Posted by: nemerson | April 12, 2013

He moves, You move

On March 17, 2005, I was leaving India for the first time after a challenging and exhausting two weeks of ministry.  It was no coincidence that I had the window seat as we flew out of Bombay.  As the plane took off, I stared out the window at the thousands of shacks made of tarps and pallets and junk all lined up just outside the fences of airport—the slums of Bombay in living color.  Tears started running down my cheeks, and all I could think was, “How can I leave?  Wait!  Stop the plane!  There are a billion people in India—and only two percent know Jesus.  Someone has to tell them!  Someone has to show them that Jesus loves them, that there’s hope in knowing Him, that they matter to Him.  Someone has to tell them…and that someone is me!”

 Shortly after that trip, I talked to a missionary friend who had been on the field for 30+ years. I told her that I felt God had called me to be a missionary in India.  I asked her what I should do—expecting a list of books to read, people to contact, classes to take. But her answer was only one word:  “Pray.”

“That’s it?” I asked.

“That’s it.”

ImageEight years have passed since that day when God turned my heart to mush and focused my life in a whole new direction.  Eight years that God has continually confirmed my calling—and longing—to touch the people of India with the love of Christ.  Eight years of loving and caring for my husband (died 11/17/2012), who modeled so perfectly the love of Christ in all of his suffering.  Eight years for my daughter Grace to grow into an amazing young woman with almost as much desire to serve in India as I have.  Eight years of love and laughter, tears and troubles and heartache.  Eight years of prayer.  Eight years of falling more in love with Jesus than I ever dreamed of.  Eight years…but not a moment wasted.  Nothing was wasted (Jn. 6:12). 

And now the time is right.  It’s time for me and Grace to spread our wings and leave our nest of safety.  We’re starting by spending this entire summer in India serving with Pastor Jamie and Comforter Action Mission Trust (CAMT) as we have in the past.  Our trip will also include visiting several mission groups as we look for the right place where God can use us full time.  Yep…as in LIVE in India year round.  Grace and I both have a heart to work with the millions of poor and destitute children in India.  I’m not sure exactly HOW God will use us in India.  In fact, I’m not sure about a lot of things at this point.  Will we stay forever?  Maybe…but we’ll start with a 2 or 3 year commitment.  Will we sell the house?  Probably not.  Will Grace go to MK (missionary kid) school?  Probably not since she wants to be involved in the ministry.  She could homeschool or go to an English-speaking Indian school.  When will you leave?  Probably not until June, 2014, at the earliest since it normally takes 1-2 years for new missionaries to train and raise support.  There’s so much that’s unsure and even a little scary, but we’re trusting God to direct our path one step at a time. 

 ImageWhat we need to focus on right now is summer, 2013.  Together, Grace and I came up with a theme for our summer ministry– “Kings and Queens,” based on the song by Audio Adrenaline (video:  We want to tell the people that we reach this summer how important they are to God.  They are the apple of His eye.  To Him, they are kings and queens!  They are valued.  They are loved.  They have HOPE.  And you can help share that hope by giving to the ministry.  God has provided all the funds needed for our travel expenses.  That means every dollar you give goes directly to touching the people of India with the love of Christ.  We would love to provide feeding programs, medical camps, school books and so much more!  If you’d like to donate, you can make your check out to Comforter Missions, which is CAMT’s sister organization here in the U.S.  You can give checks to me or mail them (with a note that this gift is for Jill and Grace’s ministry) to the treasurer of Comforter Missions:

Rob Howe

30 Abenaki Acres

Naples, ME  04055

And we’d love it if you would pray for us this summer.  We NEED you to pray for us this summer!  I actually set up a schedule using  Please do not bring or send us any food!  What we’re hungry for is prayer. 🙂  Sign up for a certain day—include your name, e-mail, and “meal” (what you plan to pray about—like peace, good health, salvation for the people we talk to that day—whatever God puts on your heart).  You will get an e-mail from TakeThemAMeal the day before you signed up to remind you to pray for us the next day.  (That’s what I love about this website!)  We’ll be leaving for India on June 15th and starting our ministry in Dehli (northern India).  In July, we’ll fly to southern India.  On August 3rd, Grace and I will fly to Thailand to assist and encourage our missionary friends Jeff & Mervil Kowatch.  A week later, we’ll fly to Lithuania to spend 10 days with Grace’s birth family there.  It’s going to be quite an adventure!  I’ll try to update this blog regularly and post pictures on facebook whenever possible (friend me as Jill Alessi Emerson).

I won’t sign off without giving you a brief update on daily life here at the Emerson house.  Things are good…really good, most days.  The strong arm of God has been supporting us, encouraging us and propelling us forward with each new “sad day” as we grieve Nathan’s death.  Grieving is hard work…I had no idea just how difficult and exhausting it would be. We’ve been attending the Center for Grieving Children (which has a parent support group) every Wed night since December, and that has been soooo helpful.  Jesus is now my “best guy,” and I’m learning to see and feel His love in a whole new way using Nathan’s love for me as an example.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I will finish up my job as nanny for Bobby (going to kindergarten!) on June 15th when we leave for India.  We are doing fine financially, but I’ll be looking for a new part-time job in the fall—any suggestions?

ImageGrace is just…AMAZING.  I am one proud mama.  She’s just about to finish up 6th grade, averaging 2 hours of homework a night.  This has been the most difficult year of her life, and she’s still gotten straight A’s every. single. semester.  Her friends’ parents tell me she often amazes her classmates with her strength and her Biblical wisdom in everyday problems.  Her weekly horseback riding lessons are great therapy for her hurting heart.  She blesses me so much with her great attitude—showing honor and compassion continually.  She and her friend even wrote a song for ME about missing Nathan.  So sweet.  And I know just where she learned it from…her Dad.   Nathan’s last few words to me before he lost his ability to speak were, “What about Grace?”  My answer was, “You’ve taught her everything she needs to know.  She’s going to be fine.”  Better than fine, I’d say.  Much better than fine.  Love that girl!

We also have a few fun trips planned before our big summer adventure.  Next week, Grace goes to Florida to spend one week at Cocoa Beach with Nathan’s Mom and one week hanging out with my parents while I head to California for a week to be on The Price is Right with some of my girlfriends.  It’s a 40th birthday celebration!  In May, Grace and I head to North Conway, NH, with our friends, the Vaughans, and then we’ll fly to Philadelphia for a long weekend at the end of the month to visit our friends, the Forsyths. 

Finally, God recently prompted us to make the difficult decision to change churches after 13 years at Highpine.  We are still in the midst of our “church search” and are looking forward to finding a place where God can use us.  Pray for that! 

Here is our theme song for 2013.  It’s called “He Moves, You Move” by Audio Adrenaline (again!):


Special thanks to Matt Yeaton Photography for the awesome shots! See more at

You, you’re scared to take a step, afraid to see what’s next
So you wait ‘til you think it’s safe to move
You tend to think too much,
You need to open up your heart to see where He is leading
With a lamp just for your feet, a spotlight just for your path

When He moves, you’ve got to move, you know
You’ve got to lose control, let go
There’s nothing left to hold on to
This life you live is really not your own
So where He goes you go, you know
He leads and you follow
He moves, you move

Right now, is all you ever have so forget the past
And don’t worry about the future
‘Cause He’s the Author of your story,
So let Him take you on the journey of your life
Oh, it starts tonight

So if I move to the right, or I move to the left
Move up north, move down south, the east or the west
No matter how far I go, or if I stay right here
If I’m in the middle of Your will, there’s nothing left to fear




  1. In my heart of hearts I knew that you and Grace would end up in India. It’s been written all over YOUR heart for a very long time. You are such an inspiration to me Jill with how you have handled life in general since the time I met you back in 2003 (not even sure if that’s the right year!!) I can see how God has been leading you — and you’ve been faithful to follow — in all areas of your life. Nate was ALWAYS an inspiration to me — and certainly to Joe — as well. He handled so much with dignity and aplomb, and just trusted the Lord to handle all the details. I think part of the reason I “survived” through our storm with Cait was that I was empowered by the way I saw you all trust God. The transformation in me from the beginning of that saga to the other side was the most amazing, probably to ME! There were plenty of stumbles to be sure, but my faith grew and carried me — and you guys were absolutely a part of that growth~
    We will keep you guys in prayer – regardless of where ANY of us are. You guys have done a phenomenal job with Grace and she has Nate’s character, and yours, written all over her.
    I KNOW there are days when everything must seem so difficult and the burden of grief is overwhelming. I will not say I can even imagine it because until one has experienced it, it would be just words. But the knowledge of where Nate is has got to be the balm to your hearts on those days. It’s NO trite statement to say, “when you get right down to it, all that matters is Jesus”. To know where our loved ones are, to know they are eternally with God, has got to be the glue that holds you together on those days.
    Love you both~ Beth

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