JonathanHe is a teacher, a builder, a technician, a handyman, a driver, and a quick learner no matter what you throw his way. He is one of the members of the leadership team at Bright Hope English School in India. Jonathan was born in a small village in Northern India. His “caste” would have prevented him from making any significant contribution to society, but he was born into a Christian family, so he never saw himself from the perspective of the caste system, but rather as a son of God…

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28).

Bright Hope English School is a Christian school that provides a free education for 100 minority girls in Northern India who would otherwise have very limited and difficult lives. We assist them by raising support for the girls ($40/month per girl). You can be a part of that by giving here.

Next week and through the first weeks in November, a team from Beaverton will have the privilege of coming alongside Jonathan and the amazing teachers at the school to encourage and teach. Please pray for the team and for the school!


We had 4 minutes to flee our home. It took 5 more minutes for the fire to consume it.” (Brent Blanchard, Oroville, WA)

IMG_1673The wildfires that burned throughout the West in the past months wreaked havoc on many communities, including north central Washington. Brent and Ashley saw a mushroom cloud of black smoke rising up from the other side of the mountain where they live.  The air was thick with smoke and it was hard to see what was going on. They didn’t even see visible flames until they were practically on top of them and then they had to flee their home.

IMG_1644Brent and Ashley, like 170 other families, lost their home to the Okanagan Complex fire – the largest wildfire in Washington State history. Overall 8.8 million acres burned in Washington State this year – three times as many as in California, which also saw a record wildfire season. When the media coverage is at its height it seems that everyone is sympathetic and wants to help those who have lost their homes.  But when the ash settles, most are left to work through a long recovery alone. Even when insurance is eventually going to help with replacement, it is a long time before life resembles anything normal.

The families who were hardest hit are not able to deal with the loss.  Many are living on the land and do not have clean sources of water.  They might have limited sanitation and no electricity.  And they are remote — very hard to get to. Brent and Ashley had a very nice home with electricity and all of the modern conveniences, but getting it rebuilt before winter is impossible. Temporary shelter comes to an end. Winter sets in.  Emergency funds run out. Hope fades.  Resources simply are not there.

IMG_1641Brent said they felt forgotten.  Who cares about a couple of folks living in the remote wilderness when the fires are long gone and the media left town?  But a pastor from a church in the area got a hold of him to tell him that a few folks from Oregon were coming up to help him build a shelter for the winter.  He was overwhelmed. Prayers were answered. God had not forgotten him. A miracle was taking place. People he had never met were coming from far away to help him. Sometimes prayers are answered in overalls and hard work.

Our Beaverton Foursquare construction teams are currently at work building. It has been encouraging to see the faith of Brent and Ashley. They cried many tears, but they did not complain. They felt abandoned by people but kept turning to God. They trusted in Jesus when calamity struck, believing that He would come through somehow. Like Habakkuk, they found a way to rejoice in the midst of trials…

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Brain Break

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 2.11.02 PMThe church will be alive with activity tomorrow. Barnes Elementary School has its In-Service Day. That means that the teachers are working, but the students have a day off. It occurred to us that we could help out the families and extend a message of Jesus’ love to the community by opening the church campus for an all-day science camp, which we call Brain Break. We are expecting 140 kids… we have many, many volunteers… and we are going to have a great day!

Foster Parents Night Out

FPNOTalk about Family on Mission! We have been serving foster parents in association with Washington County… it is called Foster Parents Night Out.  It is our way of extended the love of Jesus to people who are in the foster system and giving the parents a chance to have a night away.  We do this the first Saturday of each month with a group of servants who open their hearts and lend their hands to make it work.  Many thanks and much love to all who serve monthly with Foster Parent’s Night Out.

Reaching Southeast Nepal

AjayPastor Ajay is a husband and a father of two. We support his work in Nepal. He devotes his ministry time to planting churches in the primarily Hindu region of Southeast Nepal and to strengthening local church leaders. He travels from town to town on a motorcycle. His weekly travels take him to the dry plains and high into the mountains. In the past two weeks four churches in the area have been bombed by Hindu extremists. Fortunately, no one has been killed. But tension has been rising in the area since the government ratified a secular constitution. Many Hindus wanted Nepal to be declared a Hindu nation. In response there have been growing threats and violence. Pastor Ajay says he is not fearful. Will you please pray for Pastor Ajay and for brothers and sisters in Southeast Nepal? Pray for the end of violence. Pray that regardless, the Gospel will continue to go forth in that region by their faithful, steadfast presence.

He Chose This Life


He sees possibilities in this humble school that others might miss. When asked what his goals were, Bright Hope Headmaster Ruben Mizar (pictured at the right) replied, “I want to make this the best school in India.” That’s not just naked ambition, but a Spirit-led sense of possibility about what Bright Hope English School could become with God’s blessing.

Founded by his Aunt Premila more than ten years ago, the school has become a jewel nestled among the tea gardens of Siliguri, India in West Bengal. It serves the poorest young girls in the surrounding villages with a first class English education. It’s the proverbial golden ticket—a chance at a life beyond virtual slavery in the tea gardens or a nearby plywood factory.

India’s poor have few options and no one knows that better than Ruben. Based on his ethnicity and social status, his options would normally be very limited, but Ruben was fortunate to receive a good education. Rather than use that to his advantage, he chooses to serve at Bright Hope.

It’s that kind of passion that attracted Missions Pastor Mark Nicklas to the school. He observed, “They’re commitment is second to none. Their motivation is the Gospel—most of the girls who study there come to faith in Christ—but they’re resource constrained. That’s where we can help.”

In the last five years, Beaverton Foursquare has vastly improved the property, creating new residential space, new classrooms, clean water systems, and enhanced security for the girls. Commenting on the progress, Nicklas observes, “We’ve come a long way, but there’s more work to do and more opportunity to realize God’s Kingdom in this most unlikely of places.”

It’s the same thing Ruben sees.

You can also partner with us to support the work at Bright Hope School.


SomaliFah is bellicose and says whatever enters into his mind. Ahm is introspective and carefully chooses his words. Both 12 year-old Somali boys were with me in the front of the bus. We were talking about Ramadan, which is happening now.  

Fah, in a voice much louder than it needed to be, boasted, “We fast for 50 days for Ramadan. You Christians don’t fast.”

“We do,” I answered. “I am even fasting tomorrow.”

“No you’re not,” Fah insisted.

Ahm’s curiosity was peaked, “You do?”

“Yes. Many Christians fast regularly.  We even have a 40 day fast. It is in the spring and culminates on Resurrection Sunday, one of our most holy days. We call it Lent.”

“So you fast from sunrise to sunset?” Ahm asked.

“No, tomorrow I will fast completely from morning until morning the next day.” 

“Wow, we get up before sunrise to eat as much as we can and then eat right after the sunset. Why do you fast?”

“I fast because I want to. I want to take a day to set food and other distractions aside so I can focus on Jesus,” I said.  

“That is the heart of Ramadan,” said Ahm, “we are supposed to remove distractions, focus on God, and change our attitude towards other people.” 

“What happens if you don’t fast?” I asked.

“You get in trouble,” Fah blurted. 

“It is allowed in some cases, but you are always supposed to do it after you are 15 years-old.” Ahm clarified. “What is Lent?”

“For 40 days we fast. Not all Christians do it though—like not all Muslims fast for Ramadan.” I explained, “We usually try to sacrifice something that specifically distracts us. Some people give up television. Some give up Internet games. Some give up a food group.”

“That’s not real fasting!” interrupted Fah.

“I didn’t know Christians fasted,” Ahm responded.

That led to a conversation about what Christians believe. Ahm was asking thoughtful questions and Fah was interrupting with senseless boasts and taunts.

This year, our fifth, is a breakthrough year for our soccer camp. We have been serving kids in the community for whom a soccer camp like this would not be possible. And after five years we know these kids. We’ve watched them grow up. Alan and I can have a conversation like this because he has learned to trust me. What had been very foreign to him is now seen on familiar terms. As an ambassador of Jesus, I first enter into another culture with an attitude of serving. Then I give expression to the beatitudes as Jesus taught.

This is why we have come to such a breakthrough. There is trust. The kids are curious about who we are and why we do what we do. In fact, this year a few of the kids who aged-out of camp (turned 15) have returned to serve as coaches and helpers. It is our hope that some of these kids will come to know Jesus and will one day carry the gospel to their own kindred.


“Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me” (Grace Like Rain by Todd Andrew)

SportsTodd Andrews restyled the classic hymn Amazing Grace and added the chorus above. It is a celebration of God’s grace pouring down on the life of redeemed sinners and bringing new life to thirsty hearts.

And so it rained. The kids huddled under umbrellas at the afternoon break on the first day of camp. But when the break was over they were back to the game while it continued to pour.

We just returned from 8 days in China. We partnered with Haidian Church to put on a soccer camp. We do these annually in Beaverton as an outreach to the community. They are first rate. With partners like the Beaverton School District, Tektronix, Adidas and Nike we serve mostly immigrant kids for whom such a camp would be cost prohibitive. Last year Pastor Peter Wu asked us if we would be willing to run such a camp at his church in Beijing and teach his volunteers how to run it. And so we did.

Sports are an international language — today as well as in ancient times. The Apostle Paul was a sports fan. He grew up in the city of Tarsus (Acts 22:3) and spent another 10 years there after his conversion (Acts 9:30; 11:35). Ancient Tarsus was a city with palaces, marketplaces, roads and bridges, baths, fountains and waterworks, a gymnasium, and a stadium. Paul’s allusions to races, boxing and games are evidence of a sports channel clicker from another era (1Corinthians 9:24-27). He used sports to illustrated values, training, perseverance and triumph. Sports have an amazing way of bringing disparate people together to focus on the same thing. How much more so the Kingdom of God ­— so it was fitting that we combined the two with our sister church in Beijing.

We have enjoyed an amazing relationship with Haidian Church over the years — one built on mutual trust and encouragement. This is the beauty of Jesus’ family… it is not based on bloodline, but on blood — the blood of Jesus Christ. By it he set us free from the sin and death and brought us into communion with God and one another. The New Testament is about this new family – the church – the followers of Jesus – from every nation, tongue and tribe. Its evidence is our love for one another, which crosses every cultural barrier that might have existed otherwise. It is the very love of God. Jesus said, “…by this all men will know you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)

Grace like rain poured down on us from every direction. It was as palpable as the afternoon deluge on the first day of camp. We felt the prayers of people back home. We felt the love of our brothers and sisters in China. We saw evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in divine appointment after divine appointment. We were carried along in a veritable capsule of the Holy Spirit the whole time we were there. And we enjoyed the kind of love that Jesus said would be unique to the body of believers.

I will close with Paul’s Letter to the Romans. As a prelude to an anticipated visit he wrote words that say much of what I would like to say to my Chinese friends…

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:8-15)


SikhOn a recent flight to India I had the privilege of sitting next to a man from Canada who was traveling to his hometown in Punjabi. He had immigrated to Canada when he was in high school 20 years ago. He has a business in one of the British Columbia/USA border towns and was doing quite well. In casual conversation we hit it off. He is a rabid hockey fan, so we had lots of banter about teams and players. He was a Sikh.

So I asked him about Sikhism, something of which I was unfamiliar. I knew it was neither Hinduism nor Islam, but not much more than that. For the next hour he patiently endured my questions as I asked him to explain his beliefs. He admitted to being a bit of a cultural Sikh rather than a devoted follower, but nonetheless considered himself Sikh. He certainly knew the history of his faith and the foundational tenants. I asked him what it is about Sikhism that makes him retain his Sikh identity even though it is more traditional than spiritual. He said it is the sense of morality and justice.

I learned that Sikhs are monotheistic. They believe that the spiritual life cannot be separated from the secular life. They value sharing, hospitality and the equality of all people, rejecting discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, or gender. They believe that honest work honors the divine one – that a creative and practical life of truthfulness, faithfulness, self-control and purity is more holy than a purely contemplative one. They abhor the destructive influence of The Five Thievesego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust.

Sikhism had its start at the dawn of the 16th century by the teaching of a man named Guru (Teacher) Nanak, the first of 10 successive teachers who have shaped the religion. His concept of God is that he is the shapeless, timeless, sightless creator who spoke the world into existence. He is omnipotent. They believe that though he is beyond human understanding, God is knowable. They believe that through meditation God reveals himself and communicates with his people. They believe they can be in spiritual union with God. They believe in a kind of karma, but also believe grace is the means to salvation. They believe all paths lead to God, so they are pluralistic regarding their acceptance of other faiths.

I thanked him for helping me understand Sikhism and he in turn asked me what I believed. I said I was a Christian and he asked me why I believed in it. I asked him to first tell me what he knew of Christianity. The only thing he knew was that Christians were the ones who made his life a living hell when he first arrived in Canada as a high school immigrant. I asked him if that is what he thought all Christians were like and he said he never had any interest in finding out more. I assured him that I knew many Christians that would have been appalled at their behavior and would have treated him with respect. I also said that we would do so because we share many of the values he said were important to him. He then began to ask me questions.

In Trustworthy Rivals: On an Alternative Path to Multi-Faith Discourse, Paul Metzger warns…

“Interfaith or multi-faith discourse can easily fall prey to agreeing to agree on everything, even where there are significant differences. Such agreement and affirmation may come across as disingenuous at worst, naïve and exaggerated at best. As I have had to tell various people of non-Christian faith communities over the years when engaged in such discourse, we are not saying the same thing.”

I was able to talk to him about points of agreement regarding our beliefs, but also about irreconcilable differences. He was fascinated with the Triune God who invites us into relationship, something God Himself has already known eternally in the Trinity – that love was not something created later with which to communicate with His creatures. He thought it answered something missing in Sikhism. We talked about forgiveness a lot, which moved him. We talked about Jesus, who revealed the love of the Father. He thanked me for letting him ask so many questions. He said he was touched by the Gospel as I shared it.

We will never be heard unless we listen – and do so with genuine interest. You may be surprised at the points of agreement that lead to greater discussion. Then when we discuss the differences as trustworthy rivals we are not simply refuting their beliefs, but clarifying our own.