Covid -19 Urgent Relief
On a recent trip to a leprosy quarantine village The small team I was leading from the U.S. and I got to share in experiencing something very unique for the first time!
We had arrived at the closest known spot to the Leprosy village to park. As James King, a team member, was offloading the bundles of brand new jackets from the roof rack, Curtis Dukes, a team member, noticed a rubber Frisbee in the S.U.V. He grabbed the Frisbee and we started the hour-long hike.
After our trek into the village Curtis began to throw the Frisbee with a young boy who was visiting that day. Soon Mr. Po wanted in on the action. Mr. Po is a man who has lived most of his life in seclusion on this mountainside. He is over 60 years old. He walks on his knees and often uses a small cart with steel wheels to get around. The cruel disease has taken all his fingers.
His physical situation didn’t stop him from joining the Frisbee toss! With absolute exuberance he played like a child. The joy on his face was priceless. He played without caution or fear. This was the first time I played sports with an adult resident of a leprosy colony.
Mr. Po is a believer. In the presence of God’s people he has nothing to fear or be ashamed of. The stigma of the disease means nothing to his family in Christ, nor does it mean anything to his Savior. He is loved and valued. He felt that from our visit and from the regular care he receives from His Feet International.
Our team worshipped with the residents and Pastor Nick Rains of Canvas Church shared the word with them. After eating a meal together we laid hands on members of the quarantined colony and prayed for them. We gave every resident a brand new winter jacket, just in time for the coldest months of the year.
Several studies corroborate the statistic that 85% of those who believe in Jesus make that life-changing decision before the age of 18. In China alone there are around 300,000,000 people under the age of 18.
If the body of Christ doesn’t reach them with the gospel many of these young people are destined to a life filled with the worship of idols and then eternity without God.
This frightening statement from missiologist Christopher Wright shows the detrimental results of idolatry:
“False gods destroy and devour lives, health and resources; they distort and diminish our humanity; they preside over injustice, greed, perversion, cruelty, lust, and violence. It is possibly the most satanic dimension of their deceptive power, that in spite of all this, they still persuade people that they are the beneficent protectors of their worshipers’ identity, dignity and prosperity, and must therefore be defended at all costs. Only the gospel can unmask these claims.”
In our work throughout the world we have witnessed first hand the devastation of idolatry. Idolatry has a death grip that holds worshippers captive in a world of suffering, poverty, exploitation, with complete and utter hopelessness.
The worship of idols and false gods is the predominant religion of the unreached world. Nearly sixty percent of unreached people groups worship idols and the other forty percent are Muslims who worship a false god. As Christopher Wright says above idolatry devours lives and resources. What we have seen in this regard is that unreached peoples worship idols and are predominantly needy. There is a correlation between idolatry and poverty as 80% of unreached people groups are amongst the world’s poorest people.
Only the gospel can stop the downward spiral idolatry causes in individuals and people groups. The enemy uses this stranglehold of idolatry to carry out his work of stealing, killing, and destroying. The good news is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and He is using His Feet International to challenge idolatry with the gospel in several unreached people groups.
One of those groups is the Hani people. Less than 1% of Hani people are Christians. For more than ten years we have been investing in Bible training for Hani people as well as dispatching teams of evangelists to spread the good news. One of our team members is from the Hani tribe; national missionary Timothy Yang.
Timothy committed his life to Jesus and was trained through our ministry. Now he serves full-time on our team. The harmful effects of idolatry are something that Timothy has observed his entire life. The Hani people worship idols. They are one of China’s poorest tribes. One crisis young Hani people face today is a crippling drug epidemic.
Determined to reach his own, Timothy continues to minister to his tribe. Just this past month Timothy and his wife Hannah hosted a 4-day Bible training camp for 80 young people.
In one session with the high school and college age young people, Timothy taught them the dangers of idol worship and how to worship the one true God.
Throughout the four days they emphasized the theme of the camp, which was “living out your faith.” Their times of worship and ministry were powerful. Many young people placed their faith in Jesus Christ and denounced false religion.
One brother who was touched and challenged by this training was a 19-year-old high school student named Jian San. Before the training he was involved in a sexual relationship with a girl who was not a believer. He wanted to break off the relationship but found no strength to do so.
One teaching session for the older campers was focused on Christian life before marriage. The purpose of this session was to prepare them for a godly marriage and teach against sexual immorality. Deeply disturbed at feeling the seriousness of his sin and the troubling thought of being unequally yoked, Jian San decided to repent and finally call off the relationship in order to follow Jesus with his whole heart.
Your gifts and prayers help us to continue to destroy the works of idolatry and bring the truth to people that are suffering idolatry’s devastating affects. Our training ministry is key to reaching the unreached and has always been a focused ministry of His Feet International. Through training we are making disciples who make disciples. In recent months contributions have been low. Would you consider a gift to help make worshippers out of those who currently worship idols?
Grateful to be His Feet,
Over 80 young people were trained.
God is using us to be a part of raising up the next generation leaders and workers who will take the gospel to their own tribe and other unreached people groups.
The remote, mountaintop village of Xinhua looked deserted as I and some team members pulled our vehicle to a stop at the edge of town. We soon discovered that almost the entire village had congregated at what might be called their “fairgrounds” to celebrate a festival called (according to the best translation I can come up with) the “Welcome the Wild Man Festival,” and we were just in time to join the party! (As the only foreigner there I wondered if some thought I was the wild man!)
We traveled to Xinhua, deep in the mountains of Asia, to meet people of peace—those who are not necessarily believers but who are not hostile to the gospel, and who are, we believe, prepared by God to help open a door for the gospel into an unreached tribe. They in turn, we prayed, would provide an opening into a tribe called the Nisu.
We recently discovered the Nisu (considered unreached according the Joshua Project) speak the same language as the A-Che people with whom we’ve been working to reach for many years. Our team has translated and recorded select Bible stories and the gospel message in the A-Che language, with which we originally thought we could reach around 40,000 people, many of whom are illiterate. After learning that we can reach the Nisu with the same recordings we realized we could now possibly touch 240,000 additional souls!
In March my team and I set out to find the Nisu people. That’s when we crashed the Wild Man party. As it turned out, the festival was a great excuse for us to be in such a remote region, one that the government considers “sensitive.” Another blessing, thanks to our God working his perfect plan, was that we encountered a virtual buffet of persons of peace—nearly 5,000 people, including all from surrounding villages, had converged on Xinhua for this festival—many of whom we counted as new friends. We also left town with many invitations to come to their home villages!
At left, festival participants; at right, men sacrificing animals to the spirits of rocks and trees while wearing tribal clothing and skin paint (the priestly-looking guy in the center was also sporting a hands-free microphone attached to his left ear, no doubt a relatively recent addition to this primitive celebration!)
A few of the ladies at the festival who were dressed in vibrant traditional clothing
One of the persons of peace we met at the Xinhua festival was MeiLan, a woman who helped acquaint my team with the language, dress and locations of various Nisu settlements. When we first arrived in her town, however, we were unable to meet with MeiLan. Although initially a bit disappointed, we soon discovered that God was interrupting our plans so that, while we were waiting, we’d meet a passerby named Mr. Pu. One of our team, Pastor Paul Fang, struck up a conversation with the stranger. He soon learned that Mr. Pu had once heard the gospel and believed, but he was never discipled, experienced fellowship, or even owned a Bible!
There we were, thousands of miles from where Mr. Pu first met Jesus, participating in the plan of God in a remote town near the border of Myanmar. Mr. Pu told us how he’d been longing for instruction, so we invited him to join us for the entire evening. Pastor Paul encouraged him and gave him a Bible. To make this amazing story even better, Mr. Pu comes from the Lalu people, a tribe that is both unreached and unengaged (currently no known ministries working to reach them). We’re excited about one day carrying the gospel through the doors that will open into yet another tribe with no gospel witness, all because of our new connection with Mr. Pu, a person of peace!
Finally meeting up with MeiLan the next day, she took us to a mountaintop village to see some of her relatives. They were nowhere to be found, but this turned out to be a divine appointment once again! After realizing we weren’t going to find her relatives that day, we hiked up a path towards another group of homes. Along the way we met an elderly man named Mr. Zhu. He then invited us into his home.
Mr. Zhu, our new person of peace, began to tell us of the sacrifices his people make on the mountain to the spirits of the trees and the rocks. He described these rituals in great detail. As it turned out, Mr. Zhu was the village priest who actually made the sacrifices! Pastor Paul then shared several Bible stories with him in the A-Che/Nisu language. Mr. Zhu was so impressed with these stories that he wants to pass them on to the younger generation. Isn’t it amazing how God sent us to the top of the spiritual ladder in that region to build relationships and proclaim truth to those who have the influence to share it with many? All within the confines of communist China!
At left, a woman in traditional clothing playing a banjo-like instrument; at right, our new friend Mr. Zhu
Thank you for being one of our “persons of peace” for making this work possible through your gifts to His Feet International. Together we are taking the gospel to those who have never heard it before. Please pray for our gospel and Bible-story recordings to be widely distributed amongst the A-Che and Nisu. Pray for a mighty harvest to be reaped!
Tuesday May 12, 2015
Update on His Feet International Earthquake Relief Fund in Nepal
Title: Miracles, Helicopters, and Tarps in Nepal
Today another 7.4 earthquake rattled Nepal. This is less than 2 ½ weeks after the 8.4 quake that affected nearly 8 million people.
Since the time of the first earthquake we have been in consistent communication with my good friend of more than ten years, Noel Isaacs. Noel oversees 8 churches in Nepal. Noel is His Feet International’s representative in Nepal.
One of the villages I traveled to in 2004, named Gatlang, was completely destroyed by the first quake. Miraculously nobody was killed. It was only about three days ago that Noel was finally able to access Gatlang by helicopter. He brought with him doctors, food, and relief supplies.
Early in this process Noel conveyed to me two of the greatest needs… tarps and helicopters. Immediately I went to work on both of these needs. My team in China worked tirelessly to secure a shipment of tarps. 260 tarps will arrive in Nepal on May 18th.
Securing helicopters seemed to be an impossible feat at first. After some work and a lot of prayer, I was able to connect with Mission Aviation Fellowship. MAF and Fishtail air are now providing helicopter usage to our organization His Feet International at a huge discount. Noel registered His Feet International with MAF/Fishtail Air in Nepal and secured a discounted rate! Three more helicopter trips are scheduled to access remote villages this week with doctors and relief goods.
We will continue to meet the most pressing needs even through the rebuilding process. Please pray for Nepal as today’s quake caused more road collapses and further devastation. The monsoon season is eminent. This could really make matters worse.
Thank you to all who donated to our Earthquake Relief Fund. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation click the donate button below. The needs are endless at this point. Please pray for Nepal!
His Feet International
For more than ten years His Feet has been ministering to the homeless. There are various reasons people live on the streets. Some because of poor choices. But not everybody. It’s not always that simple…
Take for instance Li Mu. When he returned from his service in the Red Army he found his life was radically different from when he first enlisted.
His wife left him. He returned to an an elderly mother he had to provide for. His only option was to go to the city and look for work.
Li Mu found no steady work. For him there is no veterans assistance. An injury to his hand caused many companies to reject him. So needless to say when his money ran out he ended up living on the streets.
That’s when our team had the opportunity to serve him. Our team not only fed him, we also provided medicine for him because he was fighting a worsening infection. Li Mu didn’t just hear the Gospel he was also shown the Gospel.
Think of it! Because of God’s love and our partnership with Him to minister to the poor a former soldier from the Red Army heard the Gospel. The Red Army is an unreached people group all to itself.
Li Mu represents the thousands of meals that His Feet has distributed to the homeless in the last year. This winter has been cold. Lately, we’ve been distributing jackets and many hot meals.
Your prayers and support help us to be His Feet to the least of these.
Would you please pray for His Feet and consider giving? This will help us continue to give jackets, medicine, food, and the Gospel.
His Feet International is a bridge for you to make a difference in the lives of people you may never have a chance to meet but who nonetheless need your encouragement through love, prayer, and support. These precious people are people that have suffered poverty, disease, abuse, persecution, malnutrition, corruption, and myriads of other injustices.
Through our bridge you can bless the lives of so many people that would not be touched by your love and concern in any other way. Many of us dream of how we can do something for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Here is your opportunity to help the very people that Jesus called “the least of these.” Get involved with His Feet International.
Below are some pics and descriptions of the projects we are doing:
High in the mountains of a remote region, at the end of a winding dirt road that often more closely resembles a goat path, lives Pastor Yang. I discovered him on one of my many trips to leprosy villages.
A long time ago, Pastor Yang committed his life to reaching his neighbors for the Lord. His mission field, however, is quite small—for an understandable reason. Pastor Yang contracted leprosy in 1979, and soon found himself sentenced to live quarantined for the remainder of his life—together with 30-or-so others with leprosy who became his neighbors. For 35 years, Pastor Yang has never been outside his remote quarantined compound.
Church growth experts might yawn at the size of pastor Yang’s 15-member congregation. Not exactly a mega-church. But if they were to judge him by “Percentage of Target Group Won to Christ,” Pastor Yang should be receiving invitations to speak at church growth conferences around the world. He’s won 50% of his quarantined neighbors! (In the category of “Ground Taken From the Devil,” Yang is also in the higher percentiles, as his congregation meets in what was previously a Buddhist temple!)
Most of Pastor Yang’s fingers are gone. His feet are twisted and wilted. He walks with a crutch and a serious limp. He’s isolated from the entire world. But he’s made the best of his circumstances. He’s serving Jesus with all his heart, and he’s an incredible inspiration. And now that you know about him, the influence of his inspiration has spread further than he could have ever imagined. (Would you forward this to your friends to send Pastor Yang’s influence even further?)
I’m so excited that, in partnership with you, His Feet International is serving in Pastor Yang’s village—and many other villages like his where all the villagers are afflicted with leprosy. We’re meeting spiritual as well as practical needs, such as improving food resources, supplying the means for safe water, and providing medical care, all as a bridge and demonstration of the gospel. We are visiting these villages several times a year to verify progress that is being made.
Your donation to His Feet International helps us to do all this. Will you be His Hands? We are His Feet.
So why care about the unreached?
Why should we invest our giving, our hard earned money into people groups that seemingly don’t care about Jesus? Why care when there are so many pressing needs that seem to trump the hard work of taking the gospel to people groups who are unreached, unengaged, untouched by the gospel? There are starving children, young girls being sexually trafficked, drug addiction, and orphans all over the world… shouldn’t we focus our generosity on them? The answer is yes. But we should be focusing on unreached people groups even more so.
He Told You So –
Why? I guess it wouldn’t hurt to mention that Jesus himself said that we are to reach the unreached. He told it to his disciples in his last great commandment to them. It’s known as the Great Commission. Check out Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8. But I don’t want to just leave it at “Jesus told us to do it so we must do it.” If he told us to do it there must be a reason and a good one at that!
I believe one of the reasons Jesus told us to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations is because the gospel brings change. The kind of change that affects all of those causes that we care so deeply about. Reaching the unreached brings light to the oppressed. 80% of the world’s poor live in unreached areas. It is the poor who are most vulnerable to horrible suffering associated with hunger, human trafficking , drug addiction, and high orphan rates… and the list of horrible sufferings goes on and on.
Reaching the Unreached Paves the Road for Social Justice –
The gospel changes that for many. In fact there are many cities that have undergone massive transformations due to people turning to Jesus in mass. In our experience when God calls people to reach the unreached its not long before he is calling people to minister to the trafficked, the orphaned, the poor, and the handicapped… and many other specialty ministries. We have witnessed this firsthand.
So in your personal missiology please realize reaching the unreached is just as much about social justice and reaching the poor as any other ministry.