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A Glimpse into Mexico

Picture, if you can, a shrine on the side of a dusty, Mexican road with a statue of Mary, flowers, a picture of a skull, and money offerings – modern day indulgences to gain supernatural favor.

The payee is none other than the leader of the cult Santa Muerte (Holy Death) – also a drug lord. He has hired people as priests to intercede for the group so their cartel would be more prosperous and dominate other gangs.

Drugs and deity may seem strange bedfellows, but that is the culture in Mexico today.

Bob Gurwell and Gustavo Velazquez, working for our regional center in Piedras Negras, Mexico, have written, directed, and produced Criba (The Sifting). In this real-life drama, a young man is drawn into the downward spiral of darkness, danger, and fear.

Thousands have watched with nodding heads, saying they can identify with such occurrences. The GNPI regional center in Piedras Negras is making a difference in addressing difficult issues in light of the truth of God’s Word.

You can watch Criba too (it’s in Spanish). Simply navigate your browser to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfTOqH66sQE and see how God is using GNPI-Mexico to create culturally relevant, media content addressing today’s issues.

God’s Sower in Latin America

Harland Cary was called to receive his eternal reward earlier this week. Tomorrow (Saturday, September 12, 2014) many will celebrate his life at his memorial service. Brother Cary has blessed hundreds, if not thousands, through his life of 97 years. GNPI is just one of many ministries that has been blessed beyond words. Bob Gurwell, GNPI international coordinator, was just one of those impacted.

As a young man, Bob considered becoming a medical doctor until one day Brother Cary suggested he instead consider becoming a “doctor of the soul.” That conversation set a new course for the young Mr. Gurwell. This so typifies the impact of this working warrior for Christ!

Not that long ago, GNPI’s regional center in Piedras Negras, Mexico, did a video tribute to Harland Cary that we would like to share with you. Please praise the Lord for this life well lived, and pray for the extended family at this time of loss.

Meredith’s Story

serving in Mexico, through the eyes of our 16-year old guest blogger, Meredith Simmons…

MeredithMeredith is a high school student from Missouri who went to Mexico on a missions trip this past summer with her church. They helped with a few projects at the GNPI regional center in Piedras Negras. Here is Meredith’s impressive re-telling of her experience:

Meredith GroupWhen I first heard about the trip that my home church was planning to take to Piedras Negras, I knew it was something I wanted to do. The plan was to spend a week doing various construction and painting projects at GNPI’s local center and at a local church, and serve the community by assisting at the church’s Vacation Bible School. As plans continued to be finalized over the ensuing months, the excitement mounted. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I knew that it would be great.

When our team crossed the border into Mexico and entered Piedras Negras it was dark, so my first glimpse of the town was limited. Even so, I was surprised that despite it being 9:30 pm, there were people everywhere. It seemed like it could have been mid-day for as busy as it was. All the shops I saw were open and people were strolling around, riding bicycles, eating food, and just hanging out.

I looked at everything that night, trying to discover as much as possible about the place where I would be spending the next week.

Meredith CactusAround the town there were no neat lawns filled with lush green grass. Instead, the landscape was rather more desert-like, only without the sand. There were scraggly, prickly plants that could survive the hot, dry weather, and these covered the open areas that were not subject to high traffic. There was also dust everywhere. In many yards there were no plants, just dirt and rocks. I would later find that before Vacation Bible School started at the local church each evening, someone would have to sprinkle the yard with water to help settle the dust before the children came.

Meredith Food LadyDuring our stay, our food was made by some of the ladies from the church. I surprised myself by being excited to taste Mexican food, as I’m not usually eager to try new dishes. Those ladies sure know how to cook delicious meat! Much of the meat was cooked with different vegetables and some kind of sauce.  One night they served us some kind of soup, which they told us contained pork rinds. When my dad began eating his soup, he pulled out a giant, fatty, piece of pig skin that still appeared to have bristles on it. We soon discovered that their version of pork rinds is not the crunchy, chip-like snack that we eat in the US.

Meredith FoodOne of the most interesting things that they served us were our beverages. Every meal we had some kind of fruit juice. Now, I’m not talking about the artificially flavored, bottled drinks that may come to mind when I say ‘juice’. These drinks were made of fresh fruit; we assumed that they pressed the juice from the fruit just like someone would press apples in order to make cider. Some of the drinks we had included watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, mango, pineapple, and lemon. Some of these tasted like they had been sweetened, but the juice itself was the actual fruit juice.

Probably the most eye-opening experience was helping to deliver food to impoverished families.

One of the areas we went into was basically a community of squatters. These people literally had nothing. The houses were constructed of any discarded material that could be found. Wooden pallets and scraps of plywood, torn tarps and cardboard boxes were put together to create shelters of sorts. Occasionally, buildings made of cinderblocks could be seen, but those were few.

When we first pulled into the area, we stopped and handed out a few packages of food, and moved on down the line of shacks. We had gone knowing that we could not possibly give something to everyone, but desiring to do what we could. Before we had gone very far, people began to walk up to our vehicles and ask for food. They were desperate for it, and they just kept coming. It was so hard to have to turn people away when we ran out.

As we were driving away, an elderly lady hobbled out of her house and began calling to us. I couldn’t understand her words, which were spoken in Spanish, but her meaning was crystal clear; she needed food. The lady looked like she could hardly walk, and as she gripped her cane with one hand, she held out her other hand to us, pleading for help. We had nothing left to give her. All of our food had been given to those who were able to come and get it. It was heartbreaking to see her and not be able to help. The image of that woman’s face will be ingrained in my memory for a long time to come. That experience made me realize just how much I take for granted.

Meredith VBSThe most enjoyable times I had while in Piedras Negras were those spent at Vacation Bible School. The dear Mexican lady that led the songs was very fluent in English, which was extremely helpful. She had us Americans get up onstage and help her lead the actions for the songs. The thing was, we had to learn all of the actions as we went, which made for a lot of laughs as we stumbled along, trying to watch the leader and not make fools of ourselves in front of all those people. Each night we improved, and by the end of the week, we had become proficient at most of the actions, even if the words to most of the songs were in Spanish.

Also during VBS, I had the opportunity to interact with the Mexican Christians. The thing that really stood out to me about them was the love that they showed towards me, our group, and the kids at VBS.  Even though my ability to speak Spanish is limited, and few of the Mexicans were fluent in English, I felt as if all of us, Americans and Mexicans alike, were part of one big family. Conversations were difficult because of the language barrier, but even though we could not communicate verbally, there was a connection that went deeper than speech. It was amazing to experience the bond of Christ in that way!

Meredith People

Being with the people of Piedras Negras was a blessing. I loved seeing Christians from another country serve the Lord, and it really showed me how God is using people from all over the world to advance the Gospel.

That’s a big thing that I appreciate about Good News Productions; they help to train and equip people from all different areas to spread the gospel among their own communities. As several people expressed while in Mexico, we may live in cultures that are different, and we may look different on the outside, but on the inside God has given us the same heart; one that desires to serve Him, and to Him, we are all worth giving His Son.

Freed By Blood

by guest blogger, Meredith Simmons

MeredithMeredith is a 16-year old high school student from Missouri who went to Mexico on a missions trip this past summer with her church. They helped with a few projects at the regional center in Piedras Negras. One of the things she says was most memorable to her was the day they went into a destitute, poverty-stricken area to hand out food. Here’s how Meredith tells the story:

“The people in the area we went to literally had nothing. Most of the houses were constructed of wooden pallets, scraps of plywood, torn tarps, and cardboard boxes put together to create shelters of sorts.

gif2When we first pulled into the area, we stopped and handed out a few packages of food, and moved on down the line of shacks. Before we had gone very far, people began to walk up to our vehicles and ask for food. They were desperate for it, and they just kept coming. It was so hard to have to turn people away when we ran out.

As we were driving away, an elderly lady hobbled out of her house and began calling to us. I couldn’t understand her Spanish words, but her meaning was crystal clear; she needed food. The lady looked like she could hardly walk, and as she gripped her cane with one hand, she held out her other hand to us, pleading for help. We had nothing left to give her. It was heartbreaking to see her and not be able to help. The image of that woman’s face will be ingrained in my memory for a long time to come.”

Meredith certainly paints a vivid picture with her words, doesn’t she?

Raising a family in this environment can leave people with wounds that may never heal unless they find the ultimate Healer. Raziel grew up in this kind of environment. The 20-minute video below, Desatado Por Sangre (Freed by Blood), is the condensed story of his life, produced by GNPI-Mexico. Raziel was freed from his life of darkness and addiction by the blood of Jesus and has gone on to become a Youth Minister—telling others about the Good News that he found!

Thank you Meredith, for sharing your story with us. (To read Meredith’s entire blog, click here.)

I Was Worshipping False Gods

Ma Myit FamilyFrom time to time, we receive testimonies from or about people who have been touched by GNPI productions. Our prayer is that they’ll serve as an inspiration to you. Know that your support for GNPI is making an eternal difference in the lives of evangelists reaching people throughout the world!

By AS, Evangelist and Coworker at GNPI-SE Asia

I want to testify about a Buddhist family who became Christians. Last year, in 2013, I went back to my home village to teach in summer Bible school. I met a Christian woman named MM. She was a Buddhist before she knew Jesus. She had some kind of sickness, and she spent so much money for treatment. The medicines did not help her. Then she went to a shaman. The shaman could not help her either. One day she heard about a Christian woman who prayed for the sick, so she went to that village. She was baptized after hearing the Word of God. The Christian woman prayed for MM, and her sickness was gone.

Her husband was not happy about her becoming a Christian, and she did not know how to tell him about God. She did not know much about God. All she knew was that she believed in God the Creator, who healed her sickness. She sent her children to summer Bible School because she wanted her children to know about God. At that time I was teaching from TP’s book, Who Is the True God? TP had trained me how to teach non-Christians from his book for this summer Bible school. After a week of teaching, MM’s children decided to accept Jesus as their Savior and were baptized. They were old enough to make their own decisions.

However, the husband/father grew unhappy. He was always angry at them. The wife made a date and asked me to meet with her husband. When I visited their house there were many Buddhist images in their house. We talked about various things. He was a nice man. Then we came to the point that I could tell him about the true God. The husband asked me if there was a true God and if there were any false gods. I told him that there are many false gods. I compared the true God and the false gods. I left him a copy of Who Is the True God?

I went back to my village again the next summer in 2014, to teach in summer Bible school. I also went back to visit MM’s family. I was surprised that I did not see any statues this time. I asked UC, MM’s husband, what happened to the those images. He told me, “After reading Who Is the True God? I realized that I was worshipping false gods. False gods will not save me from the eternal punishment of hell. Now I am a believer.” When he was telling me all about it, I saw tears coming down from MM’s eyes. I was so happy that I thanked God from my heart. They are very happy to be Christians as a family. He told me he was already baptized on August 5, 2013, not long after I met him the first time.

This time we were able to talk about challenges to their faith. They are farmers. They make a living by growing rice. He told me after he became a Christian, all four of his buffalos died. People were saying that the gods were punishing his family. He struggled with the question of why God didn’t keep his buffalos from dying.

Then we discussed about the evil one, which always causes many unpleasant things for Christians and tempts Christians to fall away from worshipping the true God. We prayed together for God’s protection from the evil one. He understands now that they should stay close to God all the time.

This family wants to start a church in their own village, so they have tried to purchase a piece of property for the future church. However, the village authorities would not allow the family to buy the property because they do not allow any foreign religions into the village. I would like to request prayer for UC and MM’s family in this village. Pray they would stay strong in the Lord and have wisdom for their next steps.

 

Appreciation from Anyway!

by Tom Nutt, Director of Operations

I was able to meet Anyway Mupesewa, a young man from Zimbabwe, at the North American Christian Convention last month. GNPI provided a Solar Kit for him to take back to his home country to use in sharing the Gospel there.

I think you’ll agree, he is a delightful young man. His response represents the appreciation we hear expressed from so many (Yet, we aren’t able to record most of them).

We agree with Anyway’s prayer for you, our ministry partners, “May God bless you and keep his face shining upon you. May he watch over your lives, your plans, and be with you all the time.”

 

 

A Smile in South Sudan!

by Bob Nunnally, IT Technician/App Coordinator

BNB

The huge smile on Nora Gen’s face said it all. She had just been given a digital copy of an audio Bible and some GNPI videos she could now play on her new mobile phone. Sharing the audio Scripture with her invalid mother, who was unable to read, would allow her to hear the Gospel in her own Madi language. Nora Gen was also excited because she knew that in the evening, people sitting around their huts would enjoy watching the GNPI videos and other Christian videos that had just been loaded onto her phone. She was eager to use her new phone to share the Good News of Christ with her family and friends.

In my recent trip to South Sudan, I learned that Nora Gen’s story has the potential of being played out all around the world. Mobile phones are penetrating every corner of the globe and becoming prized possessions of people who live in areas with few paved roads, little electricity, and a scarcity of safe drinking water. Missionaries and nationals are taking advantage of this amazing technology to share the Gospel with people who have never heard or may not know how to read. By using their mobile phones, people with little or no education can watch, listen, and share the wonderful news of Jesus with those around them.

 

A Brand New Church

by TP, Regional Director of GNPI-SE Asia

Last week I visited a village for the grand opening of a new church. It encouraged me when I found they are growing in their faith in Christ, and want to be involved in evangelism and Christian ministries.

201405_MMR_Yo-Nu-Dwe_0001

One family asked me to pray for their children to pass an important educational test, which is equal to completing 12 grades with distinction. The head of that family said he is praying that he will be able support a Bible school student next year.

The church leaders requested that we come and teach them once a year and lead an annual Christmas celebration. We also talked about the possibilities of productions in the Kanpetlet chin language with two of the leaders.

These church leaders told us they are growing more and more in Christ through the tools we have produced. They trust our productions and want more. If possible, they want us to produce materials in their language. For this reason, we have talked with a preacher who can teach and preach the Word of God in their language.

If we can organize one tribe after another to influence the young generations by sound doctrine through media productions, God will be glorified. Please pray for us continually.

Not in Vain

by Vince Vigil, Regional Director of GNPI-Uganda

Some days people question why they do what they do, or if there is any benefit in continuing to struggle through with their work. Other days the fruits of the labor are evident, and there is no question that God is at work. We got to experience one in the latter category this month!

Three different ministries came together to serve. Each one of the ministries is absolutely incredible. Yet, when all three of them work together, it is a much richer experience.

sewing ministry visit 2

The ladies from our sewing ministry have been working hard to make clothes and cloth diapers for babies over the past few months. As a celebration of the end of the quarter, they took the time to give these gifts to some people in great need. We transported 30-40 women (in a van and pickup truck) to another local ministry called CURE Hospital. This ministry specifically serves as a neurosurgery hospital treating children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, among other things. Many of these children would not survive if this hospital were not serving the country. The women from our sewing ministry gave each mom a gift bag, sang songs of worship together, and then prayed over each of the children that were there.

sewing ministry visit 3

In the background of this scene, another ministry was also serving with their specific skill set. Two of our guys from GNPI came along to take video footage. Individually, the ministries make a positive impact, but when the skills are used together, the impact is huge.

I don’t know who went away more blessed today, but I know that every life was changed as a result of the day. I pray that God continues to encourage each of these people to share their skills to help each other.

Today was a reminder that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Click here to watch the video of these three ministries working together.

Acceptable Methods For All

by TP, Regional Director of GNPI-SE Asia

We are so thankful for your unceasing prayers. We have been busy preparing evangelistic charts, recording Gospel songs, and revising The Ten Keys for Evangelism.

Please pray for our trainings for evangelists. Without explanation, it is hard for people in SE Asia to understand clearly about the true God. Methods and strategy are essential. If people hear the message we share, God will surely be glorified, and we will see amazing things.

AKL

A man who has a Buddhist background visited my office two days ago. He highly recommends the tools we have produced for evangelism. With the help of these tools, it is possible to convince the hearts of Myanmar people to see the true and living God easily.

The visitor said these methods are acceptable for all, even monks. He was so pleased with these productions that he invited my wife and me to his place to encourage his people. His place is 100 miles away from here.

Thank you very much. May God bless you.

 

 

 

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