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Connecting the Dots

Has God ever connected important dots for you? He did for me not long ago.

In 2002, before I left my time of service at GNPI-Kenya in Nairobi, GNPI International Director Bob Sartoris (then production manager at GNPI-Kenya) asked me an important question.

“Mike, before you leave Kenya and resettle in the States next year, what one message would you like to leave with the Kenyan Church?”

That question birthed the production of the Swahili film, Dume Halisi (Fatherhood).

The film stresses God’s desire for African men to tend to the physical and spiritual needs of their wives and children. “Of course,” you say, but in Africa, wives were viewed only as “assets” and a means to produce children. It was a far cry from God’s design.

This film, completed using local actors, was added to dozens of Swahili films produced through GNPI-Africa’s partnerships with missionaries and African evangelists over the past two decades. I hadn’t fully realized the impact possible from these films until just recently.

A few months ago we received word from Joss, a Tanzanian evangelist. Joss said,

“Many men from the Mangat tribe here in Tanzania saw the need to change their lives after watching Dume Halisi produced by GNPI in Nairobi, Kenya. Though the film focuses mainly on men, women too felt touched by the film.”

People were not just touched by the film; they were changed.

“In all, 17 people gave their lives to Christ that day. One girl, who had been raped by her father years ago, forgave him on that very day,” Joss said.

The impact of media resounds long after the last scene of a film is produced. Eleven years later, Dume Halisi is still proclaiming biblical and relevant teaching about marriage and family.

Christ-centered media is remembered. It knows no bounds and often travels hundreds of miles across national borders to touch the eternal destiny of people we’ll never meet.

 

Only God can connect such dots!

 

A Kingdom Shaker’s Journey (Part Two)

Samantha Allgood recently spent an extended time at GNPI-SE Asia where she helped with some English translation projects. Samantha gained some valuable insights into the culture. Regional Director TP explains how he started in ministry and why he began to partner with GNPI. Please click here to see A Kingdom Shaker’s Journey (Part One).

by Guest Blogger, Samantha Allgood, a student in British Columbia at the Canadian Institute of Linguistics.

 Front of teach field in Kualalumpur

TP began his evangelism work in 1993. “I just shared what I knew,” he says in a simple, matter-of-fact way. At the time, he began his studies at a Bible Institute in SE Asia, while his wife and family of three years remained in one of the northern towns. Previously, TP studied at a regional college (1979-1981) and and a university (1982-1986), where he majored in zoology and was a top student and organization leader within his student body. To continue at the Bible college, he quit his current job as a state-appointed high school teacher and volunteer middle school teacher where he taught biology, science, and English. He was supported financially by another family and the help of a Christian ministry. This was a blessing since TP no longer had any income and spent the leisure time he had outside of school evangelizing surrounding villages on his bicycle, with the help of a few friends.  Within two years, thirty Buddhists had turned from their old ways to accept Christ as Lord and Savior through TP’s faithful witness.

However, TP wasn’t satisfied. He wanted new ways to reach more people more effectively.“Oh Lord, the way I’m evangelizing is impossible to influence this country,” he cried out. Quietly, in his heart, TP prayed for a way to evangelize more than 10,000 times what he was currently capable of with what he had. Some years later, after holding his own teaching posts at two colleges, then furthering his biblical study in Ohio at Cincinnati Christian University, God answered the prayer of his heart. The Lord opened a door for TP to partner with Good News Productions International (GNPI) in running the GNPI-SE Asia production studio where he had full access to the creation of the evangelism materials that would indeed reach 10,000 times the eyes and ears of his previous ministry.

TP first met the director of GNPI while crossing paths at a missions conference in Thailand. “I believe God chose me,” TP shares, as he reflected upon his gratitude to be selected by GNPI. They joined in the shared vision, and via GNPI, TP has since completed over 100 projects. Most are evangelism tools in Burmese – including charts, tracts, and published books – while others involve the testimonies and Gospel songs for 29 tribal languages within SE Asia.

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“That is the most effective way to spread the Gospel. Through this Gospel, this nation will transform,” TP explains of the material production and their distribution/training plans.  “Through this work, God will transform people. If people hear this personally, the Holy Spirit [will] start working effectively, and they will stop giving food to the monks, they will stop trusting monks … if SE Asia will transform, the other nations will see us.” TP references the fact that this region is the leader among the Theravada Buddhist countries.

Though, as in every work, “There are temptations,” TP notes. “God opened the door to move our family to the United States after 2000,” he reflects.  An opportunity most would jump at proved a difficult decision for TP. He was “praying and thinking, praying and thinking, should we move or not…?” He knew of the comforts and amazing opportunities that awaited in the States, even very fruitful opportunities for ministry, and he also knew of the benefits for his children. Yet it came down to the fact that God had entrusted him with the ministry he had prayed for in SE Asia, the one that had burned in his heart.  “My heart was [at] peace and convinced, we should not move,” he decided. He knew where he needed to stay.  

As TP continues the great harvest in SE Asia, he invites your prayers for continued revival, for provision for the necessary resources and funds for his studio work, and for more Christians to join in this task. “God listened to my prayers … God fulfilled my prayers,” TP reflects in gratitude. The great God we serve together as laborers in the harvest will surely delight in harkening unto your prayers too.

Next Generation Partners

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. — 2 Timothy 2:2

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Though not her native tongue, Angela shared in perfect English her hopes and dreams as a new international student attending Bible college. It was memorable how she started addressing our staff by saying she thought her father was handsome on the cover of our newsletter, and she wanted to go to college in order to help her father in ministry!

This is not uncommon in our experience with GNPI’s international leaders. Many times their children “catch” their passion for media and naturally help reach others. These “family traditions” are building in Angela’s home in Southeast Asia, as well as in Ukraine, Kenya, Mexico, and Thailand.

 

God’s Word is true. The passage we find in 2 Timothy 2:2 is being played out in real time, with real families. It’s an exciting story about a new generation of “living letters,” and it is creating confidence in the next generation.

A Kingdom Shaker’s Journey (Part One)

Samantha Allgood recently spent an extended time at GNPI-SE Asia where she helped with some English translation projects. She interviewed Regional Director TP about why he changed his approach in sharing with Buddhists. Samantha gained some valuable insights into the culture.

by Guest Blogger, Samantha Allgood, a student in British Columbia at the Canadian Institute of Linguistics. 

Samantha

“Everyday, day and night, day and night, I am thinking this – only this,” says evangelist TP, regarding his mission to spread the Gospel to his fellow countrymen in Myanmar.  As regional director of GNPI-SE Asia, TP plays a key role in developing effective evangelistic tools and strategies to reach this Buddhist nation.

“Every Buddhist wants to worship the True God, but they don’t know what Gautama taught his followers. They don’t know how to worship the true God,” TP explains of Theravada Buddhists. Those who elevated Prince Siddhartha (Gautama) to the position of “Buddha,” the position of “god,” failed to grasp Gautama’s true message. “No, Gautama is not Buddha. Gautama himself [sought] the Buddha,” TP clarifies. TP believes that the key to Buddhist evangelism is leading one to question who the “true Buddha,” or the “true God,” may be, pointing one to correct worship.

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In Gautama’s seeking, he taught his followers five attributes that the “true Buddha” must possess: 1) The true Buddha must be free from sexual relationships, 2) He must have power over spirits, 3) He must overcome death, 4) His body must not decay, and 5) He must have power over nature. By these standards, a Christian would recognize that Jesus Christ perfectly meets these qualifications. 

During the early years of his ministry, TP recalls going village to village talking with the pagoda elders and the head of Buddhist monasteries.  “Do you hate Islam?” he asked. They said they did. “Do you hate Christians?”  he continued. They said no; they said Christians were good. To this, TP replied that he, himself, was a Christian and asked if he could share with them about Christ. They didn’t they want to hear of Christ that day because they said, “Christ is a western God, Christianity is a western religion…” “We have our own god – Buddha. We have our own religion.”

lump in throat

However, when TP asked his next question: “Shall we discuss about the true Buddha?” The resounding answer was ‘yes!’ Everyone at one such monastery was interested and many accepted Christ that day. Even the monastery head was convinced.

Please read A Kingdom Shaker’s Journey (Part Two) now.

A Constant Memorial

By Robert Gurwell of GNPI-Mexico

This communion meditation was recorded on location in Mexico. It contrasts the mission, message, and method of Spanish influence of the ruins at the St. Bernard Mission to the constant memorial that our Lord Jesus left for us. The ruins will never again be raised up to welcome Spanish rule in Mexico and Latin America. However, the Lord’s Supper not only speaks of Jesus’ sacrifice, it also continues to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and points forward to our welcome into heaven.

 

 

Feel free to download and use this video in your church service. If you have need for a Spanish version, it is also available.

download and use this video

also available in Spanish

Touching Lives in India

Caste systems don’t show humanity’s brighter side. They combine racial, religious, and economic discrimination into one brutal package.This was never the plan of God.

His plan is what our staff in India has actively undertaken – India reaching out to those who are from the low caste. Others call them outcasts or untouchables. GNPI knows they are like the sick, dying, and marginalized people Jesus touched. Those who were banished and condemned by society were exactly the people Jesus embraced.

GNPI’s staff in India has a vision for kingdom unity that crosses man-made boundaries and touches all of humanity. The people they hire, the people in their neighborhoods, and the people who see their productions are people who, many times, are without hope or love.

Our staff in Damoh is also training others who share this vision. To see for yourself, be sure to see this week’s feature, The Generation Gap. It’s the first project of a young NOMaD team. Each of them converted from Hindu backgrounds. The topic of this video project is the generation gap in Indian families between young people and parents. The team come up with their own idea and script. We really appreciate their effort, production quality, and eagerness for further training.

Thank you for helping make a difference by touching lives for Christ in India!

Highlights from Our Special Guest at Vision Night 2015 in Joplin

Our special guest for Vision Night 2015, Sergei Golovin of GNPI-Ukraine, shares a few highlights about what the Lord has done in his life and ministry. We were blessed with a full-capacity crowd.

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For more than half of my life (until age 30), I did not know Christ and was not interested in the Bible. The Lord forced me to read it by sending me up to the North Pole alone with nothing to read but the Bible. Reading it revealed to me both the Truth and what were the obstacles that kept me from accepting it earlier. Since then, I have been working on removing those obstacles for other people in my part of the world.

Media always works as a great tool for accelerating evangelism, church edification, and leadership training. For many regions, media is the only way to do it. Those areas are regions where Christian gatherings, and/or Christian books, are prohibited (like Central Asian countries), or where traveling is limited (like remote areas and regions under siege). This experience of using media made us perfectly prepared for the drastic changes in our part of the world.

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The fighting has changed our country. Crimea is occupied, the East is under fire. Yet, we see a great change of mentality in the people. Ukraine is becoming a nation of free, responsible people who are able to recognize good from wrong and resist the oppression, even if a high price has to be paid. We are proud to say that our ministry made an impact on shaping the worldview of the nation through teaching the Church to take a strong stand in the Word of God and to be a prophetic voice to the nation and our leaders.

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Our next Vision Night events are on March 24 in Indianapolis, IN; and on March 27 in Phoenix, AZ. Register at www.gnpi.org/visionnight.

 

Holy Ground

We have so much in America: freedom of speech, freedom to travel, and freedom of worship. I forget that simply isn’t the case in much of the world. In more than 50 nations around the world, it’s not safe to wear the name of Christ.

I was reminded afresh of my “unalienable rights” recently while traveling internationally. The discussion, in a highly guarded room, turned to persecution.

Honestly, I was overwhelmed. I felt I needed to leave (and I did). The room’s polished wooden floor was suddenly host to the suffering church, sharing her trials, and I did not feel worthy to be present.

I do not know what they discussed, but I know now more than ever the importance of the task God has given GNPI. Media is one way the Message of God can go forth and touch hearts in places where freedom of speech is wishful thinking, the freedom to travel doesn’t exist, and worshipping Christ can cost you everything in this life.

In so many places around the world, following Christ is risky and requires counting the cost. As I studied the wooden floor and felt unworthy to be in the room, it felt like I was on holy ground.

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