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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 |

Eight years ago, Ratna Kami’s life was spiraling out of control. He lived in a small, rural village in mid-western Nepal that was entrenched in poverty. The little money Ratna had went to feeding his excessive appetite for alcohol and gambling. On top of all of that, he was a member of the untouchable caste, placing him on the bottom rungs of society. Just when things seemed at their worst, he fell drastically ill. He experienced heart problems, joint pain and mental illness.

His village was largely out of reach of western medicine, and the traditional remedies of local witch doctors had no effect. His search for healing took him to India, where he spent thousands of rupees, only to be told to go home and wait for his impending death. Upon returning home, his condition worsened. He began convulsing in his sleep and his entire body would swell. All hope seemed lost.

As Ratna ran out of options, his nephew began to tell him about Jesus. He soon chose to follow Jesus and met regularly with local believers. Slowly, as his spiritual life took shape, his physical and mental illnesses subsided. He experienced gradual healing in the consistent love of God.

At first, his village was hostile to the message of Jesus, but after seeing the radical transformation of Ratna’s life, their hearts opened. Today, over 85% of the village has begun to follow Jesus. This has led to both personal and communal transformation. The village’s propensity for excessive alcohol consumption and gambling had led to a high rate of violence but as more and more villagers began following Jesus, they traded their fighting for the bonds of community.

Of course, many challenges remain for Ratna and his village. The community still suffers under crippling poverty, and is in need of increased educational, labor and development resources. But now they can face these challenges with deep roots in the love of God and a love for each other. And it all started with a sick, untouchable man at the end of his rope opening his life to the way of Jesus.

Posted on August 1, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeIn Philippians 4:5 Paul encourages his friends and us to “let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people.” The Greek word for gentleness here is “epieikēs,” which means suitable, equitable, fair and gentle. There seems to be a compassionate yet bold act of justice wrapped up in this one word.

It is easy for me to err on either side of this word and miss the balance of compassion combined with right action. But when we embrace equitable compassion, we dive deeper into the work of kingdom justice. As Ken Wytsma puts it, “justice involves harmony, flourishing, and fairness.”

Through your partnership with ServLife, you have created global harmony in ways that would not be possible without your generosity. Your support has rescued children from homelessness and given them a family. It has also provided empowerment through education to create fair employment opportunities. You have supported pastors who preach the love and hope of Jesus at their weekend service. Then on Monday they travel to visit villagers to help with their children, their sick, their businesses, and their well being. You have invested in families to create equitable business loans so they can provide for their own families. Your engagement in gentleness to people on the other side of the world has changed lives.

May we fully engage in justice both in right action and right compassion. May we grow in gentleness and love, and may God’s kingdom flourish in and through our lives.

Posted on July 31, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeIn Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon speaks to the rhythms of life. “There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens: a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted…a time for crying and a time for laughing…”

I wish it was always a time for birth, always a time for planting, always a time for laughing, always a time for peace. But that is not the reality of life. Loved ones pass away. Hard work sometimes fails. The burdens of life can be crushing. Friends fail us. As we follow Jesus, he does not make everything easy, but he can leverage everything for good and he never leaves our side. And he calls us to be about his work and love.

Thank you for never leaving the side of the orphan. Thank you for planting seeds of hope and salvation. Thank you for empowering families to recover from financial ruin. Thank you for supporting pastors, children and families on the other side of the world through their challenging and joyful seasons of life. Your steadfastness echoes God’s love and brings about His peace.

May we embrace every season of life and walk with others through their winters and laugh with others through their summers.

Posted on June 25, 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeIn Matthew 5:16 Jesus says to “let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” In the beginning, God created light. Then Jesus came and said that He was the light, and if we follow Him we will have the light of life. Then before leaving earth Jesus says that his followers, you and me and the family of God, are the light, because we are the incarnation of Jesus to the world.

Jesus’ invitation to let light shine through us is central to our mission and purpose in life. I imagine this light of love and life shines like a lighthouse lamp, piercing the darkness with the power of a million candles to project over 40 miles. And at other times it is a lone tipping candle, bowing to light the wick of another. On a clear night, even one lone candle can be seen up to 30 miles away.

Your light has spread to the other side of the world and it shines brightly. It shines in the smile of a child who just learned to read. It shines in the recently healed widow, just baptized into the way of Jesus. It shines in the family in a remote village eating a full hearty meal provided by their new small business. Your tilted candle is spreading and shining the light of Jesus in some of the darkest places in the world and their lives will never be the same. Thank you for your illuminating love and life.

May we continue to shine and spread the light and love of Jesus.

Posted on May 31, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Latest News

Hope and Strength

September 2017

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

Complete

August 2017

My marriage turns 18 years old this month. Our last year of teenage marriage! As my … Read

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Church of Hope

September 2017

Pastor Ratna knows that faith and hope are often cultivated slowly. His life and his church … Read

Face to Face After Eight Years

September 2017

Felicia had no idea when she committed eight years ago to be an educational sponsor for … Read

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