Ten years! What’s next?

A couple weeks ago marked the tenth anniversary of TIBM as a chartered church.*  We praise God for bringing us this far!  We also thank Him for crossing our paths with so many people from different places and backgrounds and for letting us see some of His wonderful work along the way.

Continue reading “Ten years! What’s next?”

Needing a New Worship and Ministry Space: Update!

Last summer, the building used by many of TIBM’s ministries and congregations was sold, becoming no longer available.  So far, the Lord has not yet provided one worship and ministry space where we can all meet.  Please continue to pray for this need.  Here is what is going on now:

Tensae Church is meeting on Sundays in another church building.  For their Bible studies and prayer meetings, they must meet in people’s homes.  Pastor Talargie does not have an office to meet people or to prepare sermons.  Please pray that the Lord will provide for Tensae’s needs for space for all weekly activities.

For much of the time since last summer, Karen Baptist Church met in people’s homes for their worship services.  Most of the weeks, they had one meeting in the Wheaton area and another in the Aurora.  About one Sunday a month, they tried to all meet together.  Very recently, Karen Baptist Church began meeting in another church building.  Pray that this new location will work out well and that new, mutually edifying partnerships will form.  Pray also that the Lord will multiply gifts as the church members save toward purchasing a building.

ESL met outdoors by apartment complexes during the summer but did not continue classes during the fall or winter due to a lack of space.  Similarly, International Youth Group met outside in a park as long as they could before the weather became too cold.  Please pray that God will provide a suitable space for English classes and youth group.  Pray also that He will provide more workers for both ministries.

Perspectives, Scattered Yeshu Bhaktas, and Toronto Partners

TIBM’s pastor Cody is on another road trip for the next week and a half (or so).  Here’s what he is up to and how you can pray:

1) Perspectives class coordinator training (Conway, AR) – The Perspectives class is a great opportunity for people to learn about God’s heart for missions and how they can become involved.  Our denomination’s local association wants to be able to offer the class regularly so that more of our members can receive some missions training.  Cody becoming a class coordinator moves the association closer to that goal.

Please pray that the coordinator training will be an encouraging and fruitful time for Cody and the other attendees.  Pray also that the Lord will raise up others in the association to become coordinators as well.  Ask the Lord of the harvest to use the Perspectives class in Chicagoland to send forth more workers.

2) Visiting scattered Yeshu bhaktas (Louisville, Pittsburgh, Buffalo) – Some of the Bhutanese Nepali Yeshu bhaktas (devotees of the Lord Jesus) who used to live in Chicagoland now live in various cities around the States.  There are not many opportunities for most of these young brothers and sisters to worship God in a Nepali style.

Please pray that Cody will have a good time of fellowship with them.  Pray that their time together will lead to these Yeshu bhaktas being strengthened and encouraged.

3) Meeting with partners (Toronto) – In the past few years, we have developed relationships with several individuals and organizations located in Toronto, another major diaspora city.  Cody will be meeting with various people, including MoveIn leaders, to continue building these partnerships.

Please pray that the Spirit will guide these meetings.  Pray that the information and experiences shared will be helpful for advancing Christ’s kingdom in Chicagoland, Toronto and beyond.  May the Lord be pleased with the unity of brothers and sisters.

4) Discipling travelling companions – Cody is accompanied by his oldest son and one of his Nepali sisters.  Pray that their time together will be centered on Christ and that their conversations will be marked by the Spirit.  Pray that these younger followers of Jesus will take opportunities in each city to share how God has worked in their lives.

Needing a New Worship and Ministry Space

Last week, TIBM was informed that we have until late June to vacate the church building that we have used since 2006.  (The building was sold to another church.)  We must now quickly look for a space (or spaces) to accommodate our ESL ministry, the International Youth Group, Tensae Church, Karen Baptist Church, and TriEak Parmeshwar Mandali.  We would greatly appreciate your frequent prayers for this situation until the Lord provides the space.

First, we praise God for blessing us with the use of the former building for the past seven years.  We thank God for the way these churches and ministries were able to present the good news of Jesus Christ multiple times each week and to grow spiritually over time.  We praise God that many people from all over the world who had never heard the Truth before walked into that building and meaningfully encountered Truth.

Second, we grieve over the lack of unity and brotherly love which led to the current situation.  We humbly ask God to reveal in what ways we have grieved the Spirit that we might repent & receive forgiveness.  May the light of Christ shine into the hearts and relationships where there has been miscommunication, cross-cultural misunderstanding, and misplaced priorities.  We ask our heavenly Father to rip out any roots of bitterness.  We ask the Lord, by God’s grace, to bring a new sense of unity and sacrificial love to His people.

Finally, we ask God give us a deeper trust of His provision for all our needs.  May we not rely on our strength and resources (or panic) but constantly seek His face and His kingdom (and believe).  We pray against discouragement during this time of waiting and searching, especially for the leaders of the churches and ministries.  May these churches and ministries be faithful to continue in obedience during these uncertain circumstances.  We pray that the Lord will minimize the negative impact of this situation on His work among the diaspora peoples in Chicagoland and instead will position these churches and ministries for the expansion of His kingdom among diaspora peoples.  We trust God to provide the right location for the right price.

Discipling Teens Together

One of our interns, Andy, has been spending time almost every day with three Bhutanese Nepali teenage guys.  Not only have these guys become good friends, but Andy is also trying to help them to walk with Jesus more closely.  One of the guys has made a public commitment to follow Christ but the other two have not.  Their interest levels in the things of God seem to vary a great deal.

Please ask God to give K, D and R a love and hunger for His Word.  Pray that they will eagerly consume it in various forms — by reading and studying the Bible, by listening to and meditating on the Bible and teachings from the Bible, by listening to and worshiping with Scripture-based songs.

These guys are comfortable in English but their heart language is Nepali.  However, their reading skills in traditional Nepali script are not that great.  Please pray that their language situation will not hinder their knowledge of the Lord and that K, D and R will take advantage of the resources which are currently available to them.

Please pray that K, D and R will seek to honor Jesus with their lives.  Pray that Andy will continue to be a positive example of a devoted Christ-follower to them.  Pray that as they turn towards Christ and follow Him, their lives will be transformed in such a way that the Bhutanese Nepali guys they hang out with, their classmates of many nations, and their families will acknowledge God’s hand at work.

A Project-related Look Ahead at 2013

Here are some of the long-term projects we believe TIBM will be engaged in this next year.  Only the Lord knows what will happen.  Please join us in lifting these up before Him.

We hope to reboot 1Stone, a student ministry at COD, to act sort of like a collegiate extension of our International Youth Group.  With a growing number of students from IYG and various daughter churches now attending COD, we believe now is an opportune time for this group to form.  We also recognize great possibilities for interfaith dialogue with members of the Muslim Student Association.  Please pray that diaspora and “next gen” students at COD will gather together to learn from the life of Jesus.

TriEak Parmeshwar Mandali saw some major changes in 2012 due to various families moving and significant changes in the spiritual landscape of the community.  One priority for the church is to build up a new leadership team, made primarily of people who have not been following Christ for over three years.  Given some of Cody’s travel plans this year, one goal is that the leadership team would be able to take care of most of his pastoral responsibilities when he is away.  Please pray that the Lord will strengthen the faith of these brothers and sisters, help them to grow into maturity together and equip them to lead others in following Christ.  Pray that they will understand and accept the importance of building this team.

We expect to increase our efforts to mobilize and equip others for diaspora ministry.  We will continue hosting short term volunteer teams and summer interns and sharing our experiences at conferences and through publications.  We also hope to be more involved in partnering with local believers.  Please pray that the Lord will help us to effectively communicate what He has shown us and done through us with His people.

Karen Baptist Church of Glen Ellyn is taking small steps toward becoming a more independent church financially.  There are big differences between the accounting structures practiced among the Karen in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand and those recommended and/or legally required in the U.S.  Several young students are learning how to properly record offerings, how to make deposits in the bank, how to use spreadsheets to track money, and so on.  Please pray that these students will learn how to manage the church’s money according to the U.S. systems.  Pray that they will honor the Lord with their personal finances as they mature.

We also plan on helping create a people group indicator map of Chicagoland.  This map will help identify, for our interests in particular, which diaspora groups are where.  This map will need to be consistently updated, but it will hopefully help increase awareness of “the people on the move” which will lead to increased engagement of these people.  Please pray the Lord will help those creating this map to work accurately and diligently (as it may be tedious at times).  Pray that this map will be a useful tool to facilitate the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Help People Get to Church!

Nevus

This is our church van, a 15 passenger 1991 Ford Club Wagon which was donated to us and which we have affectionately named Isaac the Nevus of Ota.  We use this van every Sunday, Thursday and Friday in order to transport people to Sunday School, Sunday worship services, English classes, and international youth group.  Most of the people are unable to drive.  For many of these people, the family members who can drive are either not able to take them due to work schedules or not motivated to drive because they do not follow Jesus.

Right now, the air system blowers do not work.  Without a way to defrost the windows, we are concerned that we cannot safely drive the van.  Of slightly less importance is that the heating system is broken and the ride therefore is rather uncomfortable during our long, cold Chicago winter.

Using the van has helped us remove one of the many hindrances to people hearing and celebrating the good news of Jesus Christ.  Some of these people are from unreached people groups and had never heard about Jesus before getting involved in these ministries.  Please pray that God will continue to provide a way for these children, youth, seniors, and other adults with low English skills to get to these ministries where they are able to encounter Christ.

Here are some other possibilities which you can pray about and, with the Lord’s leading, act upon.

Pray that God will quickly provide $1,000 to make the needed repairs to the van so it can be driven safely on Friday.  (You or a dozen of your closest friends can donate here or by sending a check to TIBM at 112 Horizon Cir, Carol Stream, IL 60188.)

Pray that God will move in the hearts of skilled mechanics to repair the van at a deep discount or for free.

Pray that God will give us a different van that is in better condition.  While we’re at it, we might as well pray that the cool air conditioning and both gas tanks will work on the new one.

Pray that God will move in the hearts of family members who are able to drive to make helping their relatives get to these ministries a priority.  Pray that these family members will turn to Christ.

Victory in Jesus!

Tomorrow is an important Nepali festival day, Bijaya Dashami, which literally means “victorious tenth day.”  Just as the once pagan holidays of Easter and Christmas now have strong ties to celebrating truths about Christ, we hope that Bijaya Dashami will someday become known as a celebration of the victory of Christ.

Praise God for His victory over death, Satan, sin, shame and fear!  Thank God for giving victory to us who are in Christ.  Praise God for the work of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit in our lives is evidence of God’s amazing power.

Please pray for many Bhutanese Nepalis to honor Christ today and for the rest of the festival by acknowledging His victory over evil.  Pray for many of them to find their joy in celebrating this festival in the Lord rather than in things which will pass away.  Pray that those who follow Christ will seek to honor and strengthen their families in obedience to the Lord.  Ask God to draw many more Bhutanese Nepalis to Himself through dreams, visions, answered prayers, and the testimonies of others.

Please pray for a Christ-centered worship service in Rock Island (Moline area) this weekend.  Ask God to put together the right group of people from our community to attend and help out with this celebration.  Pray that God will give Cody and his translator the right words to speak.  For those Bhutanese Nepalis who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand, may nothing hinder them from going to the worship service.  Ask God to open the eyes of many families to see that Christ is the true conqueror over evil and that salvation and peace with God are found through Him.