Today I had an interesting experience here in Slovenia. Late this morning I went with Joe Kelley, our missionary contact into a nearby village to go to the bank and get some things worked out with our team debit cards (they had been blocked). After we got things worked out, Joe dropped me off several miles from our campsite and I was to bike back and meet up with our team there. As I set out, the sky was very overcast and rain seemed eminent. After about 5 minutes it began raining so i pulled off the road into a little abandoned building. The roads are steep, narrow and winding, so it wasn’t safe to be riding in the rain. After sitting there for about 10 minutes the rain died down so I decided to set out. The weather was still pretty bad but the rain had stopped so I thought I could make it. Very shortly after I left the wind start blowing really hard and branches were falling off trees around me. I went a little further and the rain hit again, but even harder than before. I looked for place to get out of the rain and the best place I found was next to a stack of firewood that had a sheet of tin on top. I sat down behind the pile hoping I could be out of it. Then it started hailing. I knew I needed to do something quick. I saw a long sheet of tin leaning against the pile, so laid down beside the woodpile and covered by body with the tin. I laid there for over an hour and a half with the rain and hail poured all around me. Half of my body was getting soaked as I couldn’t get completely out of the rain. While it was kind of crazy and could have been dangerous, I had so much peace while laying there under that tin. I began singing songs to the LORD and praying for Slovenia. God was just speaking to me about how it doesn’t matter where I am, as long as He’s with me then I’m in the right place. He also just spoke about how He is my Shelter and my Provider. It was a very sweet time and I know I’m going to cherish that time I spent with my Father. After an hour and a half or so the rain stopped and I was able to ride the rest of the way back to the camp. I praise God the He met me there under that piece of tin in the pouring rain. I praise God that He is my Shelter. I praise God that He is Lord over Slovenia even when so few people here know Him. I praise God for the opportunity to plant seeds and minster to people here. I praise God that He Is here. I praise God that He is mighty to save. I praise God that his love is from everlasting to everlasting. I praise God that He is God. I praise God that He is. I praise God.
Our journey this summer is going very well and we are seeing God move in mighty ways! I have been learning a lot and I am loving every minute of it.
We are now in Uganda and it’s hard to believe but our time here is quickly coming to an end. Our time in India went by so fast but it was an awesome time. I want to tell you about that in this blog:
After last year’s Global Journey trip I really felt like part of my heart stayed in India with the kids at Emmanuel Children’s Home. I was so excited for the opportunity to go back and spend some time with them. I don’t really know how to explain it but there’s something about that place that is just so awesome. You can feel God’s love in such a tangible way when you interact with the kids. It is so amazing to see how God has redeemed their lives and brought them out of so much darkness and into His amazing light. The kids at ECH love Jesus. They are so passionate about their Savior. They love telling people about Jesus. Some of the older boys have been going out into communities and telling people about Jesus while distributing Gospel tracts. In talking to them you can see a love for God and a burning desire to see their fellow Indians come to the Lord. One of the older boys, Simon, shared his testimony with us. He is 15 now and he is from a Hindu family. When he was five years old a Christian pastor came to his home and told him about Jesus. He said that even then he told the pastor to leave and didn’t want to hear anything about Jesus. One night, Jesus came to Simon in a dream and told Him that He loved Simon and that He was the Truth and that believing in Him was the only way to God. He said when he woke up he had to go to the pastor and learn more about Jesus. The pastor was able to teach him some but told him about the children’s home where he could go and live and learn about Jesus, as well as get an education. Of course, his Hindu parents wouldn’t let him so He began praying fervently asking God to make a way for him to go. God answered his prayers and Simon was able to go to ECH. A few years later, his parents passed away so he truly is an orphan now. Simon is one of the most passionate 15 year old kids I have ever met and he loves to tell people about Jesus. He wants to be an engineer as well as a missionary in India, working to help people in his country but more importantly leading them to Jesus. Please pray for Simon, as well as his remaining family; that God would open their eyes and hearts to the Truth.
I got to have several really neat opportunities to speak and teach while in India. During one of the nightly prayer times, I taught the kids about the story of God calling Samuel and how God loves us and calls us to Himself. I was also asked to preach on Sunday morning at the church at the children’s home. This was a new experience and I didn’t know I was preaching until the day before! I preached on how the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). I really enjoyed it, and I pray that God spoke through me to everyone who was there. I was also able to share my testimony and tie it in with a lesson that Luke had taught about the faithfulness of God.
As a team, we had some amazing worship times in India. I really believe that Emmanuel Children’s Home is a place where God is pleased to dwell and His presence is definitely felt! God taught me a lot about trusting Him with everything. After my time last year in India, I knew I loved the kids there but in my heart I struggled with with the question 0f what if God called me to live in a place like this. It was for selfish reasons, but it was a struggle in my heart. Through talking with God and spending time in His Word, I think I can honestly say that when He calls me, I will answer and that wherever He calls me I will be able to follow joyfully because I know that He will be there with me. I want to be where He is and I want to be in His Presence all the days of my life. I know it will be a lifelong learning process, but I have learned a lot about surrender and I know that He is worthy of anything I have and all that I am. Jesus is so amazing! I am out of time and I hope to finish this later as well as give an update about Uganda. Thank you for your prayers!
I hope this update finds you all doing well. I have to say that I am doing very well and am just blown away by what I have already gotten to experience this summer. We are only done with one stop along this journey and we have already experienced and learned so much.
Our time in East Asia was incredible! We got to meet a lot of people, have some great conversations, and really just sow a lot of seeds. While we won’t get to see the fruit of most of our work there, we are confident that God is working and that His Word will not return void. We hope and trust in Jesus’ words that if we abide in Him, and his words abide in us, then we will bear fruit (John 15). The Lord did bless us in an awesome way though and allowed to see some fruit of our labor. One of the days we were there, a few of us went to some basketball courts and started a pickup game with a group of high school guys. We played for a while then took a break and were able to share the Gosple with them. Even though it was their first time to hear it, they were very interested and received it with such a child-like faith. Later in the week were having a gathering so we invited them to come. They were able to come and they even invited some more friends. During the evening we were able to explain the story of Jesus in more detail and what it means for us and how we can be saved and have a relationship with the Creator of the universe. One of the young men made a decision to trust in Jesus with His life and came to know Him in saving relationship. It was an incredible night. This young man is going to need much encouragement, guidance, and training in the Word. Please pray for him! On top of getting to witness this, it was just a great evening to worship God with our brothers and sisters across the world. God is so big and His name is praised ALL over this earth. We had many more great experiences and were able to encourage the workers there a lot. It was an honor to serve the Lord with them in East Asia and to see their boldness in proclaiming the name of Jesus.
Throughout this past week God taught me a lot about relying on Him for strength and guidance in all things. Psalm 18:1 says, “I love you, O LORD, my strength.” I feel that God really solidified this in me and showed me that He is so much more than the One who gives me strength. He IS my strength! I must rely on Him every second of every day because apart from Him I have no strength, no direction, no joy, no peace, no love, no hope, no satisfaction, no good thing. He is my Strength. He is my Direction. He is my Joy. He is my Peace. He is my Love. He is my Hope. He is my Satisfaction. He is the only Good I have. I love the LORD so much and I am continually amazed and humbled at how He desires to know me and reveal Himself to me and use me to carry out His Word on the earth. My God is so good. God is also giving me even more desire for His Word and for spending time in prayer. These things are so essential and there is so much power and life in them.
I am out of time so I must close rather abruptly. Thank you for reading and I hope it was encouraging to you. I appreciate your prayers for our team and also for the many people that we will come into contact with this summer. We are now in India and get to be vessels of God’s love to orphans. I believe this is a huge part of what God made me for and I am so excited to be hear with them. May God bless you and reveal Himself and His love to you in new ways. All glory and honor to Jesus Christ! He is infinitely worthy of our whole lives and so much more!
In Christ, Blake Bearden
We are on our way! For the past four days we have been in New Braunfels getting to know each other and train/prepare for the journey ahead of us. We finished up this afternoon and flew out of San Antonio at 8 pm. Our team is now in Los Angeles for the night and we get on a plane for East Asia tomorrow morning!!!
It’s so exciting to be on our way and we can’t wait to experience what God has in store for us! As we have been preparing for this trip God has been speaking to me and just reminding me that as we go out we walk in the authority of Jesus Christ. All authority in Heaven and on earth belongs to Him and He has equipped us and is empowering us to do the “good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” A scripture that has really been on my heart and mind lately is Colossians 2:9-10, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
I believe we are ready to go and that the call to us now is to “dress yourself for work, arise, and say to them everything that I command you” (Jeremiah 1:17). We dress ourselves for work by doing what Paul says in Ephesians 6, “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”.
It is such a privilege to be an ambassador of Christ all over the world this summer. I humbly ask and thank you for your prayers for myself and our team as we desire to be used by Yahweh for His purpose and for His glory. I know God is going to do big things for His name’s sake in and through us! I hope and pray that you would also share the message and love of Jesus wherever you are and with everyone you come into contact with. He is worth it, and so much more!
So I have been praying a lot lately if it is God’s will for me to go on Global Journey again next summer. This past Sunday He confirmed that is, so I will be traveling the world with Global Journey once again in 2012 and co-leading a team! I’m so pumped and can’t wait to see what God has in store!
More to come.
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
-Jesus, (John 17:18)
Things are going great here and I want to thank you all for your continued prayers throughout our trip. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be back in Texas only 2 weeks from today! Our trip has flown by, but we’ve experienced some awesome stuff and witnessed God move in really cool ways. Right now we are in Rome between France and Costa Rica and our flight leaves for Costa Rica around 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. I’m really excited for this leg of the trip as we’ll be doing a lot of street evangelism and outreach ministry, and also because I’ll actually be able to somewhat understand/speak the native language. Our time in France was great though and I want to tell y’all a little about that.
We arrived in France last Friday and we worked with the International Baptist Church of San Paul, which is a little city right outside of Nice. The church is a churchplant of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Tx. The guys stayed at the church, and the girls stayed with the pastor, James Arnold, and his family. The country of France, and Nice specifically, is extremely beautiful with the Mediterranean Sea, mountains, and old French architecture. While it is one of the wealthiest places on earth, and the people of Nice have so much materially, there is so much spiritual dryness. Many people don’t want anything to do with religion or spirituality of any sort. They have so many misconceptions about Christianity and are just turned off to it. It is believed that on average it takes 100 believers ministering to a French person before they come close to entering into a relationship with Jesus. Please be praying for the eyes of the French people to be opened to the truth and for the missionaries there to be encouraged and have opportunities to form relationships with people here and share Truth with them.
We had some great opportunities to serve while there. Several of the guys have been able to go help clean and repair a guy’s house. The man has diabetes and is taking a lot of medicine. He also suffers from really bad depression, and as a result his apartment has gotten to be disgusting. Words can’t really describe how nasty the place was. He is just really hurting and is kind of in and out of reality. He desperately needs love and the support of God’s people. The church here is doing a lot to help him straighten his life out and they’re really showing him the love of Christ. Another opportunity we had was to help out at a basketball camp that a group from Germany is putting on here this week. The group is called News Release and they travel around Europe putting on basketball camps and using basketball as a tool to share the Gospel with kids. On Tuesday, Sarah and I got to help out there by leading some of the drill stations. Also, we did a skit at the end and talked about our purpose with Global Journey, then I got to talk to all the kids about my testimony and how Jesus has changed my life. It was really cool getting to share the gospel with those kids. For some of them, it may have been their first time to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We did a lot at the church as well, and that has mainly been preparing and decorating for the bilingual camp/vacation Bible school that the church is putting on next week. They do this camp every year and it usually opens up amazing doors into the lives of families there in San Paul. Please be praying for that as it’s going on next week, that God would use it in mighty ways. This year’s theme is pandamania, so we cut down a ton of bamboo and have been decorating the church with it.
The past couple of days we have been experiencing a little sickness in the team, so please be praying for restored health. Thank you all for your prayers, the LORD has been working in big ways both in and through us!
So we have now been in Uganda for 3 days and we are loving it here. It was really hard to leave the kids in India. I had become pretty attached to some of them and I just loved being with those kids. As tough as it was, I know that God has plans for us here in Uganda, as well as France and Costa Rica. So we have to continue on with our journey and seek God’s guidance and direction for how He wants us to serve in each place.
We arrived in Entebbe, Uganda on Monday afternoon and were met by Natalie Rolfe, our missionary contact here in Uganda. We took a 5 hour van ride to get to Mbale, which is where we are staying and where the orphanage is, Luwanda Childrens Home. On the way, we saw Lake Victoria, which is the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world. We also crossed over the Nile River, which was pretty cool! It never really occured to me that the Nile extended down to Uganda, so I was kind of surprised when Natalie said we were about to drive over it. We all wanted to take pictures, but they have a strict law about not taking pictures of the river, and they will take your camera away if they catch you taking pictures. On the way from India we had layovers in Dubai, UAE and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Although we didn’t get to leave the airports it was still kind of cool to fly through those places.
We first went to the orphanage on Tuesday morning, and Natalie gave us a tour of the whole place. She told us all about the history of the orphanage and also the history of the land where the orphanage is located. Before LCH was there, the land was full of political unrest, war, turmoil, and sickness, mainly from HIV-AIDS. When the Christians came into plant the orphanage, the locals did think they would last at all. But through much prayer, God blessed the orphanage, and has redeemed the land and the hearts of many people! God is truly blessing the orphanage here, physically and spiritually. The way He has provided funds and the ability to build new buildings to accomodate more children is amazing. Recently, the orphanage took in about 25 new children, many of them very young. Please be praying for these kids (along with all the orphans) as they will begin hearing about Jesus for the first time. Pray that God will grow them up in His way and truth. So far, we have just done some painting at the orphanage. Pretty much the whole place needs new paint. There is another group here until Saturday, and they have been working on some murals and stuff around the orphanage. One of the paintings says “I am Jesus” in the center, then all around it is a bunch of different names of Jesus in all different fonts, sizes and colors. It is awesome!Another one is similar to it and says “We are the children of God” then list a bunch of different names that God calls His children. They both look really good. Despite my amazing artistic abilities, I’ve been sticking to painting walls with a roller haha.
I really want to thank you all again for your prayers. The LORD has really been teaching me a lot and I love hearing His voice. He has been teaching me a lot about humilty and forgiveness, and more about His character. It is so awesome that He delights in His children and He speaks to them. And even though He doesn’t need us to accomplish His plans He choses to and lets us be a part of what He is doing. The Psalms have been a huge source of strength, encouragement, and teaching throughout this trip. I love spending time reading and memorizing the praises the psalmist gives to God. Because of time, I need to be closing now and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten pictures up yet. The internet is super slow here and it would take forever to upload all my pictures and videos. I really want to make them available for yall though. Thanks again to everyone. God is doing big things in and through us, and all the glory goes to Him for everything! Love yall.
Here are a few pictures from India. I have more to come. I just can’t download them all right now, Indian internet hut computers are slow.
First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone for contributing for us to take the kids to the waterpark yesterday. Whether your contribution was prayer or finances, thank you so much! God provided enough for us to take them, and they all had a blast. It was so cool to get to take them there, and for them to be able to get out of the orphanage for a day and just have fun. I will say for us Americans, it was definitely an interesting experience. Let’s just say Indian waterparks aren’t exactly the same as American ones haha. I have a lot of stories to share in person, but it was wild.
This week has been going great though, and I thank God so much for the opportunity to serve our King by being here with these kids. I wish you could all just be here and meet them. They are so awesome. Everyday, they have morning, afternoon, and night prayer times where they all come together and sing songs, quote Bible verses, and pray. I love these times so much. When I hear the kids lifting up their voice to God it brings me so much joy and I can only imagine how much pleasure it brings to our Father! Hearing all of the orphans praying at the same time is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. I have no doubt that it just fills our Daddy’s heart with joy and brings a big smile to His face to hear His little children praising Him. One of the songs they sing is called Jesus is the Winner Man (hence the title of this blog) and it’s a great song! During the night prayer times, our team leads and we do skits and lead songs and speak. Last night was my turn to lead and it was such a cool opportunity! I shared a brief testimony and then talked about trusting in God as I shared the story of Gideon and how God called him and used him to save the Israelites from the Midianites. I pray that the LORD used me to speak to their hearts and teach them. I also shared this verse: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17. I just felt the Holy Spirit leading me to tell them how much their Father loves them and wants them to place every bit of their trust in Him. I think about how much God cares for the fatherless and then how the world around these kids hates them, and their country says they are worthless and the lowest of all people. But God IS mighty to save and he takes these orphans into his arms and adopts them into His family, He rejoices over them and showers them with His grace and joy. It is so good to think about our Father’s love for us!
I want to thank you all again for your prayers for me and our team. The LORD has been strengthening me and encouraging me so much these past few days. The last couple of days in Hong Kong were kind of weird for me. I felt really spiritually dry and like God wasn’t hearing my prayers and wouldn’t speak to me at all. The plane ride from Hong Kong to Malaysia was filled with intense prayer and journaling and just yearning for more of God, and for Him to refresh my spirit. He has definitely heard my cry and answered. The LORD is so good! I can’t even say it enough. There’s a song that has been going through my head a lot lately and the words that are really speaking to me are these: “My Daddy’s not angry with me. He’s not disappointed in me! My Daddy’s not angry with me. He’s smiling over me!” The LORD has filled me with joy in His presence and I can’t praise Him enough. Also, the prayers for a quick recovery for my ankle were answered. It’s been a little tender, but it hasn’t slowed me down at all playing with the kids. I’ve been running around, playing soccer and volleyball and tag, climbing trees, and all sorts of other stuff with the kids. So thank you for praying for healing over me!
I hope that’s a good update for everyone. I have so much stuff I could share, but for time’s sake that will have to be all for now. I also have pictures and videos that I want to show y’all but I’m not able to upload them at the moment. I’ll get those up as soon as I can. Please be praying for the orphans here and all throughout India. There are over 25 million orphans here, and orphans are considered to be worthless in India. According to Hinduism, these orphans were bad in their former life so they were punished by being reincarnated as an orphan. There is so much spiritual darkness here. Please pray for Jesus to bring life to the people of India and for the chains of Hinduism to be thrown off. Our God is a God who brings freedom and calls people out of darkness! Pray that the LORD would spread His Kingdom in India! May God bless you all and pour out His grace, mercy, and peace on you.