This article was originally published in the January 2015 edition of ITMI Monthly.
As 2016 begins, a theme in the stories I’m getting from the field of late is that God knows and sees everything…He is important, He is listening and He is ahead of us. As John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things and usually we are aware of only 3-4 of them.”
Story #1: Set up ahead of time to meet needs in India
It has been reported that the 12 million people living in Chennai, India have experienced a “100 year rain” and proportionate flooding.
Unfortunately a vast number of them have substandard living situations. Paul’s parents’ community is home to about 100,000 to 150,000 people who have built on top of a drained lake, now filled in by rubble and debris. Paul tells us that standing sewage is overflowing. Waist high water must be waded through in some places.
Paul’s parents’ community is home to about 100,000 to 150,000 people who have built on top of a drained lake, now filled in by rubble and debris, something like what is pictured here.
Food is very scarce, but with a big smile, Paul shares that the unsaved from all caste levels come into their church’s humble grocery store and sheepishly tell of needing to pay for food for their family, but bank access is blocked by flooding.
They ask if this new grocery store would allow them to take some food now and pay later. Imagine my surprise when Paul tells me that they have not had one person stiff them for the money they owe.
Imagine the joy of those who are unable to get out in the flooding when they see the kind servant employees of the grocery store - many of them widows who can’t find other jobs - come wading through the deep and dirty water with a smile and food supplies safely on their heads!
God knew beforehand that flooding would provide an impactful way of doing ministry and He is using this newly started Christan-run ministry store in a big way. (Readers may remember the store was Paul and Molly’s way of providing jobs for widows who can’t get hired elsewhere.)
Story #2: In the right place at the right time for 8x the impact.
Jahim Buli is our young church planter in Juba, South Sudan. With all the challenges of personally taking in additional orphans, leading a new congregation of young Christians, serving widows and orphans displaced by political unrest, and his passion to train church leaders with the S.A.L.T. material, he needed to get away and be alone with God.
Jahim preaching to his church plant earlier last year (2015), before the church finished building a structure to meet in.
So, in December for a few days, he holed up in Kampala, Uganda to seek God’s direction for 2016. While he was in Uganda, the currency in South Sudan was reduced in value by their government by 5x, yet the real cost of necessities stayed many times higher. This is especially devastating for those who can already barely afford what they need.
Imagine our excitement last month when a donor from Nebraska contacted ITMI and among other things, wanted to help many of our projects afford to do special Christmas outreaches. Jahim was one of the key recipients of these special funds and he felt led to bless refugee orphans with a Christmas celebration. Initially we were quite disappointed that the funds would be deeply devalued due to the new unfavorable exchange rate.
God allowed Jahim to be in Uganda where he could get actual U.S. dollars and convert them at a much better exchange rate allowing the funds to buy almost 8 times as much as if he had still been in his own country!
God knew beforehand that this donor was going to have a special donation and that Jahim needed to be in Uganda to get the best exchange rate so that more orphan children would know God’s love and care during a difficult Christmas season.
Story #3: 3 of 7 SALT material books translated to Arabic
Speaking of the SALT material, we are very excited to share that the translating of SALT discipleship/counseling material into Arabic is progressing along at an excellent pace. We have now three of the seven books completed. This has been not without its challenges due to western software and certain cultural hurdles.
We have many, many stories of God’s provision to those that He calls to Himself. If we will stay focused on obedience and not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22), God can and will direct His children to do great and mighty things. As you keep obeying, and we will keep telling you how God has used you to bring glory to Himself and His plan.
In His Service,
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.