Diamonds in the Mountain Kingdom


“What is the only country in the world surrounded completely by another country?” This was a recent question on the TV game show Jeopardy. Do you have a guess? If you answered, “Lesotho,” perhaps you should take a shot at Jeopardy! Most people in the world have never heard of this small country completely surrounded by South Africa. Just a few weeks ago the news cast light upon this small country as a 910- carat diamond was discovered in the Lesotho Mountains! This diamond-one of the biggest every found. It is the size of two golf balls and estimated at $40 million!


This unknown tiny country, one of the poorest in the world, abused by other nations because of a cheap work force, and plagued by HIV-aids leaving a country filled with a high percentage of orphans, is finally getting some press. I am currently in this beautiful country for a combined Oceans’ Conference and Vision Trip. One of the goals of our time here in Lesotho is to divulge with the group the many diamonds found in this beautiful Mountain Kingdom that far exceed $40 million.


Ray & Sue Haakonsen, the first presenters of the conference, were a couple my stepdad Pastor Bill Bierling and I unexpectedly discovered 15 plus years ago. God revealed the heart of these beautiful diamonds that took it upon themselves to begin caring for abandoned babies. Many years of trials and suffering purified and molded Sue and Ray, which enabled to be the ones chosen to begin Beautiful Gate-a care center for abandoned babies. Such unconditional love and incredible faith led to action-truly, reflecting the heart of our Father God.

These loved babies became radiant diamonds in their own right and people came from around the world to gaze and experience their beauty. As travelers and volunteers picked up these precious jewels their hearts would be forever changed as they fixated on the face of Jesus. Many of these precious stones have been adopted and are now wowing other parts of the world.


The crazy thing about these Kingdom Diamonds is the multiplying effect. Their discovery has led to finding other Diamonds in the country, such as Bountiful Hope which gives orphaned high school students a chance of receiving an education, the Good Shepherd Center which cares for teen moms, Semonkong Children’s Center an orphanage off the beaten path in the mountains, the Christian Revival Church which presents the gospel and seeks to assist street kids and countless other precious stones behind bars in prison.


One of the most important truths the Kingdom Diamonds of Lesotho have taught me is that God has Precious Diamonds all around us just waiting to be unearthed by the powerful love of Jesus. He works in the most amazing ways through what the world discards as useless dirt and worthless rubbish to demonstrate His glory!

I can’t thank my Savior enough for digging deep within my soul and polishing me up so in some way I can shine for His praise. I love the Scripture found in I Corinthians 1:27-31. It tells us how Kingdom Diamonds are found:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.


How Can I Pray For You?


Rick has been held up in his bed for some time battling a series of physical attacks on his body. Yet, in the midst of paralyzing pain, this prayer warrior continues to battle in the heavenly realm as he intercedes for many. Next to his bed is the church directory and as he pages through it he lifts up the body continually in prayer, even calling some and asking, “How can I pray for you?”


It was a holy moment a few weeks ago as I spent an hour next to his bed and we talked most about Rick’s favorite subject, prayer. He shared how he called up a few leaders at his church and gave a suggestion that during the “meet and greet” time on Sunday morning the challenge would go out to find some one around you and ask them “How can I pray for you?” He thought this could also be done at the conclusion of the service, “What a great way to end the service!” he added.


As I sat there listening to Rick’s heart I was convicted. I had pastored for many years and yet rarely given that challenge from the pulpit during the greeting time. After saying goodbye to my dear brother his words kept ruminating in my head. I pondered the thought of what may have happened in the churches I pastored if I would have challenged the congregation to do what Rick suggested. Yes, I’m sure it would have made some uncomfortable, but can you imagine the fruit of people praying for each other. The Kingdom of God breaking forth in miracles, discipleships fostered, and the powerful spiritual relationships formed. Yes, the service might have gotten disrupted a bit and maybe even went longer, but oh fruit that would have been birthed out of it.


God has been teaching me the power of those 6 words the last few years on East Colfax. The motel door opened last week as we offered some food to a young mom and her two kids. As they received the food with thankfulness, especially the chocolate chip cookies, we asked, “How can we pray for you?” This opened up the floodgates of emotions and led to a time of healing prayer and a spiritual bond with this family. We did “church” that night with cartoons on, toy trucks plowing over the bed, and the Holy Spirit showing up.


I wish I would have had the guts to do what Rick suggested as I pastored churches. Oh, the amazing works that God could have performed in our midst. But it’s not too late for me to challenge you with Rick’s suggestion. After all you and I are the church and we take the presence of God wherever we go. There is somebody today just waiting for you and I to ask the question – How can I pray for you?


Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

This is my Father’s World!



Blog written by Mike Verkaik:

In all my trips to Lesotho I have never experienced the country in the summer time. My exposure to the green grass on the hillsides and campus of Beautiful Gate has only come through snapshots and videos, because generally my trips have been during the winter months. In less than two weeks, that will change as eighteen of us will travel to Lesotho on Oceans Ministries’ Stepping into the River visionary trip. I look forward to dwelling with the Basotho people whom we serve through our partner ministries, but also to seeing the fields of green and wild flowers as we ascend into the mountains to the village of Semongkong. It will be an ride full of our Creator’s beauty.


Last week God un-expectantly began to once again prepare my heart for this trip as I assisted my son, with his homework. He was required to read a chapter from Engaging God’s World, written by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. As my son read these words my mind began reflecting on Lesotho and the upcoming trip we are taking.


Plantinga writes, “God made a paradise, and we can still find signs of it. Christians can still sing, “This is my Father’s World” and do it with gusto.


This is my Father’s world, and to my listen ears All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres…


It’s a good hymn, but it gives us only half the picture – only paradise, and not paradise lost. As matters stand, creation still declares the glory of God, but it also declares the tragedy of fallenness, of chaos … it still sings and rings, but it also groans. As Paul says, “the whole creation has been groaning” for release from its “bondage to decay” (Romans 8:21-22)”


As I reflected on the words my son read, thoughts went to our upcoming trip and the experiences of past visits to this small-impoverished country. Our Father is creating something incredibly beautiful in Lesotho. The Stepping into the River trip was birthed there through the realization that when we, Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed” (Psalm 82:3), our good Father begins to flow His river of life out of the brokenness. Paradise and paradise lost meet together there, as the river of God flows, bringing healing and restoration as He awakens His people.


We have seen His beauty and orchestration in Lesotho time and again. The Spirit flows out of our partner ministries as we dwell and experience life with the Basotho people. It is something we cannot duplicate, but with our fervent prayers we do anticipate as we seek Him and wait to see the fruit that He bears as we respond by stepping into the rushing waters that flow.


This is the first of four trips Oceans Ministries will lead to Lesotho this year. If you would like to receive some information on participating, please email Tim or Mike at Our last scheduled trip for this year is the weeks of August 1 – August 14. There are still a few openings left if our Father is laying this on your heart.

The Path to Spiritual Wealth – Obedience


If you had millions of dollars generated by several successful businesses could you walk away from it to follow the Father’s heart? That’s exactly what Charles Mully did over 27 years ago. This boy who was once abandoned and grew up on the streets of Kenya has an unlikely stratospheric rise out of poverty into a position of wealth and power. In the midst of a season of abundant material blessings he hears God’s voice calling him to sell everything and invest in the lives of orphaned children across the land. Against the better judgment of family, friends, and even the church community he obeys the voice of God risking his family’s security as well as his own life.


As Patty and I watched the movie Mully we were bombarded by a host of extreme emotions as well as the question could we do what he and his family did? I don’t want to give the full story away but it reminded me of the miraculous story of Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.


As I contemplated Charles Mully’s life journey the word obedience kept coming to mind. Obedience is costly. Obedience to the call of God produces spiritual wealth, and this spiritual wealth satisfies the soul more deeply than any amount of worldly wealth. What are some of the spiritual riches that come from Biblical Obedience?


  1. Communion – The greatest riches of all is intimate communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (John 14:23).
  2. Comforter & Counselor- When you are doing the will of God He fills you with the comfort and wise counsel of His Spirit (John 14:15,26).
  3. Contentment – Obedience leads to the fullness of a content spirit where you have all you need in the Father’s love (Phil. 4:11-13).
  4. Courage – When you walk in obedience you are given a courageous spirit to do what the world calls crazy (Josh. 1:9).
  5. Commendation – A life style of obedience will lead to the King saying: Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.                   (Matthew 25:34-36).


The movie Mully both challenged and encouraged me. It probed the depths of my soul. It reminded me of the importance of listening to the voice of my Father and responding in obedience. In a world that bombards our minds with the lie that worldly wealth and power is the only true satisfier of the soul it was good to get a glimpse into the life of Mully. His walk of obedience filled his soul with the fullness of God. His “yes” spilled over to countless orphans who have been rescued by a display of tangible love-which is truly the love of God in Christ Jesus.

The 3rd Heaven! Living in Victory!


This Christmas my daughter Anna gave her sister Sarah a book called The Happy Intercessor by Beni Johnson. In case you don’t know I love books, so while I only intended to check out the chapter headings I ended up reading the entire book. I found the book to be a great read and if you at all feel a call as an intercessor this book is especially apropos.


As I read the book I was reminded of the heavenly realms that exist. This is not always talked about in our circles but definitely backed up by scripture.


  1. The First Heaven – The physical realm, which is where we exist (Rev. 21:1).
  2. The Second Heaven – The spiritual realm with angels and demons and includes spiritual battles which we are often unaware of (Rev. 14:6 and Daniel 10:13).
  3. The Third Heaven –Where followers of Christ experience eternal life and where the Glory of God dwells (2 Cor. 12:2,4).


The book highlights the indescribable gift we anxiously await-it is truly beyond words what we will experience as beloved children of the King to live and dwell in the Third Heaven. Ephesians 2:6 declares this life changing truth:


And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the

Heavenly realms in Christ Jesus …


The “Heavenly Realm” or the 3rd Heaven is where Jesus reigns with the Father far above all rule and authority, power and dominion…(Eph. 1:21). In Christ we are positioned in a powerful place far above the demonic strongholds of our enemy.


What would happen in 2018 if as Children of the King we lived into this reality? What would happen if believers boldly prayed from this place of victory? These were questions I asked myself as I read the book and thoughts I recorded.


May these TRUTHS encourage you as they did me!


  1. I can daily live in a place of extravagant and secure love from the Triune God.
  2. I have access to all the resources and gifts of grace from heaven.
  3. I can live in complete confidence in the Sovereign Reign of Jesus working out everything for good and the Father’s glory, Everything!!!
  4. I don’t have to fear anything in the future for I’m already living by the Spirit in my eternal home. I know my inheritance will be glorious.
  5. I can be part of a miraculous move of God where “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea,” (Hab. 2:14).
  6. I can live fearlessly because I daily see my Father’s face, which is the greatest of all gifts.


What if in 2018 we realized and lived from the Third Heaven? I claim this VICTORY! May you claim this VICTORY TOO!!