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Stories from the Field

John's Story

In 1988 John Ramey made the move from being a full-time pastor to taking on an international project focused on rescuing children from poverty, homelessness, and abuse.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

John’s Story

Aslan began in 1988 when John Ramey made the move from being a full-time pastor to taking on an international project focused on rescuing children from poverty, homelessness, and abuse. Built with a mission to meet the needs of the global poor, Aslan is the fruit of many difficult journeys that have included surrendered dreams and tremendous hardships.

Sent out

John talks about how difficult it was to change his life’s trajectory—it wasn’t a decision that came easy to him. It took months and months of soul searching and agonizing indecision. He says that it wasn’t something that he would have chosen for himself and it was God who sent him out from where he was before.

“I was a pastor, so I was preaching every week,” John said. “But 1 Timothy chapter two, verse four, took ahold of my life. It reads, ‘God desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ Martin Luther famously said, ‘The Bible has hands. It takes hold of me.’ And I felt that this particular scripture really took hold of me."

John had just moved to Sacramento and had begun working as a pastor at a large church. This was a position that would be a dream for a young pastor. But John kept thinking about all the churches that already were in Sacramento and all the places that needed a single church. He actually spent hours flipping through a phone book and found there were 400 churches in Sacramento alone in 1988.

John said, “And so I thought about all those places in the world where there’s no churches. Not one. And there are thousands of cities larger than Sacramento and a lot of these places don’t have churches. Something deep happened in me.”

What is my part in this story?

John wrestled with what that verse meant practically for his life. He took his family overseas and quickly learned that it wasn’t the right fit for him and his family. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but John realized that it wasn’t within the scope of his skillset and passions.

He then worked with another couple who he helped send out to North Africa. But again, the trip was very difficult and didn’t end the way he anticipated. Working overseas with the poor and those in need isn’t always fun, and it’s often a disservice to the sacrifice and hard work that’s required to talk about it as though it’s always rewarding. It’s actually much more often little-thanked and heart-wrenchingly difficult work.

John went back to grad school after returning from the field and studied missionary care. He soon transitioned much of the focus away from sending out his own team and instead focused on partnering with local leaders. By partnering with national partners instead of sending Americans or cross-cultural workers, national partners were immediately able to make a difference because they knew the culture and the people in the community.

This often produced better and faster results as the workers on the ground were from the areas where they served and weren’t going anywhere. They were in it for the long run. It also allowed John to live out the verse of reaching places where there weren’t churches.

How you can be a part of the story

Aslan’s business costs are provided fully by its board of directors, so all donations to Aslan go directly to serving the poor and those in need, often through the work of local partners. 

Not everyone needs to go overseas to serve the poor and needy. John realized that the best way for him to reach the world was by partnering and helping local leaders serve their communities.

Aslan needs new partners. By giving to Aslan, you can be a part of the exciting and difficult work of helping children among some of the poorest people in the world. Give today and change a life for the better.

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