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A Tale of Two Cities

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, is the second most widely distributed single volume book ever. In the novel, Dickens compares two cities, London and Paris. The famous phrase, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” was lifted from this book which was set in 1859.

Let me compare for you two very different cities in India. Varanasi has a population of more than a million, and Shillong has a mere 150,000. Varanasi is considered the spiritual mecca for Hinduism and Buddhism, while Shillong has a majority Christian population— indeed a rarity in India.

The crowded filthiness and spiritual darkness of Varanasi, and the feeling of countless people grasping for hope is palpable. There are more than 2,000 Hindu temples along the famous Ganges River in Varanasi. Many royal families built their summer homes with steps leading down to this highly regarded riverfront. The combination of home and steps are called “ghats.” Up to 80 ghats line the Ganges.

One of the strong traditions is to pay for the privilege of delivering the dead to one of the ghats and have “puja” (prayer) recited over the body as it is cremated and eased into the river in hopes their loved one will be fast-tracked to heaven. Though it costs thousands of rupees and days of struggle to transport the body, families have done this continually for a thousand years.

Varanasi is also home to the Sarnath Temple, maintained by Tibetan Buddhists. Believed to be the place where Buddha gave his first sermon, thousands of visitors come daily to spin the prayer wheels and bow down seeking hope and peace.

Compare this to the Northeastern city of Shillong, and the tribal Khasi people who live there. They are small in number and marginalized by the majority of Indians because they are considered a backward people. Yet, their city is clean. The faces of citizens are joyful, the streets are less congested and cleaner. One wonders if the overall pleasant demeanor of the people in this city comes as a result that 70 percent are Christian.

May the tale of these two cities change so the joy and light of Christ in Shillong will one day beam in Varanasi and beyond.


Prayers & Praises

Your prayers for GNPI are making an impact around the world.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

Solar Kit Helps Workers in Papua New Guinea: Jim and Joni Bliffen, Christian workers in Papua New Guinea, write, “We have been able to use the Solar Kit in many villages and at remote Bible colleges to share the Jesus film and other Christian films. We also use it weekly for our worship time with our fellow missionaries. It has been a huge blessing to us. We know a family in Papua New Guinea who are Pioneer Bible Translators working in the Mum language group. They live out in the village most of each year. They have seen and used our Solar Kit, but they would really love to have one of their own. We are so thankful for GNPI.”

People Are Coming to Christ in SE Asia: Timothy P. of GNPI-SE Asia writes, “Thank you for your prayers. Because of your prayers, the Kingdom of Christ is expanding year after year. God is blessing many in SE Asia through us. People are still coming to Christ. In 2017, over 230 people accepted Christ and decided to be baptized in several areas. There are still many who want to accept Christ, but harvesters are very few.”

New Project in Thailand: Gayle Silkwood from GNPI-Chiang Mai, Thailand, writes, “The Thai team is writing a script for a short film to complete next year. The production will address the subject of marriage as it relates to Jesus and His bride. We see that short videos have quite an impact if the story is compelling and relevant. Pray for creativity on the part of the scriptwriters to tell a good story and for talented actors to portray it properly.”

Reaching Out to Muslims in Kenya:  Isaac Masiga from GNPI-Nairobi, Kenya, says, “We are working on the i2 project which centers on evangelism to Muslims. Pray for the project to have a great impact in helping us to connect with our Muslim brothers.”

Growing Pains in the Philippines: Nenette Pacoli of GNPI-Manila, Philippines, writes, “Pray we can find a full time videographer to join our staff as we prepare for increased productions and tighter deadlines.”

Thanks, Rhoda!

How many times have you seen God bless your efforts after you stepped out in faith? Rhoda saw this happen in the Philippines recently. She felt apprehensive to share her testimony on the Say It Forward devotional series, but the Lord used her to make an eternal difference for someone else.

P.S. – Please download this video on Vimeo to encourage your congregation or missions committee.


Sharing Our Passion

You know how valuable God’s Word is. It’s living and active. It’s a light for our path and a lamp for our feet. It endures forever. It’s useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so the servants of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Your partnership with GNPI and the popular YouVersion Bible App is helping people all over the world find biblical content in their own languages. The discipleship plans we have created together have more than 75,000 subscribers.

Jessica Penick from YouVersion talks about our partnership of sharing a passion for Scripture.

Your giving makes all this possible. Thank you!

Salted with Fire

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant in Mark 9:49 when He said, “Everyone will be salted with fire”?

I recently visited North Africa where believers are few, and those who do follow suffer in a plethora of ways. You can walk through the cemeteries of hundreds who have died for their faith, such as those who were used as bait in the arena, or listen to stories about thousands of children sacrificed to false gods. Those were horribly trying times, and it still happens today.

However, there are other types of fire. What if you are a mother of three beautiful daughters with hopes of attending college, a happy marriage, great relationships with extended family, nice cars, and good jobs? Then one day the Truth comes. You have to make a choice to keep the status quo and enjoy the current life, or take the risk and announce to all that you follow the Messiah.

The costs are real. Your husband will divorce you, your daughters will disown you, your mother will feel shame for not raising her daughter well. The job will be gone. There will be no intimacy, no diplomacy, and no legacy. Only day after day of shame, poverty, and loneliness.

Relatives hope the pressure will make this woman crumble. Yet somewhere from within she finds the fortitude and strength to endure, not only endure, but also to pray for her family who persecuted her. Mother dies, and she cannot attend the funeral. The daughters graduate, and she can only see them for a few minutes for fear of losing visiting rights altogether.

Yes, everyone will be salted by fire. Anything I’ve thought was tough pales in comparison to the stories of martyrs or this sister in Christ. I pray God will enable her to stay the course of faithfulness in her home, village, and country.


Prayers & Praises

Your prayers for GNPI are making an impact around the world.

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” — Psalm 121:2 (NIV)

Turning to God in Kenya: Protus Sibukule of Project Nomad-Eldoret, Kenya, writes, “Indeed God is so good. On the very first Sunday of 2018, I had an opportunity to baptize several new believers who received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Praise God! This was a result of media evangelism after showing the Christian videos we have produced. We are very grateful to God for the many souls who are turning to God because of the GNPI films. The new believers have been added to the family of God and are now attending the Huruma Church of Christ.”

Developing Courses on Evangelism in Eurasia: Sergei Golovin of GNPI-Eurasia writes, “The updated course on biblical anthropology was a great opportunity for fellowship with our Joint School for Christian Apologetics, an institution where the students and graduates of other schools are working on an additional degree in apologetics. After three years of learning together, they are like a family. Exploring the biblical aspects of our origins, nature, and purpose, we are developing a course on cross-cultural evangelism. We did a field test on the course in January and produced a video version for Christian workers in restricted areas. Please join our prayers for this project.”

Leadership Training in SE Asia: Timothy P. of GNPI-SE Asia writes, “Pray for the Lord to start a movement in our region through the month-long trainings for trainers and for the trainings in each of the seven regions and seven states. We just completed our fourth training with 10 people.”

Meeting Ministry Partners in India: Praise the Lord for safety and positive meetings for Mike Schrage and Mark Johnson during their trip to meet with several ministry partners around India. They completed survey work and renewed relationships for GNPI.

Responding to Needs in Mexico: Gustavo Velázquez from GNPI-Piedras Negras, Mexico, says, “Pray for the people who write to us on our social media channels about our productions. We are responding to them and praying for their needs. Pray for God to use our interactions to help others know Jesus Christ.”

Behind Bars in Kenya

Do you know anyone who wants to break free and be transformed? The topic of transformation often resonates with those behind bars. Your partnership with GNPI is taking the hope of God’s Word into the lives of people in despair.

Isaac Masiga of GNPI-Nairobi, Kenya, writes, “Christian workers with a prison ministry used one of our productions, Dume Halisi, to minister to nearly 2,000 officers in the Prisons Staff Training College (PSTC). They were able to have some good discussions about what it means to change courses in life. Dume Halisi is a film about how some men mistreat women and neglect their children, but the men make significant changes through counseling and training sessions.

Our ministry partner also showed this same video to 125 juvenile inmates from the Youth Correctional Training Center and the juvenile remand in Kamiti Command Prison. The film led to helpful conversations with the youth about the role of fathers in their lives.

Thank you for sending Christian media into all kinds of places, even restricted areas.

Reflecting on 50 Years

It seems like time passes so quickly. That’s why it’s important to pause and reflect on God’s faithfulness. Congratulations to Chidamoyo Christian Hospital on 50 years of service in Zimbabwe! This hospital was the place where our founder Ziden Nutt was first challenged to start the ministry of GNPI.

Director of Operations Tom Nutt, Ziden and Helen’s son, shares how rewarding it is to see the local people carrying on the work the missionaries started in this area.

At least 3,000 people attended the anniversary celebration.

Thank you for building the Kingdom in Africa and around the world.


A New India

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

You can see similar sites in many cities in India. Along the sides of its busy streets, you find skinny dogs scrounging in the garbage, boisterous cows with broken horns owning the roads, and the constant barrage of tooting horns from cars warning riders on two-wheeled transportation of who is faster, bigger, and very close.

Those who aren’t speeding by from one place to the next go about their lives too.  A few fortunate citizens who are part of shining India talk on one of the multiple mobile phones they use, shop at local malls, or get in their Toyota SUVs. Then you have the members of suffering India. They struggle for a few rupees each day by picking up garbage, driving rickshaws built for two, or doing dangerous construction for a new downtown freeway.

These diverse paths converge onto a shared religious heritage. Monks trek from Myanmar to visit the elite temple where many of the world’s half-billion Buddhists believe Buddha delivered his first sermon. Other visitors pay homage to prayer wheels, a holy tree, scores of statues, and exceptional artwork on the temple walls which depict heavenly stories.

Located a short 15 minutes away we find a ghat or a broad set of steps leading down to the Ganges river. Wealthy families built these paths, which for 2,000 years have led families every hour of the day, as they bring their loved ones who have passed away to the water’s edge. They believe you can place a burned body in the Ganges to ensure a fast track to Heaven.

These complex Hindu religious systems for Buddhists and the billion Hindus who call India home aren’t alone among the people’s beliefs. Though they number a billion throughout the world, Muslims who stop to pray at the booming call from the mosques are much smaller in number here. There are even fewer of the poor but dedicated Christians.  

A new day for India is dawning, though. It appears the Christian movement, seemingly ineffective for 2,000 years, is beginning to gain momentum.  Disciplined prayer and work by faithful believers over the long season has sparked a small flame in a culture, which seems to find a connection with the humble baby born in a manger so long ago.  

Out of the fog that hovers over the worship on the Ganges, there’s a clarity emerging from the “guru” Jesus to whom Christ-followers pledge their allegiance. In India’s quest for spiritual answers, this sinless man who lived a seemingly poor and insignificant life for 33 years inspires hope. This new flicker in the lives of a searching people is quietly finding traction among so many who can relate to the suffering Savior.

Spiritual darkness covers India. Yet Christians who meet, often secretly, in small groups to pray, serve, and disciple are bringing light. Hope is dawning for a future, spiritually shining, India.

Prayers & Praises

Your prayers for GNPI are making an impact around the world.

“. . . ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)

New Disciples in SE Asia: Timothy P. of GNPI-SE Asia writes, “I was invited to preach at two combined Christmas events in our region. In each location about 450 attended. Thirty-four people decided to be baptized. At one place 70 nonbelievers came by boat to hear the Message from three hours away. Many are seeking Christ, but there is no shepherd. Pray we can train more people to share the Gospel throughout the region.”

Church Planting in Thailand: Angela Morse of GNPI-Chiang Mai, Thailand, shares the encouraging story of a new episode of Movement Everywhere. The program highlights one of the pastors who joined together in 2010 with a common goal to fulfill the Great Commission. They returned to their churches and taught their members a practical way to bring people to Christ through loving their neighbors. The members each found ten people within the community to pray for daily. They looked for opportunities to serve, build relationships, and present the Gospel to the people in the community. Their current vision is to have a believer in every village who would start a home church and eventually plant a church in every district. Praise the Lord! Since 2010, this vision has currently produced 70 home churches as well as 13 churches that grew out of these home churches with about 80 members each.”

Ministry Partners in Mexico: Gustavo Velázquez of GNPI-Piedras Negras, Mexico, writes, “In December, our team traveled to the city of Matamoros to record the third part of The Global Gospel in sign language and the last scenes of the documentary, The Life of a Deaf Person. The documentary is scheduled to be completed this month. Praise the Lord for these ministry partners who welcomed and inspired us with God’s love.”

Youth Seminar in Eurasia: Sergei Golovin of GNPI-Eurasia writes, “The youth seminar, Science and the Bible, was one of the most exciting experiences of the year! A youth group from the local church distributed invitations at the local universities and prepared the facility. More than 300 people attended the event; many came with their unbelieving friends. It was a joyful time of exploration, humor, challenges, and praises. Pray for these young professionals as they build their lives on a solid biblical foundation.”

New Partnerships in Uganda: Stephen Muturi of GNPI-Mbale, Uganda, says, “Praise the Lord for the number of young people we have been able to reach this year. Pray the students will grow in their faith and inspire others. In addition to Scripture Union and the Remand Home ministries, we have developed a new relationship with another ministry leading a fellowship among secondary school hostels in the district. The new ministry partner is an evangelist who works with LivingStone University and is a committed pastor.”