Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to attend several sessions of a Bible Study lead by Rev. Alex Munro at the New Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Burney. At one of these meeting Rev. Munro gave me a book entitled Against All Odds by Jim Stier.
Rev. Munro told me that Jim Stier was from Burney and had done a lot of great work for God in association with Youth With a Mission (YWAM). He suggested that if I liked the book I might write a short book review.
I finished the book today. It is an amazing testimony to what God can accomplish through faith, prayer, hard work, and sacrifice.
Jim Stier was born in Burney. He had a difficult childhood plagued by the divorce of his parents and a series of serious operation on his foot. He attended Bible College with the intention of becoming a missionary, but his faith and confidence were shaken when his first short-lived marriage ended in divorce.
However, the hound of heaven continued to pursue him. He knew in his heart that he loved and needed Jesus and he felt a calling. He became associated with YWAM and renewed his determination to serve God as a missionary.
In one poignant story, Stier recounts asking God if there is anything he needs. The Spirit told him “forgive your father.” He had a tearful experience of forgiveness. A short time later his father accepted Jesus and they were subsequently reconciled.
While studying at YWAM’s school in Hawaii, he met a young lady, Pam who was to become his wife and coworker. In 1972, at the age of 22, they went to Brazil to pioneer a YWAM mission.
Through the rest of the book, Stiers tells how over the next 15 years their ministry took root and grew. It was not easy. They were challenged by financial obstacles, sickness, and difficult circumstances. Each step of the way, they relied upon God’s guidance and provenance.
As time went by their teams established centers in various cities in Brazil, an orphanage, ministries to the festivals, and an outreach to the tribes in the Amazon jungle. The book ends with YWAM in Brazil successfully sending missionaries to Sao Tome off the coast of Africa.
The book was written in 1992. A second edition was issued in 2000 and reprinted in 2014. Stier has continued to serve YWAM in Brazil and in global leadership. He is a past president of YWAM and currently is the head of YWAM’s Evangelism and Frontier Missions ministries. He and his wife recently came back to Burney to visit.
Thank you Alex Munro for sharing this book with me, I will now pass it on to another.