On Sunday, April 17, Pastor Robert Cox at the Bethel Baptist Church welcomed a young missionary couple to come and share their experiences while ministering in Africa. Josiah and Liz Hassler serve overseas with the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) organization. YWAM is a global ministry, which involves all cultures, age groups and worldwide networking locations to spread the gospel while assisting the people on a one-to-one. This non-denominational organization began in 1960 and has been successfully expanding since.
The Hasslers married just three years ago. She was honing her professional nursing skills in the ICU cardiac care unit at Renown, while he was continually using his photographic talents in commercial endeavors, also enhancing his knowledge as a videographer. The couple led home groups for the Living Stones Church, located in the developing mid-town section of Reno. Both had a desire and plan to enter the mission field to use their talents within struggling countries as they had each been on missionary trips before.
As the Hasslers began sharing to the church, the first message was that Uganda sent their love to the United States Christians. Located in a tropical environment, most of the population is under the age of 15, due to poverty and illness, plus the ravishing, internal war that took place within their country.
The couple shared stories of meeting a village of young woman who had been forced into the war as “child soldiering” which included fighting, abuse and acts of slavery. Through Hassler’s tears, she expressed the compassion and caring touch she received from these village women. Today these women have found a way to make beaded jewelry and were taught to sew lovely clothing articles, which theysell. These women have hope and smiles on their faces in this safe haven. They are filled with the love of Christ and harbor no bitterness or unforgiveness but instead are walking in love.
There was also a tree-planting ministry which they were assisting, who is providing trees which are grafted to produce fruit within just two years. So far this two-year-old ministry has plante two million trees in Uganda, which will provide the substance villages needed to properly eat and also sell product. With Hasslers video talents he was able to spend time documenting this ministry so a nationwide video expansion can occur, letting others know that it is only $2.50 per tree and the money made helps educate the children of Uganda.
The Hasslers found a love for the African people. They are returning soon to Cameroon, where they will apply their skills for a new endeavor called “Bible Safari”, to bring Bible translations relevant to each area. Working with Wycliff and Digital Library, an effort to complete Bible translations for a remaining 800 languages is underway. With the YWAM team and the translated Jesus film, the Hasslers will be involved in more outreach. For more information, pictures and stories, please follow the Hasslers on Facebook. The impact of their ministry moved Pastor Cox to share his own desire to visit Africa, which was met with applause and many Amens. “The need is great, but the laborers are few,” Cox stated.