The Importance of One (Pt. 1)

In early December I was able to attend a conference in California which was focused on people groups around the world who have never heard the name “Jesus”, who have never had the Bible in their “mother tongue”, who have never had someone go to tell them about the “good news”.  As of the beginning of that conference, mission researchers believe that there are still 1,347 people groups representing 41,294,542 individuals who fall into the category of unreached and unengaged.

Let me ask you to stop for just a moment and consider those statistics.  For over 2,000 years, since the church began in  Jerusalem after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we, the church, have had one primary task–to …”go…and make disciples.”  And in Jesus’ instruction from Acts 1 as he ascended into heaven He says that location isn’t important. He makes it clear we are to dothe this near, there, and everywhere throughout the world–simultaneously.

So, how important are those last, lost souls to us?  If we truly searched deeply in our hearts what priority would we place on them?  Most likely, the thought process would go something like this: “Obviously, they are important and someone should go to share the gospel with them.  We should pray for God to send someone to them.” 

Jesus in Luke 15 talks about the importance of one–the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son.  He spoke these parables to the religious leaders of the day, the “church” folks.  In Luke 15:4, Jesus uses the parable of the lost sheep to indicate that the Father would leave the 99 in “open country” where they would be susceptible to thieves, wild animal attacks and adverse weather conditions in order to go find the one that is lost. That goes against our normal way of thinking.  Leave the 99?  Why?

The reason: they are already safe.  Basically, the Father is indicating that the 99 are my sheep, they know my voice, they are in my fold, they are eternally mine! The lost sheep is headed to death being on their own apart from me.  These “lost” ones are on the Father’s heart–they are made in His image, they are His creation, they are whom He is concerned about day and night.  Thus, as we keep reading in Luke 15, there is a party in heaven when those lost sheep are found.

Have you, as a parent, ever found that one of your children has wandered off?  If so, you know that panic that sets in immediately as you become fearful for what might happen to your child.  Beth and I can vividly remember a time when our twin daughters, Kristen and Kendra, went off exploring on their own.  Even just thinking about that experience quickens my pulse as those emotions return.  Those are the same emotions that our Heavenly Father goes through as He knows the end of those who are not safe in His care.

If we want to be on the same page that our Heavenly Father is on, then we need to be as concerned about the lost sheep, the unreached people groups in our world, as He is.  We should rejoice and party when one lost sheep is found.  There are still lost sheep in our world and the Father is using us to find them!  The task isn’t complete and we shouldn’t rest, relax, or be comfortable until it is.

In our next post we will talk specifics of how you can be involved in finishing the task that we, the church, have been given.    Also, from the Finishing the Task conference, I posted a video which shares a little of the impact that I was feeling while there.  You can find it here if you would like to view it.

“Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” –Luke 10:2b , ESV



Posted in The Task, Unreached-unengaged | Leave a comment

Why Doesn’t God Protect Those He Loves?

Dave and I have been in San Antonio for the last couple of weeks visiting family and supporters.  Last Sunday, a man dressed in tactical gear and wielding a semi-automatic weapon, began firing at people worshiping inside a church building in Sutherland Springs, TX, not 30 miles from where we are.  In a horrific display of insanity and cruelty, he killed 26 people ranging in age from 18 mos. to 72 years, execution style, and gravely wounded 20 more. The First Baptist Church of this small, tight-knit community lost nearly their entire congregation in one day, in what has become the worst mass shooting in Texas history.


Emergency personnel respond to a fatal shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.  (KSAT via AP)

It is at times like this that the world looks on in disbelief of a God who would allow such an awful thing to happen.  Even within the Christian community, we falter and fumble with our words and comprehension over such an act of terror.  How could God allow this?  Why didn’t He stop that man?  Why didn’t He protect His people? Why does He allow His loved ones to suffer?

Realizing there are no pat answers to these age old questions, and no “new truth” than what has already been revealed in God’s Word, I wanted to share some things that I have read from Anne Graham Lotz’s book, “Why? Trusting God When You Don’t Understand.”  Anne reminds us of God’s purposes as she takes a deeper look into the lives of Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11.  There is too much  to address in this short blog, so I will just share one principle that stood out to me.

Martha and Mary’s grief over the death of their brother, Lazarus, is the type of pain that I have yet to know.  But to add injury to insult, the Bible says that Jesus was glad!  “….he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” (John 11:14-15)  Jesus was GLAD?  He was glad that Lazarus had died without him?  What could that mean?  We know He didn’t enjoy knowing that his friend had died or that He enjoyed knowing how much grief and despair the rest of Lazarus’ family was going through.  We know He truly felt their pain as we are told in Isaiah 53 that “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”


Jesus was teaching his disciples, and us, a life lesson — There is a greater miracle than physical healing! It’s the miracle of the Resurrection!

Jesus was glad because He knew not only the joy that was coming but the leaping strides of faith that everyone would experience because of it. He was glad because He knew God would be glorified to a far greater extent by the death and resurrection of Lazarus than He would have been by merely healing alone. God had a bigger plan than just immediate relief from pain.

There is more to life……

  • than being healthy
  • than being happy
  • than being free from problems
  • than being comfortable
  • than getting what we think we want
  • than being healed

………….  There is more to life than even living!  The MORE is the development of our faith to the extent that our very lives display His glory!

So Jesus is glad — not that we or the people in Sutherland Springs suffer, but that we have the opportunity to grow in our faith and display His glory, which is the fulfillment of the very purpose of our existence.

God does not always protect those He loves from bad things happening, but uses bad things to fulfill His greater plan. Could it be that God has given you (and the community of Sutherland Springs) a platform of suffering from which to be witnesses of His power and grace to those who are watching?


What kinds of trials have caused you to suffer grief and how has God used those in your life?  Comment below!



Posted in Providence, Suffering | 1 Comment

Plans and Providence

God’s Plan Observed in Dallas

This past week I took a trip to Texas for a brief visit.  Two of our co-workers in Romania at Joy FM, Paul Balta and Adina Muntean,  came to Dallas for a leadership conference at the invitation of the Media Alliance International.  This was an opportunity for me to introduce them to some ministry friends in the DFW area.

On Friday Paul and I met with Troy Kriechbaum, the president of KVNE and KGLY radio in Tyler, Texas.  On Saturday Paul, Adina and her husband, Lari, and I met for lunch with Tiffany Taylor Wines and Amy Norton from Orphan Outreach.

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Dave, Paul and Troy at KVNE radio.

Proverbs 16:9New Living Translation (NLT)

We can make our plans,
    but the Lord determines our steps.

It was while working at KCBI in Dallas in the mid to late ’90s that I first became aware of the plight of orphans around the world.  My boss then was Ron Harris who was the station manager at that time.  Ron had visited Russia and had become cognizant of the need for new shoes in those Russian orphanages.  After beginning a Shoes for Russian Souls campaign at KCBI which was overseen by the then Promotions Director, Troy Kriechbaum, the program grew to such a degree that the radio station couldn’t handle it anymore.  Buckner Orphan Care then took it on and expanded it nationally.

About that same time God had taken our family to the Quad Cities to manage the Moody Radio station there.  We helped in the first national Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign in the summer of 2003.  Buckner wanted to tell more of the stories of how this ministry was impacting the lives of orphans so they took a ministry trip to visit orphans and place new shoes on their feet.  In order to tell the stories they invited a “radio guy” to go with them and my name was chosen.  This became my very first trip to Romania and occurred in the fall of 2003.  That trip was led by Tiffany Taylor Wines (Amy and Tiffany worked for Buckner at that time) and when we returned from Romania I was a different person.  Beth can attest to the fact that God did something there that forever changed our ministry focus and lives.  It was that same year that Paul Balta began praying for a radio ministry in Romania with the vision that we currently have at Joy FM.   If you are tracking with me then you can begin seeing how God was moving pieces on the chess board in order to accomplish His purposes.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It wasn’t until a decade later that Paul and I met and began our partnership in ministry.  But God had been moving all along during that time preparing us and our families for Joy FM to come to fruition.  He had us continue leading trips to minister to orphans in Romania every year while exposing us to other Romanian partners, including what is now Harvest Arad.  The church in Arad originally wanted assistance with an online radio ministry which became our main focus in 2010 when we felt God leading us to full time ministry in Romania.  Obviously looking back now we can see that our dreams and plans were too small!

God provided us with much more than an online radio station by making available a local fequency at just the right moment.  And the man he used to bring us that news and to guide us through the process of purchasing and obtaining the license was none other than Paul Balta!

Just two years after going on-air in Arad the Lord has opened up another door for ministry by granting us coverage in Moldova! We will look forward to telling you all more about that story in another post coming in the future.

To wrap this up, though, picture this: Paul, Adina and Lari are in Dallas right now attending the Media Alliance International which is an organization founded and led by Ron Harris.  And this past weekend, Paul, Adina, Lari and I met with Tiffany Taylor Wines and Amy Norton about promoting orphan care and adoption on Joy FM in Romania.  Only God could put all these pieces in place, connecting us all and using our friendships and partnerships for His glory!

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Tiffany, Paul, Dave, Adina, Lari and Amy

I hope that this glimpse into how God has orchestrated all of this in our lives will cause you to pause, step back and see what God has been and is doing in your life.  Sometimes, it all seems random and without purpose but I can guarantee you that the Great Designer is fulfilling the design He has for your life.

Tell us how you have traced God at work in your life and ministry opportunities!  It would be great encouragement for us to hear your story.



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Update from Central Asia

Today we wanted to share a brief video update with you from Central Asia.  We are thankful for the recent opportunity we had to be with Reach Beyond colleagues from our Europe/Eurasia region. Our president and his wife, Steve and Becky Harling, were also able to join us for a weekend of spiritual challenge and refreshment.  Unfortunately, we can’t share the specific location because of security concerns for our partners who live and work in this particular location.

If you aren’t regularly following our blog please sign up with your email via the “Follow” link to the righ

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Welcome to our New Blog!


That’s “WELCOME” in Romanian. 🙂

Today, we are setting off on a new adventure by launching (or re-launching!) this blog. Our goal is to add value to your life by what you read here. We would not be where we are today without the financial support and prayers of others. This blog is a way of giving back

We look forward to sharing lessons from our journey here about once a week, along with pictures, stories and even an occasional recipe.  Our hope is that these will be helpful and encouraging to you — whether we are Stateside or half a world away somewhere in Eurasia.

If you aren’t already, you’re invited to subscribe to our email list to receive exclusive partner updates from “The Jolly’s Journey” newsletter once every 6 weeks or so. No spam — we promise!

As a special welcome bonus, we want to offer a FREE 2018 downloadable calendar with original pictures of some of the places we have served to anyone who subscribes to our blog or email list. Each picture would make a great laptop background or you can print it out for yourself or even use it as a gift!


To receive your FREE calendar, simply  click the FOLLOW OUR BLOG tab over on the right side and/or fill in the SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER form below!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter too!

Thanks for journeying with us!    Dave and Beth

QUESTION: Do you have any recommendations on what you’d like us to write about? Leave a comment below!



Posted in Beginnings, Romania, Uncategorized | Leave a comment