The joy of a surrendered life

BY NATE THORESON | Regional Director, BSF Field Development 

J ust over a year ago, I was riding a mower across five acres in Idaho, comfortably involved in my BSF class and enjoying a fairly “normal” life.  

What a difference a year makes. 

In Matthew 4:19, Jesus called the disciples to, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” He asked them to cast down their fishing nets and surrender their jobs, their security and, essentially, their very identities to follow Christ.  

When a full-time position with BSF opened, I honestly wasn’t interested. Taking the job would mean moving my family, leaving behind friends and surrendering those things we clung to for security.  

But God confirmed through His Word saying, “follow me.”  

Since our move to Texas, God has shown me just how full a surrendered life to Him can be, in my own life and in the lives of amazing believers I’ve met along the way.  

This past August, I had the opportunity to visit Bangalore, India, where leaders gathered for a simulcast of the first-ever BSF Summit. There, I met living examples of Matthew 4:19 in a community of men and women who consistently cast security aside to follow Christ. 

A world apart

Dodging cows and cars, a BSFer named Joseph drove from the airport to the hotel as I took in the contrasts around me: brightly dressed people in front of buildings in need of repair; sprawling skyscrapers next to tiny shacks; beautiful trees and lots of religious temples.   

Joseph and I had never met before, yet it was like a family reunion. Joseph and his wife welcomed me into their home and even their son, Abhishek, who is a food blogger, guided me through a true Indian culinary experience. 

God’s people in India were a picture of what it looks like to follow Christ …

Ultimately, God’s people in India were a picture of what it looks like to follow Christ, to be changed by Christ and to be on mission with Christ. Once again, God was showing me the joy of a surrendered life.

Against all odds

This year marks 25 years of BSF in India, and despite opposition and persecution, God has opened doors for classes throughout the country. So many of these believers count the cost of following Christ daily and continue to “cast down their nets” to follow Jesus.  

Take, for example, the woman who secretly shares the gospel with her children in quiet moments during the day. Despite fear of retribution from her husband, who forbids her from attending church,  she faithfully clings to her hope in Christ. Tearful eyes revealed her struggle, but they couldn’t hide her joy through the curve of her smile. 

Another couple, Elango and Joan, along with their daughter, Anukripa, and son, Amrit, faced a difficult decision. While walking through the pain of losing Elango’s father, they had to decide if they would participate in the ceremonial burial rites of his extended family’s religion

At the risk of  insults and scorn from an unbelieving village, this family held firmly to their faith. Their love for Jesus was evident as they shared stories of God at work in their own lives and the lives around them.  Even in hardship. 

Their love for Jesus was evident as they shared stories of God at work in their own lives and the lives around them. Even in hardship.

Embracing the call

For Stephen and Malini in Chennai, India, a painful miscarriage brought about a challenging season of trusting God’s goodness. But, when Malini heard God’s invitation to “make room” for what He wanted to give her and scale back from the busy-ness of that season, she left her work as a school principal and stepped out of her BSF leadership role.  

Little did she know that God was making room for a child. Judah, now 8 years old, is a joy-filled reminder of God’s goodness today, even during the most trying seasons of life. Stephen and Malini are still being stretched to surrender to God’s good purposes as Stephen has endured 10 long months of unemployment. But this family’s deep faith shows how God works in every circumstance to bring Himself glory and to change us to reflect His character. 

Jesus’ transforming work in our lives is often marked with pain and struggle, but it is, in fact, a deep, loving work of God in the hearts of His people. In other words, real growth comes with growing pains.

Jesus’ transforming work in our lives is often marked with pain and struggle, but it is, in fact, a deep loving work of God in the hearts of His people. In other words, real growth comes with growing pains.

His Witnesses

Acts 1:8 declares that we will be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. As Christians, we are witnesses of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Today, despite great opposition, men and women of faith are witnessing in India. I’ve seen it. God is using His people in Europe, the United Kingdom, the Gulf and Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, across Asia, and throughout Africa and North America to spread His Word. 

Jesus’ mission to “fish for people” is as relevant today as it was for the early church in Acts. But before we can “fish,” we have to follow. What is He calling us to cast aside?  How is He asking us to trust Him?  

Matthew 28 declares that “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Him.  Wherever He sends us, He is in sovereign control.  Jesus also promises He will be with us.  What great encouragement! Whether we’re in Idaho or India, there is true joy in surrendering to a Savior who loves us deeply. 


  1. Great story of hope, faith and genuine trust in Christ. I want that. I pray He guides my heart into His everlasting will for my life. I want to live completely surrendered. Thank you BSF.

  2. wow! I feel smoked by these stories!!

  3. several of us had a prayer group for 3 years in downtown Vienna, Austria, to pray that BSF would one day make it to the tiny country of Austria! How amazing that BSF has already been in India for 25 years! How precious because I lived in India as a child, and it has always been on my heart, and then, now that there are satellite classes, maybe it CAN make it to Vienna, after all this time!!
    The Lord is so good to send out His Word…He IS the Lord of the Harvest, after all!

  4. What a beautiful experience and reminder to stay focused and always trust God! He gives us beauty for ashes and is so faithful! Thank you!

  5. Real growth truly comes with growing pains. So often we have our plan and when we submit totally to God and his perfect plan, we are blessed and realize just how much Jesus loves us and knows what is best. This strengthens our faith and brings peace.

    • Amen! Thank you Mardi for the reminder! Blessings

  6. Thank you for this great encouragement! My husband’s work — where we are currently called — is a huge challenge right now. Jesus controls every detail, every person involved. I am struggling to wait on God, depend on guidance from the Word for my words, thoughts, even how I talk about the situation. And we all have promise after promise that as He has called us wherever we are to be witnesses, HE alone can and will provide adequate equipping.

    • Praying for you Karen and your husband as you lean on Him!

  7. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s a great reminder for us to pray for people all over the world who are still being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. We must continue to be the Lord’s hands and feet and serve where He leads us.

    • The Lord deserves all the credit and glory, He is faithful!

  8. Mildred søk etter juventus sportsbutikk, juventus
    hjemmedrakt og juventus bortedrakt med rask levering Real Madrid Drakt.

  9. The JOY OF THE LORD is obviously their strength! Look at those radiant faces of joy!

    • Thank you Anne for this simple but profound reminder. Finding joy in Him is truly our strength in the midst of our weakness or challenges. Awesome!

  10. Go. Make disciples. Teach all my commands. I will be with you always! What could be more wonderful?
    He is with you every day, all the days until there are no more days! Amazing

    • Amen!

  11. Thank you for sharing that story from India. God’s Holy Word is desperately needed in our world today. After serving in the United States Navy and the Merchant Marine for 41 years I was asked to drive a school bus for the YMCA. The Effingham Street YMCA in Portsmouth, Virginia is my mission field. Due to my membership in the Gideon’s International, I have access to New Testament’s. I have many opportunities to share my faith with others who are looking for answers. Acts 1:8 says it all. The Power Of God!

    • Praise the Lord Michael. Thank you for serving Him for His glory right where you are!

  12. Thank you Nate for this beautiful and uplifting story. It has reminded me that God wants ‘TOTAL’ surrender. That means in every aspect of my life, and not just some areas. I thank the Holy Spirit for leading me to read this article as I was just about to hit ‘delete’.
    To God be the glory!

    • To God be the glory!

  13. In our time of uncertainty, my husband and I clong to the fact Jesus is with us every storp of our journey in a medical issue. Our struggles ar His also.

    • We follow a suffering servant who overcame it all at the cross so we can one day live without sin, disease, and death! Hope!

  14. Touching story. Revealing the true Christian Mission being practiced with hope, joy and peace.

    Loved it,

    RC Hill BSF Denton, TX

    • Thank you Richard. To God be the glory!

  15. Truly inspiring and encouraging

    • Blessings to you Edwin. This week God reminds me that we can only be truly encouraged and inspired by seeing Jesus and His work!

      Hebrews 9:14 NIV
      [14] How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

  16. I am so glad to know that the money goes to great use. To grow God’s kingdom. All over the world.

    • Terresa, we are thankful for the resources God provides to spread His Word and the good news!

  17. Great lesson !!!

    • Amen!

  18. This is an inspiring story. God is faithful. He says in Isaiah 45:19 that He has not told us to seek Him in vain. I pray we are all able to take Him at His word in Jesus’ mighty name

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for this reminder from His Word!

  19. Amen, life changing stories of our brethren from India. We pray for the Lord of the harvest to continue using you our leader and our brethren in India to continue winning souls for Jesus in India.

    • Thank you Esther! God is raising up His children for such a time as this!

  20. Awesome sharing I thank God every day for just one more day to share HIS WORD thanks for sharing young man be bless

    • Thank you Joann for the encouragement and for calling me young 🙂

  21. Thank you for the testimony of Gods love direction and faithfulness. It encourages me to press into my surrender to Him.

    • Thanks for sharing Suzanne, praying for His joy as we learn to surrender to His good purposes.

    • Amen Suzanne, praying for the joy of the Lord as you press into Him!

  22. thank you for this report. it is incredibly challenging and encouraging to me, as i have been struggling with surrender for quite some time. i love Jesus. i know God has a plan for my life. BUT, i struggle to truly let go of my plans, my dreams, my desires to allow Him to fully work through me. it sounds so selfish (as it is) when i reread this, but it’s the believer’s challenge, especially a believer living in extreme comfort in the US. over the past 3 years, He has been slowly and lovingly stretching, pruning, and molding me into what HE plans, dreams, and desires for me. it’s a hard process (darn our fleshly hearts), but one i desperately want to see Him complete in me.
    again, many thanks for your words.

    • Thank you Heather for being authentic! I am thankful that He is faithful to complete the work that He has started in us! Praise His Name!

  23. Nate – thank you for sharing the reminder that the Lord uses pain and struggle as a canvas for change – your trust in Him with the challenges, transition and travel inspire surrender and vibrant living! To God be the glory as He unites hearts in every culture!

    • Amen Glori! To God be the glory! Love your imagery of a canvas, He is a loving and masterful Creator!

  24. Thank You for sharing ;
    This shows me that if I position myself in obediance the Battle is Won in Jesus name 🙏

    • Thanks Terri! Amen

  25. thank you,it just goes to sow you God is everywhere and He has a plan for my life also..

    • Yes He does Barbara! And His plans are so much better than we can hope or imagine, even when it seems impossible.

  26. I had the privilege to go on a 2 week mission trip to India last September. I never intended to ever go to India, but I fell in love for these beautiful people. The area we ministered in is mainly Hindi and they just soaked up our offers to pray and listen to the good news about Jesus. I definitely saw lives changed!
    I hope to go back this year to see what God has done!

    • This is encouraging Heidi! Thank you for sharing. I pray God opens the door to return to India if it be His will! Blessings to you.

  27. Thank you for this inspirational message and encouragement to continue to surrender to the plan of the Lord for my life.

    • You are welcome Mary. The Lord is good and great!

  28. It is awesome to be at the feet of Jesus and ready to used of Him, may God bless our brothers and sisters in India, am challenged to continue praying for the word of God to spread through out he world.

    • Thank you for the reminder to continue to pray for the people we think will never come to Christ! God can do the impossible!

  29. I am so excited to hear what God is doing in India!!! Our family sponsored a young girl there for years through Compassion International. A few years ago this ministry was asked to leave India and we lost contact with our girl. We have been praying for her, that God would bring believers around her. Praying now that she would be drawn into a BSF group and learn and grow in Jesus❤️

    • Great prayer Dana! I can only imagine and hope that you will one day get to meet her face to face! I will pray for her too!

  30. Good to hear about what’s been happening with you, Nate! It’s just another Monday BSF night here in Cd’A, so we carry on where God has planted us. Glenn & I decided to hold class in spite of school being cancelled today because of snow yesterday. It’s January in North Idaho! And God is good.

    • Hi LeeAnn! I have mixed feelings when I hear of snow days 🙂 I miss them and I don’t miss them. I am thankful for you and Glenn and your faithful service to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel in Post Falls and CDA! I miss seeing you and Chris and pray often for you. Give my love to everyone!

  31. This story is so timely in my life right now. Surrender is the word God gave me for 2019. I had a secret sin I was carrying that was over 40 years old. I thought I had already surrendered this when I became a believer 30 years ago. I realized that I had only superficially accepted God’s forgiveness while actually carrying that secret around with a very guilty conscience and suffering many difficult consequences for that unforgiveness I held against myself. God finally called me to a healing bible study to lay down my burden and He fully healed me through a process of facing the full impact of my sin, grieving the loss and forgiving others and myself. God restored and redeemed me. He has so much freedom and joy for us if only we will fully surrender ALL to Him. He is so good and we can trust Him with all the dark places in our life. His light will expose it all and cleanse it all. He paid the perfect sacrifice, once and for all! Praise Him!

    • What a humbling reminder of the persistent grace that continues doing a deep work in our hearts. Thank you Marty for sharing how God is allowing you to experience freedom and joy. His Spirit allows us to trust Him and believe the transforming truth of His love. His forgiveness is real and when we believe in His forgiveness we experience healing that impacts our relationships. Thank you for the reminder.

  32. Thank you Mate for the encouragement

    • You’re welcome Nomvula!

  33. Thank you for the encouragement Nate!

    • Thank you brother Lyle! I appreciate your willingness to serve God in whatever way He leads! You are an example of Christ to me.

  34. Amazing joy for those who surrender…. bless these mission people and the people they minister to..

    • Amen! Thank you Peg!

  35. Waw, what a wonderful way to start this year with great testimonies. It is my desire that I be the light as I testify of the good things God has done for me. He has provided for me just as he has told us in the book of mathew not to worry about tomorrow and live like the birds of the air. Glory to God.

    • Waw, what a wonderful way to start this year with great testimonies. It is my desire that I be the light as I testify of the good things God has done for me. He has provided for me just as he has told us in the book of mathew not to worry about tomorrow and live like the birds of the air. Glory to God.

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