Just before I flew to Iraq last month, we held our IM Board Meeting in Colorado. You may remember last month’s Colorado epic snow “Bomb” -this unusual weather extended our meeting as the board and Dee and I were snowed in together for almost two days at our home.  It allowed us more time to talk and pray together seeking the Lord for a wide number of pressure points in both growth and also in effectiveness.

As we were sharing the needs we’re encountering, Craig Miller made the statement, “Are you seeing the growth that the Lord has accomplished here?!” We stopped in acknowledgement of God’s faithfulness and the successes His hand has brought on IM, and thanked the Lord… Indigenous Ministries has been growing  exponentially.  We are truly in awe of what God is doing and praise Him and thank Him.  

Yet we do have growth pains as we work to respond to situations that go beyond the scope of even the abilities of massive organizations such as the U.N. and many global charitable organizations.  For some of these situations, we cannot do anything, but for others, we truly sense that the Lord has us strategically positioned for effective response, and we should continue to respond for as long as the Lord opens the doors. 

I remember the story of Mother Teresa bathing a small child who had been left at the door of her orphanage in Calcutta. Several Hindu priests laughed at her, “You care for one child, yet there are tens of thousands left to starve.” She turned to them and said, “This is true, but we have saved one.” Her next quote also rings in my head, “If you cannot feed 100 children, begin by feeding one.” This rings true to me personally because my grandparents also served in Calcutta and knew Mother Teresa; they too lived their lives valuing each and every one the Lord brought to them to help in those difficult days. He provided for every need they had.

Exponential growth in the Refugee Child Sponsorship Program.  We began this program in August 2017 with 10 children. We ended 2018 with 233 children, and all but 10 sponsored. As the program continues to expand in 2019, community leaders, as well as the children and their families are responding to the practical aid and the gospel. Dozens of families share how our child sponsorship program is making a huge impact in their lives and they are hearing of the love of Christ.  They state with tears in their eyes how when their children first entered the program, how thin they were as the result of a lack of nutritious food. They show me with pride the good scores on report cards from their children’s efforts in school.  This is also as a direct result of the funds for backpacks you’ve helped provide.  You are making an incredible difference in the lives of children, families and the church. The fruit of our labors is there and God is blessing.


John & one of our refugee boys in our program outside of Mosul, Iraq

Exponential growth in the church plant.  If you’ve been following our ministry in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, you’ll remember that we partner with a local church plant.  We are watching a transformation with this church.  Three weeks ago was an incredible step in the life of this church, as three bus loads of Syrian refugees arrived at the church – on a Tuesday – they were there to organize into small groups for discipleship.  Each person there was as a result of our Child Sponsorship or Iraq Relief!  Not too long ago, this was a struggling small church that now cannot fit all the people into the building at one time… God is using this ministry – that includes you as you have prayed and given – in partnership to bless this church in meeting the needs of both Iraqi and Syrian Refugees…In turn, the pastor and people are answering this call in faithfully administering the grace of God to the hurting and the oppressed. Three months ago they put two men onto their newly formed board. Then, today, we walked on the land today that is being given to the church by the government for a base for our outreach ministry here, Lord willing. 

Rapid Response.  One of the areas that we as a board are praying about is the ability to have resources which will allow us to respond to needs rapidly. God has placed us as a ministry in a region of the world that is by it’s nature, volatile.  The political and religious winds change in a short period of time, sometimes in hours.  In this short time, tens of thousands of lives are deeply impacted.  

We have teams in place to meet needs on the frontlines; to respond and be the hands and feet of Christ in places where most ministries are not able to move about. We’ve  already put in the legwork of four hard years setting logistics up.  We are so blessed to have wonderful team members who ministry faithfully. This gives the unique advantage to respond rapidly and effectively.  But we need the resources to back our teams up. They can become tired and overwhelmed and need breaks. We must carefully take steps to be even better prepared.  Better prepared for the ongoing needs we can plan on, as well as the urgent and emergency needs only God knows are coming.

I wonder if I can ask you something. We as a board and staff are praying for people to help this year and for the next three years over and above what they are already giving with a gift of $1,000 per year.  This is for the specific purpose of being ready to respond to the needs we are presented.  

We need 100 families to help us with a gift of $1,000.  Already $15,000 has come into this fund, for which I am enormously grateful. This will enable us to respond rapidly to meet the needs of people in areas like north Iraq.  It will also assist us in the Colorado Springs office to fund the salaries of people who are so very vital to facilitate Indigenous Ministries’s effective and rapid responses. 

Would you be willing to pray with us to meet this need?  I am asking you to join with us in partnering for a $1,000 gift.  Giving $250 per quarter may be more convenient for you.  I would be so appreciative as you give any amount you feel the Lord is leading you to engage with. 

If you could help us with a gift of $1,000 in the Rapid Response Fund how thankful we would be, first to the Lord and then to you.  God is calling refugees to Himself at this time in history in the Middle East and I know He’s using us together to accomplish this.  Maybe you’d like to invest your tax return into something that will bring eternal dividends.  Or maybe this will be a step of faith on your part in other ways.  

To respond to this need, please visit our website, IndigenousMinistries.org and in the Donate link to the right, click on the “Rapid Response Fund.” Thank you for your prayers and financial gifts that have brought us to this point.  We could not be here without you.  May the Lord bless you. You are turning hearts to the Lord of Hosts, who watches over them day and night, and who responds and answers them when they call.

God bless you,

John

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