Last month I was finally able to travel to Asia for the first time in my role as Agape Asia’s Executive Director. It was amazing to experience these beautiful people, places, and ministries first hand. It’s hard to summarize two weeks of experience, but I can confidently say the most profound takeaway was a message on a mountain.
Out of all the days I spent in Nepal and India on this trip, one day stuck out the most. We drove on muddy, mountain roads. Rode a motorcycle straight up a rocky path. Crossed rivers. Walked across a cable bridge. Hiked up a mountain. And it was all worth it.
At the very top of this remote mountain was a very small village. Several wooden houses lined the one dirt road that traveled the ridge line of the mountain. To my left the mountain tumbled down through forests and farms. To my right the ground slowly cascaded through rice terraces and trails. And children were running through it all – playing, laughing, watching. During that day I was able to meet several of these children that Agape Asia sponsors. Through the generosity of people on the other side of the world, these children have gone from starvation to health. From no future to regular classes in school. From sorrow to joy.
And at the top of the hill was another wooden building where the church met. While I was there the village church had a special Gospel meeting. The one room building was full and kids were hanging through the windows. We sang, prayed, listened to God’s Word and shared a meal together.
The best part is that this is all working together – simply and beautifully. Our leader in Nepal partners with local churches in impoverished areas. These villages churches identify the most needy children in their own community who need special help. Agape Asia in the US learns about these children and adds them to our programs. In the months and years that follow, help for these children flows through our leader and the local churches.
The result is that people in hard to reach places who have never heard of Jesus receive ongoing love & support from churches in their community. Children’s lives are changed today. Families and communities see tangible expressions of the love of God. Hearts and minds continually open up to the Good News that they most desperately need. And the church grows.
Life should be fundamentally simple. And we want Agape Asia to be simple. We should try to love God and love those around us. These two COMBINED make the Greatest Commandment. It’s not two separate commands, but one unified lifestyle that we’re called to pursue. It can look a million different ways depending on how God has made you and where He’s placed you. But it’s simple.
The neat thing is that if you’re really pursuing this lifestyle and approach to ministry, you’ll almost accidentally fulfill the Great Commission. We go into the world and make disciples of Jesus by loving people and showing them how to love God. Pass it on and repeat. It’s not another command to follow, a new to-do item, or a strategy to unlock. We make disciples by loving God and loving others well in Jesus’ name. Simple.
Standing on that mountain I caught a glimpse of God’s desires and our desires overlapping in beautiful ways. We’re able to love our neighbors on the other side of the world by changing children’s lives. And we get to love God by helping many new people there follow Him. It’s so simple, it’s almost hard to believe.
But that’s it. That’s what we do. I want to bottle this beauty and repeat it across many villages and different countries. Let’s keep doing this until every child in Asia is loved and everyone there knows their Creator.