This article was originally published in the April 2011 edition of ITMI Monthly.
It all began with Timothy and Ashley Keller.
God’s gracious provision for their medical needs has allowed their family to receive the treatment they need to enable their return to ministry in Kabwe, Zambia with full energy and health. Somewhere in their African travels, they picked up some metal poisoning that was affecting their whole family’s health and ability to minister.
Timothy Keller encourages a young pastor.
Thanks to God’s provision of an accurate diagnosis, treatment and funding, they are returning to Zambia in June well on their way to recovery. Timothy is looking forward to applying his new energy to several pastor training conferences and a trip to Sudan in the latter half of this year.
Meanwhile, Steve Evers, ITMI’s Director, has been battling similar health complications and struggling to muster his usual amount of energy to give to his passion of discipling and training ITMI partners. After several failed attempts at diagnosis by respected health professionals, he was unsure where to turn next.
Once the Kellers’ treatment began to look promising, Steve, too, got tested for metal poisoning. They found multiple heavy metals and he is now getting much needed treatment. Steve is beginning to feel much more like himself and able to focus more time and energy to his ministry at ITMI.
Steve is beginning to feel much more like himself!
This allowed Steve to share and pray over the story of ITMI’s Jim LaRose and his faithful ministry to the children of Poland with the staff and together, with the help of the ITMI Volunteers, we shared the story with the ITMI family via last month’s newsletter.
Phil McKeown, the pastor of North Village Baptist Church (NVBC) read Jim’s story and was inspired by God’s Spirit to use it as an illustration. Phil taught that because of what Jesus has done, we are able to approach God, asking, “Will you be my Daddy?”
On hearing Phil’s teaching, four in attendance were moved to respond to God as their Father and believe in Jesus’ saving work on their behalf!
But the ripples go even further.
Another couple in attendance at NVBC’s gathering that day was Chad and Elisa Kritenbrink. Currently a chaplain in the Arizona National Guard, Chad has led several short-term mission trip groups from NVBC and has a passion for missions. He is considering coming on board with ITMI and using his gifts to disciple and equip ITMI partners.
Steve advised Chad and Elisa that they needed unity in this step of faith.God used Jim LaRose’s example to confirm in Elisa’s heart what He is leading Chad to do. On their way home, she told Chad, “I’m all in!”
Meanwhile, ITMI partners ministering in India, Paul and Molly, whose last name we can’t disclose for security reasons, have been facing a tall stack of challenges.
In December 2010, they accepted full financial, spiritual and emotional responsibility for 19 orphaned girls who are currently a 17 hour bus ride away from Paul and Molly’s home and ministries. Not to mention, they didn’t have time to raise financial support for the girls’ expenses before accepting them in faith, or that the girls’ existence is technically illegal which creates legal issues to wade through.
Steve Evers with Paul and Molly's girls.
They accepted this responsibility with great joy because of their love for Jesus and the girls.
Shortly after this, they discovered Molly was expecting their second child. They were also forced to leave the management of the girls’ home up to Paul’s family and return to the States for an extended period of time to deal with Paul’s citizenship issues. All this while parenting their one-year-old son, Isaiah, and battling Molly’s debilitating morning sickness.
To add insult to injury, while in the States a few weeks ago, Molly fell and badly broke her ankle in three places, requiring twelve pins, one metal plate and a big dose of immobility. Financially, they are just trusting God because they have no idea how He will cover the medical bills.
This is about enough to make anyone give up in despair, but Molly’s response demonstrates inspiring trust in God’s sovereignty. She told Steve, “I guess God wanted to give me an intercessory ministry for awhile!” She will likely be more productive from her bed than the rest of us who are on our feet!
Paul teaching one of the girls to ride a bike.
Molly hugs and prays with a woman of their church.
One thing Paul and Molly have been on their knees about recently is their living situation. They were given permission to live in a house in Arizona that is in foreclosure until the bank takes final possession of it. They’d been hearing hints that they would have to vacate soon, and with no where to go and no money to do it with, they hit their knees in desperation and faith one night.
That very night, Pastor McKeown was phoning Steve to let him know that NVBC was given a 2 bedroom condo that is currently vacant. It even has a small fenced in area for children to play in.
He asked if Paul and Molly needed a place to stay. A couple days later, it was approved by the church’s board, and Paul and Molly were told...and not a moment too soon!
Molly found out the previous evening that they were being pushed to vacate sooner than previously thought.
Tim and Ashley Keller’s supporters made a big splash that continues to ripple when they were obedient to be instrumental in God’s provision for the Keller family. The Kellers’ supporters didn’t really know what they were starting when they offered simple medical help.
The vibrant body of believers at North Village Baptist Church has created great ripple effects with just a few simple acts of obedience to God’s Spirit.
This is the difference each believer is equipped to make by God’s Spirit residing within us.
What small action is the Spirit prompting you to take today? Is it a few minutes battling in prayer for a brother or sister? For an ITMI partner? Is it an encouraging email to an overseas worker? Is it lunch with a struggling friend? Is it a financial gift or a short-term trip?
Or maybe its helping an ITMI national or partner network by creating an opportunity for them to share with a group of your friends, your small group or Sunday school class.
Whatever it is, you can be sure that whatever is sacrificed will not be comparable to the blessing of being with our Daddy on His mission to restore creation.
Summer Kelley is a writer living in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and three kids. She’s had the honor and privilege of telling ITMI’s stories since 2006. She’s a homeschooling mom and a T-shirt and jeans aficionado who likes all things simple. When she’s not writing or homeschooling, you can find her honing her skills as what some might call a "suburban survivalist" as she learns to thrive in the suburbs with 3 kids. As a productivity and organizing enthusiast, she may or may not spend hours attempting to use technology to "save time.” Summer loves reading, the outdoors and Coca-Cola Classic from the fountain.
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.