Are you stuck in hopelessness? Struggling with transition? Growing up in Appalachia, Oliver Asher, experienced extreme poverty. He lived in a shed, lost his sister in an accident, and watched the shattering of his dreams. By trusting Jesus to bring good out of his hardships, he discovered great gratitude and invincible joy. Today he is president of Advancing Native Missions and has helped spread the Gospel in over 100 countries. This is the transcript of Joel Maas’s interview on the Native Missions Podcast with Oliver about his life and his new book, Invincible Joy.
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I knew that my next step was to inquire from the Lord, to turn to the Lord, to seek the Lord, to seek His face and to say, “Lord, You know. What do You have? What are Your plans? What are Your dreams for my life?” What I found out, Joel, is no matter how big my dream is that God has put in my heart and for my life, my family, my mission, God’s dream is even bigger. Some people think when their dream ends, that’s it. Life ends. But that’s just not true. Dreams are like seasons; they come and go.
Joel: I’m Joel Mass, and this is the Native Missions podcast. Invincible Joy is the title of a new book by Oliver Asher, the President of Advancing Native Missions. He joined me in the studio to talk about the book and his life. But, his passion is wanting people to understand that whatever their background or whatever their circumstance, they can experience invincible joy through Christ.
Oliver, tell me what the genesis of this book was when it first started rolling. What were your initial thoughts I don’t think you said, “I want to write a book.” It was sort of suggested to you that your life story was very interesting, which our listeners will find out. But when you first heard, we want to write a book about you, what was your initial reaction?
Oliver: Joel that’s a great question. First, thanks for having me today. Let me tell you a funny story. When I first joined Advancing Native Missions in 1996, Bo Barredo took me out to churches. We would go to churches and speak, and I was very shy to share my testimony because I thought I was receiving all the glory. I thought I was taking glory away from God. Then Bo helped me to realize that “Hey, God gave you your story. You know, you’re giving Him the glory because you didn’t write your story. God wrote your story.” And so, I began to share my testimony. That’s where it all began.
And then you’re right, just in the last year, Amber, our VP for Marketing, came to me and said, “Oliver, you know, your story is just an interesting story. I think it would be good to write a book and tell people your story. I thought, you know, someday I might write a book, but it wasn’t ever pressing. It wasn’t something that I was really wanting to do.
Joel: But it wasn’t on top of your bucket list.
Oliver: Exactly. Not at the top of my bucket list. Something I thought I might do. But then when Amber suggested it, it seemed like the right time. And so, I agreed and said, “Yes, let’s write a book.” And, you know, right away, Joel, I knew that it was going to be about joy. And of course, like you said, the title is Invincible Joy and knowing that source of Invincible Joy is Jesus.
Joel: For listeners who aren’t familiar with you or Advancing Native Missions, Bo Barredo was one of our co-founders. He was the President for the last long season, and Oliver succeeded him. Bo was Oliver’s mentor and still is in many ways. And so, he was influential in those early years, drawing things out of Oliver that he didn’t think he could do.
Well, the book is out. It’s Invincible Joy. I’ve read a good chunk of it, and I knew some of your story. But reading the book has filled in some of the details and given it a correct chronology. This happened because we heard you share something in the staff meeting or just in a conversation. It was a snippet of your life, but I didn’t always get the correct context, like the before and after.
So, reading the book was good to learn about you in the right progression. In the book you are very purposeful in framing it on the concept that periods of hopelessness or potential hopelessness led to joy. And then that joy led to a purpose. And so, Early on in the book you talk about it’s not a matter of how to avoid suffering, it’s a matter of how to redeem it. Can you talk a little bit about why you phrased it that way?
Oliver: Yeah. So, Joel, let me just go back and touch base a little bit on what you just talked about. Really, the book is about a journey from hopelessness to invincible joy, to purpose. Like a lot of people, I started off in a rough situation. My dad was in prison when I was born. My mom was 17. I spent the first 13 days of my life in an oxygen tent. They didn’t know if I was going to live or die. So, I had a very rough beginning. We were in Florida at the time and moved to Virginia and really began to live when I was about five years old. It was just a country life.
Joel, my whole story is the premise that it doesn’t matter where you start in life or even where you are today. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are or what you’re facing—the pain, the struggle, or whatever. You can have invincible joy and you can be an overcomer through invincible joy. And that’s life. Life is, you know, hard situations, struggle, challenges, difficulties. But again, through God, through Jesus, He will give you that joy that helps you to overcome anything that you face.
Joel: So, yes Oliver, as I was reading Invincible Joy, it was obvious you were not just wanting to tell your story, but to share the lessons you learned. So, let’s go back to those early years where you started to learn some of these lessons.
You talked about being young, about your early years and that you hinted that you moved to the woods, or you moved to the hills. That was significant. It was a significant portion of your life because you ended up staying and growing up there. Tell us about those early years and some of the things that formed you to be the man you are today.
Oliver: So again Joel, I had that rough start in Florida. That’s where I was born to a 17-year-old mom and to a dad that was in prison. I think what happened is once dad got out of prison, they decided to move back to Virginia. That’s where dad was from originally. It was probably to get a fresh start because he had escaped from prison at one point and then was put back into prison for two more years. He was considered dangerous. So, once he got out, we moved to southwest Virginia, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
We just began to live the hillbilly, country life. If you’ve heard of Jeff Foxworthy and his redneck jokes, that was my people group. Today we talk a lot about people groups and my people group was the rednecks. We moved into the holler called Rush Creek Holler near my grandma and grandpa. We started out in a little trailer on the side of a mountain. And when I was 12 years old, something significant happened.
Our trailer burned down. So, everything we had, the little bit we had, all burned. I was actually very grateful that my mom wasn’t burned up in the fire. From there, we moved into a tool shed on the property. We didn’t have any extra savings so we just decided to move into this tool shed for six months. We’d save up some money and then make a down payment on another trailer.
So, that six months turned into six years. We lived into this tool shed for six years and literally had only one light bulb in the middle of the room. We had no other electricity, no running water, nothing like that. And, you know, that’s where, again, the Jeff Foxworthy redneck jokes come in. You know you might be a redneck if it if it requires tennis shoes and flashlight to go to the bathroom at night. You know, you might be a redneck if you mow your lawn and you find a car. It was simple country life.
But let me say, Joel, just backtracking a little bit. The most significant thing happened in my life when I was about seven years old. My grandmother, Lily, my dad’s mom, shared the Good News of Jesus with my mom, Carol. And my mom believed in Jesus right away. Then she shared Jesus with me and my brother and sister. So, we all believed in Jesus right away.
I remember hearing the Good News of the Savior that left heaven, came down to earth, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a horrible death on a cross because of my sin and the sins of the world, was put in a tomb, resurrected, ascended to heaven, and promised to come back. And man when I heard that news, Joel, that was the Good News!
Even as a seven-year-old boy, I knew I was a sinner. I had stolen a Swiss Army Knife from the five and dime. We had five and dimes back then. I had said bad words and beaten up my brother, and those kinds of things. So, I knew I was a sinner. To hear of Jesus and a Savior that loved me enough to die on the cross was amazing!
I have the same testimony as Timothy in II Timothy 1:5 where Paul tells Timothy the faith that I saw in your grandmother, Lois, and your mother, Eunice, I see in you. So, I owe my faith to my grandmother, Lily, who shared the Gospel with my mom, Carol. I’m very grateful for my grandma and praying moms and grandmas that share the Good News with their children and grandchildren.
We lived the country life. My dad was an ironworker. When he wasn’t working iron like when he’d be laid off, we would cut wood. In the winter we would just cut it up, load the pickup up, and take it into town and sell it. During the summer we would log. And so, my first football workouts were with a steel chainsaw, right? Going up and down the mountains and then take a 10-pound maul and split up all the wood. Me and my brother were, you know, my dad’s helpers. That was life in the country.
We had a hose that ran from a spring in the holler down into our house. We heated everything with the wood stove. Even the cook stove was a wood stove. In the wintertime, my coaches would let me come into the school and take showers, especially when I was in high school. And so that was life.
But, we had a good thing about living in the mountains. We always had fresh, clean water because a creek ran nearby. We washed everything in the creek—our dishes, our bodies, and in the summer, we washed our cars. Whatever we needed to wash we’d wash in the creek. That was that. Obviously, Joel, it formed a lot of character and that was part of God’s plan for my life.
Probably the worst thing that happened during those years was my sister died in a car accident when I was 16. She was almost nine. That was the worst day of my life. You know, when I came home I could see the pain on my parents faces. Their faces were contorted. And I was like, “What happened? What’s going on?” And they said, ‘Missy died in a car accident.” I had just seen her a couple of hours before. I’m like, “What? You’re kidding me.” So, again, a hard experience there.
But, Joel, we were able to overcome that because of invincible joy. Because when I met Jesus, I met the source of invincible joy. And that really has become the story of my life.
As you can see, I had a very hopeless beginning, but through Jesus, I had that invincible joy, that overcoming joy, that overcomes heartache, suffering, and pain, and then leads to purpose. That was the beginning of my life.
Joel: It was a rough start. When you look back on it now or when you’re telling the story and contrasting it with, you know, where your life is now, it is hard for someone like me to understand. But, you mentioned several times in Invincible Joy that you didn’t really know the sparseness of your circumstances.
Oliver: That’s right.
Joel: When would you say that you started to get a picture that other families don’t live quite like this, or other families don’t live anything like this. When did that awareness start to grow or was it kind of an ‘overtime’ kind of thing?
Oliver: Yeah, that’s a great question, Joel. Of course, I recognized it somewhat when we were there. In the beginning, when we lived in the trailer, you know, we had indoor plumbing, we had electricity, everything kind of, you know, the comforts that most people have. When we moved into the tool shed, we were obviously living a very stark life and existence and I knew we were going through a hard time. And, at the same time, there is quite a bit of poverty in Appalachia, so it’s not unusual for people to have outhouses, at least in the seventies and eighties. I knew we were having hard times, but other people had hard times, too. So, it wasn’t a huge deal.
However, the football story comes in here. Neither of my parents graduated from high school. So, their dream for me and my brother and sister were for us to just graduate from high school. That was the big dream. To go to college was just really beyond their expectations. But the Lord blessed me with the talent to play football.
Like I said, my first workouts were really in the woods with my dad and I’m really very grateful for that now. During those high school years, I was befriending the coaches and they were befriending me. I worked out at the school and took my showers there.
In my junior year, a new coach, Coach Alderman, came in. He was really an awesome man of God. He became a mentor of mine right away. He loved his wife, loved his children, and was just a great example of Christ.
Up until then, Joel, our school football team had been 20-year perennial losers. We’d had only four winning seasons. It didn’t look like there was much hope for a future there. But, Coach Alderman, led us to a district championship my senior year. We went from bottom dwellers to, you know, district champions. That really put me on the map of being recruited. I owe so much credit to Coach Alderman because he was out there selling me and getting the film out.
Eventually I had several offers, but when the University of Virginia sent me an offer, I went “Wow! I want to go to Virginia!” I visited and I loved it!
But, going back to your question of when did I realize the difference in the living situations? When I moved from that tool shed to a UVA first-year dorm. All of a sudden, I had 24/7 hot water, electricity, and indoor plumbing. There was a 24/7 food court with all the food you could eat. I realized, wow, this is the way that most of the rest of the world lives.
Then, I experienced a funny situation. My first year at UVA, we went to a bowl game. It was my first bowl game. In college football, if you have a good season, you get rewarded with what’s called a bowl game. At the end, we went to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. So imagine this: In June, I’m in the shed. In July, I’m at UVA in a first-year dorm. In December, I’m staying in five-star hotels, traveling around the city with a police escort in chartered buses, and given gifts. You know, that was definitely a little bit of a culture shock there!
But, at the same time, I thanked the Lord, for my humble beginnings, because everything has just been a blessing. When you start out like that, you know, you really believe and appreciate what you have. And you really do. Again, I believe the foundations for invincible joy are a grateful heart. I believe the Lord has given me that because of my journey.
Joel: Isn’t this great? There’s a lot of wisdom and inspiration packed into Oliver’s story. I hope you’re getting a lot out of it.
Joel: We’ll get right back to my conversation with him. But I want to pause for just a moment to tell you about a free prayer resource. It’s designed specifically for someone like you with a passion for missions. It’s called 21 Ways You Can Advance the Kingdom Through Prayer. There are 21 prayer themes. More than 60 specific prayer prompts, background information about mission fields around the world, and quotes from missions leaders. If you care about missions, this is for you. It’s an excellent way to make missions a regular part of your prayer routine. Or if you are trying to get that prayer routine started, this could be the prayer guide that helps you do that. Again, it’s free, and it’s a simple way to line up your heart and your prayers with God’s global mission. If that sounds good, go to advancingnativemissions.com/pray to download your copy. And now, back to my conversation with Oliver.
Joel: While reading Invincible Joy I noticed you begin to talk about dreams. You talk about dreams you had. You talk about broken dreams and you give up what I would say is kind of a universal statement that we all experience broken dreams. But, what do we do in the midst of that, when our dream has been shattered, or in your words, is pulled out from underneath us, or feels like it has. You say, “This is what you need to ask, God, what are you doing in my life?” Why do you say that with such conviction in Invincible Joy?
Oliver: So, Joel, as a young man, you know, I started to achieve success in sports and moved from high school to college. I think most young men, certainly a lot of the ones that I was around, when you achieve that level of success, then, you dream and think, why not achieve the next level? And of course, the next level in football would be to play in the National Football League. So that was my dream coming out of high school. Hey, I’m playing division one football with a power-five school and why not make it to the next level.
I would love to make it up to my mom and build her that house on the hillside. If there’s money left over, I could buy that nice, candy-red Corvette I always dreamed of having. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
So, I went to UVA and played football. Only 1% of high school players get to do that. And then, probably less than 1% of college level players get to the next level. So reality hit. Hey, you know, after college, you’re going to be hanging up the cleats and that, hits most of us at some point in life. Right? We realize the dream that got us to this point, which thank God that it did, but that dream is ending. That dream is dying. And it was hard because as an athlete that was my identity. You know? And so, too, to be losing that identity is like, wow, what do I do next?
But, like you said, Joel, I knew that my next step was to inquire from the Lord, to turn to the Lord, to seek the Lord, to seek His face and to say, “Lord, You know. What do You have? What are Your plans? What are Your dreams for my life? Because what I found out, Joel, is no matter how big my dream is that God has put in my heart and for my life, my family, and my mission, God’s dream is even bigger. Some people think when their dream ends, that’s it. Life ends. But that’s just not true. Dreams are like seasons; they come and go.
So, that first dream of playing professional football got me to UVA where I met Andrea and married her. It was the best thing that happened to me at UVA. Three months later, we were in the Dominican Republic as missionaries, and then came back to Charlottesville and started the family.
But, at first when I realized that I was not going to be playing at the next level, that was hard. But I knew I needed to inquire of the Lord and say, “Lord, I know You have a dream and a plan. I want to follow that.” And the next step was graduating, marrying Andrea, moving to the D. R. for a year, coming back and then starting a family after that.
Joel: As you were sharing that, I’m thinking about identity. It’s a loaded word in our society and our culture here in America now. And there’s a lot of cultural push to look inside for identity. So, if you have a dream that’s crushed, it doesn’t seem like most of the world is saying, “Well, hey, you’ve got to go to God to ask Him to show you.”
Like, where do you go? Or whose are you and are you what you do or what you think and feel? Or are you something else? Are you something more definitive, something more valuable that God says you are?
This is where you need to go in those times when it’s tempting to look inside or throw yourself a big pity party or start complaining to everybody else, which is natural but not helpful. That God’s the one who’s forming us.
You talk in the book about he’s working all things to us as believers. We have those promises. And it’s not up to us to tell God you’re not doing it right. It’s up to us to ask God, “What are You doing and why are You doing this?” Even if I don’t understand, I’m still called and told to look to God. And you give credit again back to your mom and your grandma.
Through them you learned that you were given that gift of turning in the right direction sooner rather than later. You didn’t have to, like many of us, learn that turning the other way doesn’t really get you any farther. You just end up having to come back to this point again and decide whether this time I’m going to look to God instead of chasing something else. So, you lost the dream of football and you had to ask God, what are You doing? You were seriously dating Andrea at that point; I think in Invincible Joy you talk about you both were seeking that thing.
Oliver: That’s right.
Joel: You were you were having a little rockier ride than your wife was during that time.
Oliver: That’s right, Joel, and you made a great analysis. It really does go back to identity and my firm identity was in Jesus Christ. And, yes, I received that from my mother and grandmother. But, at the same time in this world, God gives you gifts. You’re good at something. You pursue that. You have a dream. I remember it was my third year at UVA. It’s normal when you play at that level that you won’t play your first year or even your second year. But, by your third year, especially if you aspire to go on, you need to be playing and probably starting for the next two years just to have the opportunity.
But I wasn’t playing. I still wasn’t playing and was so frustrated. I seriously considered transferring to another school that had offered me a scholarship. I did horrible in my classes that first semester of my third year. I was really checking out. “Lord, You know, this is a dream I have.”
Joel: Checking out meaning not handling it well?
Oliver: Right. Checking out in terms of emotionally. I was somewhere else.
Well, even with that identity in Christ, I had my period of struggling through that transition. But I did come back around and realized number one, I was involved in a great local church. Number two, I was very serious with my soon to be wife. And then third, I was getting an education from a great university. You know, I was going to have a great degree. So, when I looked at everything else, it looked pretty good. Football wasn’t working out, but all these other areas of life were flourishing and prospering and so I ended up staying there.
My fourth year I played, lettered, and started off on the field against the Georgia Bulldogs the first game of my senior year. Just being out on the field with 80,000 crazy Georgia fans, that was a lot of fun. We had a good year and ended up going to another bowl game. I got hurt toward the end of the year, so I didn’t get to play in the bowl game. But still, just to be a part of it and to letter that year, it worked out very well. But it was a tough transition.
Joel: Yeah. And I would say that as you share about that experience and semester of struggle it was tempting and very easy to focus on what you’ve lost instead of what do you still had. And that seems to be a tact of the enemy—discontent. You don’t specifically use that word in Invincible Joy, but you talk about not looking back at what I don’t have and looking forward. I’m good at looking backward. I‘ve got a couple of rearview mirrors installed seemingly permanently in my life.
Oliver: Yeah, Joel and there’s a reason that our windshields are huge and our rearview mirror is small, right? You always want to keep focusing on that windshield, looking forward. And you’re exactly right. I had to recalibrate. I had to remember, where my identity was? Football was awesome. I loved it and I played at a high level, but it was a game ultimately and you know, it was a means to an end. It had gotten me to where I was, and I was very grateful for it. But, when I considered all of life and all the other good things happening in my life, then, it was a no brainer. Let’s continue the path that we’re on. God has me here for a reason and a purpose. It was tough but going back to my identity in Jesus was first and foremost.
Joel: Well, there’s a lot to your story. I don’t feel like we need to summarize each chapter, but you talk in Invincible Joy about going through that cycle repeatedly, that it’s not just everybody has a dream that dies, but this is something to expect to happen numerous times. You mentioned in some of the later chapters about losing your life. You mention the verses in Philippians, where Paul talks about Christ emptying himself and as you’re tracing your dream you put it in this context. You have some really great advice about looking at life as it unfolds in front of you and how to make decisions in the middle of that. And you offer advice saying, “We follow Christ’s example.” It’s counterintuitive to what our flesh wants, but it’s very much in line with what following Christ is. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Oliver: So, Joel, going back to just the dream. All of us as kids start off as dreamers. You know, we want to do things in life. We want to be an astronaut. We want to be a firefighter, a policeman, or whatever it is. We have in our hearts to aspire to be whoever that hero or example has been to us. But along life’s way, I feel like we get beat up, especially by our enemy. We have an enemy, Joel, you know, and it’s Satan. And even this world can be hard and harsh. Along the way we get beat up and a lot of times the dream is gone even before we get to fulfill it.
I was blessed to be able to at least fulfill my dream and realize that that wasn’t the ultimate dream. But you’re right, the way I experienced and got through that first episode of my dream dying was a big life change. You have this dream; you’re going along and now it’s gone. So, what’s next? And I had that happen to me again.
My major was environmental science. So, I went on the environmental science and engineering route and actually went back to UVA and got another degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering. I was on that path. Andrea and I both had missions in our heart. As I mentioned before, we’d been missionaries for a year in the Dominican Republic.
My wife is a first-generation Hungarian American. We thought maybe of going to Hungary and planting a church or I would work as an engineer. So, we were again looking for God’s will in our life and I think as Christians want to fulfill God’s purpose. But none of those doors were opening. I investigated seminary. Door closed. So, I looked at what I had in my hand and that was an environmental science background. I’m going to get an environmental science or environmental engineering degree and pursue an engineering dream, I’m going to be become an engineer. So I graduate with my master’s degree in engineering.
About a year later, I had a dream, a literal dream this time. In that dream, I was laid off from my engineering job. Two days later, that dream came true. The literal dream came true. I walked into my office. We were a local engineering firm. This is in the mid-nineties. By this time, we merged, and we were owned out of Boston. They decided to phase out my department, so they didn’t need me as a manager anymore. So my boss who is a friend of mine, said, “Hey, I’m going to keep you as long as I can, but you need to start looking.” I’m now back at square one.
“Lord, you know, I realized that the football dream was not my ultimate dream and I thought I was following your lead.” My first ministry job has always been to my family. I knew I could provide well for my family through being an engineer and I knew I could provide for God’s kingdom by giving generously to the kingdom. But, God had a different plan. I am at this crossroad again.
I was going to church at a local church with a brother. His name was Bo Barredo, and he was a Filipino. He was part of a mission organization. I didn’t know anything about him or his organization. I just knew he traveled around the world. I knew he had a beautiful family. He loved his wife, his children, and we would pray for him when he would be in Sunday school class. When he found out I was in transition, he, being one of the co-founders of Advancing Native Missions, came to my wife first and said, “Hey, tell Oliver to come by.” I said, I’m going to trust You Lord. I’ve been through this once before, so at least I know God has a plan and a purpose.”
One of my life theme verses is Romans 8:28. “We know that all things happen for good to those that love God are called according to his purpose.” So, if a dream is dying, I know God has a better plan and I was trusting in that. So, I go by ANM. They were very small at the time, probably about seven people. They were in a tiny office space on top of a building. I went in. Their vision was Matthew 24:14, “When the Gospel of the kingdom has been preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, then the end will come.” What a great vision! But the really intriguing part of my visit there was to realize their mission was to encourage, equip, and advocate for native missionaries that were strategic, fruitful, and preaching the Gospel to unreached people groups around the world. I was like, Wow, what a mission! And then finally, they had such a love for each other. Andrea and I prayed about it again.
I knew, Joel, as an engineer I could provide well for my family. And I was even interviewing for other engineering jobs. I was one of the top prospects at one of the local engineering firms. So, when I came to ANM, I had some different options. I was really praying! “Lord, you know, my family, my children, they like to eat and I want to be able to provide for them. I know that’s my first ministry and I really need to know that You’re opening this door.”
And God made it very clear. At the time I was reading about David and Samuel where David would inquire of the Lord about when and how to fight the Philistines. The Lord would tell him. “Yes, you fight them or no, don’t fight.” He would even give him strategies for fighting the Philistines. I was at that place in my life where I didn’t want to hear from any person. I just wanted to hear from the Lord. I want to hear a word from the Lord that this was the right path.
And the Lord made it very clear and showed me that it was the right path on a Sunday night praying at the altar. The next morning I went in, resigned my engineering position. Two weeks later, I was at Advancing Native Missions. It was in June of 1996.
So again, let me say, “God has been faithful!” He has taken care of my children and that was my concern. I didn’t want my children to hate God, to hate me, hate Uncle Bo because we were, so impoverished and poor that we couldn’t feed ourselves. But God has been faithful. He’s provided so tremendously for our family and for my children. So that was the second dream dying and transition into a new dream. And really that’s where I went from hopelessness as a child to invincible joy. When I met Jesus and then finally at ANM I feel like my purpose has been fulfilled. I’ve been able to be a part of preaching the Gospel in over 100 countries. And for a boy that was raised in the holler in the Appalachian Mountains, that is something pretty wonderful to be a part of.
Joel: Yeah, it sure is.
Oliver: And today, Joel, the Lord has allowed me to travel to about 40 nations to meet these indigenous missionaries that we serve. That’s what we’re all about—serving. These missionaries are on the front lines and giving up their lives for the Gospel. God has allowed me to fulfill that purpose in my life.
Joel: At the end of Invincible Joy you pull a lot of things together and make some applications. Can you go through some of the things that you’re asking readers to think about and to apply in their lives?
Oliver: Yes, Joel what I want people to see is they can have invincible joy even if they are in rough circumstances, stuck in hopelessness, or had dreams die. Obviously, there are a lot of people in our world today in a hard place, but I want to bring them hope. Jesus is the source of invincible joy, and invincible joy is an overcoming joy that can be had no matter what happens in life. No matter what kind of pain or suffering circumstances you have, that you can be an overcomer through Jesus and going back to Romans 8:28, all things do happen for good. God can work good out of any bad circumstance. No matter where you’ve started, no matter what dream you’ve had, if you’ve lived it out or if it’s died, the Lord has a dream for you. He has a plan for you. As I’ve gotten older, legacy has become more important to me.
I believe as human beings, all of us want to leave a legacy, we want to leave a good legacy, a legacy for our children, our family, the world. And so, for me, I’ve been blessed to be able to pass on this legacy of invincible joy. First, to my family and to my children. I’m very grateful to have children, that love the Lord and are walking with the Lord. They’re passing that on to their families. Then also to the world. I’ve been able to do that through Advancing Native Missions. I’m very blessed to have participated in seeing the Gospel go out to over 100 nations. Again, that’s God’s legacy through me.
Going back to all of us. As humans, we have that desire to leave something good behind. And so, I just want to encourage all of our listeners to know that God wants to use them for His glory. He wants to leave a legacy through them for their family. No matter where their families have started out, no matter what generational curses they may be facing, or what they may have to overcome, they can through invincible joy. And they can leave a good legacy for their family. They can leave a good legacy for the world no matter where they are in the world, no matter what occupation they do, they can leave that legacy for a better world. So that’s what I would like to leave, Joel.
Joel: Well, we’ve talked a lot about a lot of great things, but Invincible Joy contains even more that we didn’t get to. The book is available, and we encourage listeners to search for Invincible Joy by Oliver Asher.
It’s been great to have you here. I Appreciate your time, your heart, and your enthusiasm. I hope that invincible joy continues on for you, but also that the book is a vehicle for you to continue to speak about Christ. We pray that this book bears fruit and I know that you hope that it does.
Oliver: Yes. that’s the ultimate goal. My desire is to glorify God and help others to realize they too can have invincible joy.
Joel: Well, thanks so much for being here.
Oliver: Thank you, Joel. It’s been good.
Joel: If you would like to get a copy of Invincible Joy, you can order the book at Oliver’s website. It’s Oliver Asher.com There is a lot more to Oliver’s story than we could cover in this episode. I would encourage you to pick up the book if this discussion as piqued your interest. Oliver is also on Facebook and Instagram. Just search for Oliver Asher and thanks for listening. We hope you will join us again here on the Native Missions podcast. God is at work around the world using native missionaries to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is the source of true never-ending joy.