A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
In 2011, our family had moved to Bowie, Texas to study at Baptist Bible Translator’s Institute (BBTI). We were simply taking the next step of preparation for the mission God was leading us toward. While we were obediently in the way in submission to the Lord, He soon would give us more specific direction as to which country we would go.
While visiting Victory Baptist Church in Sunset, Texas one Wednesday evening, I was looking at the prayer letters on the wall. One in particular jumped out at me. It was a family working among TIBETANS in the country of Nepal! I had never heard of a missionary to the Tibetan people. I would soon learn that this family had also studied at BBTI where we currently were attending!
One day, while we were having a break between classes at BBTI, I walked by the office. The director, Dr. Rex Cobb stopped me and mentioned he had just gotten off the phone with that same missionary. He had been interviewing him for an article in the Lift Up Your Eyes quarterly. He said to me, “This man would be a person you could work with who needs help, as there are multiple languages he is working with. Many of the Tibetan people groups are without a Bible in their own language.” I thought, “Well, Brother Cobb isn’t the Holy Spirit. Does he really know God’s will for my life?”
Meanwhile, we had become friends with another couple, who were on staff at BBTI. They desired to travel to the difficult tribes in mountains of China…this would describe many Tibetans. They would definitely be a couple we would love to work with. We also learned about another family wanting to work with the people in Bhutan. Bhutanese also have many similarities to Tibetans.) It definitely seemed that the Lord was zeroing in on the area where we might work.
An interesting fact when considering the Unreached Peoples of the world is where the majority of the groups are located. Here is a list of the top five countries hosting the most unreached peoples in the world, according to Joshua Project:
An interesting note is that these countries are clustered together in Asia, with the Himalaya Mountains spanning at least four of them! I view this vast mountain range as a symbol of Satan’s last stronghold!
A couple months after we had moved to Texas, I had ordered materials on people groups in Asia. One calendar had pictures of various Tibetan groups. I had cut the pictures out and placed them on our living room wall. From time to time our kids would ask who they were, and I would tell them that they never heard about Jesus. They would respond with, “Well, we are missionaries, we can tell them!”
A couple more books my father-in-law told me about challenged my thinking once again. One was T4T: Training for Trainers by Ying Kai. This is an account of how multiple churches are quickly started and reproduced. This must happen with the many Tibetan groups. Another one was about vision from the life of Nehemiah. I am challenged to trust God for the impossible. I believe God wants every tongue, nation, kindred, and family to know Him (Revelation 7:9)
But they cannot believe unless they have a preacher. Perhaps I can go, or go reach some where I can, who can go to their home towns. I want to pray and ask God for labourers who will help see churches established in every Tibetan people group, see a believing family in every Tibetan town and village, and a Bible available in every language group.
Below is a stirring story about missionary James Fraser, who with a prayer band behind him and powerful God in front of him, saw the Lisu people of China miraculously reached with the Gospel!
God has been preparing me and building my faith through His Word. In the Gospels, Christ spoke about faith that can remove mountains. Certainly, work among Tibetans is a God-sized task that only He can perform! We simply need to believe God. Also, God has used the preaching of His Word to challenge me to trust in God. A recent message was preached on Gideon reminding me that God is an expert on doing the impossible with our minimal resources that He may get the glory!
For a while, we had been researching, contacting missionaries and asking where God wanted us to go as missionaries. One afternoon while out walking, I asked the Lord, “What do you want me to do? Where do you want us to go? Is it that I don’t know what you want; or do I know, but have not truly surrendered to it? Then the Tibetans came to mind, and it made sense. We who see the need must sow the seed! I realized that God wanted ME to do something about getting the Gospel to the Tibetan people. However, I knew it was impossible for me to do anything substantial to reach them. It seemed too hard, and perhaps, I was trusting in what I could do. But then it occurred to me God can do anything. The Lord assured me, “With me nothing is impossible!” What a huge burden that was removed off my shoulders, knowing that it was God who hath begun this work, and only He could complete it!
The Lord speaks in a still small voice. As a poster on the wall at the BBTI training center states, “Is He not calling, or am I not listening? In Luke 10:2, Christ directed His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into the harvest. Who will respond as Isaiah did and say, “Here am I Lord, send me”? It will be those who first obey Christ’s command in John 4:35 to “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields for they are white already to harvest.”
It was a Sunday night about the middle of February of 2011, when I was getting ready to go to sleep. I had already told Jamie how I believed God wanted us to work with the family in Nepal. I had emailed and spoken with the missionary there and we already had kindred hearts for the sake of the Gospel. As my wife and I spoke about the prospect of taking a survey trip – possibly after we finished our classes in May, she had an idea! I had learned by now, that when she has something to say, I better listen, especially if I don’t want to miss out on a blessing!
She said, why can’t you go visit Nepal during Spring Break? Then we don’t have to have somebody watch our kids. She was actually willing to follow me to Nepal sight unseen, if that was what God wanted for us! (Read my wife Jamie’s testimony of surrender here.)
I started to get excited. Spring Break was less than a month away. I called the missionary in Nepal the next day and mentioned I could come for about ten days in March! He said that was actually a really good time of the year to see the country of Nepal and he was already planning a hike into the mountains. Another Tibetan brother had recently bought a new camera and could shoot lots of footage that I could use for a presentation video.
In no time, I had purchased a round trip plane ticket to Nepal…$1,350 total including insurance. Now remember, we had no regular income, with the exception of our home church which was supporting us at $100 a month! I figured we had enough in our bank due to our tax return to cover the amount. I found out later, that it did not. My mom said she couldn’t wait to see how God would provide!
Well, as I would see firsthand, God supplies our needs through the least expected avenues. I had already received my passport in the mail after we had arrived in Texas. I had applied for it at least three months before that! But God knew when I needed it! Unsolicited, two checks arrived in the mail from Florida totaling $150 – just enough to cover the money I needed for my immunization shots. Then I found $90 cash one morning on the windshield of our minivan. Another anonymous gift showed up in our mailbox. A $20 gift came from a lady in Pennsylvania I have never met. This covered the love offering I sent the Fellowship Tract League for the tracts in six languages I had ordered!
For most of our second semester at BBTI, we had been attending a small church in Nocona, Texas. The dear people there loved us and we became closely attached, especially to Pastor Les Ryan and his family. When they found out we had purchased my plane ticket, he asked how much it had cost me. The following Sunday morning, he held a brief business meeting after the service; shortly afterward, he announced the good news that they were paying for my plane ticket and handed me a check for $1,350! We could hardly believe our eyes: God had provided yet again!