Building global community.

Planting churches. Caring for children. Fighting poverty.

Blog

IMG_7258Traveling abroad creates separation from our context and comfort zone, allowing God to speak more clearly into our lives. Carter Bell, a teacher from Indianapolis, experienced this phenomenon first hand on the 2015 ServLife Teacher Training Trip to Nepal. “I think preparing to go on the trip really helped me become a better teacher as I prepared to help meet their needs. I was just very encouraged that not only was it a great opportunity for me but it was also a great opportunity for [the Nepali teachers]” Carter explains. New experiences, she says, are God’s way of growing us spiritually and stretching our awareness of other’s needs and the work He has for us to do.

Henri Nouwen calls this process of leaving our normal context “voluntary displacement” and advocates it as a discipline through which we can grow closer to God. “Following Jesus involves leaving the comfortable place and going to a place that is outside our DSCF0297comfort zone… Voluntary displacement prevents us from being caught in the net of the ordinary and proper. It is the discipline essential to remembering who we really are and remaining in touch with our greatest gifts of gratitude and compassion.”-Henri Nouwen, Compassion

ServLife trips provide a great opportunity to practice getting outside your context. As a team travels to the other side of the world to help those in need they end up not only gaining a great experience, but also finding a new perspective on God’s work and expanding their capacity for compassion.

“I think any time that you get a chance to experience something new,” Carter says, “whether it’s in your neighborhood, in your city, or halfway across the world, you should do it… it’s how our eyes get opened to not only his beauty but the work that needs to be done in his name.”

If you would like more information on ServLife trips in 2016, or to sign up to participate in one, please visit our trips page.

Posted on August 29, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7759-Deepa Patel_3At age six Deepa was cleaning and working for her family instead of attending school. Following her father’s tragic death in a road accident Deepa’s mother was left with few options and put her children to work, joining her at her job as a janitor. Deepa’s older brother refused to work and left the family to make his own way. Her mother decided to move away and make a fresh start at life. Many widows in her situation would leave the children to live on the street and fend for themselves, but fortunately for Deepa and her sisters, their mother brought them to a ServLife children’s home.

ServLife’s Director in India, Albert, was deeply moved by Deepa’s plight, “When I came to know [about her] I said, ‘let me bring that child here. I’ll keep her in our home.’ And so she was brought into our children’s home. That is my passion, you see, to rescue children from this kind of work… IMG_8269We are bringing hope to the hopeless.”

It has been two years since Deepa’s mother brought her to the ServLife children’s home in India. There her childhood was restored. Today she’s going to school, playing with her dolls, and enjoying the life of a typical eight year-old. Camillus, India’s Children’s Ministry Manager says, “She can be like a normal child and play around and do her studies. She wants to be a teacher when she grows big. She likes to study.”

Your support rescues young girls like Deepa from a life of hard labor and abandonment, giving them hope for a brighter future. Thank you for making an immediate and eternal difference for children like Deepa.

If you would like to find out more about sponsoring a child like Deepa, please visit our child sponsorship page.

Posted on August 22, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_7176Sweltering heat couldn’t squelch the joy and excitement in west Nepal this July as 130 teachers from 11 schools gathered for a three-day Teacher Training Conference. ServLife partners with local schools to provide education for over 350 children in India and Nepal through our child sponsors. Teachers from these schools asked ServLife to improve their teaching skills by bringing U.S. teachers to help them, leading to the first conference in 2013.

This year, six teachers from three states joined two ServLife staff and answered the call to travel to far west Nepal for the conference. The three days flew by. The team presented nine different topical workshops, took questions during a Q&A session and presented a few panel discussions. The teachers were eager to learn everything they could and would often follow up with the presenters after each session.IMG_7052

The vast content did not discourage the teachers, but rather empowered and excited them. “There are many things I want to use in the future and I hope to implement them all in the days to come,” Laxmi, who teaches science and math, shared.

Carter, one of the presenters on the trip, was surprised and impressed that after three full days of training, the group of teachers were still eager to grow. “They wanted more. They wanted more time with us, they wanted more opportunities to learn more topics, they were just very enthusiastic about what they were doing and what they got to do. I was just really encouraged, that not only was it a great opportunity for me but it was a great opportunity for them as professionals.”

Posted on August 15, 2015 |

Adam_HS_largeAt the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” And what is the will of God? To preach the Gospel and perform powerful acts of sacrificial love, right? Jesus goes on, “many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’”

What?! So preaching and healing and serving are not enough? Or not the right things? I wish Jesus would just give us a righteous task list… But he doesn’t. It’s harder, deeper and more complex than that.

Sometimes the right thing is the wrong thing. Doing the will of God is the only thing that is always the right thing. And that is more difficult to accomplish than a righteous task list. It requires knowing God’s will today. This moment. Which requires us to listen. To be quiet. To hear from God before we act.

When an orphan is brought to the ServLife children’s home in Nepal, the child with all their paperwork is presented and interviewed by the staff. They do their due diligence. And then our director’s wife, Bhakti, goes upstairs to her bedroom. To pray. And she doesn’t come out until God speaks and says whether or not to take the child into the home. When God speaks, they do God’s will, and that is the final decision.

I’d rather just do what I think is best and what will do the most good. I say, accept every single orphan into the home. But the good thing is not always the best thing. God’s will is best, and I’m learning to listen before I act. I want to be like Jesus, who said, “I listen, then I decide. You can trust my decision because I’m not out to get my own way but only to carry out orders.” (John 5:30 MSG)

Your desire to adopt God’s will and care for orphans, share the good news of Jesus and empower families struggling financially is having an incredible impact in India and Nepal. Thank you for your obedience to God’s prompting, and for seeking God’s will not just for your life but also for the lives of others.

May we listen before we act. May we not settle for good but pursue what is best. May God’s will be done in heaven and earth and our lives.

Posted on August 8, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_8659On Saturday, April 25, Sujata’s mother went to the bathroom and never came back. The terrible earthquake that struck that day dropped the building on her, leaving Sujata’s father a widower and unable to care for his daughter because he must work and has no one to leave her with. Thankfully government officials had made arrangements with Udaya, Director of ServLife’s children’s homes in Nepal, to receive children newly orphaned by the earthquake.

Last Tuesday was Sujata’s first day in the Kathmandu children’s home, and it also happened to be her second birthday! She’s now the youngest member of the home and has a whole new family of brothers and sisters that happily welcomed her, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and sharing cake.

August is Child Sponsorship Month at ServLife. We believe every child is an Heir of God (Romans 8:16-17). We want to affirm them and help them live into their inheritance of God’s glory and a bright future. There are more children like Sujata orphaned by the earthquakes in Nepal coming to ServLife’s homes in Kathmandu soon. Through sponsorship, every child can experience a birthday filled with security, love, and family. And cake!

Your support of ServLife helps many children like Sujata get the care, love, shelter and education that they need. If you would like to learn more about our child sponsorship program please visit http://servlife.org/what-we-do/caring-for-children/ or https://servlife.org/sponsorachild/.

Posted on July 31, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11391785_10152821827355146_4637320821143553313_nPastor Kamal’s journey with Christ has taken him all over South Asia. He first heard the gospel in India while visiting a cousin, but at the time he did not want to accept the Good News. He was not ready to let God into his heart, but rather kept seeking worldly fulfillment. Later he traveled to both Qatar and Malaysia in search of work because Nepal did not offer enough opportunities. In Malaysia he heard the gospel for a second time, and in this instance his heart was opened to receive God. He accepted Jesus into his life and journeyed back to Nepal with a desire to do God’s work. He enrolled in the ServLife training school. “We started our journey of ministry with sharing small Gospel brochures in the day time and in the evening we showed them Gospel films,” Kamal says. “After the film was shown we could share our thoughts and discuss it in a small group. In this way we were able to share the Gospel with many people.”

1982308_10152795280660146_222929054787949475_nNow, several years later, Pastor Kamal’s congregation has grown to over 100 believers. However, they are again facing a journey of both a geographical and spiritual nature. The recent earthquakes in Nepal destroyed Pastor Kamal’s entire village. “We all lost our animals, foods, dishes and documents under the rubble of our houses,” Kamal explains. “The government told us not to go to our village due to the huge rocks still falling in landslides from the mountains around us.” So, Kamal’s entire village, made up of 44 families, must relocate and find shelter. They are restarting from scratch, a journey that will test their endurance and their faith. Pastor Kamal is asking for prayer that his community would be safely housed before the rainy season, and they would stay safe and healthy in their temporary homes. He also would like prayer for his congregation to grow spiritually through this trying time of journey and transition.11401031_10152795280665146_6671910599885132264_n

ServLife is currently building 44 long-term temporary homes for the occupants of Pastor Kamal’s village, racing against time to ensure they have shelter for the monsoon season. Each family will receive a corrugated steel shelter with a brick foundation and solar powered lighting. ServLife staff will be visiting Pastor Kamal’s community at the end of July, so stay tuned for an update on this project in August.

This relief work will make all the difference to those displaced by the earthquake. To contribute to similar projects please visit servlife.org/earthquake/.

Posted on July 25, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeI just returned from a week of vacation in Florida with my family. It was a wonderful time of rest and quality time together, and has me thinking about Sabbath. Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word sabat, which means “to rest or stop or cease from work.” God modeled it in the creation story, intertwined it throughout Old Testament law and even made it one of the Ten Commandments. Then Jesus comes along.

Jesus broke the rules, and violated the traditional practice of Sabbath more than once. Sometimes it was healing someone and sometimes it was just snacking on wheat while walking with his friends. This was the case in Mark 2, and when confronted by the Pharisees, Jesus makes an odd and revealing statement. “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus is slave to no law, and ironically is also the embodiment of the law. Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law. He embodies the heart behind it all, and offers himself to us all. Jesus is the law. Jesus is the Sabbath. Jesus is rest.

Hebrews 4 expands our understanding of Sabbath from one day a week to a way of life through Jesus. Jesus is the access and source of this rest, and he invites us to rest in Him as a way of life. Personally, I’d rather just have a rule to rest one day a week. Resting in Jesus every day, every minute, feels much more challenging. And yet way more desirable. I need Jesus. I need his rest. We need his rest.

ServLife’s leaders in India and Nepal understand this better than I do. They wrap their day in devotions, saturate it with prayer, cover it with worship and devote themselves to listening to Jesus in every moment. It is from this rest that they are able to work relentlessly to serve others. Sabbath marries service and gives birth to justice.

This rest and work and justice would not be possible without your partnership and investment. Thank you for helping to start churches in remote villages, for rescuing orphans and for empowering families on the brink of extreme poverty. You are bringing peace to pain and rest to chaos. Thank you.

May we experience true rest that can be found in Jesus alone. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” – Jesus

Posted on July 18, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_2516

InIMG_2339 the intensity of May, India’s hottest month, it is difficult even to survive in northern India- let alone feel like celebrating. Nevertheless, a spirit of joy persists in Bihar where our partners celebrated their thirteenth graduation ceremony for students completing the pastor training school.

The training center was started in 2002 with a vision to send out pastors to plant churches in areas where the gospel has never reached. Many of the students come from backgrounds where parents and communities do not support their beliefs and actively oppose their ministry. This does not deter them, however, from seeking to fulfill the great commission among their communities.

Now that the students have been equipped with training they areIMG_2452 ready to go out to share their unique testimonies of God’s work in their lives. As they shared samosas and other traditional Indian treats with the local community, they spoke of their plans to begin or further develop their own church communities. The students praised the quality of the training, saying their faith had been strengthened to do the work God called them to. They also spoke of their desire to send more Christian leaders to be equipped, and asked for prayer that God would place more workers in His fields. The celebration was full of hope and promise that made surviving the heat not just a possibility but also a pleasure and a testament to God’s goodness in that difficult area of the world.

Please pray for our newest pastors in India and consider encouraging their young ministry through sponsorship.

Posted on June 26, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeIn Romans 8:6 Paul writes, “Focus the mind on the flesh, and you’ll die; but focus it on the spirit, and you’ll have life, and peace.” I don’t know about you, but that is so hard for me. I am easily distracted by the physical world and can miss the transcendent realities of the spiritual realm. I’ve been reading the story of Joseph near the end of Genesis, and have been struck by his endurance. His resolve was rooted in spiritual realities while his physical condition plummeted and ascended. This resolve and faithfulness ended up blessing not just Joseph but those around him both near and far.

In India and Nepal there are physical challenges and victories for sure. A church building is destroyed in an earthquake. The pastor of the same church helps provide temporary housing for all 44 families in his village. A child loses their parents. The child is rescued and brought into a new home and family. A mother of four loses her husband and his source of income. She is given a small loan for a sewing machine and is able to provide for her family. Despite the insecurities of the unpredictable physical world, Jesus still comes to the rescue. And He is using you and me and others to accomplish His work.

Thank you for your faithful resolve to support pastors, children and families in India and Nepal. God is using it to propel His hope, life and peace.

May we focus on the spirit and walk in step with the Holy Spirit. May God grant us abundant life and peace, and may we be a blessing of life and peace to others. Amen.

Posted on June 19, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_5485Your contributions are making a significant difference in Nepal. Having just returned from there I know firsthand the value of the relief efforts you’re supporting through ServLife. So, I want to let you know how deeply appreciated you are by our partners in Nepal and the team here at ServLife International.

The devastation I saw on my brief visit is absolutely heartbreaking. Many times my hosts would point to a pile of rubble and tell me how many people died there. The recovery from this tragedy will take a very long time. But the recovery is well underway and your generosity is playing a key role for our children and church planters.

Pastor Kamal serves as a church planter in a remote village southeast of Kathmandu, which was entirely destroyed by the earthquake. He shared with us about his community’s predicament and his hopes as ServLife begins to build temporary housing for all 44 families in the village, 24 of whom are believers:

Earthquakes damaged our whole village. The entire village relocated to a new place. Even our Church was completely destroyed. No one could bring anything from home. We all lost our animals, foods, dishes and documents under the rubble of our houses. IMG_5440Government told us not to go to our village due to the huge rock falling from the mountain. All 44 families are now living together. Our village is very far from civilization. But the Lord has been gracious to us to meet our need: food, water and shelters even if it is temporary. We are very glad to know that ServLife is going to provide the shelter for our entire village.

This is just the beginning of a very long road to recovery. You have been faithful in sharing God’s resources for this effort and I want to let you know your gift is being used effectively for the sake of many. Thank you for your help. Please continue lifting up the people of Nepal in prayer during their long journey of recovery.

Posted on June 12, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latest News

Adam_HS_large

Good Vs. Best

August 2015

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to … Read

Adam_HS_large

Sabbath

July 2015

I just returned from a week of vacation in Florida with my family. It was a … Read

Featured Story

DSCF0297

Opened Eyes

August 2015

Traveling abroad creates separation from our context and comfort zone, allowing God to speak more clearly … Read

7759-Deepa Patel_3 2

Childhood Restored

August 2015

At age six Deepa was cleaning and working for her family instead of attending school. Following … Read

Our Mission

ServLife International propels reconciliation and justice by building global community to plant churches, care for children and fight poverty.

Latest Tweet

PO Box 20596
Indianapolis, IN 46220
317.544.0484

© ServLife International, Inc.