Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Abundant Life has a Face...

(I received this story from a BGR field partner and thought I would share it with you)

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Mr. G, aged about 45 years, is a married man with two school going children aged 12 yrs and 9 yrs. He belongs to a Hindu family but recently he has adopted a Christian life. He stays in a house provided by his farm owner where he worked as a watchman.

Mr. G was dependent on alcohol and spent all his earnings on drinking. His wife worked as a coolie (e.g. hauling of heavy loads) to support her family financially. He lost his job. He was socially boycotted due to his erratic violent behaviour and abusive language. 


An alcohol awareness program was being held in his village. He was encouraged by his wife and neighbours to attend the de-addiction camp and he agreed to do so.  The de-addiction camp was organized by Bangalore Baptist Hospital (BBH).

Mr. G turned over a new leaf after the camp. He completely gave up his drinking. He and his family were given regular counselling and encouragement by the BBH field staff.

Gradually he started concentrating on his work and the money was spent on his family. His physical appearance and behavior changed. His co-villagers his new, positive attitude. It has been more than a year since Mr. G stopped drinking.

The pastor/counselor visited his home regularly and, over a period of time, shared the love of Chrsit with him and his wife. They both committed their life to Jesus and he is now a transformed man.

He requested support to improve his economic. BBH and their outreach program helped him obtain a cow. He bought it on a loan and paying back the principle. He has imrpoved his family income and livelihood through this cow project and regularly remits the money advanced to him in weekly installments back to BBH. He is also a change agent to other alcoholics in his village and refers several of them to the de-addiction camps.


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Jesus said, "I come that they might have life and have it more abundantly".

Isn't it great that we serve a God who cares about all aspects of our lives? I know Mr. G thinks so! 

Amen!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jayne's Story…Gone Home

In April, I wrote a blog about Jayne and told you about her and her battle with HIV/AIDS. We had delivered a BGR "hospice" bucket to her and her family and she smiled as our BGR COO Rick Funderburk showed her the contents and explained what they were. She also shared her testimony about knowing Christ as her Lord and Savior when she was asked if she knew who Jesus was. 

We got word last week that Jayne has gone home to be with the Lord. Pastor Patrick sent this note…

"Hallo Her Name Was Jane Wanjiru She Has Let Two Chidren The Who Have Join The  Form One And Three Old Girl Who Are Now With Glandmother . We working out how can assist the family we visit them this afternoon."

I remember Jayne's smile at the kindness of those who prepared the bucket for her. I remember the big smile as she shared how she could bear anything because she knew Jesus. 

Her name was Jayne Wanjiru. She has gone home now.

Please pray for her mother and her two children left behind. Please pray for Pastor Patrick and his ministry as he helps Jayne's family and hundreds of others like her in that community.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Her Name Means "Flower"...

The other day, we visited Manang (Mrs.) Bulac. Her name means "flower" in English. She is 90 years old and lives in the Philippines on the island of Bohol. She is a widow who has a hard time getting around especially up and down the wooden steps to her small house.

She's survived many years, seen many joys and hardships as well. A few months ago, she survived the strong earthquake which shook her island. But her house didn't do as well.

Ninety years old, a widow with no one to provide for her and in need of a home. 

We visited just in time to see the local carpenters putting the finishing touch on a small but new, sturdy and accessible home. It had a cement floor and no stairs to climb. It was sturdy and cool with part cement, part plywood walls. 

Mrs. "Flower" had tears in her eyes as she said, "Thank you so much for my new home." And we were there. We were there to tell her that people on the other side of the world cared enough to help her have a new home. We told her that people cared enough to come and help her build that home as well. And we told her that the true provider of the home and the true provider of all things good is God the Father. 

We had a short prayer of thanksgiving and dedication for her home and then got in the van to visit some other project sites. We told her that we would tell the people in the USA who gave for her to have a new home, "thank you" for her.

Her name is Mrs. Flower and she wants you to know that she says "thank you" for blessing her life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Fruit of His Labors...

Let me introduce you to my friend, a pastor named Patrick. He works in the slums of a large city in sub-Saharan Africa. He works with the poorest of the poor and as you can guess, he doesn't receive much in terms of compensation for his church work outside of the love and gratitude of his congregation. But that doesn't stop Patrick from preaching and ministering to those in need.

Patrick grows vegetables and raises chickens. The food and income generated from his projects help him to feed and support his family as well as be a blessing to those he ministers to. Patrick is a preacher who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. He uses those hands to hold a Bible and share about God as well as teach others how to make a living from vegetable gardening and small animal raising.



Patrick is one of those unique individuals that loves God, loves people and loves working with his hands. And he is one of those unique individuals that cares about people - spiritually and physically. I have had the privilege of walking alongside Patrick and seeing how he has a passion for the souls of those in his community and a compassion for their physical needs - hunger, poverty, HIV/AIDS.

Patrick reminds me of Jesus who went about doing good (Acts 10:38) and how He went all over Galilee, "teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people." (Matthew 4:23)

Patrick is a talented farmer and a loving pastor. He is truly a man who enjoys the fruits of his labor...


Monday, April 21, 2014

Seven Words that Changed the World...

This past weekend, we celebrated Easter. On Friday, we celebrated the death of Christ (called Black Friday by some) and traditionally, the Christian faith remembers the seven last sayings of Jesus from the cross. These sayings reveal His humanity, divinity as well as his purpose for eternity.

While most of us are somewhat familiar with the the seven last sayings of Christ, we often overlook the seven words that were spoken on Easter which changed the world forever…

"He is not here; He is risen!"

The women who went to the tomb saw angels inside…

The two disciples who ran to the tomb (Peter and John) saw grave clothes…

When we go to the tomb, we see nothing because…

"He is not here; He is risen!"

That's why we sing…

"I serve a risen Saviour, He's in the world today.
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer.
And just the time I need Him, He's always near!
He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me and talks with me, along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!"

Selah!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jayne's Story...

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege along with several of my BGR teammates to visit some homes in the slum areas of Nairobi, Kenya. We were visiting homes of HIV patients and delivering BGR "hospice" buckets.

We visited one home where a fairly young lady lay wasting away due to full blown AIDS. Her elderly mother was caring for her and her two school-aged children. She barely had enough strength to sit up as we came into her home but greeted us with a weak smile. Her smile became even stronger and she even chuckled a bit with joy as one of our BGR team members began opening the bucket and showing her the things that were inside that could help with some of the problems that she was experiencing. The contents of the bucket couldn't change the fact that she was dying but it could give some hope and dignity to her as she struggled with her last days on earth.


Her name is Jayne. And her story if not uncommon. In fact, it is too common. Over 35 million people are living with HIV and to date, about that same number have died from AIDS.

It was obvious her life on earth was not going to be much longer. So as we shared the hospice kit with Jayne and her family, one of our team members asked her if she knew who Jesus was. That was when Jayne really smiled. She had smiled slightly when we came into her home. She smiled a bit more when she saw the bucket filled with hope, but when she heard the Name of her Savior, she literally beamed.

Jayne said, "I want to live to see my children grow up. But I am weak. I am weak but Jesus gives me strength."

We went to that place to minister to Jayne and her family. We came away feeling that we were the recipients of God's blessings.

I don't usually do this in my blog, but I would like to give you a challenge. If you are interested in helping people in need like Jayne, I encourage you to visit our BGR website. You will find more stories about people like Jayne who are in need and are being helped through our efforts at BGR. And you will find opportunities of ways you can help as well.

The weblink is…

www.gobgr.org


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You Never Know What Might Happen...

I just finished once again reading the wonderful story of Esther in the Old Testament. It's a great story of how God uses a young Jewish girl to change the course of history for her people and for pretty much the known world at that time. It is about a young lady who comes to a royal position just in time to save her people from destruction. It is a good story.

But a new thought occurred to me this time through. Looking at the dates of King Xerxes reign (Esther's husband) and the date of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, I thought, isn't it interesting to know that both Ezra and Nehemiah were probably young men or children during the time that Esther was queen of Persia? And, little did Esther know, but her actions possible saved the lives of Ezra and Nehemiah who later became key figures in the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls and reestablishment of the temple and priesthood for Israel? 

So, the thought is: "You never know what might happen." 

Esther struggled with her decision to approach King Xerxes with her request to save the Jewish people. But she did and it set in motion a whole chain of results. I do believe that God could have raise up salvation for the Jews even if Esther had not been obedient in the moment. But she did choose a right course of action and, even though she probably didn't live to see the eventual results, God used her faithfulness in a  mighty way.

What decisions in your life merit standing firm and doing the right thing today? What do you need to go out on a limb for because it is the right thing to do? 

You never know what might happen…But God does.