Raising up a new generation (By Isaac Lasky).

‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.’ So goes an old Chinese proverb.

Indeed, we were all once saplings that were cared for and invested in by godly people who by God’s grace helped us to become trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord (Isaiah 61:3). The NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program is our attempt to do the same for others, to raise up the next generation of pioneering disciple-making leaders for the particular work God has called us to. This calls for the investment of time, prayer and nurturing relationships.

A crucial component of the NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program (GAP) is the 6-monthly gathering of Global Apprentices (GA’s) and selected NAMS leaders on retreat. We do this to make space for prayer, worship, intensive training as well as for fun and fellowship with each other. It is also a time for us to be still[1]. Being on retreat together allows us an opportunity to reflect on what apprentices have been learning through the program.

It was with much joy and expectation that GAs and leaders from Nepal, Thailand and India descended on New Delhi, the capital of India, for a five day retreat from Monday 29 January to Friday 2 February 2018. It turned out to be a wonderful blessed time together. All who attended left challenged, encouraged and prepared for the next six months of the program. Here are a few of the highlights:

Prayer Retreat time

Apprentices were given resources to follow during their personal retreat time. God spoke clearly to the apprentices during this time.

‘I’d never prayed like that before. I will use these resources in my church.’ – One Nepali Global Apprentice


English isn’t the mother tongue of any of our apprentices but they are encouraged to develop their English through GAP as a by-product. During the retreat, each of them led a morning devotion time in English. They all did an excellent job faithfully preaching the Scripture. There has been notable growth in their English proficiency.

Pankaj sharing a devotional
Pankaj sharing devotional


We were blessed to have NAMS Companions Pastor Tek and Pastor Prince, from Nepal and India respectively, to be with us and to teach. Pastor Tek spoke on how discipleship and prayerfully engaging with needs in the local community has been a catalyst for God bringing transformation to the lives of many in Nepal. Pastor Prince taught on principles of effective discipleship and church planting, from his extensive experience of planting more than 300 churches in North India. He also shared some practical insights on avoiding and overcoming hindrances in the ministry God has called us to.

Prince teaching
Pastor Prince Teaching
Pastor Tek teaching
Pastor Tek Teaching


Apprentices spoke about their progress in pioneering new mission work during the past six months. They are engaged in work with children, youth and university students in a multitude of ways. This includes running music workshops, doing sports ministry and leading youth conferences and discussion evenings.

There was space for NAMS leaders to pray, input and help the apprentices develop and nurture the new work they have started. Each apprentice also met with their NAMS Regional Team Leader and the global co-ordinator to discuss what they were learning through the program and how God is developing them.

GA_s sharing progress
Apprentices Sharing Progress
Coaching on how to develop ministry
Coaching How To Develop Ministry
six month evaluation with Kiran
6 Month Evaluation With Kiran




The Global Apprentices and Companions would like to give their heartfelt thanks to all who prayed and supported this event. It was a blessed time together. We are confident in the Lord that there will be much fruit in the coming months and years.

NAMS GAP Delhi 2017
NAMS Gap Delhi 2017

Do you know anybody who may be interested in being a Global Apprentice for 1-2 years at one of our base communities in Bangkok, Nepal, Chile or USA? Visit www.NAMSGAP.com to find out more.

[1] Psalm 46:10


— Isaac Lasky
NAMS Global Apprenticeship Program Co-ordinator

Raising up a new generation (By Isaac Lasky).

Provision Through Prayer (by Mary Garrison Ruiz)

In late July of 2016, I found myself sleeping on the floor of the airport in Madrid – uncertain of where to go and clearly not knowing what to do. Let me explain…

My husband Ivan and I were on a 6 month missionary journey with NAMS. We had spent a number of weeks in Spain attending meetings and then began moving through the southern part of the country looking for open doors to establish future ministry relationships. But just as we were preparing to move on to our presumably well-planned next destination in Africa, where we would spend 1-2 months, the door was quickly and unexpectedly shut. What were we to do? Go home? That’s certainly what my mind jumped to, but still there remained an unrest in our hearts… The Lord had called us to step out in faith; turning back didn’t seem the right response. We decided to pray and wait upon the Lord to answer, and in a word, he did: Cairo.

“But what will we do there?” I argued. “We haven’t made any plans for where to stay, who to meet with, or places to serve. We won’t have anything to do in Cairo.” Honest to goodness, with tears in his eyes, Ivan simply said: “We will be there, and we’ll pray.” Uff. I was speechless. I confess that while I could articulate the importance and power of prayer, I was so very weak in practice. It seemed somehow not enough to devote our time to prayer; I had another form of service in mind, with prayer a supplement, not the focus. But I couldn’t argue; Scripture is clear on the indisputable centrality of prayer in the Christian life, and in time it was also clear how much I needed to mature in that area.

So to Cairo we went, and we devoted ourselves to prayer in the morning and at night. During the day, we kept our eyes open and watched to see how God would answer. And answer he did. Within just a matter of weeks, God, in his Providence, provided more abundantly than we could have asked for or imagined. Among the beautiful fruit of that time of prayer and ministry in Cairo was the start of a new relationship with a dear brother and friend who soon became NAMS’s first Companion in Egypt.

I mention this story as a personal testimony of the power of prayer and its centrality to the pioneering ministry of NAMS. The leadership at NAMS have even come up with a practice that has been adopted by our Friends and Companions around the world. Everyday at 10:02 AM, no matter the time zone, we remember Jesus’ instructions to his disciples in Luke 10:2 to pray to God, the Lord of the Harvest, to raise up new laborers for ministry. Our Egyptian Companion is an answer to that prayer, but we believe there are more laborers to come.

Would you join our team of global intercessors in praying at 10:02 each day for the ministry of NAMS? If you would, we’d love to send you updates about NAMS ministries around the world and testimonies of answered prayers. To do so, just write to me, Mary Garrison Ruiz, at mary.garrison@namsnetwork.com, and I’ll add you to the prayer team email list. Once a month, I send out a prayer calendar to help you know how you can pray for specific regions around the world, and I also occasionally send out information in the case of urgent prayer needs. Come join us at 10:02. You are truly welcome and needed.

Provision Through Prayer (by Mary Garrison Ruiz)

When ‘Being With’ Leads to ‘Becoming Like’. (by Peter Matthews)

While in college I was discipled by Pat, a director in our campus ministry. Typically we would meet weekly in the student center for coffee and talk. But for at least half of time, we would do other things together: shopping or I would help him paint his house or I would go on ministry trips with him. In one instance he took me with him while he did street evangelism. He put on me the spot by asking me to share my testimony with a group he was talking to!

In the early days of our discipling relationship, I wondered what was really going on. Why wasn’t Pat taking more time to teach me things? I wanted to go deep and learn, not just hang out!

Then Pat showed me a story from the life of Jesus, from Mark 3:13-19 (ESV):
“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”

He honed in on verse 14a, “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him.” Pat made clear that Jesus wanted the disciples to do and share in Kingdom ministry, but first and foremost, he called them just to be with him. The reason Jesus did this was that he wanted the 12 to watch his life closely and have front row seats as he did Kingdom ministry, so that they too could do the same.

Last week I wrote about the disciple-making principle that ‘more is caught than taught’. Before that principle can be effected however, one has to learn the importance of simply ‘being with’ another who disciples him/her. This has been called the ‘life on life’ principle.

This is where one person intentionally watches and learns from another through the investment and sharing of time and space. The time spent with those we disciple or are being discipled by, creates the space for more to be caught than taught.

While it can be helpful to use disciple making tools and studies (I use them and so did Pat), disciple-makers must remember that the heart of disciple-making is life on life transfer of biblical truths by teaching, practice, modelling and enabling. It requires that I live as a disciple of Jesus and that I both model and multiply that life into the man or woman I am discipling.

To be an effective and fruitful disciple-maker, I have to make space to let people into my life: my home, my errands, my driving, my family, etc. That’s what Jesus did with the 12. That’s what he calls us to do with those we are discipling.


Revd Canon Peter Matthews is a NAMS Companion, and Rector of St Patrick’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

When ‘Being With’ Leads to ‘Becoming Like’. (by Peter Matthews)

More is caught than taught (by Peter Matthews)

Little things can make for big lessons. When I was a teenager, I went riding one day with Troy in his 1968 Barracuda. I noticed a strange looking miniature wallet of sorts by his gear shift. Curious, I held it up and asked Troy, “What is this?” He told me it was his verse pack, which he explained helped him memorize and review Bible verses.

“Are you serious man?” I said. “You actually memorize Bible verses?”  “Yep,” he said. Then he explained to me why a disciple ought to memorize scripture. The next day I went to our local Christian bookstore, bought a verse pack and started memorizing Psalm 15.

That story is a picture of one of the central truths of fruitful disciple making: More is caught than is taught.

That day I learned about memorizing scripture and I started doing it. Why? Not because I went to a class, nor read a book. Not was it because it was the next session of my 12 week discipleship program. I did it because the man who was discipling me did it.

I was with him. I observed him. I imitated him. The result? A practice I started at 18 that still serves me at 53.
The heart of disciple-making is a relationship between a discipler and a disciple. Why? The main way a disciple is trained is through imitation. I often tell people that the Apostle Paul’s disciple-making program is summarized in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” That’s the heart of disciple making.

When I was a boy in the late 1960s, there was a popular T.V. commercial that involved a dad and his toddler son. Everything dad did, the son immediately imitated. If dad was painting, son painted. If dad was driving, son pretended to drive. After each instance the narrator repeated the phrase, “Like father, like son.” Finally the dad and son sit down at a tree and dad pulls out a pack of cigarettes, lights one, starts smoking and then sets the pack on the ground between he and the boy. The boy sees the cigarettes and picks them up. As he is doing so the narrator says, “Like father like son, think about it.”

The principle applies to good actions and to bad actions. But no matter what the setting, more is caught than is taught.


Revd Canon Peter Matthews is a NAMS Companion, and Rector of St Patrick’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

More is caught than taught (by Peter Matthews)

The Holy Spirit and Missions: God’s Work or Ours?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”
(Acts 1: 8 NIV)

Several years ago, I assisted author and missionary Paul Hoff to translate some writings about on the most significant movements in church history. In researching those movements, I discovered the nature of genuine visitations of the Holy Spirit that have led to true awakenings or revivals. I found that the following characteristics are always present in such movements, and that none of them can be considered in isolation from the others:

Prayer – A church in which the Spirit of God is active always awakens to genuine prayer. It begins to feel the need for constant intimacy with God, even as it strives to align itself with the plans and purposes of its Lord. Accordingly, such a church intercedes passionately for a world that is lost and for new workers to join them in the cause. Prayer, both individual and collective, leads to a permanent habit of worship and praise, with clear results and changes in their lives.

The Word of God – The Holy Spirit, whenever He visits His church – the people of God, with power, will kindle a fire in their hearts, leading them to love the Word of God more – to meditate on it, to submit to it and to continually delve into the Scriptures for more. The Word of God is not ambiguous, and God’s people will learn to look to it for daily guidance, so that they can join the work that God Himself is already accomplishing in their midst and in the world at large.

Social action – A church that is moved by the Holy Spirit will not be complacent about the prevailing social conditions around it. It will empathize and respond to human needs out of mercy and love. Such an action will be an expression of God’s love within and through the church itself. It will involve seeking to transform society for good and to work for the justice that God wants to see established among all people.

Evangelism – When the Spirit of God visits a human community, He sees and is moved by the lost. He seeks the hearts of those who genuinely seek Him. Consequently, God’s children will be motivated by Him to share the good news of His love to those who would be lost forever without the Gospel. The believer’s passion for sharing the Good News dynamically comes alive. Everyone who comes to into their new identity as heirs of the love and mercy of our Father in Heaven is called to invite others in.

Mission – As soon as the Holy Spirit begins to move within a community, its impact will not be contained within the confines of the church or even its own community. It will start to transcend all and any barrier – geographic, social, cultural and economic. The church cannot help but send her members out to fulfill the Final Command (Matthew 28:19-20), as instructed by Jesus. They do this because they know that the Spirit Himself prays and intercedes through them, that the Presence of the Son compels them every day and to the ends of the earth, and that their obedience is pleasing to God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth.

In the history of the Christian Church, every time a group of God’s children, somewhere in the world, has received a special visitation of the Holy Spirit, the effect has been strong and clear, bringing change within the church and beyond, starting with growth in the church itself.

A case in point is the Lun Bawang people of East Malaysia. They were originally head-hunters in Bornea. When such activity was banned under James Brook and British rule in the 19th Century, the Lun Bawang turn to alcohol en-mass. It was said that people of all ages in their villages were under the influence of drink at least 100 days in a year. The colonial authorities refused missionaries permission to work with them, hoping that the tribe would die out. But eventually, through missionaries from Australia, the Gospel was shared and social transformation took place through prayer and perseverance.

Today, the Lun Bawang peoples are key pillars in the Bornea Evangelical Church, the largest Protestant Church in Malaysia. Many of them are contributing to society through influential positions in business, government and the arts. The Holy Spirit brought once more, total social transformation. [1]

We can say without reservation that the Holy Spirit brought about these changes, and but also that the saints of God were used as the mediating instruments of God’s grace.

— By Revd Andres Casanueva,
Regional Team Leader NAMS Latin America



[1] Shirley Lees, Drunk Before Dawn (Sevenoaks, Kent: OMF, 1979).


The Holy Spirit and Missions: God’s Work or Ours?

Seeking New Life at the Seams – part 2, by Revd. Gabriel Smith

Last week, I began to share about ‘Life at the Seams’. The seam is a line along which two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or article of clothing. It can also be a metaphor for the spaces in our life whe0re plans, dreams, ideas and reality meet or are brought together, with either new forms emerging or the potential for tear and damage to occur.

Before I left South Africa with my family as a missionary for nearly 6 years, I had coffee at my favourite coffee place in Stellenbosch. There a significant conversation took place with my Bishop, Rt Revd Josel Obetia from Uganda. Last week, I shared the first two of seven important words that he shared with me. Today, I share the rest with you.

The numbered lines are what he said, with my italicized sentences as commentary.

  1. Some will be called to pastoral ministry.

The goal of new, visionary Kingdom work is to build the church. Therefore, some will be called out of communities that are at the edges of the Kingdom where new forms are being explored and innovated, and into settled pastoral ministry. We must support and encourage the move from the edge back to the center for those called to this work. At the same time there are some called to remain in the bridging places, innovating new pathways that do not yet fit into the existing structures and teaching and equipping people to cross back over the bridge spanning what will be to what is. In the body we must see, provide space for and encourage both those called to casting vision for new things and those called to shepherd God’s people where they are. Pioneering leaders must make space for settled leadership to emerge.

  1. Our place is to be the cutting edge.

While some are called to settled work, I am part of a community of pioneering Companions made to live and work on the cutting edge of the Kingdom where the future of the church is being forged in places that are often misunderstood and will not necessarily gain the traction we hope for in our lifetime. But we must take heart, because we are in good company of the many saints who have lived in these spaces in the centuries before us.

  1. Most of the work is done on your knees.

We must be leaders who understand that our deep connection to Christ through prayer is our primary and most productive task. The natural gifts of leadership often come with a bent and temptation to busyness. We must resist these carnal desires to do before we become.

We must first be leaders who find our identity and significance in Christ alone so that we enter our work envisioned and empowered by the only one who truly knows the future. We must also enter each day with the solemn awareness that we are hunted by evil. There are real forces of spiritual darkness who plan our demise and work intelligently and persistently to destroy us. Our power to resist such evil originates in the depth and constancy of our prayer life.

  1. As long as people live the Gospel.

The good news of the Gospel, the true story of the world is the first and the last thing. All of our ministry and our lives must be focused on remembering, living out and sharing the Gospel in thought, word and deed. We are free to innovate new forms and methodologies for ministry but we are never, ever to break the word of God. Jesus wants Gospel-centred disciples made.

  1. The Church is God’s instrument to reach a dying world.

As we go about the cutting edge, visionary, apostolic work we are made for and called to, we must never forget that the Church is the Bride of Christ. The Church is God’s beloved and therefore we must love her even as we co-labor with God to renew and reform her for His glory.

In this “seam season” I am grateful for a band of companions to journey with who love the Lord Jesus, one another and the Church.

Will you pray for us in NAMS – that we will remain faithful to this worthy but difficult calling? Thank you.

— Revd Gabriel Smith
NAMS Global Operations

Seeking New Life at the Seams – part 2, by Revd. Gabriel Smith

Seeking New Life at the Seams – part 1, by Revd. Gabriel Smith

All Companions of the missionary order we call NAMS are called to life at the seams.

As an ex-Army officer, one of the most important leadership lessons I learned was to “pay attention to the seams.” The line where two pieces of fabric come together is where the garment takes its form. But it’s also where the stitches are most likely to give way and tear apart.

Similarly, the spaces between life circumstances where plans and operations come together and either align or fall apart, have the potential to shape future reality but also are the most vulnerable to chaos. Leaders must pay attention to these places in both their personal and organizational life.

I am living in a seam at the moment. One month ago our family transitioned from South Africa to South Carolina after nearly six years as missionaries with an intentional Christian community we helped found.

In the weeks before we left I had a significant conversation with my Bishop, Rt Rev Joel Obetia of Uganda. I articulated to him in an uncertain, rambling fashion, my dream for building new communities of faith that would perhaps never really fit into the traditional Christian (Anglican) system.

As Bishop Joel listened patiently but with intense focus as only the way a man unencumbered by technology or the urgency of next things can, he told me seven things that I share with you in this two-part blog, that I hope may inspire and provide fuel for conversations among NAMS Companions and those who support and love us, as we seek to work together in years to come.

The numbered lines are from Bishop Joel. The italicized sentences are my commentary.

  1. Operate as if there are no boxes.

Boxes are not inherently bad. People relate ideas to concepts that they already know. In this way we all have “boxes” that we put ideas into. The first cars were known as motor wagons because they were seen as strange new versions of the horse-drawn, wooden wagons people knew well. But when those of us called to create new things operate only in reference to models and forms that already exist we limit our creative capacity to dream and give power to things in the “box” to control and shape the future.

Those of us made to dream of, create, and live out new models of Christian community must not be confined by the boxes that hold the settled local church in our contexts. We must be free to dream of new structures and ways to engage people in this lost and dying world. In other words, pioneers must be free and freed to pioneer.

  1. A movement will be limited if it becomes the church.

The institution of the church is necessarily an ordered society, slow to change and normally resistant to new ideas. New movements led by the Spirit to renew the church must operate outside of those church structures, otherwise their impact will be limited by the formal and informal constraints of institutional Christianity.

This is not to say that people involved in the movement shouldn’t also be part of the institutional church – they should. Individual presbyters and lay leaders in missional movements should be connected in healthy relationships to others in the more settled body, but their vocational activity cannot be completely controlled by the systems and authority of the settled church, lest the new apostolic work that God has ordained be confined to what already is.

The tension between fluid movement and established structure is difficult to navigate but is necessary if either movement and church are to fulfill their God given purpose.

Part 2 next week will complete the list of 7 things my bishop spoke to me.

— Revd. Gabriel Smith
NAMS Global Operations

Seeking New Life at the Seams – part 1, by Revd. Gabriel Smith