August 2020: She Outworked Them All
One of my very closest friends is a Dutch woman named Tirza. We met many years ago while we both did ministry in Russia. What drew me to her was when I led a team of Americans to come and do outreaches in the prisons. On the team were many big strong men, but Tirza outworked all of them. We would be loading and would move two for each one that the men moved. Tirza and I had been a part of the same mission organization. While the US had an office, the mission organization itself was founded and based in Holland. The ministry was a Bible smuggling organization. I remember once coming out of Russia, being very sick, and staying at the home of Tirza and her husband, Hans. I found out Hans loved American peanut butter, but 25 years ago, it was not available in Holland. I worked at a food bank which always had a ton of peanut butter, so I asked them if I could take some. They said that they had more than they could use, so please take as much as you want. Back then, KLM Airlines allowed passengers to check two 70-pound pieces of luggage, so I brought Hans 140 pounds of peanut butter. Needless to say, this took care of his peanut butter need for the next couple of years and we became good friends. While I was staying at their house, I was on the third floor and the rain and overcast skies actually allowed me to heal very quickly. I kept the windows open at night and would listen to the rain as the cool wind blew in the room. I slept well and Tirza took great care of me. When I got better, we would ride bikes everyday through the town to the Dutch mission office. The town had many windmills, which made it beautiful to ride through. We would stop at a Dutch bakery for coffee and some type of danish, which in my opinion Dutch bakeries are the best in the world. Tirza speaks five languages and has worked for minimum wage for 30 years, so as not to burden the ministry. Two years ago, we purchased her a new car to replace her 10-year-old car. True to Tirza’s character, she tried to talk me into giving it to others whom she perceived to have a greater need. But in the end, I told her that it was the Lord who told me to purchase the car for her, so she finally gave in.Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) supports many other established ministries that do the work of Christ for us in countries like Burma, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many others in closed countries. I cannot share with you who Tirza works with for security reasons, but the following details are about the work along the Thai/Burma border. We are working to rescue children, especially girls, who are orphans because of decades of civil war against the Christians. These girls are targets for human trafficking and often end up in the sex trade. The boys are forced to fight in a hostile army, and fight against their own people. Many became orphans when their parents had to flee and hide in the jungle, without proper food, lodging, and medical care. Many parents have been killed or were mutilated by and mines. If they survived, they were unable to look after their children. We support family homes with a total of about 120 kids. Our dedication to ministry, has allowed these first-generation refugee children to grow up, attending a good school with Bible training. To this day, Tirza continues to smuggle Bibles to people groups without the written Word. Most have never had any Bibles in their own language, or they got lost when people had to run for their lives when the army attacked. It is our goal to provide each Christian family, each pastor, and each Bible school student with a free Bible. There is also a ministry to provide food and other emergency relief aid to refugees in a closed country that is extremely dangerous. Often believers are expelled from their villages and the government sells their land to foreign Asian companies for exploitation of their teak wood and minerals. They are not only destroying the environment, but they are not offering any compensation or alternative means to make a living. They try to flee, but the border police mercilessly send them back into the hands of the army. Due to the current situation, hundreds of families need food supplies and hygiene articles to survive the lock down. In a country where tourism is the main source of income, the lock down has brought this to a halt, leaving many tribal groups without a way to earn a living. The government where these people are stuck does not want them and will not give them a green card. This means they do not have access to education, health care and good jobs. These people are eking out a meager living or trying to build a new life. Many of them are now deeply traumatized. The people in a northern border area are already surviving on scant amounts of rice and fish paste, but the lock down has further deteriorated their situation. It is forbidden for foreigners to enter this area; it can only be done illegally, while risking your own life. This is a strong prayer ministry. Through the power of prayer, the local workers manage to send trucks with lifesaving food and hygiene supplies. They always bring daily bread and the Bread of Life together. In another country, the challenges are manifold and there is relentless persecution of the Christian people groups. Landmines planted around the villages and around the fields of the farmers force the people to live they do not have access to education, health care and good jobs. These people are eking out a meager living or trying to build a new life. Many of them are now deeply traumatized. The people in a northern border area are already surviving on scant amounts of rice and fish paste, but the lock down has further deteriorated their situation. It is forbidden for foreigners to enter this area; it can only be done illegally, while risking your own life. This is a strong prayer ministry. Through the power of prayer, the local workers manage to send trucks with lifesaving food and hygiene supplies. They always bring daily bread and the Bread of Life together. In another country, the challenges are manifold and there is relentless persecution of the Christian people groups. Landmines planted around the villages and around the fields of the farmers force the people to live in the jungle. Often when they go back to their fields, they are killed or injured by landmines. Here, the danger for the workers is arrest and long prison sentences for helping the needy. There is a sad history of the Burmese army breaking ceasefires and armistices. Sometimes, even after long periods of time have passed, and without any warning, the army shoots, and bombs civilians. They poison the elderly who cannot run away, they loot and destroy their homes, kill, and eat their cattle and crops. Males are used as slaves until they die of exhaustion and young girls, often in their early teens, are used as sex slaves. Countless atrocities, rape, and brutal crimes against humanity are committed on a regular basis. In addition to our current pandemic relief ministry, we are adding Thailand to this list. To feed a family of six is $35 a month. This includes basic items such as 33 pounds of rice, 3 jugs of cooking oil, 30 eggs, 18 packages of noodles, 18 cans of sardines and hygiene items, such as soap and detergents. The persecution of believers and the rape of young girls is leaving many without hope. Fortunately, we have what they need, and that is the hope of Christ. Until all believers are free, FRM will continue to rescue as many as can be rescued by working with other believers to share Christ and bring food to the hungry and God’s love to the injured.
Far Reaching Ministries