Northern Ireland Team Update

All in all the trip is going well.  The Kids Club/VBS has been very successful.  We have had some opportunities to go into some of the primary schools on Tuesday, Wednesday and tomorrow, Thursday.  We have gone into the schools making relationships with the students and teachers.  I think this has been an overall positive experience for the team.

One thing I would ask for prayer.  The VBS has been gong well, but tonight we had a few behavior problems that frazzled the team.  Nothing too out of the ordinary, but enough to say “what just happened?”  We had a team meeting to encourage them and pray for them.  We also took a free night, and the team went shopping.  Just pray that we are not discouraged but are trusting that Jesus can still work in our midst.

Overall, it has been a really awesome experience.  Fantastic time!

~ James Ballard, Team Leader

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Places Everyone!

There is incredible account of Gideon in Judges chapter 7.  In the account, the scripture tells us that Israel was suffering greatly under the brutal occupation and oppression of the Midianites. Disobedience was the cause. The children of Israel cried out unto the Lord, and the Lord responded by raising up a reluctant judge named Gideon.  Limited space prohibits an extensive review of this marvelous report, so I will share only a few details.  Israel was hungry, disorganized, and without military presence.  It had to face a force so large that “ they and their camels were without number”.  Gideon had to feel overwhelmed and fearful, but he was able to muster 32,000 men to go against over 135,000 Midianite men.  The Lord’s response was to tell Gideon his army was too large.  A series of events, orchestrated by the Lord, pared the number down to a mere 300 men.

The events certainly challenged Gideon’s faith. If successful, there could be no doubt in anyone’s mind that a victory would have to be God’s doing.  As an essential part of the Lord’s plan, every man of Gideon’s was to “stand in his place round about the (enemy) camp.”  The victory was to be God’s, but every man had to have faith to stand in his designated place for that victory to take place.  The order of the day was, ‘Places everyone!’  The plan led to victory.

As I share these thoughts with you, we at New Hope International Ministries are aware that we are made up of little more than a handful.  We are also aware of the immense task set before us by our Lord.  At times we feel overwhelmed and under-prepared, but then the Lord reminds us that the battle is really His.  If NHIM is to accomplish the calling the Lord gave us, let there be no mistake, it will have to be His doing.  Our part will be to stand in our places with faith in the Lord, who is able to accomplish all things.

Because we are small in number, we need each one of you to stand with us in your special place.  Some of you may need to stand by “going”.  We need people to join us on work and ministry teams.  There is a place for you on a team going into fields of service.  Others of you can stand by “kneeling”. How we need people to pray for us and with us as we follow Jesus into fields white unto harvest!  Still others can stand by “giving”.  NHIM is a faith-based ministry and has no other source of funding than those provided by friends and family.  Some are already giving sacrificially and we so deeply appreciate it.  If you are looking for a place to invest some of your resources, please consider NHIM.  We promise to work tirelessly to ensure that the money you give is used to the greatest good.   Some of you can stand by “telling the story”.  Perhaps you know someone who needs to get involved in helping carry out our Lord’s “Great Commission”.  Tell them about NHIM.  Help them get in contact with us.

PLACES EVERYONE!

~ Brother Roy

Team Heading to Northern Ireland on Sunday

New Hope International Ministries is sending a team of 15 Asbury University students and alumni to Northern Ireland from Sunday, May 27 to Tuesday, June 5.  They will be working with Lisburn Church of the Nazarenze outside of Belfast by leading a Vacation Bible School during the evenings, teaching elementary children about the Armor of God and trusting God in every circumstance.  The team will also have the opportunity to share their testimonies at an elementary and secondary school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  On Friday, the group will also have the opportunity to work with Pastor Albert of Lisburn Church in some evangelism in the community.  On Sunday, the team will be sharing in drama, music, testimony, and teaching.  Pray for us as we lift up Jesus, and as we are stretched out of our comfort zones.  We are excited and expectant that Jesus is going to change hearts and lives in Northern Ireland.

~ James Ballard, Team Leader

The Parapet

Parapet – now there’s a word you don’t hear very often.  Do you have a parapet?  You should have one, you know.  Perhaps a definition would help. One of the primary meanings for the word is: a low protective wall or railing.  Let me share with you my interest in parapets.

In ancient Hebrew homes, the roof was one of the most important parts of the house; however, it was for different reasons than you might think.  The roof was flat and was used as a place to get fresh air, to walk around at night when it was too dangerous to be outside, or for sleeping on hot nights.  The roof could be very dangerous without a fence or railing.  It was considered a real danger, especially for children or strangers.

A roof without a parapet was of such importance that the Lord took note. The Lord spoke to the issue in Deut. 22:8, “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not be guilty of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.”   This instruction for the physical house has a spiritual counterpart. The spiritual home we provide for our family also needs a parapet. Our homes need restraining barriers for the protection of residents and guests alike.

Space prohibits a thorough exploration of spiritual parapets, but allow me to at least start you thinking.  Four restraints come to mind:

  1. One side would be discipline. Discipline with love can help children lest they fall. Our government is preoccupied with the physical safety of children. Regulations concerning car seats, toys, food, etc., are everywhere, yet we do little for the moral and spiritual safety of our children.  Spiritual security is the role of family.
  2. A second side might be proper training. We insist on “no child left behind” in our public educational system. However, in our homes we often fail to instruct our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We need to train up our children in the way they should go.
  3. Responsibility makes a third barrier wall of my parapet. Those within our protective care must be taught to be responsible to do their fair share of work for the good of the household.  In addition, children need to be taught to take responsibility for their actions.
  4. The fourth side of my parapet is reverence.  Reverence for God and His laws are foundational to everyone’s well being. “He paid the ransom for His people. He ordered His covenant kept forever. He is so personal and holy, worthy of our reverence (respect).” Psalm 111:9

~ Brother Roy

Café Ministry in Southeast Asia

The following is a brief report from a venture in Southeast Asia in which an NHIM intern is participating.  Please join us in praying for this important ministry.

We have implemented a café as a social enterprise for the benefit of our primary ministry project, which is working with young women coming out of, or at risk of, sexual exploitation.  The café strives to be a place where all people are welcome and viewed as equal.  It has areas dedicated for families and children, as well as areas with Internet access for business and tourist clientele.  The café is a place for customers to enjoy quality food while also housing a facility for the project of working with young women in disadvantaged situations.  It provides the opportunity for employment and vocational training for project participants, in a manner deemed appropriate.  It is the goal of the café to financially support the project indefinitely into the future, as all profits of the café go to the project, once outstanding loans are paid off.

As the first quarter of 2012 came to an end, we felt thankful to God for how the purposes of this enterprise were coming into fruition.  The efforts of building the foundation of our work here is starting to become evident in sustainable long-term viability. The solidification of our operational foundation is evident in the building of capacity among our national staff as they take on greater roles in the responsibilities of operations and management, and as their skill level continues to increase.  This is also seen in the building of our customer base, which is increasing at 20+%  year on year.  As a result of these developments, we can now forecast that by the end of 2012 our operations will be self-sustaining.  Having the core operations of the café on the cusp of long-term sustainability ensures the future benefits of the project, as mentioned above.

In this quarter we have continued to make improvements to the café through continued decoration, advertising, and progressing in our plan to open in the evenings, and open an upstairs dining area/meeting room.  We have developed an online presence that we hope will increase the awareness of the café to locals and tourists.

When the renovation of the property was implemented, it was decided to build a second floor onto the back section of the café to be available as an activities/meeting room for the project.  This room received use in the first quarter as a hosting facility for a medical team from France that offered services to our employees and project participants and staff.  This group included a dentist, eye doctor, and general practitioner.  They stayed quite busy, and by the end of the day they had pulled 13 teeth just from our staff – that is an average of one tooth per staff member!

At this time the café employs two project participants as staff.  One of them, after beginning to work with us at the end of 2011, has now moved out of the shelter and into her own accommodation.  We continue to try and find the balance of having professional grade expectations of these workers while also being understanding of their difficult past circumstances that impact how they function today.  This is not an easy balance.  We are approaching the issue as a team, leaning on the cultural understanding and wisdom of our Christian managers that oversee these staff members.  On one hand we want the café to provide job and training opportunities for the project; on the other hand we must retain a very competitive and high-level operation.

In the coming quarter we look forward to accomplishing some long-sought-after goals:  hiring an Administrative Manager and extending our hours into the evening.  By hiring a national to serve as Administrative Manager, and by building the competency of our Kitchen/Production Manager, we aim to create a strong leadership structure within the café that can be sustained by nationals.   Our hope is that the evening hours, which we will soon be open, will provide the extra revenue to make the venture profitable.  Our location is excellent for evening traffic, right at the end of the night market, which is popular for foreign travelers to walk along in the early evening.

Eighth Well Underway in Samburu

Today NHIM was able to transfer enough funds to begin digging our eighth well in the Samburu area of northern Kenya.  Barring any difficulty in drilling, the funding is now in place to complete the drilling process, but more funds will be needed to purchase and install a pump and generator for the site.  Please pray with us that this project will come to quick fruition, bringing water – physical and spiritual – to a thirsty people.

Only Three Responses

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.  Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.  The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”  2 Timothy 2:1-6 (NIV)

Joe Hardman, a dear friend and NHIM Board member, and I were discussing responses to certain situations.  Joe shared an experience when he first went into the military.  An officer informed Joe, in no uncertain terms, that there were only three responses he should make to an officer: ‘Yes, Sir’,  ‘No, Sir’, and finally, ‘No excuse, Sir’.

I am wondering if that might not be a good model for our responses to God. When God makes His will known to us, our response should be ‘Yes, Sir’.  When we have stepped outside of His will and He says please don’t do that again, our response should be – ‘No, Sir’.  When we are confronted with our sin, the appropriate response should be, ‘No excuse, Sir’.

In the military, these 3 responses can save the soldier a lot of grief, discipline, and even time in the brig.  I truly believe if we would practice these 3 simple responses in respect to God, our relationship with Him would be greatly enhanced.  We could save ourselves a lot of grief, discipline, and time in God’s brig.  The use of a soldier’s responses for a spiritual application is appropriate.  The Apostle Paul advises Timothy to be “a good soldier” and “to please his commanding officer”.   Lord reveal your will to me for this day and I’ll say “Yes, Sir”.

~ Brother Roy