Supernatural Results and Divine Obedience

Sarah Bowling

Sarah Bowling with her husband Reece and their three children Isabell, David and Benjamin, 2013.

Sarah Bowling is the founder of Saving Moses, a non-profit humanitarian initiative dedicated to reducing infant mortality throughout the world. Sarah is also Vice President of Marilyn Hickey Ministries and co-Senior Pastor of Orchard Road Christian Center in Denver, Colorado along with her husband Reece.

The mother-of-three is a popular guest teacher at seminars, conferences and college campuses around the world, and is armed with a mission to aid babies and toddlers within the critical age of zero to five years through Saving Moses. She is impacting this demographic by providing malnutrition formula, birth and infant aide, and NightCare for babies and toddlers of sex workers. A seasoned traveller to over 67 countries, Sarah also co-hosts the globally broadcast television programme Today with Marilyn and Sarah, which is shown in over 200 countries and viewed by over 2.5 billion households daily.

“Why on earth would you even think of building more churches in the US, when there are so many places in the world that have never heard of Jesus?” This was my insolent question when I was a teenager to a very successful pastor who was visiting our church. Being a stereotypical American teenager, I was more than a little cheeky and borderline disrespectful. Almost 20 years later, I had forgotten this conversation with the pastor, until I met him again in Pakistan. He graciously reminded me about my saucy teenage attitude and proceeded to help me appreciate that God had expanded his ministry to plant more than 300 churches in both the US and around the world.

We were having this conversation in Pakistan, where we had the privilege to minister the power and reality of Jesus to thousands of people. Thankfully, the pastor gave me an abundance of grace for being a know-it-all teenager and gently passed off my immaturity with a playful laugh.

Upon remembering my teenage insolence, I was initially quite embarrassed. On the other hand, I think that there was truth in my observation — I just needed more poise and polish with my presentation. Now, more than 30 years later, I have the same mindset. But, hopefully, I have become more diplomatic in my presentation. Having travelled to more than 50 countries in the last four decades, I am more convinced than ever that the Gospel is desperately needed throughout our world. And, in fact, maybe even more so now than in the past.

 

Founding NightCare
I say this because of my recent visit to Bangladesh where I had the honour of visiting three brothels to see the living conditions, meet the mums who work in this industry and, most importantly, observe their babies and toddlers.

I have a very unique outreach called NightCare in my work with Saving Moses. In this outreach, we take care of the babies and toddlers of sex workers as they work, even at night. In my recent visit to Bangladesh, I learnt that seven out of 10 of these babies and toddlers are on the bed with their mums while they work because these mums have no one to care for their babies and no place where their babies can peacefully sleep. When I described the possibility of NightCare to these mums, they unanimously said they desperately want this assistance as quickly as possible. When I asked why, one mum explained that she wants her baby girl to grow up with a “fresh mind”. I returned home with a renewed passion and energy to bring this tangible expression of the love of Jesus to these mums with their babies and toddlers.

Having the honour to care for these babies and toddlers reminds me of Jesus’s words in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” In my opinion, I do not think there is a ‘most-least’ person on our planet today than the baby of a sex-worker in a third-world country. And providing shelter, care and genuine love for these ‘least of the least’ is another way to tangibly express Jesus’s love in regions beyond the normal or routine way the Gospel is traditionally shared, based on Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 13:16.

I sincerely appreciate that my work with NightCare is more than a little ‘out of the box’. Indeed, when I first describe it to most people, particularly Christians, I get some quizzical looks and even a few questions about my work being shady and borderline supportive of the immoral lifestyle of prostitution. In reply, I explain that this profession for these women is not their preferred option to survive or support their babies. If we pause for a moment to consider, no woman thinks that her dream profession is to provide her body for financial purposes to strange men multiple times a day. In third-world countries, these women often have no alternative way to care for their children. The worst part of the whole scenario is the innocent babies that come naturally from this profession, regardless of the precautions that are taken.
 

Sarah Bowling with a family in Angola, educating them on malnutrition, through Saving Moses, 2015.

 

The Tangible Love of Christ
So I have the phenomenal honour of bringing Jesus’s tangible and genuine love to these babies and toddlers by providing a centre and caring for them every night while their mums work. This unique ministry is a really creative expression of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:16, “so as to preach the Gospel even to the regions beyond you…” We have lots of very noble and effective initiatives to share the Gospel around the world and in various cultures. Let us consider that bringing Jesus’s love to the culture of brothels in the third world is work that is not frequently thought of, but essential, regardless of the depravity, darkness or immorality involved in such brothels.

Indeed, I think that we too often get stuck in our native cultures and neglect to explore God’s heart for sharing genuine love in very diverse ways, expressions and cultures. There are lots of cultural quagmires that can distract us from sharing Jesus. For example, a religious mindset can create a quagmire that prevents us from sharing the genuine Jesus. A great example of this trap is from John 8 with the Pharisees who brought to Jesus the woman caught in adultery. These religious leaders were stuck in their mindsets and could not see the summation of their religious law being expressed through Jesus’s genuine love, forgiveness and redemption for this woman. Another cultural quagmire that is challenging can be differences in age. Sometimes we overlook the importance of babies and toddlers for the simple reason that they do not seem to have the ability to appreciate the realities of Jesus dying on the cross for their sins. Then again, Jesus says in Matthew 19:14 that little children should be allowed to come to Him, as they are important Kingdom participants.

There are lots of different cultural swamps that would threaten to drain our passion or undermine our convictions. If we are not careful, we can let everything from the absence of finances or time, to our concerns for creature comforts, to family and work responsibilities divert us from passionately serving Jesus.

 

An Integration Mindset
Let me suggest that rather than thinking of these areas as obstacles, that we consider them from more of an integration mindset. How can Jesus be integrated with these concerns? Even more to the point, how can Jesus help us in these areas with miracles, provisions, wisdom, time, solutions and so on? More often than not, I have found that when I say “Yes!” to whatever Jesus asks of me, this requires His assistance in lots of different ways.

Truly, if Jesus asks us to do things that do not require His help, then why would we need His involvement? When I watch His disciples in the Gospels, they were being trained in their time with Jesus to be reliant on the Holy Spirit for supernatural results and divine obedience.

 

What Bothers You?
As I come to the end of this article, I would like to leave you with a question. What is something very important that makes you really upset in relation to Jesus? not know Jesus as well as you or your parents? Does it get under your skin more than a little that the Holy Spirit seems to be missing or constricted in various church experiences? Is it troubling to you that babies sleep on a bed next to their mums as they earn money as a sex worker to provide for their existence? Does it disturb you that our money seems to go to stuff that could be superficial and deficient of eternal impact? What bothers you immensely? And what can you not get out of your thoughts?

The reason I started NightCare was because I saw a documentary of a massive brothel in India, with 20,000 sex workers within one square mile. When I watched this documentary, I saw a child chained to a bed and that picture has never left my mind. Indeed, this provided the impetus for me to start NightCare. Seeing this trapped toddler was the beginning of this adventure to express genuine love regardless of the culture, age or social status of these recipients. I ask the question about what you find to be immensely disturbing because whatever this might be is often the starting point for something very supernatural and far beyond your natural abilities, background or education. Whatever the darkness might be, let us be candle lighters rather than darkness cursers.

 

Sarah with a child from her NightCare programme in Cambodia, 2013.

 

Let us take Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 10:16 to heart about sharing the Gospel to the regions beyond our cultural comforts and religious constrictions. Let us bring the reality of Jesus’s genuine love to the people not only around us but also far beyond our natural inclinations.


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