This past month, we were gifted with the most amazing trip and we were able to join the Footsteps of Paul Tour with our dear friends from CTR. This year we celebrate 20 years of marriage and we are grateful to CTR for inviting us on this once in a lifetime trip! To stand in the very places where Paul shared the Gospel, taught the Word, appointed elders and encouraged believers in various locations left us in awe. When we first considered becoming full-time missionaries overseas and working in several countries, the Lord showed us that while it was not “traditional” it was in fact “biblical” as we read the life of Paul. As we journeyed through Greece (Athens, Corinth), Turkey (Ephesus), Crete, Patmos and a few other islands we were encouraged to stay the course.
To consider the hardships, travel conditions, persecution, and various trials that Paul endured to proclaim the Word gave us an even greater resolve to continue in the calling God has placed on our lives. We found ourselves refreshed by the beauty, teachings, sites, cruise and sweet time together and with friends. Thank you to each and every one of you who prays, supports, and cares for our family and the various ministries we are apart of. What a gift!
Gathering the Best From East to West
As we traveled to Greece from S. Asia, we stopped to spend time in Nepal to leave Breanna with our dear friends Aaron and Jena. During our time in Nepal, we were able to host a gathering of Pastors and Church Planters from all over the country. Bond was able to teach through the book of Timothy, which was an encouragement as most are serving alone in remote places.
It was a great joy to hear from Majhiya about the new bible study and church service he is teaching as he rides his bicycle 8 miles each way to a neighboring village and to hear from Raju that the tin building where the church gathers each week on a mountain top (visualize a 6 hour hike straight up into the clouds) is too small for those who are coming to hear as he teaches the Word each week. Both of these men graduated last year from the CCPTC in Nepal. Please continue to pray for all of the men and women who have been sent out to share the hope that we have in Jesus and that they would have a great impact in their villages and communities. (p.s. Breanna did amazing in Nepal while we were away for the week!)
When North Meets South
Many of you may remember when we first began ministering in S. Asia, our efforts were focused in the North. In 2012, we began by hosting discipleship training classes that later led to establishing a School of Ministry and now a Bible College there. The first class of graduates have since gone on to plant churches, teach at bible schools and host outreaches in their villages. Recently, a handful of them went through a medical training program. In addition to pastoring and ministering to the spiritual needs of people, they are now able to physically assist people as well. The medical training graduation was in South India, which was good news for us as we were able to be reunited and host them at the new Calvary Chapel Bible College South Asia campus where we have been focusing our efforts for the past two years. It was a joyous reunion with our brothers from the North to spend a week together with us and the students in the South. Bond was able to exhort the pastors in the Word and challenge them in their callings as they are pastoring in mountain villages and remote areas in North India.
One of the highlights was hosting a panel where the former students (now pastors) were able to answer questions and share testimonies with the current students. The national pastors (who are all in single and in there 20’s) were able to shared how God has gone before them, helped them overcome challenges and they shared the joy of seeing people commit their lives to Christ. It is our intention to continue to follow-up and provide encouragement to those who have been sent out to plant churches throughout Asia over the past 8 years. Please pray for these young men for God to bless each of them with a wife, for strength to work in difficult areas, for the churches to grow and make disciples, for hearts to be softened to the Gospel, for blessings for those who are now teaching at the Bible College in the North and for the new medical training to be used as a platform to minister to even more people.
We are wrapping up classes in S. Asia as the semester ends in early May. Please join us in praying for each of the students as they travel back to their places. Pray also for God to lead our ministry partners as they reach out and meet with potential new students during the summer break.
With Love from S. Asia,
Bond, Heather and Breanna Gaona