The week before the Nehemiah Discipleship Program in May, I knew we were on the right track. We were under serious attack. It had been my experience that before great victory comes great opposition.
The weather report projected rain every day of our training with highs one day in the 40’s. Welcoming a crowd of 80+ people to the farm is a daunting undertaking with our limited facilities under ideal conditions, but this would be less than ideal.
My wife having a seizure started our week and knocked her out of the action for a couple of days. As I am rushing about the day before, I get a call that a pipe had broken loose, spraying raw sewage all over our utility room. The combination of physical and spiritual attacks, including disturbing dreams, threatening texts from a former farm resident, and overwhelming exhaustion completed the picture. It was war.
As we sought God in prayer together, I reminded my wife of the Scripture “He has not given of the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind,” God gave us peace in the midst of the storm. The rainbow before service on Friday night perhaps typified our entire experience, pouring rain, muddy conditions, and then the most brilliant rainbow you ever saw!
God blessed us with a warm dry place to meet. Jefferson Christian Church graciously opened their doors for the weekend and Pastor Matt Hallam delivered four powerful, timely messages on God’s calling, developing character, competence, and connection (our themes for NDP.)
Youth from OH, IN, IL, KS, and SD participated in this powerfully formational time of discipleship and training. It was amazing! God held off the rain for our work times, and we were able to complete our planned projects while learning together how to adapt.
When our only tractor at the farm broke down suddenly on Saturday morning, God gave direction and opened a door for ministry through a willing and helpful neighbor. The sod cut from the trail to the prayer chapel was repurposed, resulting in a good start to a yard at the new house!
From learning to make noodles, to mastering locks, to videography, to turning logs into lumber for the new bridge, our young people learned valuable skills. They heard from a current missionary to South Asia about opportunities to use job skills to reach closed countries and unreached people groups. In addition to the 32 youth participating in the program, we had the added benefit of training over 20 children as well. Sis. Dorcus Hallam and a team of helpers had games, stories, and work project times for all of our little people under age 13.
It was a thoroughly exciting and exhausting time that finished with everyone coming for Sunday dinner and a closing challenge at our new home. Thanks to everyone who participated and gave to help make is happen. It highlighted for us the need to develop our capacity for hosting more guests. (Things like 21 girls using one bathroom tend to do that.) However, it also showed us the value of what we are doing. Pouring into young, trainable, disciples and raising the bar by expecting more than just “fun and games” experiences for them was great for us all. The sheer energy of a group like this blew away the work we had planned on the first day. They want to do hard things, things that matter.
That is what NDP is about. It exists to make disciples by investing in those who have a genuine desire to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ in Christian community through work, life skills training, Biblical engagement, and spiritual friendships.
We continue the process of training this summer with our first summer boot camp July 5-18, 2021 The path continues, and we look forward to seeing what God will do next. We believe that ministry is life and that we are all called to be ministers of God’s reconciliation. Not all participants in NDP may end up in full time ministry, but through NDP, it is our desire to develop Christian leaders who will engage in God’s global mission wherever they are and whatever their vocation.
All the best,
Eric Himelick, Director
Victory Acres Farm
5311 S 800 E
Upland, IN 46989