This article was originally published in the April 2017 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Our hosts couldn’t believe it. Their mouths hung wide open in astonishment.
In all their time living near Amish country they’d never seen someone of that persuasion engage in conversation with an outsider.
But the old Amish cobbler couldn’t even wait for ITMI’s Johan Leach and me to stop talking - of what the villagers in Zambia do for water, how they crawl into holes in search of it, fighting crocodiles, and digging water wells in remote villages - so he could ask another question.
I was a little surprised when I hopped out of the vehicle and directed a cheerful, “Hello!” his way, he hadn’t even responded. He answered our shoe-related questions only, turning the utterance of the already short word, “No,” into a science of brevity.
And that’s just what I love about Johan. He’s not playing missionary. He’s the real deal.
Whether in a remote village in the forsaken Luvale Plains of Zambia, on a pit stop in a New Jersey restaurant or connecting with the Pennsylvania Amish, Johan’s mission is the same.
Johan and a waiter at one of our stops.
He engages with whatever bearer of God’s Image crosses his path with all the warmth and respect due such an esteemed role. He pursues even those who withdraw at first. He shares God’s Word and freedom at every opportunity.
Johan and I were zig-zagging across the East Coast in a 26-foot truck filled with antiquated earthy possessions my uncle couldn’t take with him to glory. We’re meeting with and engaging with whoever God puts in our path wherever we stop.
Johan in front of our cross-country transportation.
An Amish farm in Pennsylvania.
ITMI's Paul is the Real Deal in India
ITMI’s Paul returned to India not long ago to secure housing before his wife, Molly, and four children arrive.
Housing laws can be very discriminatory in India, and because of Paul’s faith, caste level (a result of his faith) and American wife, he was striking out and will end up paying more than double what a non-Christian family would pay.
Paul on his motorcycle in India.
To make it even tougher, most rentals come with Hindu idols already in place, and taking them down could cause eviction by the landlord. In a huge city of 12 million, Paul literally only had a couple options left.
One evening he was honest with God, “Lord, I’m tired of this process. I don’t want to hide my faith.”
The next day, he was discussing a possibility with the landlord, and he said,
“Sir, we’re a family that love all people. We care about all people. We want peace with all people. But our religion says, ‘no idols.’ Could we remove the idols?”
The landlord laughed. But then he said, “Yes, I’ll take them away.”
We’re so thankful that our partners are the real deal, because there are so many around them who desperately need to see real people living out the real truth of the Bible. It’s exciting to see them being the real deal, and sharing the real freedom Jesus offers.
If you want to help them show those around them the “real deal,” we thank you for your help and generous sacrifice.
In His Service,
About the Authors
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 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.