Greetings to you all. We hope you find some interesting bit of news of our family and what we are up to. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The testimony of a Backpacker


Dear Traveller:
I have been a backpacker traveler for over fifteen years. My first
international travel adventure began within a few hours
after graduating with a degree in forestry from a university in Canada
in 1985. After five years of studies, I was ready for a
break and had the chance to head overseas, first to the forests in
Sweden for some work experience and then to travel in Europe.
Initially, it was very exciting to travel through different countries,
meeting people from various cultures and seeing things I had never
seen before.

However, I began to learn a few things as a first-time backpacker:
1. I met many people, but really did not get to know them that well.
Even for those I tried to stay in contact with by mail, I soon lost touch with them.
2. Much of the scenery I viewed, such as the Swiss Alps or the forests
of Sweden, was not much different than what one could see
in Canada.
3. When I returned home to Canada, one of my family members made a comment about the
pictures I had taken: “Where are all the
people? There should be a story behind every photo.” And looking
at my photos, many of them were of buildings or of scenery with few
having any people in them and with no story to tell.

So then what was the purpose of my travels? That first six month
journey helped me to begin to realise that there had to be more to life.
Certainly, relationships with people were more important than the
impressive architecture of European buildings, castles and churches.
Returning to Canada, I quickly found a forestry job, but after a few
months got bored and felt there were more important things I could
do with my career and experience. After a quick job search, I was offered a position in forest
research and new and exciting things began. I was on the road, travelling through the beautiful
province of British Columbia and getting paid WELL for it.
But I got bored again and began to ask myself some
serious questions.

So what if I was making good money?
So what if I was able to travel through and work in
some of the most beautiful wilderness areas of the world?
Why was I feeling dissatisfied with career and even with life in
general?  Was I missing out on something in life?

One thing I had to consider was the existence of “God”. I certainly
could appreciate the beauty and ecology of nature because of my training and experience in the
forests. I never assumed that evolution was a fact, just a theory and open to the idea that
perhaps there was a Designer, Creator or Supreme Being that was involved in bringing this
universe and world about.

I grew up with a “Christian” background as a child and
teenager, but in university I was occupied with my studies and had little time to seriously
consider or factor in religion in my life. My focus was in obtaining my degree. Now, just over one
year later, I was asking myself questions.

So, in the midst of travelling, working and earning money, I began my
search for God. It began as an earnest prayer, a desire to read from the
Bible and to try and discover if God was real. Shortly after this search began, a forestry friend
gave me a book to read called: Is That Really You God?

When I read the book, I began to understand for the first time what life could be like as a real,
true Christian or believer in Jesus Christ. I was encouraged to seek God more, to read from the
Bible, to “talk” with him, to know that I could have a relationship with him. As I did this and as I
look back over the years, I have come to believe the truth of these words as written in the
Christian Bible:

“God rewards those who earnestly seek Him...” (The Bible, Book of
Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 6)
There are many religions and ways that try and define “God” or
“gods” and many rules and rituals associated with them, but do they
really provide the answers to the questions one has in life?

I still travel and still work in the forests occasionally, but now God is the focus of my life. I have
come to know that there is a God who
does guide and lead, and that he does have plans and purposes for my life. I have found myself
in impossible situations and
have prayed and seen God answer and discovered how things were “planned in advance”. I
have realised that the goal in life is to love God with all my heart, and soul and mind and to love
others as myself. It took some time for me to realise that my problem initially was that I was just
loving myself, trying to find meaning and purpose in my own life.

Are you tired or bored with travelling or not quite sure that you really
have your life together? Your travels may not have turned out as
exciting as you thought they would be? How many people have you really
made true friends with? And what do you plan to do with your life or do
you really know?

I encourage you to start asking the question: God, are you real? Can
I find meaning and purpose in my life? Is Jesus Christ the answer and
is the Bible true?
If God knows everything, then he must know everything about your life,
wherever you are. You may be a total stranger among the people you are
with and the town or city you are in. Take a step of faith and begin to seek God earnestly and
you will be amazed. If you are really honest with God, you will meet people and things will
happen that will point you to Jesus Christ. Try it. Be
bold! You want a real adventure? This is your opportunity. You have
one life to live. Do you want to make it count, forever?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The road goes ever on and on...

Dear family and friends. We greet you all in Jesus name. We pray that you are doing well. By now many of you have been reading our news and blog updates. Many of you have also been praying for us that we might see the vision that God has given us become real. Our hearts have never given up the longing to see these backpackers come to know Jesus as their savior. We thank you for your prayers, your prayers that have kept the desire alive.

How can we tell you of the love in our hearts to see this vision come to pass? The Father is calling his lost children but how will they hear without a preacher? Someone must go to them, meet them, and find them in the trails and highways where they are lost and hopeless. Out there they are to be found, in their blindness, not knowing the compassion the Father has for them. They do not know that the Father longs to run to them while they are still a long way off and throw His arms around them.

We long to see them welcomed by the Father into the wedding feast, but they must be found in the highways and byways, they must be told they are invited so they may wear those wedding garments and be a part of the wedding feast. We long to be those going out into those highways and finding the lost wanderers. This is our vision, this is our heart.

How can you be a part of this? Prayer is the biggest part anyone can play in sending a missionary. Those who are sent by God cannot go without the faithful prayers of the warriors God calls to pray. Prayer is turning the heavens to see the hand of God move in miraculous ways to bring about change in our world.

The other way is by giving. Many times Paul encouraged the churches for their faithful giving to him in his travels. He acknowledged their giving as more than just money but as faithful gifts of sacrifice that was also building, for themselves, treasures in heaven. A missionary on the field is devoting his life to the calling that God has called him to. Sometimes this is to start up a business in which to draw the lost and seeking to God. Other times it is to travel the roads and paths to bring the gospel to those who are wandering. For centuries sent ones have struggled on the fields where God has sent them in ways few can comprehend. It is not an easy life. But the Father looks after those he calls.

In this spirit we want to share with you what our needs as a family will be for the first few years of our time in the land God has called us to. We understand that times are difficult right now but all we are asking you to do is to pray and then follow the leading of your Father. If this vision is on His heart then please let it be on yours.

Here is what we are looking at. A year in Scotland would be running our family somewhere around 42,000 dollars. Broken down this comes to 3,500 a month. This would cover our expenses from school fees for our boys, living expenses such as food and household items, teaching and discipleship supplies, bus and or train fares, bibles to give away to those who want one, shoes and clothes, etc. Basically this will cover everything we can foresee as being an expense for our family.

This however does not include the cost of tickets to fly there, shipping costs to move there, and visa and passport costs to live there. Many of these costs will be covered by what we can save up over the next few months with your support, however we may need extra on top as the cost of flying has certainly not decreased since we were last overseas. To let you all know we are hoping to move next year in July. Visas take three months to process so we would need to be at or above our support level no later than March. This time frame would give us the time we need to process passport renewals and visas.

Thank you for taking the time to pray for us and this vision. We would love for you to be a part of this mission. If you feel like you want to partner with us we will be having our support processed through Assisting Christians International, or ACI. For those of you who may have received our prayer cards a few years back the info is on the back of those cards. But if not or if you would like more information on how to send support you can feel free to write us and ask us any questions you may have. Thank you again and may God lead you and bless you.

Sincerely, Nate , Lia , William , Josue , and Gabriel Bierly

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Typical, or not so typical, Day.

This is a completely fictious story.  The elements are true in that you will often find a backpacker change his plans for the sake of the unexplored but the story itself is made up.  God is moving in the lives of these young travelers but they need followers of Jesus to be there in their moment of questioning. 

"The bus leaves at 6:00 am.  I guess I had better get up if I'm going to make my train."  The hostel room is a bit chilly this early in the morning and the stumbling around in the dark looking for a clean pair of underwear and a not so smelly t-shirt seems to make more noise than it really does.  Fortunately most of the other travelers in the room are sleeping off a late night of partying.  There is that clean pair of underwear, down in the bottom of the backpack.  After getting half dressed in the dark the somewhat awake backpacker decides it is just plain easier to get dressed in the hall way where he can see what he is doing.  Once out in the hall he sees that another traveler had the same thought.  She is just pulling on her jacket but looks down in time to see that she forgot her shoes.  The holes in her socks show that she has been on the road for a few months now. 

"Are you catching the 6 o'clock bus too," asks the young man?

"Yes, I'm going down to the coast. They have some interesting ruins down a somewhat hidden stretch of beach.  The guy in room 12 was talking about them in the pub last night.  I thought I would catch 'em early, you know, before the rush of last night's partiers."  She smiles and continues to tie her shoes.  "Would you like to come along," she asks? 

He thought about it for awhile.  He had planned to go on to the next big town but the thought of a hidden stretch of beach sounded appealing.  "Sure, why not," he said.  "I'll be down in a minute."  He walked down to the bathroom to brush his teeth.  The girl walked in behind him and walked into one of the stalls.  It used to bother him, using a co-ed bathroom.  But four weeks on the road in Europe had broken him of that uncomfortableness.  She came out and washed her hands and walked out.  He spit and wiped his mouth and walked out. 

At the bus stop he lit a pipe he had picked up on his travels and looked through the morning fog for any signs of the bus.  Buses in this part of the world were rarely late.  But this one was, by about 10 minutes.  The girl went to get a schedule and see if there was an attendant with any answers as to the reason the bus was late.  She came back with neither a schedule or an answer.  "There is no attendant this early in the morning," she said.  They stood there together in silence.  "Thank you for coming," she said.  "I saw your train ticket.  Were you going on from the station?"

"No where particular.  Besides the sound of some hidden ruins sounded exciting.  I could put my journey aside for that.  Thanks for asking me along.  So what are these ruins anyway?"

"The bus is here.  lets get on and I'll tell you what the guy told me about last night."  For the next few hours they talked about the ruins and other things.  Apparently they were the ruins of an old monastery that was attacked by vikings back in the day.  The history was fascinating.  Eventually the conversation turned to religion.  "So what do you believe," she asked him?

"Well my parents took us to church but they were never very serious about what they believed in.  My mother later got more into her religion but it was a little late for the rest of us.  I realized that god could be any god you choose.  As long as your belief doesn't hurt some one else then anyone can get to heaven.  I just don't want someone pushing their belief on me."

"Well I don't have much use for religion although I certainly see the value in some of these missionaries who go into the little African countries and take food supplies and the like.  At least they care enough to do what others won't do.  I spent a year in Africa about two years ago and worked with some real great people, however they were never able to convince me that god existed," she replied.  Suddenly the guy in front of them turned around and spoke up.

"I couldn't help but over hear your conversation.  My name is Hank.  I am also on my way to the ruins.  A friend of mine saw them last year and said they were worth it.  But I heard your views on God and was wondering if you wanted to hear a third opinion."

"Why not," the other two travelers said.

"Well I heard you talking about the monks who were at this monastery but you haven't heard the whole story.  From what I have read they were missionary monks who were going to the surrounding isles carrying with them food, furs, supplies, and tools.  They also helped the villagers to read and write.  When the vikings came the monks tried to save as many villagers as they could that came to the monastery.  The monks hid the villagers in some nearby caves, which by the way are said to have some interesting wall paintings still there.  But to draw away suspicion from the caves the monks went back to the monastery to try and turn the vikings away.  In the end every monk was killed in brutal ways.  When the villagers came out the next morning the vikings were gone but they had left the monks bodies hanging up on pikes in the monastery court yard.  The Father of the order was in the center with a cross clutched in his hand.  The villagers knew what had happened and buried the monks right there.  Then they all bowed and accepted the Jesus the monks talked about.  No king or ruler of theirs ever put their life on the line for the sake of the villagers and yet these monks did so to the end.  Today their is a small church in the village because of the sacrifice of the monks.  The ruins are left unnoticed but there have been many artifacts found and are now on display in a small museum in the village and in the national museum.  It is pretty interesting stuff.  I have been on a pilgrimage for the past month taking in most of the pilgrim trail."  The Christian traveler ended his story because the bus arrived and he got off and went on his way.

The other two travelers walked down the beach together talking about what Hank had told them.  They both seemed touched but unsure about what he said.  When the reached the ruins they saw Hank sitting in the court yard, or what was left of it.  He was reading a small black book.  He looked up and told them it was a bible.  He asked them if they liked the ruins, which of course they said yes.  He then asked them a very strange question.  He asked them if they understood the sacrifice made by the monks.  They were unsure how to answer.  He told them to ask the townspeople in the nearby village.  Then he gave them his email and said if they wanted to talk further to shoot him an email.  Then he was gone.

That night sitting in the hostel the backpacker was sipping his tea.  The story moved him in ways he didn't understand.  He had many questions.  The townspeople had very interesting stories and the girl and him talked the whole way to the next city where they were both heading, but they could not seem to find an answer.  Just then an older man sat down with a Cup 'o Noodles and a Bible.  "Can I sit here," he asked.