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My Reflections

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Our 2017 International Meeting in Damoh, India, was a special time to share personal struggles, victories, and lots of other information. It was a chance for the Lord to bring our vision for the future into sync, so we could return to our homelands not only to make media but more importantly, to make an impact.

A Tribute to Dr. Bare

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

A saint has gone home.

Dr. Garland Bare was called home to Heaven on April 2. His physical frame was slight, but Dr. Bare had a huge spiritual influence in the Kingdom. He continually defied the odds from his admittance to medical school when administrators said he was too old, to becoming a missionary when there was no support available, and surviving health issues over and over again to live decades longer than anyone thought possible.

Dr. Bare led a remarkable life but not an easy one. He influenced thousands, including me. I recall Dr. Bare speaking in the Williamson dorm while I was a student at Ozark Christian College in 1980. His passion for God and lost people convicted me, and as a result I became a missionary and I served in Kenya with my family for almost 20 years.

I have memories of prayer times with Garland at a local Arby’s restaurant where he loved to have a simple roast beef sandwich. I remember his kind words of encouragement, “Mike, I pray for you and GNPI every week.” I remember his presence in the halls of a missionary conference carrying a backpack in his 80s and moving with determination towards the next workshop to learn from others. I remember his confession of not being quite ready to “go home” because there was a book to finish, a seminar to teach, and a set of sermons to preach!

I received a short note just days before his passing that I will always cherish. As a veteran medical missionary doctor and even while under hospice care, his desire was to support others in global outreach like GNPI.

Thank you, Dr. Bare, for a legacy that illustrates, “through Christ, I can do all things.”

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We are thankful to share the following resources from Dr. Bare in our archives.

A Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection

Dr. Garland Bare presents an in-depth look at both the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. In his graphic explanation of both the scourging and the crucifixion, he shows how physical death must have taken place. Then he goes on to show that if Christ had somehow survived those agonies, death would have resulted from His burial.

Throughout both lessons, Dr. Bare emphasizes the importance of the resurrection to the Christian faith as a whole and to individual believers.

Listen or download the audio only version of A Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

A Growing Relationship

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

We have a growing relationship with YouVersion, the number one Bible app in the world, as a content provider. In just 18 months, we have submitted Bible study plans in five languages with 21,000 plan completions. YouVersion is so impressed with the quality of GNPI material and audience connections that they are exploring new content options with us in addition to the current plans that feature The Global Gospel.

Let’s listen now to Jessica Penick, YouVersion Content Partnership Manager, as she shares her perspective on our collaboration.

 

HOPE

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

When considering the meaning of the word hope, I like this acronym:

He Offers People Eternity.

At GNPI, we work with partners around the world to communicate effectively in heart languages that Jesus is the source of eternal hope.

Yes, “He offers people eternity – with God!” That is the best HOPE of all!

 

Easter Resources 2017

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

As we celebrate Resurrection Day, I am reminded of the words of Jesus in John 10:14-16, “I am the good shepherd.” He does not stop with this declaration, but instead He shares openly about His true and upcoming mission via the cross. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

Remember the Good Shepherd lives! Please enjoy these free resources from GNPI as you celebrate or point your friends toward this great day.

Faces of GNPI

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

I would like to introduce you to a new page on our website that will connect you with our growing global network. Notice the diversity of faces from around the world working to create media to share the Gospel with the next generation.

As you look over the names, faces, and locations of these coworkers, I encourage you to lift them up in prayer. They are your ministry partners in world evangelism.

Click any image above or visit www.gnpi.org/faces to see the rest. We hope to continually update this page, so come back and visit the Faces of GNPI regularly.

Coconut Communion

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

The young man was dressed in orange saffron. His flowing garb, long black hair, and cross-legged sitting posture made him look like a respected guru. I imagine Jesus looking and sitting like this teacher.

This former Hindu teacher is now a Christian in the amazing country of India where less than 10 percent of a billion people are followers of Christ!

He shared from his heart how it is up to the people from his upper caste to contextualize the teaching of Christ for Indians to understand. More importantly, this leader wants the people of India to accept the Message not as Western protocol, but as it truly is: global Good News.

One example of contextualization we experienced was the process of sharing communion with this teacher and new followers of Christ. This kind, soft-spoken, young man picked up a coconut, a very common food in India, just as bread and wine were common in Jesus’ day.

The guru shared how the coconut represents Christ’s transformed body. Then he tapped on the coconut harder and harder with a hammer, eventually splitting it open. Immediately some coconut water spilled out. The tapping represented the beating and piercing of the body of Jesus that released blood and water. As the coconut was split in half, the teacher explained the open space represented the empty grave. He said in order to reach the coconut meat, one has to go through suffering, brokenness, and emptiness to find sustenance and life. The coconut meat is white representing purity and hope.

I learned a lot that day from a coconut, just as the followers of Jesus did from the meal they shared with the Savior.

GNPI Breakthroughs

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Our ministry partners have built a network of production partners armed with a passion to accelerate global evangelism through media and technology.

Four years ago, key GNPI leaders met in Manila and asked God to open doors for GNPI into Central and South America and China. We asked God for breakthroughs into the religions of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. We also wanted to explore the world of smartphone apps.

Last month, we gathered again, this time in Damoh, India. There were 25 of us, which included our regional directors and their next generation of leaders as well as several of us from Joplin along with Barb Sachtleben and Chris DeWelt from the GNPI board of directors. We met for a time of reporting, prayer, fellowship, and to measure how successful we had been since our last meeting in Manila. It was really exciting!

The regional directors shared numerous and specific stories of influence, impact, and fruitfulness. Breakthroughs in disciples being made, churches started, and seeds sown became apparent. I wish you could have been there to have some curry and chai and hear the news first hand!

More than one hundred new Nomad candidates were screened last year alone! Key media training events were held in Indonesia (the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world), as well as China (the most populous country in the world), Ghana, Togo, and a few other places.

Plans are underway for more Nomad teams in Mexico and Central America. At last year’s Nicaragua gathering that Tom Nutt and Bob Gurwell organized, crucial groundwork was laid for outreach into four Central American countries, Chile, and Mexico. Last month on February 17 we held a one year anniversary video conference call.

It was thrilling to hear how the seeds of media ministry planted the previous year have exploded! They are addressing social issues like anorexia and human trafficking, as well as church planting needs and making the Scriptures available to the deaf. These were just some of the projects mentioned, and they are only a few of the breakthroughs we had prayed for in that area of the world!

A few short years ago, The Global Gospel (TGG) was a dream. Today, it’s in a newly improved version with 27 languages and another 11 to be completed this year. Recently, Free Bible Images, one of the top websites in the world, asked if they could use the TGG images on their web site. Their end of the year report stated:


“In 2016 we had 48,674 sets of GNPI images downloaded in Powerpoint, PDF, or Keynote formats for teaching. On the conservative estimate that each set was used to teach between 5 and 10 people we estimate that between a quarter of a million to half a million people were taught Bible passages using the GNPI images around the world.

Users on our site can also view any set of GNPI stories in our StoryView that runs a slideshow of the images with the Bible text from the Net Bible. We had 214,987 GNPI stories read online in StoryView in 2016 and we expect this figure to keep rising. These views and downloads took place in 160 different countries.”

TGG is useful globally, but could just as easily be used here to help the construction foreman, the IT specialist, the restaurant owner, or the refugee here in the U.S. Your gifts and prayers put these resources just clicks away from online seekers.

In January we had the opportunity to personally deliver, through a friend of GNPI, 500 thumbdrives with all kinds of GNPI materials to 500 Chinese house church pastors including The Global Gospel. They were distributed secretly as they strategically met in a neighboring country. Thousands will see and hundreds will copy and share with thousands more, and so goes the media – missionary cycle!

In the specific case of The Global Gospel, a GNPI sponsor paid for the original TGG template, another GNPI sponsor paid for the language recording, and yet another GNPI sponsor paid for the duplication and delivery. It required true teamwork to achieve such a breakthrough, and it happened!

Speaking of all things digital, you can download our new tool, The GNPI App, right now to learn more. With the app you have in your hand, free of charge, tools like The Global Gospel which are readily accessible for your next visit with an international student, refugee, or mission trip. The app is also a great tool to use as you are sharing with others what GNPI is all about.

What breakthroughs are we anticipating?

A serialization of The Global Gospel in Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu for television and social media use is being produced in Cypress by one of our new partners for Muslim and Hindu children.

The development of regional Nomad trainers like our first one, Timothy Jai Kumar, in South India, is the wave of the future for our ever-expanding Project Nomad. Nomad teams are growing the footprint of GNPI with next-generation media disciples. This underscores our core belief that nationals know best and are the most suitable to train and mentor others in their cultures to produce relevant media.


We have a growing relationship with YouVersion, the number one Bible app in the world, as a content provider. In just 18 months, we have submitted Bible study plans in several languages with 21,000 plan completions. YouVersion is so impressed with the quality of GNPI material and audience connections that they are exploring new content options with GNPI in addition to the plans we currently have that feature The Global Gospel.

Let’s listen now to Jessica Pennick, YouVersion Content Partnership Manager, as she shares her perspective on our collaboration.

Meanwhile, new countries like Indonesia, China, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Tanzania all had citizens receive Level 1 Nomad video production training last year. Now, not only will we shepherd and coach these new partners with additional training, we plan to train new media disciples in Egypt and Outer Mongolia in 2017. This is our flock, our church if you will, of media disciples spread out globally and trained strategically.

We will intentionally partner with church planting networks in Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, Mexico, and SE Asia to help their workers know how to use media to help seekers to become followers as they increase their fruitfulness in disciple making.

Our regional director in SE Asia is a recognized leader in understanding the Buddhist worldview and contextually leading them to Christ, the one true Buddha! This brother has been effective in leading monks to Christ and has a national vision for culturally specific training to equip 14 key leaders in each of the 14 states in his country as evangelists. We call it “The Timothy Project.” Each leader will eventually have his own Nomad team for outreach – talk about a potential breakthrough for an entire country where the major religion is Buddhism!

Finally, one of the most highly researched and complex projects ever undertaken by GNPI is beginning to develop in Indonesia. Remember, I started the evening stating that we asked the Lord for breakthroughs in the Islamic world? Well, they are happening!

Last year I mentioned a former missionary, friend, and colleague, Shawn Tyler, had written 10 stories for children. Well, due to additional research that number has been increased to 20. The twist in the storytelling is that they are told from a first-person perspective of someone who actually encountered God or Jesus and their mighty acts as described in the Bible. Then decades later they are telling their children and grandchildren about these events as bedtime stories!

This is a “new angle” on an old story, and therefore, the name New Angle Media Project.
The New Angle Media Project implements the most comprehensive media strategy using research, social media, video production, and personal follow-up ever. The goal is to identify Muslim parents who are seekers and lead them to become disciples along with their children. This is being developed, tested, and launched in the most populous Muslim country in the world!

We believe if we can get our strategy to work in that difficult country, it can be replicated to work anywhere in the world for GNPI. It is a “template strategy” similar to our development of The Global Gospel. Several groups and several of our teams are anxiously awaiting the results! This vision will continue to grow and change, but the impact could affect millions in a country where missionaries, especially American missionaries, are not welcome!

I’d like to close with this two-part story. Manee (who spoke at our very first Vision Night events three years ago) caught the vision of making media disciples through Nomad training, so he and his team traveled 50 hours by train to the very northern tip of India to train two groups on how to produce relevant media for their church’s needs.

They went during their holiday break and used some of their own money for the trip. They birthed not one, but two emerging Nomad teams in an area few Americans will ever reach. Productions have been made and lives have been changed.

Isaac shared how their team, along with their full production responsibilities during the week, volunteered to reach out to a marginalized, forgotten people group known as the Endorois. The Endorois people are only 300,000 in number and forgotten by many, but not by GNPI.

That’s the sacrifice exemplified by our teams; the determination they have for breakthroughs that will take the Good News to places we will never go.

Tremendous Opportunity

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Last week, I mentioned The RISE Project which stands for Refugee and International Student Engagement. I hope you checked out the free small group study, sermon outlines, and other resources available at theriseproject.com.

Sadly, 70% of international students are never invited into an American home. God is bringing the nations to us, and we have a tremendous opportunity to welcome the future leaders of the world to our country and into our homes.

GNPI is pleased to have a former international student on our staff, and I hope you’ll take a moment to watch Alan’s story.

Do Not Forget

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

I served as the President of the International Conference On Missions (ICOM) last year. One of the special initiatives of the 2016 conference included the creation and launch of The Refugee and International Student Engagement (RISE) Project based on Hebrews 13:2 (NIV).

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers . . . for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

We have a sacred opportunity to welcome our neighbors from every corner of the globe to our communities in a way that reflects the welcoming, inclusive heart of God.

The RISE Project provides real life application to the culturally relevant work GNPI does overseas in our network. ICOM, RISE, and GNPI share a strong desire to equip and encourage our partners to engage with people in these two populations.

For more information, practical support, and a four part small group video series, visit theriseproject.com.

 

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