Quietly he steps out of his small house, walks over to his scooter, checks the fuel level, sighs and pushes the starter.  As he slowly drives around two dogs sleeping in the dusty street, he wonders what happens tomorrow when he can’t go to the market to buy food for his family.  He will be out of fuel by then. He smiles, says a quick prayer reminding the Lord of his need and drives down the road, taking several turns, eventually stopping  in front of a dark door.

A young boy sitting in the dirt near the door, looks at him and stands up.  The pastor smiles, says, “is daddy home?” and the boy runs inside calling for his father.  A young man steps out and quietly welcomes the pastor. Arm on the young father’s shoulder, the pastor spends an hour with him,  praying for this young man, a new widower.  Somewhere as he shares the words of Psalm 91,

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

… “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”

the pastor feels the Lord’s warm hand on his shoulders, reminding him that as he is caring for His sheep, God will care for his needs.  Later that day, one of the members of his church walks down the road, now filled with late afternoon shafts of warm light and puts some money in the pastors’s hand.  He apologizes that it isn’t more, but what he doesn’t know is that it’s exactly enough for the pastor to fill his gas tank.  The pastor smiles, thanks him. His raw faith has once again been met with grace and provision. He straightens his shoulders and looks through a window into his house and meets his wife’s eyes.

For pastors who work with the very poor worldwide, these days are especially challenging. COVID is leaving a brutal economic trail. There are no human guarantees, no government safety net.  But this is not our home, is it?  We are merely pilgrims passing through.  During these days, we are privileged to walk alongside these heroes and help them in their journey of caring for the Bride of Christ.

Pastor Appreciation Month is October. Where would we be without our under-shepherds?  Those God has chosen to lead his people, in large communities or tiny villages. Indigenous Ministries continues to encourage, train and assist national pastors with the purpose of standing by the local, national church, pastored by these pastors.

The IM Global Church Planting Initiative (GCPI) arm of the ministry provides church planting guidance and assistance to national pastors.  We stand with them in difficult areas of the world, helping them so they are able to remain faithful to their flocks.  It may mean a salary for a period of time ( until the church has become solid and able to support the pastor. It may mean attending pastors’ conferences for continual encouragement and pastoral education during challenging days. At times it means emails and phone calls.

Each year Indigenous Ministries invites (national) pastors to attend our National Pastors’ Conferences overseas.  We’re preparing right now for a blessed 2021 season, Lord willing. Watch for these opportunities to join us in prayer and to provide financial scholarships making it possible for local pastors can attend.  We also invite US pastors to join us overseas to teach.  For more information, please visit IM’s website.

We are privileged to have faithful donors who give to the GCPI fund and help national pastors each month.  If you have a special place in your heart for your pastor, don’t forget to say an encouraging word to him.  Maybe God is nudging, leading you to stand with us in stepping up for the under-shepherds in the Middle East, India and the Philippines.  We’d be privileged to welcome you onboard as a prayer and/or financial partner!       

        – Dee A. Cook, pastor’s wife for 26 years

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