UNREACHED

From Behind The Lens to Behind The Mic: Stories Captured in the Field with Nathan Jennings

May 15, 2024 UNREACHED Season 2 Episode 10
From Behind The Lens to Behind The Mic: Stories Captured in the Field with Nathan Jennings
UNREACHED
More Info
UNREACHED
From Behind The Lens to Behind The Mic: Stories Captured in the Field with Nathan Jennings
May 15, 2024 Season 2 Episode 10
UNREACHED

As we wander through the untrodden paths of the world, our latest conversation with Nathan Jennings, a remarkable videographer and digital storyteller with a heart for the Gospel, brings to light the untold narratives of resilience and faith. Nathan's leap from music to multimedia opens a window into the lives of those in the farthest reaches of Uganda and Nepal, transforming how we view the act of sharing love and hope. His lens captures more than images; it captures stories of change and the impact of meeting basic needs as a pathway to foster relationships and spread the message of Jesus.

The power of storytelling becomes a bridge between worlds, as we recount an extraordinary encounter between Christian filmmakers and a Buddhist monk in Nepal. This unexpected spiritual discourse goes beyond documenting heart surgeries and unveils the heart of ministry itself. Meanwhile, back in Thailand, we meet Daniel, an ex-architect whose compassion for Burmese refugees reshapes his entire life. Daniel's story is a stark reminder of the difference one individual's dedication can make in the fight against injustice, and his journey from architectural blueprints to blueprints of hope is nothing short of inspiring. 
https://thearchibaldproject.com/video/thailand/

Our episode concludes amidst the sands of the Egyptian desert, where we witness the strength and spirit of a community often unseen—the disabled. In the midst of adversity, their worship sings a song of unity and perseverance, reminding us of the underestimated power of presence. The episode wraps with a call to embrace the role we all have in the greater mission, energized by prayer and the proclamation of a love that knows no bounds. Join us as we share these profound experiences, sure to ignite a deeper understanding of God's relentless pursuit and how it calls each of us to action.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As we wander through the untrodden paths of the world, our latest conversation with Nathan Jennings, a remarkable videographer and digital storyteller with a heart for the Gospel, brings to light the untold narratives of resilience and faith. Nathan's leap from music to multimedia opens a window into the lives of those in the farthest reaches of Uganda and Nepal, transforming how we view the act of sharing love and hope. His lens captures more than images; it captures stories of change and the impact of meeting basic needs as a pathway to foster relationships and spread the message of Jesus.

The power of storytelling becomes a bridge between worlds, as we recount an extraordinary encounter between Christian filmmakers and a Buddhist monk in Nepal. This unexpected spiritual discourse goes beyond documenting heart surgeries and unveils the heart of ministry itself. Meanwhile, back in Thailand, we meet Daniel, an ex-architect whose compassion for Burmese refugees reshapes his entire life. Daniel's story is a stark reminder of the difference one individual's dedication can make in the fight against injustice, and his journey from architectural blueprints to blueprints of hope is nothing short of inspiring. 
https://thearchibaldproject.com/video/thailand/

Our episode concludes amidst the sands of the Egyptian desert, where we witness the strength and spirit of a community often unseen—the disabled. In the midst of adversity, their worship sings a song of unity and perseverance, reminding us of the underestimated power of presence. The episode wraps with a call to embrace the role we all have in the greater mission, energized by prayer and the proclamation of a love that knows no bounds. Join us as we share these profound experiences, sure to ignite a deeper understanding of God's relentless pursuit and how it calls each of us to action.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Speaker 1:

In Revelation 7, john shares his vision of heaven, with members from every tribe, tongue, people and language standing in the throne room before the Lamb. Yet today there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups around the world. For the last six years, my family and friends have been on a journey to find, vet and fund the task remaining. Come journey with us to the ends of the earth as we share the supernatural stories of God at work for the men and women he has called to reach the unreached.

Speaker 2:

Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Unreached podcast. I'm Clint Hudson, your host for today's episode, and right off the bat I just want to thank you for joining us on this journey. It's been an incredible ride. We've been literally around the world and we've gotten comments and notes from you guys that have been so encouraging. I just wanted to share one with you that was encouraging to us from this past week. We got a message, a comment on one of our episodes from Laura, and Laura said this podcast is so needed to break down what missions is, to have missionaries come and share what it looks like to learn language and culture, the suffering, the sacrifice and the joy oh, the joy of bringing the gospel. Great podcast, can't share it enough. Thank you so much for that comment and so many more that are like that, and I just want to encourage you guys right here at the top of this episode Take a second, share this podcast with a friend or a colleague.

Speaker 2:

Take your favorite episode and share it with them. If you've listened to one episode, that's your favorite. If this is your first episode, now this is your favorite. But we would just love the opportunity to have more people be able to hear the work of God around the world in reaching the unreached. We're so thankful for that. Today we have a really special episode from a very unique perspective. We are joined by our friend, nathan Jennings, who is a videographer, a digital storyteller. He's traveled around the world to capture moments and be in the moment in Uganda, india, nepal, lebanon, thailand, egypt, laos. He's been to so many different places and he's been able to see God at work among the unreached. He has a unique perspective that he's been able to see God at work with the unreached from behind the lens, and now he's going to join us from behind the mic, nathan, welcome.

Speaker 3:

Happy to be here. Thank you, friend.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man, all right. So, Nate, give us a little bit of context about your life and the lens that you have had. See what I did there. Lens, yes, yeah, the lens that you've had to be able to see God at work with the unreached Lens was camera right? Yes, it was Okay.

Speaker 3:

I just wanted to make sure I got the joke.

Speaker 1:

You got it.

Speaker 3:

So it's interesting. I'm glad you started with what God has done with my life to this point, because I never set out to do this.

Speaker 3:

And that's what's interesting for me is I grew up in a family with business people and farmers, and that's about what I knew to do and that's about what I knew to do. But there was always this inkling in my back of my mind, in my heart, of like there's so much more that I can experience of what God's created, so that first love was music and that's where I put all my time and effort and energy. I would skip class, I would fail, I would do a lot of things that Typical musician.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know.

Speaker 3:

That my parents just would go crazy over. But thankfully they were diligent and patient and helped me get foundation and basics down to where I'm grateful. I went through school and graduated and that whole time I was pursuing music and my parents did encourage me to pursue my passions, but make sure that you have a foundation. So through God's provision I was allowed to be able to do music for a living for 10 years and met my wife in that process. She had gone through radio, television, film and she got me into this industry just because her sound was never great when she was filming and I said, can I just help with that, because that's what I know? Her sound was never great when she was filming and I said, can I just help with that, because that's what I know. And in that God started this whole path where I started filming stories with her, that in that process just learned how to tell a story because of her. And so I think, just as we've progressed, we've learned how to honor people in their stories without demeaning anything in their lives and show what God is doing in their life and therefore we can see God's hand all around the world in different people's families, lives, people, groups. That has nothing to do with us, and so you're just getting to experience that.

Speaker 3:

So the first trip that I did was in Uganda, 2015, to tell the story of what had been happening in this unreached people group in Northern Uganda, padere, and so we went with not a lot of direction, but just were observing, and so we took the camera as an observational tool and just watched what was going on.

Speaker 3:

And in that process we got to see, oh okay, god is using us to go over there and just be with people and ask what are their needs. And we found in that process, if we can meet people's basic needs, it gives you an opportunity, a relational opportunity, to be able to share the name of Jesus, and so, at that fundamental level, we learned that you can do this everywhere in the world that doesn't know his name, and it is such a simple thing. And so we've been able to, since 2015, to tell that story over and over and over. It looks different with different people groups and some of the basic needs are different, but essentially it boils down to if we can meet their need of what they need in that moment for their family, for that people group, then therefore, we have that relational opportunity to share the name of Jesus.

Speaker 2:

There's a tremendous value for those of us that are back here.

Speaker 2:

Not only are you informing and inspiring with this digital storytelling and capturing these moments, but you're helping other people who are passionate about reaching the unreached get a glimpse of what it actually looks like man. I think it's Todd Aaron maybe that says it that the heart can't feel what the eye hasn't seen and I truly believe that you and Jamie, your wife, have done a tremendous job in helping to allow people whose hearts long to do something for the gospel to be able to see the thing that God wants them to mobilize towards. Why don't you kick us off with a story specifically from Uganda, something that you saw through the lens? It doesn't have to be that first trip, but you guys, how many times have you been to Padere? To Padere, five times. I mean that's incredible. And so not only do you have some incredible stories I'm sure that you have seen, but also maybe some stories of progression that you've seen change over time. So I mean share with our audience what it's like in Padere in Uganda and what you've seen God do with the unreached there.

Speaker 3:

So Padere Uganda is in Northern Uganda, and so Kampala is down on the lake at the south end of the country, and it's either a 10 hour drive north or it is a hour flight, and so one of those sounds better than the other.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, but it's a it's a 20 seat plane and so if there's storms you feel it. And so there's several people like Holly, one of our friends. She only does the drive and the rest of us fly, but she cannot stand being in that small plane and she will sacrifice those nine hours to avoid being on that plane. So it's northern Uganda. It's close to a town called Gulu, which is a much bigger town. In that area, padere is a collection of bush people but essentially they work the land. It's a very fruitful land off of a river that just farms and they live in all these different communities. You walk down this trail and then all of a sudden there's an explosion in the bush of huts and it just opens up and they're in a circle and that's where they have their fire in the middle and that's where they cook. And it's progressed a lot more since we started going 10 years ago to now. That's the story I would love to tell. If one makes it across, it's seeing that patient progression of what God does through our diligence and just following what he asks us to do.

Speaker 3:

For example, the first time we went, the church had been meeting in a thatch hut, and so it was. I think it was eucalyptus poles and I'm probably getting the construction wrong, but it was wood poles and then there was a grass roof. First time we went they had just moved into a brick building and the kids were meeting in that thatch roof hut and so they got to tell the story. This is our first church that we built and now the kids have a space and we have a space. And they were right next to each other on this big piece of land.

Speaker 3:

The next time we went that thatched roof hut had collapsed in a storm but thankfully they had that brick building and in the process had already built another brick building and they processed the bricks on that same property. So there was a brick kiln behind the church that they were just making bricks constantly to build these buildings so that people could gather and hear the name of Jesus from that area, and they all walked to it. And it's outside the town. If you looked at a map, there's Padere and then there's a road going to the dump and then that's where the church was.

Speaker 2:

Nathan, tell us a little bit more about the church there in Padere. So I mean, you described the buildings and how there's multiple buildings now, but what is happening in the church?

Speaker 3:

What are you seeing God do in the church in Padere, in the village now, yeah, so outside of normal gatherings at the church, which on the church property there's also a school, so it is an active church or it's an active property all week long.

Speaker 3:

But not everybody can get to the church except one day a week because of work or family. And so there are groups of men and women that go around to the different villages, those gatherings of villages in the bush, and they know that they're going to be there on said day at this lunchtime or this afternoon, and they will sit under a tree for shade and just sing together, talk about what they've been reading, talk about the needs of their community, and it's just this regular gathering that doesn't have any other agenda except to gather under his name and spend time singing, reading and praying. And they have been doing that for the last 10 years that I know of. And every time we go we get to go and experience those groups, and those are some of the more powerful moments, because we're removed from all the structure that we're so used to in a church and it's just the word of God happening out in the wilderness and it's great man.

Speaker 2:

That's incredible For those of you guys listening. I just want to encourage you the next time that you gather whether it be with your small group, whether it be going to church take a second and remember the fact that in different places around the world, there are literally groups of people gathering together under trees for shade to talk about the gospel and what God's doing in their life. I feel like the more we can understand that, the more we can have a deep gratitude for the work of God around the world and for what we get to be a part of. Like that's the church, the capital C church. They're a part of the same church that we are man. That's just. That's amazing.

Speaker 3:

Thanks for sharing that dude.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And I think there's a note that we've talked about as a team, as we create things that I want to make sure I share. Yeah, there's a tendency, especially in the world of film and storytelling, to make sure you capture these moments in real time, these things that are unfolding before you and that are so beautiful. But there's also a value to be able to just experience the moment as yourself and not feel like you have to capture these things all the time. And so there's a reminder from a friend of mine who just said sometimes you just need to be in the moment and not feel like you have to do something in the time. And so there's a reminder from a friend of mine who just said sometimes you just need to be in the moment and not feel like you have to do something in the moment.

Speaker 3:

And so anytime we go somewhere, we feel like we have a job or an agenda, especially on mission. Sometimes we need to be a part of what's happening, because that's another brother or sister across from you, even though they're a different culture, a different country, different language. That's another brother or sister across from you, even though they're a different culture, a different country, different language. That's a brother or sister across from you that is experiencing the same thing that you do, and so sometimes we just need to be together experiencing that, and there's a lot of value that can come out of that, and even more than we realize in what God's doing in those moments.

Speaker 2:

So, nate, you get an opportunity not only to be in the moment in all these different places around the world, to be behind the lens to capture these things, but you also tend to find yourself sometimes in places where you have absolutely no business being Places that those of us who don't have a camera or the skill or the ability that you have would never be granted access to, and one of those places happened to be in Nepal, and I would love for you to be able to share that story with everyone.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, because of the work I'd been doing, other organizations in town, through word of mouth, had heard hey, this couple does this. You might want to talk to them about telling your story. So I got contacted by an organization that wanted to tell the story of the effects of their work that they had been doing, which was repairing heart defects for people in other countries that didn't have access to that health care. They had had this Buddhist monk come 10 years ago, have his heart defect repaired and wanted to just see where he is now. Just to follow up 10 years later to say, look, this is still a good work, we should continue it. So I went over to Nepal and, funny enough, I could not find any of my filmmaker friends to go with me. No one had the availability in this small window that I had to go over and film it. So I got a fellow worship leader who knew how to hold a camera to go with me. So there's two guys that had come out of the worship ministry found themselves holding cameras, who had no intention of ever doing that, and so I think again, it's just God using your life to do things that you didn't intend to do, took both of us over there to Nepal to tell this story.

Speaker 3:

We're staying outside the monastery, which is a big if you've ever seen one, especially in the eastern hemisphere. They're big fenced off areas and usually there are times you can go in and spend your time praying, doing whatever you do in the practicing Buddhist culture, but other times it was closed off. But for whatever reason, we got to go in behind the walls at times we weren't supposed to. So one I'm not a practicing Buddhist got into something that practicing Buddhists would love to be a part of. And then two, they knew I was a Christian, let me into the shrine rooms which I have no business being in with a camera to film all this.

Speaker 3:

So we got to know this guy, just tell his story with our interpreter and then, over meals in between filming, he asked us are you Buddhist? And we said no, we believe that Jesus is our risen Lord and Savior and that all that come to know him are saved. So we got to talk about the differences of those and it was not met with hostility, which I expected it to be, and also to shut us down for the project we were doing. But he just had questions. And so we got to build a just a very short relationship with this guy and just talk about that in those moments. And he still kept inviting us into these deep rooms where it's very sacred to their Buddhist culture and to be able to see Jesus in there and for people to come to know him and not to disconnect themselves from the relationships that they already had with other Buddhist monks, but to hopefully continue to spread his name through there and just see a change in that.

Speaker 3:

Will I ever see that? I don't know. That's not for me to know. We aren't meant to know his ways, and so I think it's just knowing that the Holy Spirit had led us to this place, and you could feel the urging on your heart to say, hey, you're telling a story for something else. You're doing your job, yes, but the bigger purpose here is you're supposed to be there and you're supposed to pray these things.

Speaker 3:

And so I mean, I was scared and I didn't know what to do. But just inside my heart, while I'm doing my job, praying about the name of Jesus, and there was one moment and I can find the shot somewhere where I'm standing behind Buddha, which I wasn't supposed to do but they said, oh, you can go stand over there and film, Cause I asked if I could see the shrine room more with this Buddhist monk spending time reading his prayers. And so I'm standing behind Buddha, where I'm not supposed to be filming, through Buddha to this guy and saying, jesus, I just want him to know you. And so it's just this moment. I think about a lot of just standing there with the smoke coming out of the incense, looking past Buddha to this guy and just wanting him to know Jesus. And so it's just this odd moment you find yourself in, and again there's no result. I can tell you. I don't know what the end of that story is, but I know that I did what I was supposed to in that moment.

Speaker 2:

One of my favorite things about this podcast and the stories that we get to tell on it is moments like this where we get to hear how Jesus was named in a place where he is yet to be named.

Speaker 2:

Oftentimes we think about that in some remote jungle like the Mali Ali in Papua New Guinea, naming Jesus where he's yet to be named. Our friends there that did the work they had to call him the road-cutting man because they didn't have a name for Jesus and what you just described is such a unique place on earth where you got to name Jesus where he is yet to be named, and so we may not know the fruit, but we know that God loves that Buddhist monk more than we could ever. God has a plan and a purpose for his life, more than we could even communicate to him, and the name of Jesus has been spoken there and God's going to do a great work. That's amazing. Thanks for sharing that story. Man. Absolutely, that's awesome. What an, what an incredible picture of the incense and the behind the Buddha and having the shot and knowing that, like right there in that prayer room, the name of Jesus was being that it's incredible.

Speaker 3:

And it's another moment of just being in a moment, not doing what I'm needing to do in the moment and doing my job, but it's being in the moment and experiencing what God has for me in that moment, and it's not about me at all.

Speaker 3:

Like I have to remember, that too is I'll wrap my identity sometimes around. Well, this is my job to do this, so I'm going to do it. Well, and then I can catch myself because of the Holy Spirit within me not me catching myself but I get this urging of is this what you're doing, or is it what he's doing through you? And it's like, oh yeah, that's right. And so I have to let go of so many things in moments and just be in the moment, while also capturing the moment and just watching what he does. And then, when we get back, we can see like, oh, there's the story he's trying to tell. We just didn't see it right then, and it's just, it's an interesting thing, but it's you hold things so loosely because, if we try to grab hold, it goes sideways real quick.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can imagine All right. So Uganda, nepal, india, lebanon, thailand, egypt, laos you've been to so many different places where you've captured being in the moment and then providing that perspective for those of us that get an opportunity to see your work.

Speaker 3:

Give us another story from a different country, somewhere that you've been that you'd love to be able to share seeing God at work in an unreached people group and I know you guys have done a podcast before with Ashley Heiligman from Global Child Advocates, and some years ago her and the organization had approached a couple of us working for the church and working in missions to just go and tell the story of what's happening there. And again, it was another moment. We didn't know what the story was, and so in our pre-production work we were asking her who are our subjects that are going to be there? Are we going with anybody? Do we have a liaison? We usually spend a lot of time understanding who's going to help us navigate these moments, and on this particular one we had one lady with us who could not be a character on camera because there's some people that just get terrified and lock up when the camera gets out. And so Ashley knew this lady wasn't going to work. She said but I have this guy, daniel, who his story is interesting and I want his story to be told of what God is doing through his life. So Nick and I got there and we sat down, had dinner the first night and just conversing, just trying to get to know the guy before we start shoving cameras in his face and just running around all town and him getting a lot of attention from it, and he didn't say much at that dinner and Nick and I start sweating thinking, uh oh, we don't have anybody. Is it going to be one of us now telling the story through what our lens is? That's not going to go well, we're not on-camera people. That dinner we were trying to figure out what to do and then dinner ended and we had already set up the interview with Daniel the next day and went to bed that night just looking at all the different angles, all the different people we had met.

Speaker 3:

How can we tell this story? How can we tell this story? And just went to bed with no ideas. Next morning we woke up, went and did the interview and it's like I mean, it was the same guy but he just opened up and out of his heart just came this love for these Burmese refugees who are living in Thailand, because he's Burmese himself.

Speaker 3:

And Daniel was a man that had the opportunity to live a very good life as an architect, but he could not let go of the fact that there were Burmese refugees fleeing their country and oppression and then getting picked up into the sex trade industry in Thailand, and he just couldn't stand it. And so he knew where most of them lived, which was the city dump. He started working with global child advocates to be able to minister to these families to help prevent them from going into the sex trade industry. And knowing that there is a better path, knowing that Jesus has their lives in his hands, and he just wanted to proclaim that over these people. And he just wanted to proclaim that over these people. And so this man was a man that had opportunity in the world to do something great and let it go and held this one that God gave him very loosely and very compassionately and just lived a great life, and not necessarily in the riches of the world, but in the riches of what Jesus was asking him to do.

Speaker 3:

And just watching that man from the first dinner of we don't have a story, he can't tell us anything, he has no compassion, no emotion to being the most compassionate person that I think I've met in the field to just proclaim the name of Jesus and love on people. And it's such a silly little thing but when you're in, the dump smells horrible. There's trash everywhere, half-eaten food, stuff, that's just dirty stuff that most of us would be like, oh, don't touch that, or you'd grab your kid's hands and be like, yeah, that's bad, that's going to make you sick To watching Daniel engage with these people after a dump truck had just come and dumped all the fresh trash, him digging through it with them, helping them find little scraps of food, find clothing. And there's this one kid that found these puffy white earmuffs that were fluffy white and he was playing with them. And Daniel said can I pay you for those? And so he would carry cash with him, sometimes just to buy things from the kids, just to so they'll get money, but also so they don't have this dirty thing. And so the kid said no, you've been here caring for my family. I want you to have them.

Speaker 3:

Gave him the white earmuffs and then Daniel wore them the rest of the time, walking around talking to everybody in this time and it's hot, but these white, puffy earmuffs, and you could see him just kind of flapping the wind every now and then and him just laughing with everybody. It was one of the cooler moments just standing in that place and the smell. Eventually just it went away because you saw something so beautiful in an engagement with people that the stench and the aroma that set our brains off saying this is awful, get out. Just went away. It was a moot point at that time, and so you just got to watch something. That was so cool because of what God had done in one man's life. He was therefore doing for others.

Speaker 2:

One of the things we say often on the podcast is like how, when you hear these stories, like how could you not want to give your life to this? And Daniel is a perfect example of this. His heart was broken by something that he saw with these Burmese refugees in Thailand and living in the dump and these kids that that were just getting snatched up into the sex trade. And he saw that and said, how can I not give my life to this to want to point them to Jesus and show them the way? Uh, man, that's amazing. Thanks for sharing that story, dude. That's, that's powerful.

Speaker 2:

And so for those of you guys that have listened that actually want to see some of Nathan's work and actually want to see that story with Daniel there in Thailand, with these Burmese refugees, we're going to link it in the show notes. So take a second, check out the show notes, go and find the link. It's about a 30 minute video, absolutely worth the watch, and it would be great for you to be able to see just some of the visuals of some of the things that we just talked about, and Nathan is Daniel in the white earmuffs in this video.

Speaker 3:

Yes, you'll see it, there you go.

Speaker 2:

I mean it's worth a watch for a lot of reasons, but that being one of them, all right. So, nathan, I want to end our time together by taking a journey to somewhere else, to Egypt. And so, just to set this up, as a kid I always loved Indiana Jones. That's what I wanted to be when I grew up. So when I say that we're going to go from Thailand to Egypt, we're going to travel by map. So, for those of you guys listening, just imagine the plane on Indiana Jones and that little cut scene where they're flying over the map. And now we're going to Egypt. So, nathan, take us to Egypt, wrap us up with an incredible story of an unreached and an underserved people group that you had an opportunity to serve there.

Speaker 3:

I'm not even sure what I expected going there, except for what was painted in my mind with Indiana Jones as well the pyramids, for sure. I think that's what I think of immediately. I think of the Nile River and how rich it is. We got there and we spent the first day seeing those things and it's like, oh, this is really cool. I can't wait to spend more time around this, but we didn't stay there.

Speaker 3:

It's about a three hour drive south of Cairo to this city called Minya, which I would probably refer to as a town, because when you look on the map of Cairo, it's this huge city and then there's Minya, this little looking dot on the map, but it's a city of 6 million and it's just hard to understand. But you get into it, and it's just hard to understand, but you get into it and it's just so dense and then you just see everybody walking, or they've got a donkey cart pulling their stuff around and they don't have public transportation. There's no trains, there's no bus system, everybody just walks. It's this city of six million people that God's created. I just think about that.

Speaker 3:

God created these people and he created this space, and they live in a space they'll probably never leave and it just it messes with my Western mind a lot when I experienced these places of thinking I complain about the dumbest stuff and these people are living here and they smile a lot. They have a lot of joy on their face. What's hard to understand in that culture is, if you have a disability, most likely you get cast out from society and so you don't, you can't get jobs Because it's seen as this thing that the gods have put on your life, that you're not going to be allowed to do certain things because you've been given this in your family. Like you've been stricken with this.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and so this organization has been spending time just ministering to those with disabilities, because they don't get as much access to things as everybody else in the culture does, and so what they're seeing is, because ministries have been spending time with those with disabilities, we are seeing the confidence of the Lord and the Holy Spirit in their lives to go and lead others to Jesus, and so there's beautiful moments. I spent there with a lady who is on walkers because her legs were deformed when she was born and she is going around to people's homes and spreading the name of Jesus, reading the Bible with them, and she's the one in charge. So going from not getting access to everyday life or just simple everyday life things and being in charge of anything to someone who is leading others who are not disabled to Jesus is really cool. But what they've done is they bought this little piece of land that's about a half hour outside of Minya and it's into the Sahara Desert. So picture Star Wars with all the dunes. It's that the ground is crusty because there's just no water there. The dunes aren't soft, it's not beach sand, it's just this crusty because there's just no water there. The dunes aren't soft, it's not beach sand, it's just this crusty, sandy thing. So you're driving forever thinking I'm really far away from water Really just anything I could potentially need in my mind. And then, as you pull up to this gate, there's this awning over the driveway with a wheelchair on top and you're thinking I don't know where I am. So we drive in and you start to hear a little bit of noise through the thin windows of the van and there's this open-air pavilion with about a six-foot concrete wall and opening above that for air and a metal roof. And just this noise, this beautiful noise of people singing inside this. And as you walk up, there were a thousand people inside that pavilion, all disabled, singing to God because they had come to know who Jesus is and they felt free in that moment to be able to worship him. And so you're thrust into it because they see outsiders who have come to visit them. And that's another thing.

Speaker 3:

Every country you go to, by the way, there is so much value in your presence, just going to visit someone and say I'm a believer, you're a believer, I just wanted to come see you. That goes so much further than we realize, because most of us think, well, what did you do for them, like, how did you serve them? What gift did you bring them? Did you give them money? That stuff is secondary to just your presence with another person, a believer, on the other side of the world. So that goes for every country I've been to and I just I would be remiss if I didn't mention it that just your presence is enough. If you know Jesus and you feel called to go do something, to go see someone on the other side of the world, do it. Don't have any other agenda. Yes, you can serve their basic needs, but if you just show up, god will use that infinitely more than we'll ever know.

Speaker 3:

So back to the story in the pavilion. So you get out of the van and they're just grabbing you by the arms and pushing your back into this thing. That's happening, and they want you to sit at the front and you are the special guest of that place and you don't feel worthy. You're like I. I don't worship like this half the time. So why am I in here, being a part of something that is so beautiful? I don't want to mess it up, and so you're just. You got to let yourself go. You go in there and you're a part of the moment and you sing with them. You don't know what they're singing is different language, but you know that the Holy Spirit's there, and so I took a moment at one point because I'm still doing my job after I was a part of the moment and I walked out of the pavilion and I hiked to the highest sand dune.

Speaker 3:

I could see away from the pavilion and there's just this concentration of what's happening in that pavilion and I left and went over the first sand dune and, for whatever reason, the sound completely disappeared.

Speaker 3:

And then I felt completely alone in this valley between these two sand dunes and thought that is such a stark contrast of either being in his presence and not in his presence.

Speaker 3:

And I got to experience it in a matter of 10 minutes and then walked back up to the next sand dune and then I could see it again. I could hear the noise coming again over the top and just took a shot from all the sand dunes for infinity to the horizon and this little pavilion with a strip of grass from the oasis coming up out of the ground of water leading into the pavilion. And it was just a cool thing just seeing that God provided water in the desert to this place so that they may come and have an earthly need of water and have the forever need of him, all in the same moment. And it was just such a cool picture of what God does for us when we don't expect things or we see it as this is impossible, and he makes things possible in those moments, man that's such a cool story and I can't help but feel like that's an earthly picture of what we get to expect when we get to the throne room.

Speaker 2:

For sure, there's just an abundance of praise, an abundance of provision. There's God's presence there. That's incredible. What a cool thing that not only you got to see with your own eyes but you got to capture through a lens to share with other people that now have those visuals that they can, they can pull on when they're thinking about the goodness of God and how God's at work around the world. Yeah, that's awesome man.

Speaker 3:

And I still feel it Like even right now, just as I can feel the emotions in my head welling up. I just I know. I know the presence of the Holy Spirit is so real all around the earth. Even in the darkest places, in the places that we perceive dangerous or just removed from everything that doesn't seem right, he's still there and I can still feel that in that moment of being overwhelmed with his presence in the middle of the desert, just as I do on a Sunday morning here at church, Like it's the same thing and it it lingers with me throughout the years. It never goes away. Man, that's amazing.

Speaker 2:

Nathan, thanks so much for taking time to step from behind the lens to behind the mic and to share some of these stories with everybody. I would love to have you in this episode, just with you, praying over us Love to. Maybe just praying for a reminder of the things that you've communicated today and the things that we've been able to see with our own eyes.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, jesus, thank you for the reminder that you are not absent anywhere in your creation.

Speaker 3:

Even in the hearts that have rejected you, you still pursue them, and so I just I'm so grateful for that, knowing that even from my own life, when I've rejected you in moments to do what I wanted to do, you still pursue me and I know you, and that is such, it's such a beautiful reminder that you have created us to love us and for us to love you in return.

Speaker 3:

So I can't imagine living a life that doesn't turn to the person next to me and just say I don't know how to explain this to you, but he wants you to Like what he's done in my life. I don't understand, and I know that he can do the same in yours, and I know that's what you call us to do is to proclaim the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth, and it just starts with those closest to us, and when you're done with that, you just go to the next thing he calls you to, and it's just amazing to see what you can do regardless of what we do, and so I just I'm thankful for that reminder and I pray that it just fuels everything that we do, those of us sitting in this room and those of us that are hearing this story, that we go forward proclaiming your name until the ends of the earth know who you are In Jesus' name, amen.

Speaker 2:

Amen.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to Unreached. Our sincere desire is that what you've heard today will cause you to see the mission of God differently and your role in it more clearly. If this adds value for you and we hope it does Would you please rate and review the podcast wherever you listen. Also, share with your family, your friends, your church, your life group, small group, dGroup, wherever you do life, and if you want to connect with us, find us on Instagram at unreached podcast, or email us at unreachedpodcast at gmailcom.

Stories of Reaching the Unreached
Spreading Jesus' Name in Nepal
Capturing Daniel's Compassion in Thailand
God's Presence in the Desert
The Power of Prayer and Proclamation