Category : Ministry Partners

Home»Archive by Category "Ministry Partners" (Page 31)

Reflections from Bob Sartoris

International Director Bob Sartoris shares highlights from his 20 year ministry at GNPI, including some exciting future projects. We appreciate Bob’s heart for missions and pray God richly blesses Bob and his family. May God give them 20 more years in media ministry.

Thank you, Bob, for your diligent work and godly example!

Great Quotes of the Great Commission

Global Mapping International (GMI) created this inspirational compilation, Great Quotes of the Great Commission. “GMI is a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering God’s mission in the world through research, mapping and information technology services.” Click on the graphic to enlarge it.

The Gathering Place

Matt_Brock_GNPIDirector of Development Matt Brock recently visited Africa with International Director Bob Sartoris. This was Matt’s first trip to Africa. He visited Nairobi, Eldoret, and Pokot, Kenya and Mbale, Uganda. Matt will share his trip reflections in a four-part blog series. The first blog was Getting Where We Need to Go. Watch for the next articles coming soon (Food for the Soul, and Dressed for Success).

 

Matt Brock, GNPI Director of Development

I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for the place I call my church home. Yes, I’m thankful for the people, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m grateful for the physical location where I meet with other believers in Jesus. The Church isn’t a building, but it’s certainly a wonderful provision of God to have attractive, climate-controlled spaces to use for His Glory.

We probably know it’s not like that everywhere in the world. How often do we think about what it would mean for our walk with the Lord if we didn’t have such luxury in which to worship Him? Would our worship be the same? Would it mean more or less to us?

Recently in Africa I had the opportunity to experience two different worship services. The first was in an urban environment and the second in a rural setting. The experiences were each unique, but also similar to what I experience on a regular basis at home.

The first Sunday we traveled through the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, to a section of town that to you and me would look nothing like a place we’d want to worship. The buildings were dilapidated; the streets were dirt, and there was a fence around the facility. We think of church as a place where all are welcome, but it’s eye-opening to understand that in between service times the facility had to be protected from those who would invade or do it harm.

201507_KEN_Mike-Trip-Group_0002

HdwklfEiiTmilm873lzCMu325pFPa6Z63UH0-sm6jVyI8696nVwj_NX_k6Dhvc5BOVvyGYbzvOq-Yzs9yjblH-1xlguQQXqkoHRxs2wueMfm3LP3WZqIhUFXKVoMOWREGVmooHv2jNBmrto4rSepNeJhRIq0A5NdsPBDjHbd86fycq2P27Nh_PGnnty1CWK

The building was big and beautiful on the outside, but it was unfinished on the inside. In fact, part of the morning’s service was devoted to outlining plans to raise funds for unfinished items in the construction process. While we wouldn’t be allowed in a comparable facility until it was finished in the U.S., they had been actively using the building to minister to each other and those who Christ will call for some time.

HQJ95nEJaq0-Vq2bOYJKq8Y-9tgAiAFZcdkV868PxEeLku4dUQPZq8xwaqL7jEkXE6O2k31WsqEiSLWYAUcws-z2-sG1Lgavoj9MVFa1IBShn6NX5tnV_8TTcxvD-6RAf-D3-aGtFIt8QN6i611-jahYA8yX-7lal7hPpj4ULkFRGlu0crlG6Ec110Tbfxh

5R-EOvZxul-DfZY3TMKG_uigUh5vO_S2xullt4Pvz6JR5zeG1BqVynii8Q6LQ2zwq6aOeNZ9L76icYEHRi88Dk1fOcS302CVrkHjK4XfTUAK89ux8n0o8BcAbZjkjiW3F85BIkvrcN35rFnW9VKmYLLNsCLHmrmA7h9unafuBIbm5DhRZIHiCI2bCmALJbB

The second building in which I worshiped, a week later in Pokot, Kenya, was much less sophisticated. Rocks were secured together with mud to make a structure that held up a tin roof. It was an open-air facility; there were no panes of glass in the windows and no doors to close. It was a simple gathering place.

IMG_5633 copy

IMG_5644 copy

Specific things happened in each facility, and hopefully these things happen in the place you gather with others to worship. Jesus was lifted up as the Messiah, our only way to God. Hearts were opened, and burdens were released. Songs of joy and hope were offered as sweet devotion to the Author and Sustainer of life.

IMG_5704 copy

IMG_5699 copy

Things were very different, even between these two Kenyan churches, but they were very similar too. The environments and worship styles each had distinctive traits, but they were doing the same things my family would do eight hours later, almost 9,000 miles away.

These buildings didn’t make me despise the fact that we have nice facilities with air conditioning and ample parking lots. If anything, they made me thankful that God placed me where He did, when He did. I’m not sure it’s my place to say we shouldn’t have them while others do not. What I am saying is, no matter where we’re able to meet as believers, the same things should happen and are happening all around the world.

IMG_5667 copy

IMG_5679 copy

Jesus is lifted up. Our hearts are opened and burdens released. Songs of joy and hope are offered as sweet devotion to the Author and Sustainer of life.

IMG_5625 copy

In gathering places all around the world, you’ll find these things happening. It’s one of the sweetest things I know.

 

Seeing Growth in Kitale

I am sitting under a tin-roofed verandah in Kitale, Kenya. As I type, the birds are singing and roosters are crowing. The sights, sounds, and smells of Kitale bring very special memories to my mind.

My family used to live, and serve, here as missionaries as part of a church-planting team. My daughter, Kathryn, was born here. My daughter, Karissa, was baptized here! This little part of Africa has played a major role in our lives.

One of the things I remember being fond of is the wintertime weather. It’s not like the U.S. Highs reach into the 70s with evening lows in the 50s. Everything is green, and the corn is tasseling as it grows to nine feet tall! In a culture that lives from one harvest to the next, there is hope for a bountiful year.

However, with my senses alive to all that’s around me, I heard something new just now. The one o’clock “call to prayer” sounded just beyond the compound where we are staying. Muslims are observing Ramadan, their holy season. Seeing the influence of Islam in Kenya (supposedly a Christian nation) is sobering. Yes, the work of spreading the Good News is not done!

It’s a work that I started helping in the early 1990s. Our church planting team began accelerating its work with the help of a simple filmstrip series from GNPI. Intentional teaching, coupled with Sin in the Camp, helped grow a relatively small network of churches to more than 30, and later as momentum grew, to 120! Down the road, I’d gladly join GNPI to help build its regional center in Nairobi, Kenya.

As any father would, I look back fondly on the memories of my children as they spent part of their lives in Africa. I must admit, though, I have that same fatherly feeling as I think, perhaps, God used me and the work of GNPI, in some small way, to help His church grow in Africa.

Let’s continue working and praying together to finish the work God has given us to do around the world.

The Compassion of our Coworkers

Our regional directors are the pillars of GNPI’s ministry. They work day in and day out to share the Good News with their parts of the world using media. While they remain constant in their efforts, sometimes current events demand a change in the way they do ministry for a season.

I can think of several examples. Sergei Golovin, the director of GNPI-Ukraine, used to live in Crimea (now part of Russia), but due to political and military turmoil in his part of the world now lives in Kiev, Ukraine. In addition to the printing of massive numbers of books and other media efforts, his shift in location is allowing him to work with internally displaced children, prisoners, and soldiers.

International Consultant David Lall and Regional Director Manee Massey live in Damoh, India. An earthquake in Nepal demanded a response, so David’s son, Shawn, and a few staff members went with help. David also responds with compassion to the needs in his own country. The caste system in India is extremely challenging. When some key leaders from the low caste asked David for counsel, he responded with love, financial assistance, and free videos containing thousands of teaching material recordings.

TP, regional director in Southeast Asia is currently responding to the terrible floods that have impacted much of his country. In partnership with IDES, $10,000 of relief is headed to TP for him to share with some key villages that are in desperate need of benevolent assistance.

These are some recent examples, but I have seen this kind of compassion in all of our regional directors. The men and women who lead GNPI around the world are pillars of our work, but they are also pillars in God’s Kingdom as they “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and “show their faith by their deeds” (James 2:18).

God’s Amazing Network

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. — Revelation 7.9 (NIV)

I’m sitting in a meeting about Project Nomad and watching God develop an amazing network with our regional directors and grassroots production teams. See if you can follow this …

A missionary from North Africa introduced us to a real estate professional (a former Muslim working in Indianapolis but from Morocco). Our new friend introduced us to his associate from Algeria who wants Nomad training. The training will possibly occur in Cyprus, and the teacher will likely be Egyptian.

mapCyprus

This collection of God’s children will work with us – Americans. Only God could pull all this together with His love and power and grace! I’m so excited to see what He will do next.

Getting Where We Need to Go

Matt_Brock_GNPI

Director of Development Matt Brock recently visited Africa with International Director Bob Sartoris. This was Matt’s first trip to Africa. He visited Nairobi, Eldoret, and Pokot, Kenya and Mbale, Uganda. Matt will share his trip reflections in a four-part blog series. Watch for the next articles coming soon (The Gathering Place, Food for the Soul, and Dressed for Success).

Matt Brock, GNPI Director of Development

 

 

I take for granted the fact that I have a reliable car. If I want to go somewhere, I get in, turn the key, and go. I don’t have to worry about the reliability of my vehicle. It’s not new, but it’s newer. I never worry about putting gas in my car; I just fill up the tank when it’s running low. Most of the roads I travel, even in their worst condition, are fairly navigable.

These are the hazards of living in our affluent society where even the poorest among us have more than those considered wealthy elsewhere.

This reality came to life for me as I traveled the roads of Africa. For the first time I saw, with my own eyes, what traveling conditions were like for the people who live there. I’d never thought about the roads in Africa before. What I observed was new and shocking. However, what I witnessed, with the eyes of my heart, was encouraging and inspiring.

201507_KEN_Bob-Matt-trip_0051

One of the first things I noticed as we set out in Nairobi was everywhere we went there were people on the road. It was the same in rural areas. In the United States, it’s unusual to see anyone walking on the side of the road during my drive from Carthage, Missouri, to the GNPI office in Joplin. However, the streets were packed all the time in Nairobi.. Not only were people on foot, but there were hundreds of bicycles, scooters, public transportation (Matatous), and people riding rides on the back of trucks. Even between the cities and in rural areas, people were on the road walking, biking, riding, or catching rides.

201508_KEN_PSA-Production-MAD_0102

In fact, it was common to see four or five people riding on one bicycle. Protus Sibukule, one of our NOMaD team members, told me that up to 30 people can sometimes ride in a Matatou, which is the size of a 12 passenger van. He said, after taking such a journey with of all of the people sitting on you in the van, sometimes you have to wait about five minutes after exiting to regain the feeling in your legs!

The roads looked like they had been been cut out initially, surfaced (in the urban areas), and then never touched again. In many cases, it seemed our vehicle might not make it out of the pothole where we had just landed. As we were headed to the very remote region of Pokot, it took us about six hours to travel the sixty miles we had to cover. I was glad I took some ibuprofen before we began that leg of our trip. I’ve never been jostled around so much.

201507_KEN_Matt-Trip-Kids_0042

Besides being thankful for the privilege of having my own vehicle that I can fill up whenever I want and roads that are great for traveling from one place to the next, something else dawned on me. All of the people I saw on the sides of the roads and using the highways in Africa are going somewhere. There’s someplace they’re trying to reach. Whether or not they realize it, they’re heading someplace spiritually too.

201508_KEN_PSA-Production-MAD_0105

Our amazing God keeps track of each one of us on those journeys. Regardless of whether we are saved or not. He knows who we are and where we are. That’s both comforting and awe-inspiring. God in His vastness can keep track of more than seven and a half billion people. He’s also using the roads we’re traveling in this life to provide each one of us with evidence of His existence and to encourage us to reach out and find Him. I love what the Bible says in Acts 17:24-27 as Paul is speaking to the men of Athens:

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us …”

I don’t know where all of those people were going, but most of them were working a lot harder to get there than I usually do. I can’t know their spiritual journeys either. Though we’re working at GNPI to influence the lives of millions of people in Kenya, Uganda, Africa, and the world, I’ll never know even a small fraction of them until we meet in Heaven. Yet, God knows them all. He knows where they’re going. He knows just what they need to find Him, and He’ll offer it without exception.

201507_KEN_Matt-Trip-Kids_0052
I read something once that has always stuck with me, and I think it’s relevant to what I learned while traveling the roads of Africa. Not all roads lead to God, but God will travel any road to find us.

Thank You, Dad!

201507_MEX_VBS-GNPI-Award_0003

Gustavo Velázquez, regional director of GNPI-Mexico, visited our Joplin office with his family this summer. We were glad to have his son, David, work with us in Joplin for a month-long internship. David says it is amazing to know GNPI is a ministry which creates Christian productions to share the Word of God all over the world.

The following links are to some of the projects David (and Greg Fish) worked on during his internship:

NACC video – https://vimeo.com/134431671

Solar Kit video – https://youtu.be/KVtkc1Q8jAk

Send the Light video –  https://youtu.be/VkkNpQeyCDk

UA-961736-4