In this final Advent blog, we look at the quality of peace – what it is and how it marks us out as Jesus’ disciples in the world. Peace, as this season of Advent reminds us, is a gift of God like love, faith and hope. May you and I revel in the peace that God brings through Christ this Christmas.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14).
An old chorus I sang growing up, based on an African-American spiritual, spoke of having ‘peace like a river.’  Recently, my wife and I were wondering where that phrase came from, since we didn’t generally think of rivers as peaceful bodies of water. We thought rather of waters in constant motion.
At points indeed, rivers could be terrifying – raging and foaming rapids that cascade over treacherous, bone-wrenching rocks, often culminating in tumbling waterfalls.
Shortly afterwards, in an evening devotion, we were reading together in Isaiah 48, in which God accused Israel of being obstinate in their rebellion against him. He called them back, as He often did, to repentance. Isaiah records God’s plea in these terms:
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh, that you had listened to my commandments; then your peace would be like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” 
Now we got the point. Peace is like a river in that it brings life. Rivers in Israel were a real source of security, sustenance and abundance. The great Jordan River and her tributaries, as they cut across the thirsty, arid landscape, gave rise to fertile banks. The rivers of peace and her righteous waves were meant to carry us along God’s holy ways – a means of great blessing and rule that come from following in the way of God.
Our sinful world however, like stubborn Israel, wants peace on its own terms.
According to popular culture, peace is often (and only) thought of as the absence of conflict, war, trouble or stress. They picture a world devoid of struggle – that lets then be as they want.
The Scriptures, by contrast, root ‘peace’ not in the absence of danger about us, but in the presence of God with us, no matter the outward circumstance.
True peace is God’s gift. It can only be found as we submit to the will and ways of God. The poet Dante captured it well: ‘In his will is our peace.’ 
C.S. Lewis agrees: “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” 
Peace then, that the angels sang about to the lowly shepherds at Christmas, is peace that is given through the favor and blessing of God. We cannot manufacture it, nor earn it ourselves. It is instead a dynamic by-product of the Gospel transformation that comes by grace through faith in the salvation of Christ alone, for God’s glory.
Didn’t Jesus promise such a genuine peace – unlike the world’s type – in John 14:27? So we need not be afraid at all, even though a little later in John 16:33, he tells us that we will have trouble in the world. There again, he reiterates that in him, we have peace.
May the peace of God that is yours in Christ therefore, rule your heart this Christmas.
As disciples of Jesus called to ‘know nothing except Christ and Him crucified’ and to make disciples after Him, may that peace also be a source of blessing to many around you, this time and always. From Him, springs life everlasting and peace unending.
Oh cross that liftest up my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust’s life’s glory dead
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be. 
Can $10 make a difference? We believe it can. We are looking for partners that will help us to spread the gospel of Jesus to all the peoples of the world. We are currently working in 9 of the 16 Global Regions of the world. We need partners like you in this mission. Are you able to join us by investing $10 a month to allow NAMS to continue the work we are doing in over 40 countries. If you can please go to the address below.
 In the same vein, the opening line of Horatio Spafford’s well-loved hymn ‘It is Well with My Soul’ carries the same image: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way…”
 Isaiah 48:17-18, ESV. The passage ends with a solemn warning in verse 22: “There is no peace, says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
 Dante Alighieri, translated from Paradiso, Canto III, line 85.
 C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), page 50.
 Final verse of Hymn “O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson. https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/432
This Post has been edited to assist in the safety of workers in the field.
Do you know how to lend to the Lord? (See Proverbs 19:17 to learn how).
A couple of months ago, we wrote and asked for a second time in 2 years for contributions to NAMS COVID relief in parts of the world where NAMS has work or bases, that were facing particularly difficult times. We at NAMS thank God for those of you who gave and prayed towards this COVID-19 Relief Fund 2021, which we were able to channel to our leaders and bases in India, Nepal, Peru and Cuba, a few of the most hard-hit places.
You may remember that we shared that our NAMS South Asia Regional Team Leader — has contracted COVID. See his report of full recovery below. Also, thank God that our Companion in Nepal, Kiral Pal also recovered. However, three of our NAMS Companions, Pankaj Neupane in Nepal, and our NAMS missionaries in Peru, Juan Tamayo and his daughter Melissa, are currently also COVID-19 positive. All are recovering, but please keep them in your prayers.
Two brief reports from Juan and Maida Tamayo, NAMS Companions and leaders in Lima, Peru of those helped by our COVID-19 Relief funds:
Sister Yaipsi: “Today, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for the great blessing received from all of you, my family in faith. My family and I are totally grateful for your valuable contribution and especially your prayers. May God multiply your blessings greatly and may His mercy be infinite to all of you”.
Sister Rosa: “Greetings to the NAMS brethren. Today I’d like to thank God for the great blessing which you are having you in my life. I know God is working greatly in my life with a purpose through the great act of kindness of your offering. The support of NAMS means a lot to me because it was in a moment that I was going through certain needs. Our prayers to God are powerful – their answers are reflected in the act of kindness of your offerings. I am very grateful.”.
Indeed, to all who gave and prayed, we at NAMS say ‘Thank you’ and thanks be to God.
This Post has been edited to assist in the safety of workers in the field.
URGENT APPEAL – NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF FUND 2021
Dear NAMS friends and supporters,
We live in a world that continues to battle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While those of us in developed countries have started to reap the effects of vaccinations in bringing down infection rates, such is still not that case in the majority world.
NAMS has work on 5 continents, and our Companions and leaders are widely spread around the world. Some of them continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic. A few nations like India and Nepal are facing huge surges in numbers once more, as I am sure you are aware from the news.
We in NAMS are seeking to raise funds to help people through our NAMS NAMS bases in 3 of the most hard-hit nations globally, that is, India, Nepal and Cuba.
In fact, in India, the NAMS leader of South Asia, is now in hospital being treated for COVID.
The situation is equally dire in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. Our NAMS Nepal leader has just reported that one of our NAMS Companions in Kathmandu, Kiran Pal, has contracted COVID-19. They are now in a desperate search for a hospital to treat her.
Finally, the island state of Cuba has not been much in the news. But our NAMS base there reports that COVID-19 and the collapse of the economy has meant that there is a shortage of food, essential items and employment in the country.
We would therefore like to appeal for emergency funds to send to our NAMS bases in these three countries in particular, India, Nepal and Cuba, so that they can help meet the needs of people there – especially the sick, suffering or destitute.
If you would like to help or donate, please click on the ‘Donate Now’ button here or go to our website directly ( http://www.namsnetwork.com/ be-involved.html ) to donate there. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for other ways to transfer any gifts. (Please indicate ‘NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF FUND 2021’ on the remarks column).
Above all, please pray for these and many other nations in the throes of this pandemic.
As it has no doubt been for you, 2020 has been a strange year for us as well. Many things we had planned have been put on hold. Too many people dear to members of our network have suffered as a result of the pandemic—the disease itself and its devastating impact on economies and culture. Yet through it all we have seen God at work, and we have been blessed because of it.
We have seen disciples made, churches planted and new mission fields open in India, Peru and the US. Our Global Apprentice Program expanded into Africa this year. We now have (or are poised for) Global Apprentice in Asia (Thailand) and Europe (England). Generous donors made COVID relief through NAMS possible in five major regions. The work goes on because the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ carries us onward.
To those who have already given this year, we say “thank you.” To all of you who pray for us so faithfully, we again say “thank you.” As the calendar year draws to a close and our brothers and sisters in the USA enter a season focused on giving thanks, we ask you to consider showing your thanks to God by making a gift to NAMS and so partnering with us in the spread of the gospel around the globe. We cannot continue to answer the Lord’s call to pioneering global church planting through disciple-making discipleship without your generous support. Thanks be to God, who is able to do far more than we are able to ask or imagine!
Or, you can mail a check (or use your bank’s online bill pay feature to send a payment) to:
2820 Selwyn Ave, Suite 694
Charlotte, NC 28209
Many of us were taken by surprise by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our nations and world. Like a tornado or typhoon, it has wrought swift destruction and damage to all in its pathway. But despite the strict limitations now in play in many parts of the world that are still causing suffering and death, we thank God that He is not limited by Pandemics or shut-downs. God is still at work around the world, and we in NAMS, in part with His church and people, are working actively despite the challenges of our times.
Our our NAMS Base in Nairobi, Kenya is an example. Just prior to the presidential directive to have school closed and our cities placed into lock down, a NAMS’ team led by Rev. Isaac Lasky (from Bangkok Thailand) and Pastor Pankaj (from Kathmandu, Nepal) was in town (2-8 March 2020) to do orientation with three new NAMS Global Apprentices. Had the training dates been planned a week later, it would not have been able to happen, and we saw God’s hand in the immaculate timing.
The plan after the training was to have the trained apprentices join me in regular practical ministry’s activities including preaching, training and pastoral visitations; with each remaining committed to making disciples in their sphere of work and home. The lockdown in Kenya brought a halt to our plans.
However, NAMS Sub-Saharan leader Timothy Mazimpaka in Kenya further reports what happened: “One day, while waiting upon the LORD to know what should be done, I got a message from a sister in the Lord that I knew from the USA with an encouraging quote from A.W.Tozer. She had gotten it from one of Tozer’s books, ‘The Pursuit of God’ that she had stated re-reading. As we spoke, I raised an idea to organize a way to read the book with her online and to have our Global Apprentices join in. She readily agreed. Since then, we have been reading together the book once a week and it has been a great blessing. We read, do assignments around topics raise and then come back to share. Our prayer is to get those we are reaching to also use the book as a resource.”
At the same time, Timothy and the Global Apprentices have begun using another virtual discipleship platform, by DAI (Development Associates International) – a 9 weeks’ course on “Servant Leadership.“ They have been meeting virtually and online with 12 emerging leaders from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Canada.
So, even as they aim to start the GAP program in Kenya proper with support from Isaac, GAP Global Co-ordinator, once the situation improves and they can physically be together, in the meantime they have been able to keep learning and growing through these times with various activities on-line. We thank God for the opportunity through the COVID-19 lockdown to continue to train emerging leaders in Sub-Sahara Africa. God’s glory continues to unfolding in ways we least expect. Glory to God in the highest!
- Kathmandu, Nepal. Our NAMS leader in Nepal, Pastor Tek Prasad Rijal is based just outside of the city. Because of the lockdown, they have been helping with the food needs and support of at least 25 families in their locality. Additionally, Tek is well connected to relief efforts of various other churches in the city and will be able to help from some of the funds sent.
- Nairobi, Kenya. Our NAMS leader in Kenya, Pastor Timothy Mazimpaka reports that they have been working with a group of women from Ngara Market, most of whom are the sole breadwinners in single-parent families. They have been struggling without work at the market, to feed themselves and their families. A gift of US$1,000 will enable to the 15 of so women to have basic foodstuff and support for a month or two.
- Havanna and Cienfuegos, Cuba. Our NAMS leader in Latin America is based in Temuco, Chile – Pastor Andres Casanueva. Our NAMS base there has relationship with NAMS partners in Cienfuegos and a base in Havana, Cuba, which they have been regularly supporting. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, many of the poor families have had no recourse for help and support. We would like through our NAMS base in Chile, to send them crisis-relief funds and support for basic needs.