ministry

She Will Never Be The Same

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Anaya’s overwhelmed breathing subsided and was replaced with peaceful inhales and exhales. Her entire demeanor changed. Ellie saw a calm come over her friend as Anaya took a moment with her eyes closed, soaking it all in. Anaya described how Jesus was reaching for her. Her life was changed forever.*

Ellie lives in the Middle East. She recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of living in her new home and praises God’s provision of relationships and opportunities to share the Gospel in such a short time. One such connection is with Anaya, a woman who is from another Middle Eastern country but was living in Ellie’s city for work. The pair began spending time together in a bigger group of women who regularly meet up to make new friends in the city and do fun activities.

Many women in the group, including Anaya, have expressed to Ellie their unique experiences of encountering either Christianity or Jesus himself. “Each girl is from somewhere different in an unreached people group,” Ellie shared. “What a gift to walk alongside them in friendship and point in them in the direction of what their heart is unknowingly longing for!”

Ellie shared that one girl had a dream of Jesus when she was 9 years old but didn’t realize who he was until Ellie’s teammate showed her evidence in the Bible. Another woman learned about Jesus in the past while she lived in the States for a time with believers and seems to be open to learning more. Ellie asked a different woman in the group if she felt like she was in right relationship with God, or if she felt stuck in brokenness and she responded with, “I feel like I am always trying to live up to something and to be good, but I still feel lost.”

In the last year, Anaya lost her job and was unable to find another in their city. Shortly after she formed a friendship with Ellie, she was informed that she would have to return to her home country as she was unable to obtain a work visa. Anaya struggled with fear, anxiety and paranoia from the stress of her circumstances as well as relational hurts she carries from her past.

Two days before she was supposed to leave the country, she was overwhelmed from the demands of packing for her return. Ellie and one of Ellie’s Christian friends invited Anaya to store some of her belongings at Ellie’s apartment. Anaya accepted the invitation and arrived at her apartment, filled with worry and anxiety.

Ellie and her friend invited Anaya to stay for coffee and before she needed to leave, the girls asked to pray over her. After they laid hands on their friend, they prayed and repeated the Gospel to her. They asked God to reveal himself to Anya and they rebuked the enemy in Jesus’ name over Anaya’s pain and fear.

Anya wept as the two women prayed. They knew God was moving in Anaya’s life. They told her how it says in scripture, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  

Through tears, Anaya said she believed! Ellie and her friend were overjoyed! They were amazed to see how God was moving right in front of them. Ellie asked Anaya what she was thinking and feeling in that moment.

Her breathing calmed, and she responded, “I see Jesus coming towards me like a light. I see him putting his hand on my head like he is protecting me … I feel like he is hugging me … I feel so light … I feel like all of the weight on my shoulders has been lifted and that I never have to worry again - that everything is going to be okay because of him.”

Ellie shared that it was a moment when God reminded her of his control, “That he gives us the gift of being a part of watering the seed, but that God does all the growth. I could have never convinced her to follow Jesus, it was all God.”

Anaya had to return to her home country two days later. Ellie and her friend will reach out and find a community there who will disciple and care for Anaya. They ask for prayer over this new sister in Christ and her growth as she steps into her new life. Praise and honor be to the one who uses us as instruments for his purposes. How gracious he is for using Ellie at the perfect time, bringing her through one year of life in this place just like he brought Anaya, so that in his time, another sister would hear, believe and know his immense love for her.


*All names changed for security

God's Heart for You

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When Jack and Laura arrived in Central Asia, they were open to the unknown as they entered two years of language learning and ministry-team building. It all began as they awaited the arrival of their firstborn son.

They gained their bearings. In the early stages of their transition, new sights, sounds and smells became more familiar. Jack and Laura* began to recognize neighborhood faces on frequently-traveled streets that lead to and from home. This was their life, their new normal. Then, they suffered a miscarriage.

In the months that followed, Laura’s hope spiraled downward. “I felt like the only person I had here was [Jack]. My [language] wasn’t there yet. We didn’t know our team leaders well before we came.” She said she wondered in those moments if God even cared about her.

In her darkest hours, Jack spoke truth of the Lord’s promises and character to her. “He never thought less of me and we became closer through it,” she said.

Months later, the couple was ecstatic to learn they were pregnant with their daughter. She was born in October 2017 and they gave her a name which means, ‘life.’

Shortly after she was born, amidst the excitement and the praise for their new joy, Jack began to feel increasing loneliness. The thoughts and feelings which brought him lower came and went but he said the way he felt in their second year of living in this country was significantly worse than their first.

The ever-present reminder that Jack was not in a culture or language he knew, with few friends other than his family, was paired with emotional wounds from his childhood he did not realize would affect him. 

“It’s hard remembering you do have a purpose when the day is menial or tedious,” he said. There were moments he could emotionally engage and be mentally present but then other times he simply could not.

Then, in a conversation with a friend, the couple was reminded of something they were told many months before.

The Lord brought you here not just for Central Asians. He brought you here to draw your heart closer to Him as well.

The trials which bring growth and perseverance only continue and at times are more stressful when living in a completely different context. Hearing friends’ and family’s encouragement from the States filled the couple with hope. Wisdom and love shared from near and far helped Jack and Laura to press through severe struggles, doubts and bouts of loneliness.

Through The GO Fund’s Ropeholder Event, after conversing with friends about who the unreached are and about the unfinished task, participants will have the opportunity to learn ways they can specifically pray for partners like Jack and Laura. Then, they can record themselves as a group and send videos of encouragement to the field workers they prayed for. 

It’s an event that not only brings you closer to understanding God’s heart for the nations, but also his heart for those who have gone out to them.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 1:4-8

Jack and Laura are now finished with their intensive language program and they continue to grow in their understanding of Central Asian culture. Jack has been working through parts of his past that need healing. Their family joyfully pursues ministry opportunities and have seen the Lord consistently bring people into their path who are seeking truth. They are also expecting the birth of their second child in November.


*Names changed for security