From 1991, when Pr Justin and Jacquie Ryan met together for the first time, God has taken them on a walk and journey of life together, not just as friends who eventually became a devoted couple, but also in union through a relationship with Him. Recently, they shared with Christianity Malaysia about what this journey has meant to and for them.
At the time when they first met in 1991, Pr Justin was serving as a church keyboardist and Pr Jacquie as a worship leader. From the start of their ministry, however, they have felt a burden to go deeper in their service to God. ‘Eventhough we were going to church regularly, we felt there was something unfulfilled within us. We were growing in the area of our ministry, but over time, we felt such a burden that we could do more for God.’
The Birth of the One Voice Album and Ministries
In 2008, Pr Justin and Pr Jacquie took the bold step to release their first worship album together unto the Lord. There is a remarkable story that led to the birth of not just this album but a whole new ministry. ‘Everyone was very supportive in their encouragement but at that time we were more apprehensive than anything else,’ Pr Jacquie Ryan shared.
‘We took the first steps of faith in producing the album but we didn’t know what we needed to do. Our passion was just to go out and tell people about Jesus. All the time, we were conscious that we needed to honor the Lord in whatever we were doing. We wanted confirmation from God and we prayed about it.’ In the midst of doubt and uncertainty, God spoke to them clearly and collectively as a couple, virtually at the same time.
‘We started producing the album in March of 2008, and in September of that year, God directed us to the verse in Ezekiel 1:28,’ shared Pr Justin. In Ezekiel 1:28, the prophet Ezekiel had his inaugural vision and he heard the voice of the One speaking. In honor of this, the couple took the first steps in establishing the One Voice Ministries on this very cornerstone.
Hearing the Voice of One
God was there taking care of them throughout the process. Pr Jacquie shared that she would just prepare dinner when the Lord would pour inspiration upon both her and her husband, ‘I would simply go to my husband, tell him what was in my heart and spirit, he would play it out on the keyboards, and it would be just that.’ It would be just like a total union of kindred souls.
Sharing about the inspiration behind the pride and joy of one particular song (“Lord Not My Will”) that was especially meaningful to him, Pr Justin added, “There is this question; why is it that we should discover the will of God in our lives and what is the end result of it? The song goes “Not my will but your will be done; God, not my way but your way to guide; Fashion my soul, my spirit, and my being; I’m wholly yours and yours alone”.
‘That is the cry of every Christian. You know you want your whole being to belong to God. How do you go through that, the process of it? So in starting One Voice Ministries, it was a process we went through, a period when we were really searching for God and it took us actually 21 days of prayer and fasting, and at the end of it, the Lord gave us One Voice.’
‘For the longest time, we felt empty,’ shared Pr Jacquie. ‘The message would be good, the worship would be great, there would be nothing wrong with the church at all. And yet we would still feel this emptiness and we didn’t know what it is. There should be something more than the 2 hours every Sunday at church. What about the other parts of our life?
‘It is so important that amidst all the noise we hear around us today, we hear clearly the One Voice of the Lord. Life is more than just going to work and coming to worship at church on a Sunday. That is the reason why we prayed and fasted and searched for the will of God in our lives’.
The One Voice Ministries
The album was just the start of a whole new journey in front of the Ryans. At the center of the One Voice Ministries was a passion for Missions and Training, particularly a desire to reach the unreached and lost people within the 10/40 Window, with a focus on equipping pastors and leaders. To date, they have ministered to 9 countries and they believe God will open more doors in the future.
‘Why did God call us to the 10/40 window?’ Pr Justin related that when they went on their mission trips within the region, God opened their eyes to certain facts about it. The 10/40 Window makes up 2/3rd of the world’s population, it consists of 68 of the worlds’ nations, and yet out of the 6500 languages in the world, only 366 have the Bible translated.
Of the total percentage of missionaries, only 5% go to these unreached places. Billions of people have no access to any form of Christian Resources. Many Christians today talk about the 2nd Coming when these people have not even heard about the First Coming of Jesus. The statistics point that 102 people die every minute never hearing about His name.
The Ryans related many stories such as ministering among the Orang Laut, and discovering that they only had a rudimentary form of Bible. Huge numbers of children within the 10/40 Window are abducted daily for sex trade and slavery, and they have seen such children in hotels with their own eyes. Many of these children are put into trade by their own families so that they could have enough food to survive. People live without hope in huge parts of the region and the suicide rate stands at 6 people per day.
‘They don’t know any other way of life than this,’ shared Pr Jacquie, ‘and if Christians do not do something to bring light to them, this is the only lives they would know. Many would live and die hopeless lives.’
Coming upon God’s Grace in the Region
The Ryans shared testimonies of people and encounters of grace that God had brought into their lives. One such case was that of a young man, Jeffrey Bernales.
Jeffrey was man who was full of potential but born into the slums, among the poorest of the poor in Mabini, Bohol, Philippines. Despite being a studious young man who wanted a chance to study theology, financial constraints prevented him from pursuing his heart’s desire and he wanted to drop out of the program he was studying. It was at this time that God sent One Voice Ministries on a mission trip, only to meet Jeffrey for the first time.
Jeffrey Bernales was the first recipient of the One Voice Scholarship Program initiated by God within the ministry. He was passionate about serving Christ, and even as a student he began to reach out and touch the lives of every other student he met. Every opportunity he got, he brought hope and the Good News with those he met.
Jeffrey’s life was tragically cut short by asthma at the tender age of 21, but in that short time, he touched and changed many people including the Ryans. Pr Jacquie related that hundreds of people attended Jeffrey’s funeral. From being just another lost statistic, God brought meaning and purpose into his life.
Obedience to God’s Voice
In 2013 God called the Ryans to take another step forward. At that time, they were fully employed as teachers, including the teaching of the Word of God to others. ‘God directed us to give our lives fully to Him, 100%. It was not an easy process,’ Pr Jacquie shared honestly.
‘I told God that I could give up all my secular posts but what about my job of teaching in a Christian school? Teaching was my passion, and that was the one thing I couldn’t give up, but the Lord said “No, 100% means 100%”. It was a call of faith and trust.
‘When this call of God came, I was apprehensive. What would I tell my husband? The call I heard was a paradigm shift. It would mean a change for us collectively as a couple, that it’s not just me, but us as a couple.’
The Ryans related that they skirted around the issue, only to find when they broached it, that the same calling had come for the both of them, and at the same moment. At that moment, they knew that while this shift would require sacrifice, it also meant moving into something even greater and that was to become teachers of the Word and see lives being transformed as full time missionaries. They both had a great sense of peace and knew it was God’s plan for them.
‘We knew God was speaking to the both of us, to take a step of faith and move into full time ministry and give up our teaching lives in the secular world.’
In May 2013, the Ryans established the Issachar Academy, training and equipping Christians to understand the times and to listen to God. Through this academy, many other works of the Spirit were produced including the Hope Street Ministries, an active street ministry in Kota Raya, started by a young woman, Veronica Louis, itself a fount of miraculous stories.
Along the journey, the Ryans have also adopted two Orang Asli villages in Pahang and planted a church, Gereja Kasih Karunia Tuhan, in one of the village.
‘Only in hindsight did I understand the calling of God; “Why did you think I called you into this ministry?” In every daily lives, we hear all sorts of voices. We hear the voices of people around us, our friends and families, well-meaning people but conflicting in their opinions and sometimes from God. We hear the voice of satan condemning and trying to stagnate us. And we hear the voice of God. Lives change when people focus in on the voice of God,’ expressed Pr Jacquie.
NOTE: To find out more and keep in touch with the Ryans’ ministries, you can visit their webpage at www.onevm.net. All pictures in the article were kindly contributed by the Ryans.
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