Thailand with us on her first mission trip. Here is how Lisa communicated some of her experience: "Amazing! In one word, I would say miraculous. Never in my life did I believe in modern-day miracles. I heard many stories, but my faith to see it with my own eyes did not exist. We met a sweet single mom, and she was drawn to as by hearing us share with a man playing guitar on the street corner. We heard her moving story, and I felt compelled to share my story with her. After hearing my testimony and that of my team members, she teared up and wanted to hear God's story. She accepted Christ! She then requested prayer for a back issue that prevented her from standing without assistance. We prayed. Moments later after we finished praying, she stood up quickly and exclaimed, 'I am healed!'  This was something I never believed could happen. Others standing around noticed and smiled--the entire street corner felt God's love and power. His faithfulness blew my mind! I will never forget the love that God gave me for the Thai people."

Lisa's new friend has no problem kneeling for the photo
Megan's most memorable experience how the fish keeper Sansong came to Christ. "God was testing my obedience to follow His voice. On Monday, we went down a long road that led us to a fish pond. We felt led to share with a man sitting under a covering near the pond. He was very welcoming as we shared the gospel, but when asked if he wanted to follow Jesus, he responded, 'No, because I'm a Buddhist.' But as we returned each day to visit, I could see God chasing away layers of hindrances.  Sansong began to delight in the story of how Jesus called the fishermen to be His disciples. He finally shared His most pressing worry: "Is it a sin to catch fish?' We explained it was not, but nonetheless, Jesus covers all sins. He beamed with joy at this news. He then shared that his daughter was a Christian and had shared God's story with him several times,but he had not heard such relatable stories. He asked us to pray for his daughter to get a good job and that night his daughter received a well-paying job in Bangkok. Sansong began to see how Jesus is the living God. On the third day I woke up and God revealed to me that I was to share the shepherd story with Sansong. I had no idea how a fish keeper would relate to a shepherd, but I was obedient and we read the story together. Sansong began laughing with joy and stated he related most to this story because he was a shepherd of his fish and now understood God's love. He then decided to become a follower of Jesus. Before we even got to train him how to share his new faith with others, Sansong was sharing God's story of forgiveness with other fishermen."

Pastor Yut, Sansong, and Megan
Team member Mary, who has been on about a dozen trips with e3, shares her story of personally seeing God for the first time heal physically: "A 63-year-old widow heard God's story and was very receptive and open. We prayed for her knee as she had a hard time walking and was home bound. The Lord healed her and then she received Jesus, the healer of the heart. When we saw her later in the day, she had walked to her mother-in-law's house. Her mother-in-law wanted knee and eye healing; the Lord healed both. After hearing the story of Jesus, she also received him with joy. When we returned for Bible study, they were waiting for us, their knees and eyes healed--no cane for the 81-year-old! We studied the story of Zaccheus; the Lord was teaching them so many things about Him. They said they knew Jesus loved them and they wanted to tell their family about Him, so we practiced with them how to share God's story." 

A few other highlights include 15-year-old Cameron's Buddhist translator Bee receiving Christ on Wednesday after watching God heal two people physically. Anne had the privilege of praying healing for a monk in his 40s. The following day as we continued discussions with him, he said all religions teach people to do good things. We agreed with him and then explained that only Jesus forgives sin. He listened intently to what Anne continued to share with him, and he asked the Thai Christians to meet with him, even after Anne's departure.

God's greatest work was His ministry of reconciliation, drawing 80 Northern Thai people to himself for all eternity. 244 others heard His story and will contemplate this truth as we continue to pray for their salvation. Although we had to return home, 62 people were trained to share their faith and will continue the work. A total of 20 small groups were begun, and we will continue to pray they will develop into house churches as our Christian Thai partners continue the discipleship process with these new believers and seekers.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Tatiana Walks

Tatiana, a nine-year-old little girl unable to move her legs at all from birth, had such a sweet tenderness about her. Terri and 16-year-old Taylor met her Monday as she sat in the dirt in front of her home, arms and legs atrophied from lack of use. They didn't have time to share God's story at that moment, so they prayed for her, that God would heal her spiritually and physically. After praying, the team asked Tatiana if she could stand. Taylor shared, "Everyone standing there kept saying 'It's impossible.'" That's when Terri bent down and picked up Tatiana at the waist to see if she could stand. She could not. The team prayed a second time, which is when Tatiana's chest started pounding and a beautiful smile, a smile of joy, came across her face. Terri asked if something was happening in her body, and Tatiana nodded, "Yes."

Patrick and Christian praying fervently over Tatiana
Later that day, Terri returned as promised to carry Tatiana to the children's program. After story time, Taylor's mom held Tatiana, running with her for all the games. The team was fairly certain that this was the FIRST time that this child had ever played running games with the village children. Her joy was overwhelming for the team.

Because of the rain, Taylor wasn't able to meet up with Tatiana on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Patrick's Peruvian national wanted him to share God's story with Gloria, Tatiana's grandmother. As they came to the home, Patrick's translator suggested they pray for Tatiana, so Patrick shares, "I did, but I was lacking the faith that anything would happen. Sure enough, nothing happened." The translator suggested they pray again, so as they prayed a second time, Patrick says, "I felt God's heart for this little girl, how much it hurt Him that Tatiana has not been able to move her legs or walk her whole life. Then I see her legs move, but she could not stand. I was ready to give up, but my translator said we should pray one more time. I prayed and began to cry  for her with God's heart and to pray with a pure and undistracted heart that she be healed." While Tatiana was not physically healed, her grandmother was healed spiritually as she put faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of her sins!

Patrick will never forget how God used him to bring healing to Tatiana both physically and spiritually
As Patrick and his team left the house, he heard clearly in his mind, "Son, your sins are forgiven" from the story of the quadraplegic at Capernaum that he had read to his team that morning: "God was reminding me the order of things by asking in my mind 'How much more miraculous is it that I have forgiven her sins?' I was deeply humbled by the revelation that I had witnessed a miracle far greater than Tatiana's walking. I saw her grandmother receive Jesus! I walked away joyful and praising God that He had spared her, but also grieved that Tatiana still was not walking." 

Taylor went to Tatiana's home shortly after that, not knowing Patrick had just visited them. Taylor shares what happened next: "We were all sitting around the table, and I asked Tatiana how she felt. She responded, 'Very good.' Then, out of nowhere, she says excitedly, 'Grandma, Look!' and Tatiana stood up! I was in shock and couldn't believe my eyes. She then walked across the room with the support of my translator! Soon after that, Patrick and the rest of the team came to Tatiana's house and watched as she practiced her standing and walking. I am so blessed to have met Tatiana and am so excited to meet her again, in our new bodies in heaven." You see, when Patrick returned to train Gloria in how to share her faith, Tatiana became a follower of Jesus!

Taylor and Betty could not believe what God had allowed them to experience
The heart of God is full of compassion. May we all ask God to give us His heart for all people. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Signs and Wonders in India

"So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands"  Acts 14:3.

Yes, our team of 19 spoke boldly to the mostly Hindus with some Muslims they met in homes in Mumbai, and the Lord demonstrated His power through them. Here a just a few of the stories.

Terri, Megan and Logan worshiped Sunday morning with a Christian church we were partnering with. Following the service, a man about 70 years old approached the team for prayer. He had been blinded two years earlier when acid got in his eyes; he could see shadows, but that was the extent of his sight. Terri asked if she could put her hands on Sunjit's eyes while the team prayed, and he agreed. After about 30 seconds of prayer, Terri removed her hands and asked, "Can you see? Did Jesus heal you?" He looked around and stated matter-a-factly, "I am 30% better." The team prayed again. Once again he was asked if he was healed, and once again he looked around and stated routinely, "I am 50% better."

At this point, Terri asked him if he would like 100 percent healing. He stated that he did. Therefore, Terri asked him to pray for his own healing while the team prayed alongside him. He prayed, head bowed and lips moving slightly. Again, Terri asked if Jesus healed him, and he informed them he was 60% better. Terri and this Indian man then got down on their knees as together they went to God, asking for 100% healing. Next, he was at 75% healing, then 90%.  Interestingly, he then announced he was leaving. The team was shocked!

"We thought you wanted 100% healing?" Terri asked.

"I do, but I will come back next week," he replied through the translator.

At this point, the team wasn't sure if he was overwhelmed by what God was doing and couldn't process it, so felt he needed to leave, or if the enemy was trying to prevent him from receiving 100% healing. After persuasion from the pastor, he stayed and together we prayed, and his healing was 90% again. And, again, he wanted to leave, but agreed to stay at the pastor's encouragement.

This time after prayer he stated, "I know I'm 95% healed, but I won't know if it's 100% until I try to cross the street." That's a very perceptive statement because in Mumbai you really don't want to cross the street without 100% vision!

To assess the situation, the pastor asked him to read the sign that was across the courtyard on a door about 30 yards away. He read it out loud to the joy and exclamations of himself and the team! What incredible joy filled the room, as together we praised God for His healing and mercy. 

What a privilege it was for our team to pray over so many sick and hurting people
More Wonders of God's Power
Dhananjay, a Hindu who became a follower of Jesus on Wednesday when Lauren shared with him, was overwhelmed by God's forgiveness. He kept asking, "God REALLY forgives my sin, ALL my sin?" We assured him yes, providing scripture to prove it. In fact, in prayer together, we asked God to show him his sin and as God revealed his sin to him, we suggested he take those sins in his mind's eye and mentally lay them at the foot of Jesus' cross. We sat in complete silence for two minutes, and then said amen. When we opened our eyes, you could see the joy and peace emanating from Dhananjay face and eyes. Now he KNEW he was forgiven; the Lord had met him and assured him.

Next we did a Second Bible study with him, using Luke 24:44-49. When he was asked if there was anything he didn't understand, he responded with verse 49: "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

"What does this power mean?" he inquired. The pastor with us started to give him the answer, but Terri asked him to wait.
We then asked Dhananjay, "What happened when you became a follower of Jesus yesterday?"
"My sins were forgiven and when I die, I will go to God in heaven," he responded smiling.
"What else happened?" Terri asked.
"I received the Holy Spirit," he said.
"Correct," she replied. "Now read the verse again."
After he read it to himself, he exclaimed, "The power is holy power!"

Dhananjay (on the right) came to Christ along with his son
Wow! We were all blessed by his insight. Truly, the Holy Spirit is accurately defined as Holy Power. And Dhananjay knows that power is his as a follower of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will reveal many wonderful truths from scripture to him. In fact, he was so amazed with scripture that he stayed up ALL night reading the Book of John, hence he fell asleep the next day during the Bible study!

It is so encouraging knowing that when we leave, these baby believers will be well taken care of by the nationals we are partnering with, and more importantly, the Holy Power will be with them!