But the Greatest of These Is Love

11 Apr

But the Greatest of These Is Love

Image of Heaven's Family teamOur team

But the Greatest of These Is Love

Jerry’s 3rd and final trip blog from India and Nepal

Dear Family,

Two years ago, we got word that one of Heaven’s Family’s national missionaries in Pakistan, Fatima, was on the run. Some of her disciples had been kidnapped and her enemies were hot on her heels. We began to pray for her but didn’t get an update. When people at my church asked if she was okay, I had to say that I didn’t know.

About a year later, I heard that Fatima was alive. When I took over the National Missionary Ministry, I got to talk with Joe, the man who adopted her. As he told me her story, I was captivated. He also told me about one of her disciples from Nepal, named Jeni. He sent me videos of this petite young woman hiking with a rucksack on her back almost as big as she is. Jeni was going up into the mountains to take the gospel to the unreached, winning Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims to Christ, and starting house churches. It would be an understatement to say I was eager to meet these ladies.

When we landed in Nepal, Fatima and Jeni met us at the airport. Each member of our team was given a dosalla (beautiful scarf) and flowers. Jeni’s home was nearby, but she took us straight to the hotel via “tuk tuk.” This was my first time riding in one of these vehicles. It was like riding in a golf cart, so the openness and fresh air were a delight after all the flying. When we reached the hotel, I saw a swimming pool, which is not a luxury usually afforded us. The pool would come in handy later that evening.

After settling in, we met for a late lunch. For the next three hours, we listened as Fatima and Jeni shared what God is doing in their lives and ministries.

Fatima is a powerhouse. She went from absolutely hating Jesus to loving Him so much she is ready to die for Him. Her father died when she was young, and she blamed Jesus for the death of her older brother. After becoming a Christian, he was killed by the Taliban.

When Fatima was a teenager, her uncle took her to be a Sikh temple slave. In that role, her life revolved around taking care of the temple and the families who live there. But while she was there, she unintentionally caused a few girls who attended the temple to put their trust in Christ!

These girls heard that Fatima’s mother was a Christian. They asked her to tell them any stories she may have heard about Jesus. Fatima jumped at this opportunity to make friends, because she had none. She shared the stories she had heard and loved the attention so much she even made some up to keep them coming back. As a result, these teenage girls put their faith in Jesus and then asked Fatima to baptize them! She didn’t know how to baptize them, and she didn’t even believe in Jesus herself. But she didn’t want to lose her new friends, so she called her mother and asked her to baptize these new believers. Her mother told her that a missionary named Joe was coming and could baptize them. This is how Fatima and “Daddy Joe,” as she affectionately calls him, met. Joe baptized the girls and began discipling Fatima, assuming that she was a believer.

For an in-depth retelling of Fatima’s story, please check out David’s trip blog from Nepal. In short, after Jesus stopped her suicide attempt, she prayed that her uncle would let her leave the temple. To her amazement, Jesus answered that prayer! Yet she still wouldn’t follow Him. She continued to be discipled and trained as an unbelieving missionary. She went to places where no one else would go, hoping she would be killed. She saw multiple miracles, including the Taliban sparing her life. But not until her fourth missionary journey, when she saw a vision of Jesus, did Fatima put her trust in Him. Since then, she has been making disciples who multiply and planting churches that reproduce.

Jeni’s back story is a little simpler. She was born in the mountains of Nepal and grew up Hindu. When she was young, her father moved the family off the mountain and into a small city. He built a home where she now lives. As a Hindu, she sacrificed animals and worshiped witch doctors and idols. But she began asking, “How can the idols that man makes, make the world man lives in?” She was seeking the true Creator.

Jeni went to a church. The regular pastor was away on travel. The young man filling in said Jesus is the one true God. Jeni prayed and believed in Jesus that day, but she still had not heard the full gospel. She would lay on her roof at night thinking about what she had heard. A month later, the pastor returned. That Sunday, the pastor told Jeni she could not take communion yet because she wasn’t baptized. She asked him to explain the gospel to her. The pastor took her to a local missionary organization and she was baptized in a bathtub. They showed her the movie The Passion of the Christ. After seeing the sacrifice Jesus made for her, she committed her life to sharing the gospel with everyone who will listen.

Jeni married a Christian evangelist and they planned to take the gospel to the ends of the earth as a team. But six months into the marriage, her husband was killed in an accident on a gospel mission. Even that heartache hasn’t slowed her down, though. She has continued the mission on the border between India, Tibet, and the mountain area where she is from. In fact, that evening one of her new disciples, named Tika, came to the hotel to be baptized. After the baptism, we had the privilege of sharing a meal with her family at Jeni’s home.

Image of missionary teamTika, David, and the team on the Tuk Tuk

Image of baptism in swimming poolPreparing to assist Jeni in baptizing Tika

The next morning, five of Jeni’s disciples came for a short DMM training. I had a chance to learn more about their ministry context. We determined that Farming God’s Way and water filters from the Safe Water Ministry would be great helps for the people she is reaching. But during that time, I also learned the most valuable lesson if you want to make disciples that multiply.

Image of Disciple-Multiplication TrainingSome of Jeni’s disciples at the DMM training

Image of missionary in front of Hindu templeJeni in front of the Hindu temple where she used to worship

Fatima was sharing how she has multiplied disciples and churches down to the seventh generation. She said, “The number one thing is this: you must love well. When you are working with the uneducated, they may not be able to read, but they can love others the way you model love to them.” Boom! Our strategies for multiplication are good, but they pale in comparison to God’s love that has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said we should love each other the way that He loved us. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciple” (John 13:35 NLT). He also said that if we love Him, we will obey Him. So in our disciple making, let us model love well.

I appreciate that you have joined me on this trip from afar by reading these blog posts, and even more, I appreciate your generous support for these amazing national missionaries. If you have any questions or would like to know how you or your church could sponsor a national missionary, please email me at [email protected].

Thanks for your time and your partnership in fulfilling the Great Commandments and the Great Commission.

Grace and peace,

Image of the director of the National Missionary Ministry

Jerry Jefferson
Director, National Missionary Ministry

Sponsor a Missionary

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