Building global community.

Planting churches. Caring for children. Fighting poverty.

Blog

In Matthew 22 a lawyer approaches Jesus and asks what the most important law is. What does it all boil down to? What is the most important command in the entire bible? Jesus quotes Deuteronomy and Leviticus in a one-two punch of pentateuch proportions, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love God. Love people. That’s it. That’s what it all boils down to and should be the primary focus and aim of our lives. This axis of love prioritizes our lives, and the first informs the second. As we spend time in our loving relationship with God, he clarifies our mission to love others, to love our neighbor, to love strangers. Our “neighbor” is the family living next door and the family living on the other side of the world. Romans 12:13 and Hebrews 13:2 use the Greek word “philoxenia” which means showing love and hospitality to strangers.

I am grateful that you have embraced loving God and others, and have shown love to strangers on the other side of the world. Your love and investment has started churches in remote villages, provided education and care for children and orphans, and empowered families to escape extreme poverty through small business loans. Thank you for your love and generosity.

May we love God and others well, embracing both our next door neighbor and the stranger on the other side of the world.

Posted on October 13, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sanu, like many children in Nepal, was not afforded the opportunities every child deserves. Her parents moved to Kathmandu from their home in rural western Nepal in hopes of finding stable work. Her father found a job stitching clothing in a local shop. While it provided some income, his tireless work was not enough to fully support his wife and two daughters, and certainly did not allow them to pay the fees required to send the girls to school.

One day, Udaya Bhatta, Director of ServLife’s children’s ministry in Nepal, visited the family, and was struck by how meager their living conditions were. He knew he had to help ease their burden. “When I saw their house and their standard of living,” he recalls, “they were very poor and they had no food and other things were there, so I thought we can help with educational support for their children.” Udaya offered Sanu and her sister a scholarship so they could attend school, and her family gladly accepted.

Today, Sanu is in eighth grade and thriving. She loves the challenge of math, and when she is not studying or helping her parents, she is playing badminton and soccer. One day, she plans on using her education and life experience as a social worker, offering to others the same support that gave her the education she deserves.

The scholarships have also brought some financial relief to her family. Her father was recently able to save up and open his own sewing shop, increasing their income to a more sustainable level. Life is still far from easy, but the family sees hope, hope to break the ties of generational poverty. When asked about his dreams for his daughters, Sanu’s father reflected, “For them to have good jobs. That is what we hope.” Their hard work and the help of a ServLife scholarship put that hope well within reach.

For now though, Sanu is going to enjoy studying, playing and being a teenager, just like every child deserves.

Posted on October 13, 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

In the rural village of Thingan, Nepal, a small loan can go a long way. For the past seven years, ServLife’s microfinance program has been empowering families to escape extreme poverty by offering small, low interest loans to jump start family businesses. The village, which lies 28 miles south of Kathmandu, is dominated by agriculture. Most of the 365 households make a living through planting crops, raising livestock or running small shops.

Of those 365 households, 39 have already received a loan through the program and have begun moving out of poverty. Narayan, the village’s first recipient of a microloan, struggled for years to care for his family of seven. When he received a $900 loan, he purchased two buffaloes and began making butter to sell. The small business took off almost immediately, providing $400 a month, enough income to meet family’s needs and pay off the loan ahead of schedule.

Sita, one of the program’s most recent loan recipients, has seen success after only a month. After purchasing a buffalo, she has already seen a return on investment. “Since the beginning of the loan we have been making about eight dollars per day. We are getting lots of benefit now!” she reflects.

Ginger farming has also been a successful investment for several villagers. Padam, a local farmer, is about to see his first harvest. “I took the loan just a few months ago,” he notes. “Everything is now going well. Once I harvest, I am going to sell all my ginger to the market shops. When we received the loan, it helped us to work on a larger scale, so it really benefitted our family more.”

Krishna, another local ginger farmer, has seen the loan meet the needs of his wife and six kids. “It helps our family a lot, especially to buy food for the family,” he said.

The loans have been a small but impactful act of love in Thingan, and no one knows it better than its first recipient. Seven years after his loan, Narayan looks back on how the program has transformed the village. “Before microfinance, people were poor. They didn’t have money but after microfinance, they have money now. They can take care of their families. They can send their children to school.”

Posted on October 5, 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

When it comes to building global community, there is perhaps no better example than Mary Davis. When Mary passed away in 2014, she left a legacy of compassion, advocacy and selflessness. An attorney in Cleveland, she heard about ServLife in 2009 at Church of the Good Shepherd. She was so moved by the people of Nepal and ServLife’s microfinance program, that she soon began traveling to Thingan, Nepal and helped raise enough money to bring the microfinance program to the small village.

As a longtime partner with ServLife, Mary built lasting and loving relationships with her brothers and sisters in Nepal. Recently, several members of her Nepali family reflected on the impact she had on their lives.

Udaya Bhatta, Director of ServLife’s Nepal children’s ministry, remembers Mary with admiration. “Mary Davis was a loving lady, a godly lady. She had a godly heart,” he reflects.

From the time he first met Mary, he knew her love for Nepal was deeply sincere. “When she saw our children’s ministry here in Nepal, she really wanted to help more,” he said. “From then on, she started loving Nepal. She went to Thingan and she saw the poor families. I think she felt that from the bottom of her heart.”

For Udaya, Mary’s legacy is clear. “So many things I have learned from her. But one thing is…the vision that ServLife has, she had the same vision, building a global community.”

Ratna Ghale, ServLife’ pastor in Thingan, remembers her like family. “After Mary’s last visit, we heard that she had passed away,” he said. “It was very hard for us to believe because she became part of our family. Whenever she came here she stayed with us. She didn’t demand anything we didn’t have. She lived like we live here. She was like family to us.” This spirit of humility and equality is a true embodiment of all that ServLife does.

For Narayan Ghale, Mary’s life had a very tangible impact. He was the first recipient of a microloan after Mary helped raise funds for the program. “She was so compassionate for this village,” he remembers. “That’s why she brought up the idea of the loan for this village. Through her, we are so blessed.”

Now, when he looks around Thingan, he sees Mary’s legacy everywhere. “Before microfinance, people were poor. They didn’t have money but after microfinance, they have money now. They can take care of their families. They can send their children to school.”

Adam Nevins, Executive Director of ServLife, sees in Mary a life worth imitating. “Mary could have been focused on making big money as a lawyer. She could have been focused on the numbers as a donor. But she cared more about people than anything. She was a personal inspiration, and I want to be like Mary.”

“Mary had enough ‘can-do’ spirit to travel to Nepal, the world’s rooftop, to meet the people helped by the micro-loans from our donations,” Mary’s friend Carol Diedrichs-Himes reflects. “Mary was [an] irresistible force. No immovable objects could endure. And even now, she’s still a trailblazer, going ahead of us to heaven. Someday when we step across that threshold into The Light, guess who will have organized the welcoming committee on the other side.”

The ripples of Mary’s life are still felt around the world. She lived boldly, humbly and with boundless compassion. May we each have the courage to be like Mary.

Posted on September 29, 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

Pastor Ratna knows that faith and hope are often cultivated slowly. His life and his church bear witness to this. Twelve years ago, while Ratna was in school, he was introduced to the way of Jesus. After school, he eagerly returned to his village with new found faith. As he shared the message of Jesus, a small fellowship of believers emerged.

However, they soon discovered a problem. “There was no leader,” Ratna reflects. “I was the one who explained to them about Christianity even though I didn’t know a lot about it. But slowly the people grew in faith.” Together, the church learned what it means to follow Jesus. Soon, Ratna partnered with ServLife to receive pastoral training, and officially became the pastor of their church. What started with an encounter with Jesus led to an entire community of faith.

The slow cultivation of hope can be seen throughout their community. Tara came to Jesus, and Ratna’s church, after her son fell ill. At the age of two, he mysteriously began shivering, shaking and falling down frequently. Local doctors tried treating the symptoms, but he found no relief. When medicine failed, Tara turned to a witch doctor, who offered them only bad news. “He said the reason this happened was because a god is angry with us,” Tara recalls. “After he told us that, we did everything the witch doctor asked us to do but nothing changed, nothing helped.”

Running out of hope, Tara heard of a small community of Christians in the village, and brought her son to Pastor Ratna’s church for prayer. “He didn’t suddenly heal, but the situation changed,” she remembers. “We could see that the boy is different.” Slowly, his symptoms lessened and he regained strength.

The experience led Tara to Jesus, and showed her that, contrary to the witch doctor’s advice, she and her son are loved deeply by God. She can look back and see how far they have come. “Life also changed very much because of my child’s improvement. I am a Sunday School teacher now and serving the Lord in this church.”

Twelve years after Ratna first brought the message of Jesus, hope is still being cultivated.Ratna, Tara and the rest of the church continue to faithfully shine light in dark places, offering love, healing and community to all who seek it.

Posted on September 22, 2017 | Tags: , , ,

At the end of Psalm 27, David writes, “Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the Lord!” But he doesn’t write this from a mountaintop moment; he writes it in the middle of being pursued by enemies, shut out from the house of the Lord, having just parted from his father and mother, and being subject to slander. In the midst of these challenges, he turns to God as his source of strength and hope.

When I face challenges I am tempted to turn to Netflix, my guitar, ice cream and other vices. But nothing satisfies to give strength and hope like Jesus. I feel like I relearn this lesson over and over, and am grateful for God’s patience and acceptance. And amid the struggles of this ever changing world I have found Jesus to be the one and only constant and comfort.

Through your partnership with ServLife, you are helping to share this hope and strength with people in India and Nepal that desperately need it. Yes, we are helping in physical ways by feeding children, providing business loans and more, but at the core of everything we do is sharing the love and hope of Jesus. Thank you for being a part of this global community to have a transformative impact on pastors, children and families in India and Nepal!

May we find our hope and strength in Jesus, and generously share this hope with others.

Posted on September 21, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Felicia had no idea when she committed eight years ago to be an educational sponsor for a girl in rural west Nepal that one morning she would prepare to teach a seminar on art in education and turn around to see Isha’s face.

“I was always intrigued by that part of the world,” Felicia says as she remembers making her decision to sponsor Isha. “There were four or five packets laying out on the table for kids who did not yet have sponsors. Isha’s face grabbed me. She had spunk and attitude. “’That girl deserves a chance,’ I said.”

Isha was only five years old at the time, and Felicia realized that she could sponsor Isha from the beginning of her school career. Twice a year, Felicia sent a letter with news, stickers, and photos. A few months later, Isha responded.

Although Isha, a Hindu, knew that her sponsor was Christian, she would sometimes ask Felicia for prayer requests. Rather than feeling conflicted, Felicia felt at peace. “I learned to honor her understanding of God even though it was different than mine.”

Eight years later, Felicia was training teachers on a ServLife trip in Tikapur, rural west Nepal. There, she finally got to meet the young lady she had been sponsoring for nearly a decade.

“Do you recognize this girl?” Udaya, ServLife’s children’s ministry Director, said with a knowing grin. In an instant all of the pictures she had seen for the last eight years raced through Felicia’s mind. I have loved you for so long and you have no idea how much I love you! Felicia thought as she hugged the somewhat shell-shocked thirteen year old in front of her.

Reflecting on her experience, she notes, “I have something that I can do for another living being. Why wouldn’t I do it — even for one that I never thought I would meet?”

Why wouldn’t you?

Almost a hundred girls in Nepal are awaiting sponsorships through the ServLife partnership. To sponsor one of them, follow this link.

Posted on September 14, 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

My marriage turns 18 years old this month. Our last year of teenage marriage! As my wife and I discuss our next year of marriage we want to focus on generosity and hospitality per Romans 12:13, “Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home.”

It is easy for us to feel like we are doing enough in the area of generosity. We tithe and kick in extra here and there, and even treat friends to lunch sometimes. We support international work and local work, and give to our church first. But our generosity has become in some ways comfortable and not sacrificial as Paul mentions at the beginning of Romans 12. We can also feel distant and disengaged from our generosity when it is not coupled with hospitality and relationship, which leads to maturity in our love.

When Jesus talked about loving your neighbor in the sermon on the mount, he wrapped it up with a stark statement, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The greek word for “perfect” here is teleios (τέλειος). It means “brought to its end, finished, complete.” The same word is used in Ephesians 4:13 for becoming mature. I want to pursue this kind of mature, generous love.

I deeply appreciate the pursuit and maturity of your love and generosity with God’s people around the world. Because of you and your generosity, churches are being planted in small, remote villages. Orphans are being given a home. And families at the brink of extreme poverty have hope of a new life.

May we be more and more like our heavenly Father, complete in showing love to everyone.

Posted on August 18, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I could tell you about the elephant in the river we spotted from the bus window on the ride from Nepalgunj to Chisapani, or the thick, humid 107 degree heat and failing air conditioners at the conference center, or the cluster of children shouting “Bonnie, Bonnie,” from across the gulch. But none of those could capture the spirit of the 2017 ServLife teachers’ conference trip to Nepal.

In July, a group of eleven Americans traveled literally half-way across the world to present strategies and ideas to more than 130 Nepali teachers in the rural western Kailali District. The teachers’ conference was both an exciting new endeavor and a continuation of work that was started years ago. Like the solidly built but unfinished construction of the Moon Boon Villa Conference Center where we presented, we were also building on the work of the groups that came before us.

Workshops ranged from sensory motor preschool activities to science techniques to multiple intelligences to creative problem solving for administrators. Regardless of the topic, the teachers’ buzzed with enthusiasm as they received the message that they have value as professionals. This is a message ServLife began communicating at the first training event in 2013.

The twelve schools that attended the conference in 2015 grew to nineteen schools in 2017. Some of these teachers walked several miles each day to attend the conference — a conference that for many is their only professional development opportunity. Many of them were attending for the third time. By the third year, these teachers began to trust the crazy sweat-drenched Americans with a seemingly endless stream of flip charts who believe in Nepali teachers’ ability to make a difference.

In 2018, ten to twelve Americans will again travel to rural west Nepal to present seminars and build relationships. Are you being called to build the next piece of this bridge connecting educators across the globe? If so, you can get more information or apply here.

Posted on August 18, 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

We’ve moved! The new ServLife office is located at Switchboard in Fountain Square on the southeast side of downtown Indianapolis. Our physical address is now 735 Shelby St., Indianapolis, IN 46203 (and mailing address remains PO Box 20596, Indianapolis, IN 46220).

A ServLife donor is graciously covering 80% of our new lease for our two private offices. Switchboard also has desk leases and coworking memberships starting as low as $50/mo. To learn more contact Switchboard Director, Emily Vanest, at emily@switchboardindy.com.

Posted on August 4, 2017 |

Latest News

Pentateuch Punch

October 2017

In Matthew 22 a lawyer approaches Jesus and asks what the most important law is. What … Read

Hope and Strength

September 2017

At the end of Psalm 27, David writes, “Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your … Read

Featured Story

A Good Education

October 2017

Sanu, like many children in Nepal, was not afforded the opportunities every child deserves. Her parents … Read

Upgraded Status

October 2017

In the rural village of Thingan, Nepal, a small loan can go a long way. For … 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.