Monday, April 20, 2015

Sounding the Trumpet Call: An Interview with William Levi, Part 4

I'm excited to share the fourth and final part of my interview with William Levi with you this week. Please click on the following links if you haven't read the first three parts of this man's fascinating story of faithfulness and trust in our mighty God. 

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

For more information, or to learn more about Messianic Jew, William Levi and his work as the founder and Director of Operation Nehemiah Missions International, please visit the following links:

Operation Nehemiah Missions International Website
ONMI Facebook Page

I pray that you will be deeply blessed as we conclude with the fourth and final part of this interview . . . 



What projects is Operation Nehemiah
currently working on?

The specifics of the Beth Israel Farmhouse Project is the main project we are currently working on; this is the reason why we are going back there in April.  In addition to that we will be doing family discipleship and pastoral workshop and expanding the work in the farmland. We clearly see the need to put permanent structures (a home and storage warehouse) in the Beth Israel farmland beginning in 2015 on this trip. Our vision is to be able to accommodate both our family and an additional 3 - 4 families at a time, including both missionaries and the families of our ground staff to allow for full time engagement in farm operations.    

The Beth Israel farmland is about five miles away from the Mission headquarters in Borongole. Previous experience with staging farm work while staying in Borongole has proven logistically challenging.  When we are on the ground with our national staff, we find it very difficult to leave the mission headquarters to go to the farm in the morning hour before it is too hot to work. The earlier, the better.  It takes a lot of preparation to mobilize the team and head out to the farm. Every day, there are various circumstances that arise that hinder us from implementing necessary steps to strengthen the practical commitment to the farmland.  

 The farmland is vital for the implementation of the mission of Operation Nehemiah.  The time has come to move there and take hold of it.  The land needs indigenous people to stay permanently in it.  My family and I want to set an example for the nationals to rise up. The land is vast and productive with plentiful water, but if we don't move there, we will have to continually share the crops with wild animals, thieves, and wild fires. This is not the way God wants us to steward His provision.    

Originally, we thought it would be best to postpone construction of a permanent structure in the farm until we began to generate income from the blocks production. That option is still a possibility, but it will take a couple of years before production and sales from the blocks begin to pick up. There is an urgency to upgrade the Beth Israel farm operation, seeing that this is our main source of food production. 

Although Operation Nehemiah Missions Headquarters is in Borongole, it will continue to serve the spiritual needs of the surrounding community in the Madi Corridor through church planting, radio broadcast, medical outreach, and discipleship; the land allotted to us there is not conducive to large scale food production. For the ongoing stability of Operation Nehemiah and the Mission base in Borongole, it is imperative that the farmland be settled by committed, long term workers with a vision to be self- sustaining to the glory of God.  
  
Therefore, in the light of these concerns and factors, we  moved Mr. Jonathan Lueken going ahead of us in October 2014 to help our ground team lay out the foundation of the farmhouse with Timothy Levi, our country director, before our arrival.  
  

What fruit have you seen from this ministry to the glory of God 

“Because you no longer live for yourself, you live for God. You no longer live to survive, you live to love." In Matthew 16:24, Yeshua said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."

It has been a profound journey of love in Yeshua, walking in obedience to the things He wants me to abide by to see His Glory and the fruits that follow. So the fruits I have seen over the years in my family life and in this ministry have been manifested through the work of the Holy Spirit which I have seen over the years in this ministry.  These fruits are not always seen in big things but also in the details of what God has been able to accomplish for His own glory in small things.  I have seen bountiful fruits which do not always come through successful story but also fruits seen through disappointments, setbacks, failures and trials.  All in all, I have seen fruits even through the eyes of Romans 8:28

In the first place, by faith and through His grace, my eyes were opened to see my sins, my need  for  a Savior and  repentance  from sins and allow God’s Holy Spirit in Yeshua to dwell in me as a new creation. He shows me the dividend of my salvation. For the Bible says, we are not saved so that we may continue in dead works. There must be evidence of our salvation that must be manifested in good works and being a witness for His Kingdom on earth. This is the first fruit of life. BRINGING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" Romans 10: 14-17. When I answered God’s call on my life to relinquish my engineering career and establish Operation Nehemiah Missions as a voice for the voiceless South Sudanese who were suffering persecution at the hands of the Northern Islamic Regime, the genocide had claimed the lives of 2 million and displaced over 4.5 million. Saying goodbye to college and my colleagues - 1992.

He gave me a vision for Operation Nehemiah which is to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings people to repentance and eternal salvation. Through this vision, we have taken the discipleship of one family and one village at time and now there are fruits of spiritual rebirth and renewal in the lives of thousands South Sudanese Christians. For as the Scripture says “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO bring the good news."

It is God’s people working together, each doing his part or her part as a family, a church ministry and individuals, that has made it possible for us to see fruits and the wonderful developments on the ground in South Sudan. Because of your family support and the support of brothers and sisters from all across America,  God has opened the door for us to minister in the South Sudan and with your collective prayers, courage and financial support  on the ground to stay the course made it possible to put the fund raised to accomplish a lot of things. Without your faithfulness to push us forward, we could not have done what needed to be done on the in the South Sudan.   Operation Nehemiah have done remarkable works & helped to transform the lives of many.

Ever since 2004, the Lord has raised others to help Operation Nehemiah Missions to achieve this vision to rebuild the family, the church and the community in the South Sudan.  Without the resource coming from worldly sources, only through God’s people, which is the church, God used Operation Nehemiah to transform Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan taking one family and one village at a time for the Glory of God. Amidst challenges and obstacles confronting our effort in rebuilding the family and the church, we remained faithful and reassured that God will bring to completion the work he started in 1993 that gave birth to Operation Nehemiah Missions.

Just to recapture some of the important mile posts marking the ways in which God has used you to help us transform the lives of the people of South Sudan:  

In 2001, we saw the fruits of seed money that helped us to launch the Nehemiah Trumpet Call Gospel Radio station. Today, Nehemiah Trumpet Call Gospel Radio is reaching to over 5 million people with the Gospel on a daily basis, covering South Sudan and northern Uganda, from a 300 foot tower on Gordon Mt. in Nimule.  It has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of South Sudanese and Ugandans for Yeshua.  It helps others found their calling in the Great Commission.

Transmission of the Gospel message have contributed to the spiritual stability of the people in the region. They are encouraged to dwell in peace with their fellow countrymen instead of disintegrating into tribal conflicts that have plunged three other states into civil war. 

In 2011, South Sudan declared independence from Khartoum's Islamic regime. By this time, the villages of Borongole and Beth Israel were filled up with displaced families who were returning from exile to rebuild their country. By God's grace we were well positioned to help them.

A major highlight of our success came in 2007 when God helped us with a video projector (which is still being used), Derek Prince Evangelistic materials for the Gospel radio, and a 15 KW generator to serve as the power source for our new Mission Headquarters in Borongole.  These materials prepared us to spread the Gospel to these families returning from exile.  A year later, 2008, the impact of these outreaches using the materials that led to the conversion of thousands of new believers. This eventually led to the opening of the Nile Beth Israel Messianic Congregation in Borongole and the ordination of Michael Levi to serve as pastor and shepherd of these new believers. Today there are two congregations, led by two pastors and overseen by myself, which God helped us plant - Beth Israel Borongole and Beth Israel Ndereto.

In 2003 -2015 trained three young men as clinicians and filled up Nehemiah Field Clinic with Medicine.

2014- Obtained grinding mill and sewing machines to meet practical needs of the families.

We have seen the restoration of families, marriages, fathers, wives and children through our family discipleship outreaches in the community in Madi Corridor according the teaching of the Bible. Colossian 3: 12-18  

In 2009, God helped us launched the Beth Israel Farm Initiative that has enabled us to implement our vision to establish food security for the families returning from exile. In 2011, God helped us with the dump truck project which has become so critical in transporting farm products to the local market and generating income for our south Sudanese staff and their families - reducing their dependency on support from the main office here in the USA. For us, this is what sustainable development is all about.  

In 2012/13, God helped us acquire an 85 hp farm tractor to expand the arable land at the Beth Israel Farm land.  God helped us drill 2 deep solar wells which are supplying water to over 5000 people daily in Borongole in addition to watering the farmlands. 

In the fall of 2013 God helped us establish the Nehemiah Interlocking Block production initiative. However, no one knew what was going to happen on December 15, 2013 in Juba, South Sudan. A civil war erupted 3 weeks after we went into production and the momentum that we were anticipating did not move forward as we had hoped. Nevertheless, God's way is not our way and God's timing is not our timing. Looking at the bright side of this whole situation that engulfed the South Sudan, it could have been worse. If Operation Nehemiah Missions was located in any one of the three affected states which are engulfed in civil unrest, we would have been affected the worst.  Everything in those states has been ransacked, and tens of thousands of people were killed, internally displaced or driven into exile.  It is a miracle that Eastern Equatoria State, where Operation Nehemiah has been located, has not been scratched by this war. In fact, we have become a haven for many displaced persons, mostly children, from the affected states.  All of our staff and their families are safe and our investments remain intact. 

From 2009- 2015, I have been taking my family into South Sudan even in the midst of the conflict in the South Sudan. I took my entire family to the South Sudan to be with the ground staff to encourage them to stay strong in the midst of the situation on the ground ourselves.  We spend one-two months on the ground with the people and God protected all of us and always brings us safely back to the United States. No one has fled the region. 

More importantly, I thank God for bring me here to America.  God has given me my own family. I'm married to Hannah and we have six children. This is one of the most important fruits I have seen in my life from God. I met my wife in my ministry travel in New England.  My family plays a pivotal role as part of the fruits in this journey in my life.  I have seen fruits in the lives of His children He has brought in my life over the years to help us in this work. There so many Christians who have found their own calling through this ministry whether through their giving or practically coming down to the South Sudan. God has given me families in the body of Christ of which your family also plays a part. Without your family, it would have been impossible to see some of the fruits.  

Back in the South Sudan, I see fruits in my family’s restoration to God.  Salvation has come to my household.  God has restored my father’s house by saving my brothers and sisters who are now rooted in the Word of God.   My eight brothers and sisters and their families have all repatriated to the South Sudan after 23 years in Ugandan exile. A pioneering exploration in 2004 led us to take up the vision of our late father Ajjugo Levi, once again turning our wilderness home into a radiant Christian community. 


You and your family are planning a Missions trip to the South Sudan in April. What are you hoping to accomplish there?

It has been almost two months since my daughter and I returned from South Sudan last year in December 2014.  Before that, we were on the ground from March – May 2014 with my entire family along with Jonathan Lueken.  We are preparing for our annual  family mission trip to the South Sudan for 2 months beginning  from the first week in April  to the last week of May 2015.  We are looking forward to this mission trip. The challenges are there but we need to stay faithful in the Lord to see it through. South Sudan continues to be a country in a volatile situation, yet, God is in charge, taking care of His people and business.    We need to be on the ground to be with our ground team to encourage and to be encouraged by them and to see to it that the work that the Lord has begun through Operation Nehemiah in  the discipleship of  the family, raising up the men, strengthening  the role of  indigenous churches leaders,  encouraging self-sufficiency and productivity continue to prosper.  We will be working on the Beth Israel farm house project. 

We will be doing a family discipleship program for the South Sudanese who have returned from the exile to rebuild their country. They need to acknowledge God Almighty who has delivered us from the grip of Islamic caliphate in their lives and now as we are confronting the UN social engineering agenda designed to destroy the family, the church and the community.  We are disciplining them to embrace spiritual life only found in Yeshua, the Messiah.


 How have you and your family experienced the Lord’s protection/provision in your lives?  

Between 2004- 2009, it was very difficult to do ministry in the South Sudan.  There were numerous times the enemy tried to intimidate us by putting impossible conditions on our path in the region of South Sudan which was a war zone.  As Apostle Paul described his hardship in 2 Corinthian 6: 4-10.  “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;  in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;  in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;  in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;  through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”   We were hard pressed on all sides but we saw God’s protection and provision each step of the way. During these years, South Sudan was not yet an independent country and there were no security, no civilian population now we see in the country, no home, no roads, no water, and no food. Everything had to come from the USA or from Uganda, including currencies. We went there at our own risk by faith. We went there by faith knowing God was in charge.  US State Department marked Eastern Equatoria one of the dangerous regions of the Sudan and it was highlighted red. American citizens were warned not to go there.  Despite that, God protected us, my family and fellow missionaries, from the adversaries.  Not one single hair from our heads has been lost.

There were landmines everywhere on this strip of road leading to our base. Our staging base in Borongole in the South Sudan was on the frontline, only 90 miles south of Juba where the Islamic regime was headquartered. There were planes dropping bombs time to time on moving objects and people including cattle.   Road ambushes by evil gun men were everywhere, not to mention tropical diseases such as malaria, snakes, water and air borne diseases, road accidents and internal conflicts from within the brethren in the field.  We did not carry guns or body guards to protect us. It was an active walk of faith. The Lord was watching over us.   Three times, we were tested to close down our mission headquartered between 2005- 2008 and each time we resisted the temptation to disband and leave.   Even most recently in 2013 -1204, we have witnessed God’s provision and protection upon our families and ministry from being uprooted and driven back into exile for the third time,   as the South Sudan has been engulfed in a tribal civil war which has now entered in its first year. The civil war has so far destroyed 3 major states, claiming the lives of at least 10,000 and drove a million into exile. Ministries like Operation Nehemiah based in the USA operating in those states of South Sudan are closed down due to insecurities. Yet our families, and the community in our village from the Eastern Equatoria where we are operating, continue to function as normal and our annual family mission trip has been going on.   

Making the most out of little: The challenge of managing a family and ministry in the capacity we do, on single income, home schooling, working out of home and waiting for the Lord to open the door of heavenly blessings are hard things to wait upon in the flesh. The flesh is weak but the Spirit is willing.  As the Scripture says, "the just shall live by faith."  So The Spirit takes us back again and again to remember the Lord blessings which we have seen all these years.  We always come to a conclusion that He shall provide the lamb no matter what. So we have to persevere, pray, be still and know that He is God, our Jehovah provider. He keeps us on our tiptoes. He does no give us all at once so that we don’t become prideful and conceited and forget Him in the abundance of good things.  We have seen this over and over again throughout the past 21 years in ministry and 14 years in marriage. We take this promise very seriously because the nature of what we do here in Operation Nehemiah requires that we walk by faith not by sight.



What words would you offer other believers seeking to walk by faith in their daily lives?

In the midst of  whatever the  enemy is throwing  at  you to discourage you from carrying on  with the work God has given you,  you must  refuse the temptation to shrink back. If you are experiencing opposition to the desire and calling that God has placed in your heart to execute, it is evidence that God is testing your resolve to persevere and to have faith in the calling you have been called.   There are a number of men and women in the Scripture God has used as examples for us to follow and emulate.  Hebrews 11 gives us the list of some of those who had faith and God used them to transform the world of sin for His Glory. We take a practical example from the calling of Nehemiah and Esther on a daily basis. Nehemiah was a man of prayer and a man of action: He confronted six attempts from the enemy who tried to hinder the work which God has assigned him to do in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. In 21 years of Operation Nehemiah's work in the South Sudan, we have confronted numerous attempts by the enemy to hinder the work. But we say, we are doing great work on the wall, why should we go down so that the work stops?

We read of six attempts by the enemy to hinder this work of God: (1) in chapter 2:19 we have ridicule, (2) in chapter 4:2 further ridicule, (3) in chapter 4:8 conspiracy, (4) in chapter 4:10 discouragement by brethren, (5) in chapter 6: 2,4, four attempts by craft to cause the work to cease, (6) in chapter 6 v. 5,6 false accusations. Nehemiah's overall response was: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease?" (Nehemiah 6:3). He had an appreciation of the task in hand: the glory of God was involved in it.

As for provision, I could not think of a better verse to encourage those who are frustrated  in gathering the needed resources to do God’s work than 2 Corinthian 9: 8- 15: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; He hath given to the poor: His righteousness remained forever. Now he that ministered seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)  Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which caused through us thanksgiving to God.  For the administration of this service not only supplied the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”



16 comments:

  1. This sounds like an incredible ministry. Thanks for sharing it and for linking on Mondays @ Soul Survival. Blessings!

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    1. You're welcome, Donna! Blessings to you also!

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  2. Beautiful post! Many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Thank you, Beth; I'm glad that you enjoyed it! :-)

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  3. I"ll pray today for South Sudan.

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    1. Thank you, Helene; the Lord bless you!

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  4. Thank you for sharing about Operation Nehemiah. Please know I will pray for God to continue to provide and strengthen all those who are working toward making this successful.

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    1. Thank you, Mary! I'm glad that you stopped by and I know that William and his family are grateful for your prayers!

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  5. Praying for the work of the ministry. Visiting you from Wedded Wednesday. : )

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  6. I feel so blessed that you chose to share this wonderful story and testimony with us at Good Morning Mondays. Please Lord bless this wonderful ministry. Thank you Rebekah for taking the time to carry out this interview and then write it up for us. Blessings to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, Terri! I feel so blessed to have been able to do this interview and to share it! Blessings to you and your family also, Terri! :-)

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  7. Thank you for taking the time to share this wonderful work with us at Grace & Truth. My parents were missionaries in Africa when I was young, and so Africa has a very special place in my heart! Praying with you and for you!

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    1. You're welcome, Rebekah! What a blessing that your parents were missionaries in Africa; I can see how it holds a special place in your heart!

      Thank you for your prayers! I know that the Levis appreciate them deeply.

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  8. What an amazing ministry! Thank you for sharing with the Sat. Soiree; you're featured this week! :) Many blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah Ann! Have a blessed weekend! :-)

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