Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

Year In Review

December 15, 2010

Two thousand years ago God gave to this world the greatest gift ever given. The world has never been the same since Jesus came! “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:15). The Lord has given us a very fruitful year. We traveled nearly 50,000 miles to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus in Uganda, Oman, Romania, and along the U.S. east coast.

We took our 15th team to Uganda, Africa in June. Our medical team treated 4,000 people in remote villages. One hundred twenty Ugandan pastors attended a pastor’s training event to further their ministries. Throughout our week in Uganda, we had the privilege to present the message of salvation to over 10,000 people. Nearly 1,500 people made a confession of faith in our Savior.

In Oman, I worked with a team to give Bibles and Christian literature to muslims under the cover of darkness. It was literally a secret mission that enabled us to give 1,200 Bibles to muslims who have never heard the Gospel.

Locally, I had the privilege to preach church revival and evangelistic meetings in over twenty churches throughout Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. I spoke to encourage eighty pastors and their families at the West Virginia Baptist Convention. I was also able to team up with Josh & Tasha Via for several youth camps and youth crusades. We saw twenty high school students make a decision for Christ at the Chatham Youth Alive event.

Because of your support, thousands of people have heard the Gospel message this year. Hundreds of souls have confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Thank you for standing with us through another exciting year of missions and ministry. Janet and I send our love to all of you this Christmas season.

The end of every year is a great time to make special donations to missionaries and other Christian ministries. As you prepare to give that extra year end gift, would you prayerfully consider investing it in this ministry? Your donation will enable us to take the Gospel to people all over the world. Remember, all gifts are tax deductible and you can also donate online via our website. Thank you for helping us reach so many with His love.

Healing for Haiti

November 1, 2010

In January, I will be joining my missionary friend Jim Hambrick for a mission to Haiti. Jim has been taking teams into Haiti almost every month since the earthquake. They have been providing aid, medicine and building supplies for this devastated county. I will have the opportunity to join Jim in taking the Gospel to the multitudes of lost people who survived the earthquake. Jim tells me that there is a deep interest in the Word of God in the midst of their sorrow and loss. Thank you for supporting our ministry as we take the Good News to a broken world.

New Book

October 28, 2010

Dear friends,  I sure would appreciate your prayers as I attempt to write a book on the effectiveness of short term missions. The purpose of the book will be to help churches and individuals prepare for short term mission projects.  If all goes well, I hope to have it released in 2011.  It will be a practical, hands-on book written from 15 years of leading mission teams and doing mission work in more than 30 countries. Thanks so much for your prayers. – Rick

God Speaks Every Language

October 8, 2010

I walked into a store in South Carolina and noticed that the man behind the counter was from India.  As I payed for my items, I asked him if he was from India.  His eyes lit up and he began to tell me about his country. “I’ve been to your country several times,” I told him.  “In fact I think I have something in your language.” I went to my car and started looking through the materials I had with me. I try to keep Bibles and other christian literature in several different languages. The only thing I could find from India was a language that he would not know very well.  I took the booklet and went back to the counter. I said, “I’m sorry. I thought I had something in your language of Urdu.  All I have with me is this booklet in Hindi.” He looked at it  for a moment and with a broad smile said, “This is not Hindi, this is Urdu!” I walked back to the car rejoicing that the Lord had provided me an opportunity to give this man the Gospel in his own national language. What an encouragement to know that our God knows every language and every tongue. Revelation 5 tells us that there will be people in heaven from every nation and every tribe proclaiming the glory of the Lamb of God. I have had the opportunity to preach the Gospel in 38 different countries around the world. We must reach the nations. But sometimes God brings the nations to our door step.  Let’s be ready to give the Gospel to people at every opportunity the Lord gives us.

More Opportunities in 2011

September 30, 2010
In 2006, I spent the summer in Uganda helping Arise Africa International in any way I could. It consisted of leading Bible studies, fixing computers for their ministry office, building structures for new churches to meet in, and spending time encouraging the small village churches. In my time there, I saw a handful of churches come through Arise Africa’s Guest House for their week of missions. One team came for over a week but spent little time doing actual ministry. What they called “missions” consisted of a short Bible study and a cute puppet show in a small village for three days. The rest of their time was spent sightseeing, white water rafting on the Nile River, and a three day safari. I’m sorry, but that is not missions. That is not the Gospel.

If I’m going to spend thousands of dollars to go overseas on a mission trip then I want to spend every ounce of energy I have to proclaim the Gospel. I want to fly home to the States absolutely exhausted. You wouldn’t expect anything less from this ministry. You give and you sacrifice so that the Kingdom can expand for God’s glory, not for us to go sightseeing. RVM is solely about the advancement of the Gospel.

As I join the RVM team in January, one strategy we want to implement is to partner more with you and your church. I believe that the American church is embracing anew the Great Commission and regaining an urgency for the Gospel (see the Great Comission Resurgence). However, so many churches do not have the resources to take their own mission trips. That’s where RVM can be a blessing. We want to partner with your church to train your team, handle the logistics, plan for the trip, and have Rick Via lead the team. Administration in missions is extremely important for your time overseas to be the most effective. We can help by organizing travel itineraries, booking flights, transportation and lodging, assuring passports, visas, and shots are all in order, assembling interpreters, planning ministry activities alongside missionaries,  and budgeting for travel and ministry. All of these things (and more) go in to a taking a successful, safe, short term mission trip. We believe, by the grace of God, and through much prayer that we can partner with more churches, train more pastors, reach more people, and see more souls come to salvation in Christ in 2011. With your help, your giving, and your prayer, we will see God continue to do amazing things around the world for His glory.

Please continue to pray for Keesha and I as we diligently raise our support in order to come on staff with RVM. If the Lord leads you, we would ask that you commit to support Keesha and I on a monthly basis for one year. You can donate online here. Please pray about how you might partner with us for the sake of the Gospel.

By His Grace,
Jacob Via

His World on My Heart

September 27, 2010

This past week I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with people from three different countries. One was a young man from Macedonia, a young lady from Romania and a student from Jamaica. It was such a joy to put the Word of God into their hands and pray that the Spirit of God will draw them to our Savior.

All of us are familiar with John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” But verse 17 says, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” In two verses of Scripture, the word “world” appears four times. God has a world on His heart. He has also put that world on our hearts. Will you partner with our ministry to help us take the Gospel to the world that Jesus died to save? We can’t do it without your help.

Fifteen Years and Counting

August 1, 2010

Today, August 1, marks our fifteenth anniversary for RVM.  August 1, 1995 was my first day as a full-time evangelist. It is hard for me to believe that fifteen years have come and gone. What an amazing ride it has been. When we first started,  I had no idea that the Lord would open the doors for us to preach the Gospel all over the world. In those early days, I was actually wondering where our support was going to come from. But during the years, the Lord has raised up an incredible support team for our mission.  We have been able to partner with preachers, missionaries, churches and other mission organizations to take the Gospel into thirty-nine different countries.  We have been able to share the Gospel with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists,  and Atheists.  I have preached in churches that have ranged from 20 members to 2000 members. I remember one particular week I preached to 17 people in a small country church and the following week I preached to 1700 people in a large growing community.  In every case, the Lord has been faithful to supply our needs, to open the doors and give us the opportunity to proclaim His love and forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ.  I have no idea what the future holds, but I know who holds our future.  I am excited about the possibilities of taking the Word of God into new and unreached areas in the days ahead. May our Lord be greatly glorified and His Gospel proclaimed in the next days of this ministry.

A Tragic Bombing and An Urgent Gospel

July 13, 2010

I was shocked and saddened when I received the news about the terrorist bombing in Uganda. It appears that a terrorist group associated with Al Qaeda bombed two establishments in Kampala on Sunday evening. These establishments were filled with people watching the World Cup soccer match. At the last count there were 74 people killed, including one young American teenager, and many others wounded and injured. There was also an American mission team that was injured in the explosion. This attack has become very personal to me and my family. As you know, I was just in Uganda 2 weeks ago with our team of 28 volunteers. On the last day of our mission, we ate lunch at the mall in Kampala located just next to the restaurant that was bombed. Please join me in praying for all of our missionaries and our Ugandan friends who have been impacted by this tragic event. I’ve been going to Uganda for the last 20 years and these are some of the dearest people on the face of God’s earth. Also, please remember to pray for those who were a part of this vicious bombing. The people who believe in this kind of violence are in deep spiritual darkness. It is a reminder to me that there are always ricks involved in taking the Gospel around the world. Even more reason to take seriously our purpose on this earth. We need a fresh urgency for the Gospel. We live in a dark and dying world, and the mission we have been given by God can’t be taken lightly. I’m so proud of Arise Africa International and our Ugandan believers and missionaries who model this type urgency for the Gospel every day.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
(1 Corinthians 1:3-5)

To all of our Ugandan friends – we want you to know that you are in our prayers and in our hearts. You are not forgotten at this time of sorrow and we are confident that our Lord is still on His throne. As long as He is on His throne, He will bring something good out of this senseless attack.

From Carissa Drauss

July 3, 2010

We’ve been home for one week now…. Ask me if “real life” has hit me yet? Ok… no. It hasn’t. Frankly I hope that it never does. God did such an amazing work in my heart and life…. I hope it never fades away. I fear that being back and being surrounded by “stuff” will drown out the Voice that I heard so clearly when I was in Uganda.

This past weekend at church, I noticed that I now have beautiful footage in my heart and mind to go along with worship. For example, when I read in Psalm “He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth,” I noticed that I now have visions of Deborah – a beautiful Ugandan woman who had gangrene so bad that her leg may need to be amputated- but I’m told that she had her arms lifted to the Lord! Presumably she was praising Him because she trusted Him and He sent our nurses! She worshiped and praised Him despite the fact that she was in tremendous pain and staring death right in the face. Deborah is a true testament and example of what we are supposed to be.

There were so many stories like this- so many beautiful people. People who trusted and loved the Lord simply- purely- with a genuine love. A humble love. I pray that I will not only experience that kind of love here in the US, but that I may continue to be a vessel for Jesus’ love here. I pray that I don’t get mired in the stuff of “self” or frozen in fear or concerned with what people think. I am often so worried about what people think! I can’t be like that anymore. I am God’s! I must submit and surrender completely to Him so that He can use me – so that He can help me BE the love.

It was so cool to be able to feel Jesus giving me His soft eyes filled with love to look at these people with! Also, I had never shared the Gospel or my testimony or walked with anyone as they accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior – but I was so blessed to have had that opportunity on this trip! It was so wonderful to feel connected to the Source and Sustainer and to be used by Him in that capacity!

Also – I have a quick note about our team – our God-breathed RVM Uganda Team! If you’ve read in 1 Corinthians 12 about everyone in the church having different parts – different rolls to fill – well, that was definitely the case here. God put together a team that truly complimented one another. Individual strengths were shared and woven into the fabric of our team’s shared heart. It was another miracle. God just poured His blessings out on us all!

I am so grateful for this experience! I am grateful to God first and then to the Via Family, and to Godfrey & Joy Wanamitsa & Arise Africa for their leadership and the hard work they invested in making this life-altering trip a reality! THANK YOU ALL – leaders, team members, supporters and of course, the Ugandan people – for your passion for and faithfulness in spreading the Good News!!! He is risen!!!

God Be Praised!
Carissa Drauss

From Rebekah Brammer

July 2, 2010

Uganda has been one of the best experiences of my life! I have been on mission trips before but I was able to experience almost all aspects this time from helping the nurses, telling my testimony, sharing the gospel, visiting schools and a prison, and playing with the kids. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had to pray every day that God would give me the strength and desire to be out there because it is very exhausting. God never failed to give me the strength. There was always one child that would come up to me and warm my heart, which gave me the strength to go on. I remember the first day in Uganda a team member, Carissa, asked for the team to pray for boldness. She felt like the Lord was placing it on her heart. I know that it was that prayer that helped me to be so bold in sharing! I have even been able to bring the boldness back to the states with me because I have been so excited to share with anyone who asks. I hope it will spark something in someone to go to Uganda in the future! I want to thank everyone for praying while we were gone, it was truly a blessing because I could only do what I did with the power of Jesus Christ working through me.