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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Kim Busl

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Kim Busl

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Kim Busl
TOPICS: Conversations, Mission

For decades now, his life has been a life of ministry. Many years ago he based himself in Africa, but God has led him to many other places besides. He's been involved in ministry, fostering ministry, and growing mission work around the world. His name is Kim Busl. I'm John Bradshaw, and this is our conversation.

John Bradshaw: Kim Busl, thanks so much for joining me, appreciate your time.

Kim Busl: Privileged to be here.

John Bradshaw: It's all about mission for you, ministry. We're gonna talk about what you're doing today, number of very, very exciting things, things you've done in the past. But before we dive into your life of mission and ministry, let's go back to the beginning. Where did your spring from?

Kim Busl: From a little place called Massachusetts up north of here.

John Bradshaw: What was your upbringing like? Were you raised... was it a life of service? Were you raised in a religious home? What was that all about?

Kim Busl: It was a life of work.

John Bradshaw: Yeah?

Kim Busl: My dad left before I was born. My mother had four children, me being the youngest, obviously, and poor town, western Massachusetts. And I guess memories are just working from childhood on up, so...good education.

John Bradshaw: A single mother with four kids?

Kim Busl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Life might have been a little bit tough.

Kim Busl: I'm sure it was. I'm sure it was, especially three of them being boys.

John Bradshaw: Do you remember it as being difficult?

Kim Busl: No. You know, you, when you're a child, you're resilient; you know, life is life. You get up every day; you do what you do. You know, I knew we were different, I knew we didn't have what other people had. I knew I didn't have a father, and all my friends did, so you see those differences. But as a child, you adapt; you figure how to survive in the world and navigate. And so I thought... I have very good memories, very good memories of our childhood.

John Bradshaw: So which direction were you heading? Where was life taking you when you were a kid?

Kim Busl: My mother hooked up with a older gentleman that she became a partner with, and he happened to be training thoroughbred horses. So from seven to 16, I grew up the racetrack.

John Bradshaw: But you never made a life in horse racing or breeding or training or anything like that. Somehow you glommed on to... let's put that in a more appropriate term: God led your life into a life of service and mission and ministry. So, how'd that happen?

Kim Busl: How'd that happen? Well, you know, when I look back, the desire to serve, the desire to help had been there for a long time. My mother set a very good example of helping others. You know, if I was working till midnight, hitchhiking home at night, I find someone on the road, bring 'em home, let 'em stay in our, you know, sleep on the couch, feed 'em breakfast. Our home was always open to people. My mother took in a lot of foster care kids, old people, elderly, anybody that needed help often found shelter in our home. And so that appealed, must have appealed to me, must have got ingrained in me. And even before, while I was an atheist, they had a boat called "Care" or "Hope" you know, people went around the world helping people. And that always, that idea appealed to me, even from a young age.

John Bradshaw: So tell me about this atheism. How did that... and what kind of atheist were you?

Kim Busl: A good one.

Oh yeah?

You know, I loved it. Being an atheist was great. You know, I really thoroughly, sounds strange that you would enjoy it, but I was raised that way. I was taught evolution in school, you know, they said evolutionary theory, but they didn't teach it to you as a theory. They taught this is the way it is.

That's right.

And that's what my mother believed and that's, she's in her 90s, and she still believes that, okay, we evolved from apes, and we're just the next species that's happening upon the scene. And so all my growing up years, that's what I believed. I didn't believe in God; I didn't believe in religion.

Well, somewhere this great transformation took place.

It did.

Tell me how that happened?

What was amazing... well, you know, it's always special when you look back and see how God has led. I actually had gone to Europe in my junior year of high school, and when I came back, I had enough credits to graduate, but I needed, I don't know, English and American history. So they let me go to college and send those credits back 'cause I had good grades. And at college we had this professor; he was my favorite. He was my, by far, my favorite teacher of all time. He taught ancient civilization and philosophy. And if anybody got stoned, you know, smoked hash before class, he would really get after us. He would say, "Come and get me". We'd go smoke hash, and then we'd come to class. "But you guys doing this stuff without me, that's not on". Okay, so in those days, you know, we thought he was a really cool guy, and he was an excellent teacher. So he's the one that God used to plant seeds, okay? 'Cause here I am, an atheist, and I'm happy, I'm very comfortable, you know. Nobody can judge you; you don't judge anybody. You know, we're just gonna go to a black hole someday, whatever.


So one day in class he's teaching about the Stoics, the Epicureans, and how their thought patterns were and how they assess things. And he says, "Now, these guys," he says, "which of us, you look out on the lawn, look out on the lawn", their beautiful New England deep green carpet lawn, he says, "If we went out there and found a pocket watch, and we opened it up, and here's the second hand going around in a minute and the hour hand, and you open the back of it, and there's these gears meshing nicely, and a little spring going back and forth," he says, "how many of us would say, 'Oh, all the elements came out of the ground right there and formed themself into this watch'? How many of us would believe it? Of course, none of us would believe that. We would say, 'Reason has created this. There's a thought process. Somebody designed this thing.'" And then he said, "These guys looked at the universe, and they looked at the solar system, and they looked at the human body and our eyes and our ears, and they said, 'You know what, there's a designer.'"

He preached...

"This did not just happen".

He was preaching a life-changing sermon!

Amazing, amazing!

A life-changing sermon!

Okay, and I went out of that class, John, and I was troubled, okay? Because it was the first time in my 19 years that I thought, whoa, I can't deny his logic. And I knew right then if there was a Creator, there was gonna be accountability.


And I didn't like that idea at all, okay? That I was gonna have to be accountable to a Creator. But his, you know, his words, his influence that day has really set my feet on a path to start contemplating that there was a God, there was a Creator.

Now, was he, was he a believer himself?

I don't know. I mean, he must have been; he must have believed that there was a Creator. I think that is true, okay? I never got into his religious beliefs or his persuasion.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

You know, it was probably towards the end of the school year, and I just kind of went on with life, but he planted those seeds.

So what happened next?

I started looking for God. You know, I didn't know that.


But I would go to bookstores in those days, we used a lot of books, and I would go to the philosophy section, and I would start looking for gems of truth. Something, you know, there's a hole in your life; there's this longing for something more than what you have. And so I went through that process. One day, you know, I... you know, as a young person, I didn't wanna part with money for something like a book. That was, you know... you saved the money for more important things...

Sure. life.


And I was in this bookstore, and I found this book, and it really intrigued me. It really, reading through it, the sentiments, the thoughts that were expressed were very good. The only part I didn't like: It did talk about God in it, some, and I wasn't too sure about that. But I parted with hard-earned cash, and I bought that book. M'kay? And I read it, and I would refer to it. And I learned years later...someone had extracted Ecclesiastes and Proverbs out of the Bible, put it in this little book, and that's what I bought. It was called "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Man," something like that. And I didn't know it was the Bible that I was reading or studying.

How about that?

And so it spoke to my heart.


So there was that journey of wanting something better, wanting something more, and that path finally unfolded very nicely for me.

And how did they do that? Gimme the 10-second version. You...

All right. became a...

A friend of mine,

...a card-carrying believer.

I was living in Florida at the time, which is far from New England. I went up to, back up to New England, and a friend of mine who... the last time we'd been together, we'd been out and totaled his car and ended up upside down in a ditch with the wheels spinning, and I hadn't seen him since. So I called him up. I said, "Jeff, you wanna go out"? He says, "No, I'm busy". I said, "What are you doing"? He says, "I'm studying". I said, "You back in college"? He says, "No". I said, "What are you studying"? He said, "Well, I'm studying the Bible". And...yeah, that's how it started. My brother, by the way, who's closest to me, he had become a Christian. Several months before this, I'd come up from Florida for his wedding, and we met in a bar in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we were having a few beers, and he told me he became a Christian. I was like, wow. You know, that's, that's something. And he started telling me what it was about. And then we went out in the parking lot and had a few joints, and then we went back in the bar and had a few more beers. And I said, "You know, Kevin, as long as we can be brothers, we can, you know, have a few beers together. Be whatever you want. You know, that's okay". But he really, he had become a Christian. He was advancing in his Christian life at that point.


So then my friend said he was studying the Bible, and I said, "Well, my brother gave me a Bible". So he came over, within 15 minutes, and started Bible studies.

Just like that?

Yeah. Just, the timing was right.

Isn't it fascinating how God leads people?

Amen, amen. He invited me to church. I went to church, got invited home to this dairy farmer's home and had lunch, had a great day, and ended up working on their farm.

How about that?

Yeah. Had Bible studies every night.

Now, you came to faith in Christ, gave your life to him. Before long you were diving into ministry yourself. Tell me about that.

True, true.

Yeah, what happened?

Well, you know, the pastor that baptized... I should tell you this. I studied for about nine months, and I wanted to be baptized. And my brother, who had become a Christian, he was worried about me when he heard I got involved with Adventists. He didn't know what those were; I didn't know what those were, you know? And so he was living in a church in Worcester, Mass. He was going to a Lutheran church, and he was their maintenance person on their grounds. And he was going to a non-denominational church on Sabbath, and his wife was graduating from Mary the Assumption College, devout Catholic; Ellen is a devout Catholic. And so, you know, here I am starting to have Bible studies, and I'm getting in with these Adventists, and I stop smoking; I stop drinking; I stop doing pot. I, you know, my life, from people's perspective, is cleaning up.


And he's worried. I became a vegetarian. and he's like, whoa, something's wrong with my brother, okay? So he goes to his pastor, the Lutheran pastor, and he says, "Listen, my brother got involved with these people, you know, and his life is changing. And, and, you know, I'm just worried about him". He said, "Well, who is he"? He says, "Well," he says, "oh, he's a Seventh-day Adventist, and I don't know what that is". You know, he'll never forget what the pastor told him. He says, "Kevin, your brother's in good hands. Saturday's their big deal". He says, "But those Adventists, they're good people. They pay tithe, those Adventists," and, and that was the answer the minister gave them. And so then I sent him "Desire of Ages," and he understood why my life was changing from habits of the past. And so, at the end of nine months I was ready. He wasn't sure if he was ready, but then we all got baptized together in Bennington, Vermont, my brother and his wife and myself.

How fantastic.

That was great. It was very special. And...


We're very close to this day.

That's heartwarming.


So how did ministry happen? Where were you headed professionally at that time?

Well, I had been in building construction, but actually my mother had gotten into community care homes. She had a home where she would take care of people that didn't need a nursing home.


But they just needed to be somewhere. And so for about a year, I ran a home with 13 people. I did all the cooking, the cleaning, the every... all that domestic stuff. And she had another house with an equal number of people. So I was just helping her out. I'd been in Europe for a year, and so I was just helping her out. And the day I got baptized... now, you gotta remember she's my only parent. She's the person I love more than anyone else in the world. Growing up, you know, it was clear: You gotta take care of Mom. The day I got baptized, she disowned me, disinherited me, and told me, "You were the worst disappointment in my life". And so it didn't bode well, me becoming a Christian and, of course, getting my brother involved with it. It did not, it did not go well. And so since I had been working with her, it was, I realized it was, that was gonna be short lived. And the pastor who baptized us, you know, dear friend, Pastor Howard Fish, he was starting to do an evangelistic series at his other church, in Rutland, Vermont. And he said, "Listen, why don't you come up and do Bible work with me and do this series"? Now, that was two weeks after I was baptized. And so, just went up, and I got a job in the area to earn money and then did Bible work and did the meetings. And that evangelist got a call to be the conference evangelist in Kansas. And he'd been meeting with someone that you'll know very well. He'd been, you know, taking lessons from another evangelist at the time. And this evangelist had an evangelistic team that went with him wherever he would go around and do ministry. And he was doing cooking schools, nutrition seminars, Daniel and Revelation seminars, and that person's name was Mark Finley. And so we patterned that after Mark, and so I became a self-supporting Bible worker, you know, within a couple of months after becoming a Seventh... being baptized and giving my life to Christ.

I don't wanna stop the forward momentum here, but I do wanna come back and talk about your mom for a second because clearly things got patched up over the years, and... What was it that disappointed her so much? Just the... I'll let you answer. I won't even speak here...

Yeah, I'm not, I'm not, you know, there's a lot there.


There's a lot more than we could get into here. I think she probably felt rebuked that here I was leaving an atheistic lifestyle and embracing Christianity, which was something she was raised in. She was raised in the Baptist Church, and, you know, all her upbringing, and all her days she had been a faithful church-goer. She'd had a very unfortunate experience with a pastor and with the church members, and that ended her church going days. So, probably a lot of pain there from the past, and other things played into that...


...that were painful for her.

I think it's helpful for people to understand and recognize when they get into a situation like that. Man, there are things going on in the background of it, of that other person's life.

Sure. Sure.

You really, instead of feeling anger, feel some compassion.


So you became a Bible worker...

Right. a brand new Christian.


And then you...well, that progressed until you became a... I think the word "missionary" works.


An international missionary.

Well, we ended up... Joyce, my wife, also was part of that evangelistic team. She did the children's meetings and the cooking schools that year. At the end of that year, we got married. And in a short time, we ended up helping with the ministry in New England. And then, not too long after that, the leader that got a call to go to Africa, to a place called Riverside Farm, and he didn't wanna go alone. And so he invited us to go with him to help with the project in Africa.

Okay. So you're young, married. Do you have kids by this time?

By this time we have one, three months old, and we have one that's almost 2.

Okay, someone already thinks you are out of your mind.


A child that's almost three months old, one that's about 2, and you're leaving behind the certainty of the life you know, you're leaving behind the very well-ordered United States of America...

Sure, sure.

With all it's, with all it might offer you in the future, leaving behind family, leaving behind everything you know, and you go into Africa; presumably this was Zambia.


Took place... Had you ever been there?

No, no, no.

Okay. So this is a leap of faith or something?

Or something.

How do you cross that bridge? I think this is a question on the minds of many people. How does a young couple with a young family choose to leave behind the first world and go after some... corner of the universe that is filled with... it had to be fear and trepidation and uncertainty... how do you do that? What's the thinking process?

Well, you know, probably it's really more simple than it seems, you know. It was very painful to be rejected by my mother. She, by far, hands down, most important person in my life. You know, in the Bible, Jesus tells us, "If you don't love me more than your father or mother, you're not worthy of me". Okay, so Bible text of that caliber really sustained me and encouraged me that, you know, you have to make a choice here. And I was compelled to make the choice when I found out there was a God who loved me, forgave me, provided eternity that, you know, I'm not just gonna disappear into a black hole. I mean, you know, it does the paradigm shift that goes from being an atheist to knowing you have a divine Creator that loves you and wants to spend eternity with you. That's a huge shift in your worldview and in what you experience in your heart, in your emotions. And so to serve, to, you know, be used to be a blessing to other people, there's nothing more wonderful than that opportunity. And so when the invitation came, it really wasn't that... I think, for my wife, who'd grown up in a New England town in New Hampshire and, you know, it was probably a bit more challenging to think about going over there. And we were warned: "Are you crazy? Your children, three months old, gonna be two months old". You know, you're gonna go off and... Malaria... you know, there's a lot of things in Africa could get you. But if you feel God's calling you, that gave us assurance, and we went.

So the Busls are off to Africa. We're gonna find out in just a moment what happened next. This is "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. We'll be right back.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. My guest is Kim Busl, who as a young man dived head first into a life of ministry, which, before long, led him and his young family to Africa. So, Kim, you arrive in Zambia.

We did.

What'd you go there to do, and what did you expect, and what you find?

How did your expectations...

Well, there was a ministry...

...match up?

...there called Riverside Farm, and it had been started about 10 years before. It was a medical clinic. In fairness to Riverside, it was started by a man named Dr. J.G. Foster. He'd been a missionary in Botswana. World War II came along. He was American; he had to go back home. At the end of World War II he'd said to the church, "Hey, I wanna go back". And they said, "Well, that's nice, but we don't have any money to send anybody back". He said, "Well, I'll go back on my own". So he decided to go back to Lusaka, which is the capital of Zambia, and he opened up a medical clinic, and he was the first European doctor to make house calls to everybody and anybody, okay? Whatever your color, your nationality, your status, Dr. Foster would come and treat you at home. And he became a legend. Make no mistake, his practice grew. And when we moved there in 1983... even now, 2022, there's people who don't know Riverside Farm. They know Foster's Farm, okay? Dr. Foster was a godly man. He was a medical missionary, and he ministered to people. He liked farming as much as he liked being a doctor, and an opportunity came up for him to buy this farm. And so he bought it, and he started to develop it, he put a little clinic out there, and he started this farm. And as he got older, he realized, you know, "I can't keep up with all this. You know, my medical practice in town, medical practice on the farm, running the farm," so he decided to give the farm to the church. And Elder Robert Pearson was the president of that division. So he told Elder Pearson, "Listen, I wanna give the church my farm". And Elder Pearson says, "Well, what's it worth"? He said, "Why do you wanna know what it's worth"? He said, "We're gonna sell it". He said, "I don't want you to sell it. I want you to have a training school". He says, "If you give it to us, we're gonna sell it. You wanna have a training school? You call a place in Georgia called Wildwood, and they know about doing training schools and medical missionary work". So that's what he did. So in 1974, a group from Wildwood went over there, and they pioneered the work at Riverside. And most of those folks were getting ready to leave. And the friend that we went through, Pastor Charles Cleveland, he asked us to go, and so we went. And to just go help Riverside, and I was actually gonna try to start a vegetarian restaurant and food store in Lusaka, in the capital city. Never happened. We got there; it was busy. Folks that had been there a long time were leaving, and we brought everything we needed in a container to build a medical lodge, because Riverside's name tells you it's on a river, and the Kafue River is right there. And about 200 kilometers upstream were a network of villages and lagoons and waterways, and they didn't have any access to medical care. So we built a medical lodge and started going up the river. That was a major project. And then, interestingly enough, most everyone that we went with... there were several families. One lasted a year; one lasted 18 months. It wasn't a good fit for some people. And so my job description changed, and I became the administrator, and then they wanted me to be the farm manager. And then Elder Cleveland had another call after about two and a half years, and he came back, and they wanted me to be the executive director. And I said, "You guys, I don't need any more titles. I'm happy doing what I'm doing. I'll hold it for you. Go find someone to run this thing". And they said, "No, no, you should do it. And I said, "Well, you're just desperate". So it was promotion by attrition, you know. I mean, people left, and so I became the director at Riverside and just had a great time. We have all kinds of ministry activities, building churches. It's a great ministry.

How did it develop in those earlier, earlier days? You went there in the '80s. What did you see? What sort of changes did you see Riverside go through? It really grew.

One thing that happened, we sent one of our good students down to Zimbabwe to get training in agriculture, and he came back, and we started a scientific gardening training program, which was really very practical, very good. And he was excellent. His name was Godfrey, His name was Godfrey, and he was excellent at doing that. And so when people landed at Riverside, the first thing they saw was this vegetable garden that was picture perfect, I mean, just beautiful. And then other people wanted it. "Hey, can you come to Malawi and help us do it"? "Can you come to Uganda and help us do it"? And then the Tanzania Union came and saw Riverside, and they said, "We need that in Tanzania. We've got a 5,000-acre farm, and it just costs us money, and we can't do anything with it". And Riverside's 3,000 acres. So they said, "Would you come help us do that"? So in 1989 drove up there and looked at a place called Kibidula Farm. And then we launched another Riverside at Kibidula. So we were busy, and again, building churches all over the country, training pioneer workers, running the clinic. Then eventually we added a dental clinic to it. So we have a full-time, we have three dentists at Riverside and a truck that goes out to the bush, and provide free dental care. And so we have a tailoring center to train women in tailoring and evangelism, and we run a commercial farm to generate the income to do all that we do.

What do you produce on the farm?

Bananas, we a got hundred acres of bananas, and wheat and soybeans are our big commercial crops.

Mm. Fantastic.

Yeah, it is. It's one of the truly self-supporting ministries in the world where the farm generates the income to cover what we do.



Now, Riverside isn't an end unto itself. It's a means to an end.


And that end is to share Jesus...


...with others.


So, just gimme a couple of examples about how you see that happening.


'Cause Riverside is a fabulous model for self-supporting work.

Well, we partnered early on with a ministry called Light Bearers, and I'm sure you're familiar with Ty Gibson and Light Bearers. And we started translating, and they started printing. And so since the early '80s, container loads of literature have been coming over from Light Bearers, and Riverside's the place where that all gets distributed from. There's 1.1 million Seventh-day Adventists in Zambia, a country the size of Texas. So it's had an impact. Now, not Riverside alone, but Riverside and Light Bearers have participated greatly in sharing the gospel in Zambia. And then we have what we call our pioneer Bible workers. They go out into the rural areas, and everybody is happy. I mean, they go to the tough regions. They're happy to be there, and the union president calls them "the bulldogs of Zambia," okay? They go to places other pastors are not willing to go, and they share the gospel. They just... and they, you know, they help with simple diseases and agriculture and share what they've learned at Riverside.

Now, you haven't only been at Riverside. You were there for a time, and then you you've gone on to do other things.


You got involved with an... organization called Outpost Centers International, OCI.

That's right.

So talk a little bit about OCI and your involvement there.

Okay, well, Outpost Centers is a ministry that is, nurtures and encourages and helps launch supporting ministries all over the world. It's kind of like an umbrella organization, a sisterhood or brotherhood of ministries. And, you know, there's now, I think, 228 or 240 ministries scattered around the world, whether that's Australia or China or India or Eastern, Western Europe, Russia, Ukraine, South America, Central America. And these are ministries that are started by lay people and could be a secondary school, a primary school, an orphanage, a wellness center. We were involved in launching one in Portugal for five years. We went there and started a wellness center and a school of health promotion. So yeah, it's a.. you know, I would just encourage you: Go on the website, Outpost Centers International, and you might find some encouragement, inspiration to see how you could launch a ministry yourself. It's everything from places the size of Riverside or Kibidula in Tanzania to a husband-and-wife team that are, you know, doing a small wellness center in their home... in Russia or South America.

I wanna come back to Africa for a minute. I wanna anticipate the thought on somebody's mind. So you go there, you mentioned malaria earlier.


So you take a couple of kids and a wife.


And your family goes. What kind of challenges did you have to work through? You know, after all, you've just come from North America...


You've been dropped into a country very unlike your own. Well, what'd you work through?

Well, you know, there are diseases. That's the main thing that you struggle with. The malaria was still the number one killer in the world when we went there, and we've had our hearts wrung, as hard as they've been wrung, seeing our children almost die of malaria. I mean, it's real. It's real. And it's a very, you know, unpleasant moment to go through, very heart searching. And we're grateful, you know, the Lord was, always spared. I have fellow missionaries, their children died, and it's very, you know, God was nonetheless with them than he was with us.

That's right.

And, but they passed through those waters, and it's real.

How do you work through it? You go to serve God, and the life of your flesh and blood...

Yeah. on the line. Well, what kind of conversations did you have with God at that time? And how does that, does that ever discourage a person? How do you process that?

It's very... When you're in that moment, and parents around the world have this moment...

That's right.

...whatever disease it might be.


And I think as a parent there's a fear that something is in your own life that your prayers on behalf of your children aren't heard or can't be carried out. You know what I mean? You do some real soul searching because you don't want anything in your own life to prevent God from working the life of your child. I think that's the most difficult part of those moments. And of course, having the children not understand why they're suffering and what's going on. So...

So let me ask a bigger picture about your kids. You raised two...two boys?


In Africa.


Now, so how did that form their lives, and what did they go on to do, and how did they get involved in ministry and so forth?

We didn't have the term "third-culture kids" in those days.


We didn't realize what we were doing. You know, ignorance allows you to go wrong with confidence. And I have a lot of ignorance, you know. So we did many things ignorantly and we could do it with a lot of confidence. Now, I don't say that, you know... I say that lightheartedly in this situation with our children.

Sure, sure, yeah.

For them, they loved it. To grow up in the bush of Africa on 3,000 acres is wonderful, okay? Outdoors, what have you. But they bought in early on in our lives, in their lives, into what it was about. You know, when we moved to Tanzania and started Kibidula, it was cold, it was rainy there, and it really was cold, okay? And so one day we had just finished building a house, and we're inside, and a mother and her small children are passing by, and they get underneath the eave of our outside bathroom, and they're shivering. And, you know, Jared was maybe 11 years old. He goes in and he gets his clothes, and he gets blankets off his bed. And he's taking 'em to this little child that's shivering, okay? Well, that's the desired response you want your children to have. Now, you can't empty your wardrobe, okay? You have to let them give some things away but not give everything away. And so early on their hearts were touched by the needs of those around them. And actually, as we were at Kibidula, we had students that were refugees from south Sudan. South Sudan had been in civil war for 24 years, and they were part of our student group at Kibidula. And Friday evenings we'd have worship in our home, and they would stay and visit. And the stories they would tell were heartbreaking, John, just heartbreaking, what they had gone through, what their families had gone to, to see their whole villages murdered, okay? This is trauma. These are things that don't leave a person. You know, one of the young ladies told the story where her mother took her and her sister, and for six weeks they went through the jungle in south Sudan to get out. You can't use roads, you can't use paths because there's landmines. They finally get out, and they get into northern Uganda, and they get to a road, and a bus comes. And they get on the bus, and they're so grateful. Every, you know, every rotation of that wheel gets her further away. Well, they get about five miles, and the guerillas come out of the jungle, and they stop the bus, and they make everybody get off... well, no, that's not true... they get on the bus, and the soldier's going down the aisle and he looks at this woman, says, "Are these your two daughters"? And she says, "Yes". He says, "Take your daughters and get off the bus". Now, if you were a mother, your heart was aching right then because when those guys take you into the bush, you know what you're gonna suffer, okay? And that's what's going through her mind. And the man got her to the door and told her, "You take your daughters, and you run. And no matter what you hear, you don't turn around". She takes her daughter, one on each hand, she runs, and then they shoot everybody on the bus. They hear the screaming, they hear the gunshots, they hear everything going on, and the daughter makes it to Kibidula Farm. And so the boys are hearing these stories, and Jabel, our oldest, was 15 years old at the time. And after they left one evening, he came and he said, "I wanna go help the people in south Sudan". And Joyce said, "Jabel, it's very dangerous in south Sudan". And he said, "Well, just because it's dangerous, does that mean they don't need to know about the love of Jesus"?


So what do you say to a 15-year-old?

He's 15 years old.

You say, "Well, buddy, at 15 they won't let you go. But when you're 18, if you feel that's what God's called you, then you can go". And at 18, he and his cousin and his younger brother went up into south Sudan, and they started building churches and schools and agricultural projects in the middle of the civil war. People thought we were crazy, John: "What kind of parent are you? You letting your teenagers go into civil war in south Sudan, what are you thinking"?

Good question.

Good question.

Heart-searching questions.


But given the desire of the boys, you'd probably be crazy not to let 'em go.


And no one knows your boys like you.

That's what they felt God was putting on their hearts.


You know, we thank God he spared them. They were in, continuously in life-threatening situations, and people up there couldn't believe it. But God used them to build schools, to build churches, to save lives. It was just a wonderful time to see that happen, although it was very concerning at the same time.

Well, I know you've gone on to do other things, even as you're still ministering in Africa. Africa you consider your home base, right?

Yeah, that's our home base.

That's home.

That's... when we pull into Riverside, that's... we're home.


You know, it's just, that feeling grew many, many years ago, and it's still there. Have a lot of affection for the people, the family, the folks there.

Well, in a moment, I'm gonna ask you a question that's on the minds of a lot of people. We're gonna talk about sacrifice, and we'll come up to speed with some of the things you're involved in today. With Kim Busl, I'm John Bradshaw. This is our conversation. We'll have more of that in just a moment.

Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. And my guest is Kim Busl. Kim, we've been talking about your life in Africa, your conversion, you're raising children in Africa, children who ended up seeing incredible things and experiencing and doing incredible things. Let's talk about sacrifice. I wanna ask you, who came from a lifestyle, a life in the United States of America, where we have hot and cold running everything.

Yeah, yeah.

We've got more than we need, yet here you are, you are involved in construction; you clearly had a bright future. You could have done whatever you wanted to do, I'm sure. You left it all behind to go to uncertainty. Following God's leading is certainty...


...but to human uncertainty in Africa, where no one was promising you riches or possessions or anything. So you've... it's about 40 years since you went to Africa, and you've been other places besides. As you mentioned, you're back in Africa now. Tell me about sacrifice. Some people are gonna say you sacrificed a lot. Do you see it that way?

I wish I could... No, I don't even wish I could tell you I did. You know, John, it's amazing. When we went to Riverside, our allowance was $100 a month for, I don't know, the first eight, 10 years we were there, I don't know. Now, we had a house to live in; electricity was paid. We grew most of our food right on the farm. Now, I won't say it wasn't tight financially. That would be a misstatement, okay? It was tight financially. And I was visiting in the '90s a family that was very generous in helping us with our work in Africa. And I was visiting with one of the sons, and he wanted to know what I got paid. And I said, "You know, I don't wanna make you cry, man. You know, I don't want you to, you know..." "No, I want to know. What do you get"? I said, "I get a hundred bucks a month". And he was... more than surprised.

Speechless. Yeah?

That was unfathomable, okay? Now, in the time it takes him to go to the restroom, he's made more than a hundred dollars, okay? I mean, it's...and I said, "Listen, there's something you need to know. The difference between you and I is the difference between me and the guy in the village next door. To him, I'm you, okay? If he ever owns a bicycle, if he gets a pair of shoes, he has status in the community. I know I'm wealthy, okay? To him, I'm you". That's the reality. Most of the time when we think of sacrifice, when we think of riches, we're looking the wrong direction, okay? And we're comparing ourselves with people who are more affluent than we are, okay? I've always known I'm wealthy, okay? Now, people think I'm delusional, and that's okay. But if they would live where we live and see what we see, they would know how wealthy we really are. There's been no sacrifice in that sense, John. It's been a joy, it's been a privilege, and to see God work and to see him supply needs is the most exciting, thrilling... now, I'll tell you one story.

Yeah, yeah. What have you seen?

We're working with an orphanage in Zambia. Now, the leader of this orphanage... now, it's gonna get a little long here. My mother, even though she didn't embrace the religious... she just looks at churches as big business. Going to Africa and do what we do really spoke to her heart. She would send bags of used clothing; she would send toys for the children. She saw that as a genuinely good thing to do. And I would bring a couple fellas with me every year when I came back to the OCI meetings. And so she said, "Well, one year when you come back, why don't you bring one of these guys and let 'em work for me for a month"? Now, I had to choose someone very special that I, could handle my mother, okay? My mother's extremely generous, large hearted, tough task master, okay? I mean, if you're not gonna work, you better disappear, okay? So I chose a young man named Kennedy. His was the first wedding I ever went to in Zambia. After one month, she says, "Well, I'd like to keep Kennedy a little longer". And I talked to Kennedy: "You wanna stay"? He says, "Yeah, it's going good. I'm, you know, we're getting along". Stays another month. At the end of the month, she wants him another month. And I'm like, "Well, this is getting kinda long". And he agrees. I mean, this is a chance of a lifetime. She's paying him, okay?


And he's living there, and he has no expenses. And he is getting hard currency, you know, probably a hundred times more than he's ever been paid in his life, okay? Surely than what he got at Riverside. So then she offers Kennedy: "Kennedy, I'll fly your wife and your little boy here. I'll help you get citizenship. You can raise your family here. They can go to school in America". And she gave him that offer. And Kennedy looked at her and said, "Mrs. Busl, Kim didn't send me here for this. There's a work that I need to do for my people in Zambia, and I'm sorry. I can't take you up on your offer". One in 10 million, John, one in 10 million would pass up an offer to the promised land, paid-for security to have the American dream. And Kennedy realized that's not what God was calling him to. Long story short, he starts an orphanage out in the bush, living in a hovel, with he and his wife Ronnie wanting to start an orphanage and care for the children that need it. They were living on almost nothing, okay? Little by little God supplied their need. We came back, found out what they're doing, jumped in full force, okay? To help 'em get houses built, school classrooms built, infrastructure, agriculture. So we're helping them the best we can. I'm in Australia, and you were in Australia when... And I was doing ARISE. You were at the camp meeting.

That's right.

And I get a message. And Kennedy says, "Kim, we're having a crisis here. I need you to send me $8,000". And I'm irritated, right? Kennedy knows this is not how it works. You don't write Kim and say, "Please send me $8,000". You know, Kennedy, you know better than this, okay? And the worst part is, I don't know where to get it. The person that had been helping with that orphanage had stopped, m'kay? And I don't know. Joyce and I are like, "Where's this gonna come from"? So we start praying, m'kay? And for a month we're praying. At the end of a month, I get an email. I get 58 of them, and I delete, delete, delete. And then an email comes in from a guy I had met 14 months earlier. I had met him for 15 minutes 14 months ago, all right? I meet a lot of people for 15 minutes.


Now, you meet more people for 15 minutes. I had invited him to come to Zambia and to the orphanage and do a building project. I didn't know if he was a Christian; I didn't know. All I knew was he lived outside of Atlanta and put up metal buildings. That's all I knew about him, and I had invited him to come. Fourteen months later, I'm deleting emails, and I see something "," and I'm ready to delete it. And something tells me, "Don't delete this email". So I leave it, and after I do all my business, you know, the ones I should do, I come back to it. "Dear Kim, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to return your email". I had written him a long email after I got back to Africa. He says, "You know, I've listened to several of your presentations. I feel like I know you". And I'm thinking, I don't even know how to listen to my presentations, right? How do you... he says, "My wife and I have had an offering, we've wanted to give since February, and we haven't been able to find a place. This morning Nicole got up and said, 'Orphanage,' and I immediately thought about you. Would you be willing to receive a donation for the orphanage"? I said, "Honey, let's pray about this. Are we willing to receive a donation"? And, John, we're elated, okay?


And so, oh! I'm thrilled! I write 'em back: "So good to hear from you. The orphanage really needs help right now. Here's the address. Just let me know how much you send and when you send it". And I'm thinking $2,000.


Maybe 2,500, okay? Just based on my own assessment. Next email: "Dear Kim, within 24 hours we're sending $25,000 to OCI for Anchor Orphanage".


John, 25? I only need eight.


$25,000 from someone I had met for 15 minutes 14 months before, all right? If you had squeezed me as hard as you could where it was gonna come from, it wouldn't have been from him, okay? And I'll just tell you a wonderful relationship has developed over the years as a result of him sending that. The next year he came to Africa with me, visited the orphanage. Last week, we came back from... he went to Ukraine with me last week. We just got back on Friday. And so a wonderful relationship has developed, but to see how God works and provides for needs, you wanna talk about sacrifice? There's none of it. You know, he has the resources.

You know, what it seems to me is... and I mean this in a way I hope is understood... people who chase the American dream, nothing wrong with that, but that comes at some sacrifice. A life of ministry...


...oh man, that's where it's at.


You've seen miracles. You've seen God do the most amazing things.


You've been blessed and spiritually fed.


If you'd stayed in the United States and been a successful, successful in construction industry...again, nothing wrong with that.

Right, right.

But think of what you'd have missed out on.


You'd have chased the dream, and that would've been a sacrifice.

Exactly. I mean, it's been an undeserved privilege, hands down. I've lived a very privileged life, and, you know, I don't know why. You know, I wanna share that with others; I wanna encourage others; I wanna see other people have the blessing that comes through this type of activity. It's just been, you know, undeserved.

Well, and you're still going, still doing new things. Tell me about something called Adventist Help. You said a moment ago you just came back from Ukraine.

Right, right.

So Adventist Help has been involved in Ukraine and other places.


Talk about what you're doing.

Well, Adventist Help, it was an initiative that started without any planning. We were at a meeting; we're in Budapest. We find 3,500 refugees, Syrian refugees, in the train station in Budapest.


And there was an American doctor there, a friend of ours. He says, "Listen, you need to do something to help these people. This is an opportunity to be a blessing to people. They're fleeing Syria. They need care; they need help; do something". And he committed $100,000 to do something. And we had no idea what that something would be, but there was about a half a dozen of us that responded and felt we can do something. And one of the people came to me and said, "Hey, Kim, I'm doing a sabbatical. Would you like some help with this? I'm willing to do an exploratory trip". I said, "Christiane, go for it. That'll be great". So she went on a trip, ended up on the island of Lesbos, came back, and said, "We should turn a bus into a clinic and put it on the island of Lesbos where the rubber rafts are coming in". And so that's what we did, and we needed a name. And a friend of yours, Claus Nybo, was one of the team, and he created our logo and put it together. And the next thing we know, we're receiving refugees. You know, I mean...

You're meeting Syrian refugees getting out of boats.

Out of the boat. We're getting them, you know, we're helping them out of the water.


And again, a very traumatic, very rewarding, the hardest part was they would get hypothermia coming over. It's cold; the water's very cold.


And, you know, they get changed, get 'em dry, get 'em in dry clothes. But some of the children we get so cold that even though you dried 'em off and put 'em in warm clothes, we didn't have a warming station, and at night they would pass away...


...because you couldn't get their body temperature back up. And so it was very, it was very heart-rending to through that.

So you were there as kids are dying?

Yeah, we were there. We were... the medal goes to the people who were in the fishing villages receiving these refugees before anybody came. It just happened Adventist Help was the first outside initiative to come and set up on the shore and start ministering to these folks. Couple weeks later, more organizations started to come. Well, someone whom you know, a man named Elder Ted Wilson came along, and he said, "There's more refugees in Iraq than there are in Greece. Would you be willing to come, Adventist Help, be willing to help in Iraq"? And by then they had stopped the boats; the EU and Turkey made an agreement to stop the boats. And we had clinic at one of the refugee settlements where we had set up. And so eventually... the Lord one was gonna go to Iraq. And I made an agreement with my wife: I wouldn't make trips that she wasn't comfortable with, and she wasn't comfortable. And I went to my sons. I said, "Hey, guys, help me out here a little bit with your mom. You know, encourage her, Iraq. And they said, "Pop, you got no business going to Iraq". And I said, "Hey, when you guys were teenagers..."

Your sons are saying this?

"...when you guys are teenagers, I supported you in a very dangerous endeavor because you felt that's what God wanted you to do, to go help in the middle of a civil war". And they said, "Well, that's just it, Papa. You're not young anymore". And I said... oh, John, could've strangled the young guy, you know. Well, through this course of events, we had meetings, and Joyce realized that no one was gonna go. And so after that, she says, "You know, if nobody goes, nothing's gonna happen. And you wanna go anyway, so why don't you go"? I said, "Honey, if that's a yes..." And so I went, did an exploratory trip to Iraq. And two weeks later, Michael-John Von Horsten, who's our medical director, young guy I've known since he was three, he went. Long story short, ADRA had an office there but no activity. We had activity; we were an initiative; we had no organization.


So Iraq wanted us to come, but we had no documentation. ADRA had the documentation, they're already registered, so we formed a partnership, Adventist Help and ADRA, built a field hospital for 100,000 refugees in Iraq. And so that's how we got involved in Iraq. And when we were there...

I see. February reopening the urgent care center, the phone started ringing and vibrating. The war in Ukraine had started, and they're asking, "Hey, can you come and help in Ukraine"? And I'm thinking, you know, we're five, six people in this organization. I mean, we don't...we're volunteers. You know, won't you call somebody who can actually do something? But, you know, the Lord opened up the door, and we're starting. I've been to Ukraine twice now, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine. And we're opening up a center in Moldova that will serve the refugees and also serve the Moldovan people. They're in great need. Moldova...

Wonderful people too.

...Moldova has received more refugees per capita than any other country.

Oh, is that so?

OK, and they're the poorest. And the Moldovans are giving from the little they have, opening their hearts, their homes, their food to the Ukrainian refugees. So we're coming along beside them in the city of Cahul. We've brought in two ambulances. We've got a clinic base now for two dental offices and a medical office, and so we'll be serving that. And just this morning received word from Marcus Ahl, who's heading up the Adventist Help initiative in Ukraine crisis, that the ministry of health in Ukraine and the ministry of the interior both want us to come in and set up field hospitals. One will be predominantly serving soldiers, wounded soldiers, and the other, the general population as well.

What a great work, what an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.


Let me ask you this question. So you're ministering in Ukraine; you mentioned also have work in Russia. What do you perceive Russian people are going through at this stage?

Ah, you know, the beauty of the work God calls us to, Jesus lived to bless others. "Others" includes everyone.

That's right.

Okay? There's no distinction. And so, you know, we're here to serve refugees, we're here to serve people in need, and Outpost Centers International has ministries in Ukraine and in Russia. And right now they're funding both of them to keep those facilities going, to keep them serving. They've turned into refugee centers. And so it doesn't matter if you're in Ukraine, you're in Russia... you're in need. People have needs. And our privilege is to minister to those needs with the little that we have.

It seems to me...the final chapters in this story will be written one day far in the future. God is using you absolutely on the front lines in ministry based in Africa, working around the world. It's a wonderful story of God's goodness and God's blessing. Thanks for sharing with us.

Well, it's a privilege, and we just praise God for what he's doing.

Amen. Thanks so much. And I hope you can praise God for what God is doing in your life. And I would be honest with you and tell you that my prayer is that as you've listened to stories of mission and ministry and service, you might be thinking about praying and asking God what God can do with you and through you to be a blessing to others in need also. He's Kim Busl. I'm John Bradshaw. This has been our conversation, brought to you by It Is Written.
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