by guest bloggers, Victor Knowles and Don Lucietta, GNPI Board Members
“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
How often does one get to pray live with Christians from eight different nations?
That was my privilege and honor recently when I attended a well-planned, and smoothly executed, International Hour of Prayer at the home office of GNPI in Joplin, Missouri. It was a joy to “watch and pray” with leaders and teams from the nine regional centers of GNPI around the world. To see their faces, hear their voices, and sense their passion for the Lord as they prayed for one another was truly a beautiful thing.
I also was eager to be present for the “world-wide” International Hour of Prayer with my brothers and sisters at the many GNPI regional centers around the world. I live 45 minutes away from the GNPI office in Joplin, Missouri. Some would say “What? You drove 45 miles one way just to pray? Couldn’t you have prayed at home?”
Certainly God would hear my prayer, from my farm office in Barton County, as clearly as he could from Joplin, Missouri. However, the staff at GNPI had connected all of their regional centers with those of us in the conference room at GNPI live-linked in real time.
There were some incredibly sweet moments; one, particularly encouraging, came when each member of the team in SE Asia all prayed at once, out loud, in their heart language for the team in the Philippines. Another was when heartfelt smiles could be seen around the room as we were reminded of our dear brother Deepak, now at home with the Father.
Some day all our prayers will be nothing but praise when we meet around the throne of the Lamb, but for one brief hour—truly a “sweet hour of prayer” as Don DeWelt used to say—it was tremendously uplifting to join together in lifting up our hearts before the Lord.
Here’s a little taste of what it was like:
Thanks to all of you who prayed with us that hour. And thank you Victor and Don for sharing in that morning with us.
As the psalmist declared, “How good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Bobby works with Care India, an NGO that has been working in India for over 60 years. They are part of the CARE International Confederation, working in 84 countries for a world where all people live in dignity and security. Through programs in health, education, livelihoods, and disaster preparedness and response, they focus on ending poverty and social injustice. Their overall goal is to empower women and girls, from poor and marginalised communities, to improve their lives and livelihoods.
Bobby was at this year’s ICOM a few weeks ago and he stopped by the GNPI booth. He attended NOMaD training in India. He wants to use this training…well, listen to him tell you.
by guest blogger Scott Smith, Pastor of Wellspring Church, Webb City, MO
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” Psalm 105:1
We live in a truly amazing time. For the first time in all of history, technology has given us the opportunity to make known what the Lord has done to all nations. Good News Productions, International (GNPI) is leading the way in leveraging resources and technology for the sake of the Gospel throughout the world. Through their regional centers, GNPI is taking the timeless message of the Gospel to every corner of the globe through cutting-edge technology.
Along with the staff at GNPI’s office in Joplin, Missouri, we were joined through the power of technology with every GNPI regional center for an hour of prayer. As we virtually made our way around the world, each regional center would intercede for the staff of another regional center based in another city, country, or even continent. The result was people from all around the globe, coming together to praise the name of the Lord and ask for his favor as they take the Gospel to people who desperately need to hear “what the Lord has done.”
As a pastor, I regularly remind our church that our mission starts on Sunday morning when we are gathered; but it must not end there. We are commanded, as followers of Christ, to take the Gospel to the nations. One of the ways our church is doing just that is through our partnership with GNPI.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1 (NIV)
Prayer has always been a crucial part of the ministry of GNPI, but for the last two years we have focused on it even more. That is because we believe we can do nothing without God’s guidance and help. Maybe we shouldn’t be so amazed when God answers our prayers in such tender, yet powerful ways, but over and over again…we have been amazed.
Tomorrow, December 3, beginning at 8:00 am Central Time, the entire network of regional centers and their staff, plus those of us in Joplin, will join together via the Internet to pray for each other. We would like to invite you to join your prayers with ours during that time. At your desk, at your breakfast table, on your couch, in your car—wherever you might be during that time, would you lift your voice in harmony with ours to the Father on behalf of the ministry of GNPI?
We call it an International Hour Of Prayer – or IHOP. No, we don’t serve pancakes, but we come away just as full, full of the glory of God and full of thanksgiving for the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing around the world.
We will be posting live on Facebook, so you can join us there.
In November of last year, we held our first IHOP. We were so blessed, and we look forward to tomorrow with great anticipation! Thank you for partnering with us and joining us as we give thanks, boldly approaching the throne with our concerns and petitions.
If you would like to see a video recap of last year’s IHOP, watch the short video below.
by Sergei Golovin, Regional Director, GNPI-Ukraine
I am amazed how many opportunities to praise the Lord that difficult times provide! Over and over again it reminds us of accounts from the book of Acts when the believers were dispersed by secular powers, resulting in the spreading of the kingdom instead of its destruction.
Three Strategic Advancements
September started with a great trip to Zhitomir, a region we had never visited before. A trip like this would be exciting even in usual circumstances, but in a given situation it was even more exciting, as well as a great encouragement for us. We were able to serve on three strategically important levels. First of all, there was a group of volunteers – passionate, national leaders who are using our materials for the development of creation/worldview evangelism in the region. It was also a great joy for them and for us to discuss ministry opportunities, develop the vision and strategy for their work as Eurasian Apologetics Society coordinators, as well as future partnership and training. Please keep this vanguard of the spreading of God’s Word in the region in your prayers.
On the next level there were seminars for believers about the urgent need of a biblical strategy for shaping the worldview of the next generation. It was attended by ministers, youth pastors, and group leaders of various churches of the region. The material was received with great interest and motivation. An elderly minister, who had spent two terms in communist camps for his faith, came forward at the end and shared how much they had missed out on this kind of training before the collapse of communism and how much easier it would have been to spread the Good News if they had had such resources available back then. We were all deeply touched! Please pray for the brethren of Zhitomir and for the spread of the Truth of God in the region.
Finally, the most exciting opportunity of the trip was an invitation by the city education department to address public (state) school humanities teachers on “a common foundation for public ethics.” This opened a door to speak openly about God’s nature and his plan as the only reliable foundation for any ethical system, as well as about Scripture as his revelation for us about creation and our role and purpose in it. Only one lady out of the entire audience was unhappy about us “presenting only one view and only one religion instead of all of them” (please pray for her – something in her heart is resistant to admit the truth). However, other teachers were very open for the message – times of trouble make people search for the truth and hope desperately, and we have an exciting opportunity to share it. Please pray for the seeds planted among school teachers – people who will have the greatest impact on the next generation!
Moving Forward, Even Without a Car
After Zhitomir, the next place we went to was Crimea. I would hesitate to share some details of the trip for security reasons, but it was, as a whole, successful and useful, all things considered. We had a great opportunity to see and encourage the team, to evaluate the situation and the challenges that it brings, and to retrieve some winter clothing. It was a great reunion with the staff there, challenges and opportunities, evaluation and strategic planning, as well as a possibility to comfort and encourage many friends.
A Home Away from Home
We agreed that in God’s providence the ministry had been well prepared for the move of the office to Kiev. According to our leadership development plan, we already had two offices, so one of them just moved to the mainland. The Crimean office will continue to ship books and disks (our warehouses are still there) as well as Website management and development. They are going to provide more training for the body of believers in that region, as well as exploring new opportunities of equipping the saints for using media in evangelism, as well as expanding the ministry to mainland Russia. We will put special emphasis on training believers for Internet ministries development – through blogging, podcasts, social networks, etc. Our goal will be to develop an army of online evangelists! Please pray for that development.
After the visit we returned to Kiev, where our part of the team (Olga, I, our daughters, and many volunteers) continued to provide the ministry coordination, supply both ministry needs and personal needs for the Crimean team, as well as going on with teaching and training in mainland Ukraine. I already have quite a full teaching schedule till the end of the year.
Another exciting piece of news: our brand new project, Reliable Foundations Club, has started! People from several churches came to the first meeting; some were accompanied by their unbelieving friends. Online podcast made the club session available to many more people despite borders and wars. Praised be the Lord for the gift of modern technologies that allow the spreading of the message so effectively! The issue of the club season, The Good Creator of an Evil World, touches everyone personally, especially in these days in our part of the world. That is why deep and intensive discussion followed the presentation. It allowed us to better show God’s initial plan for the world (as it is revealed in Genesis 1-2, fulfilled in Jesus, and reaching its complete fulfillment soon) as the only true foundation that provides a proper understanding of the issues of evil and suffering. The meeting continued late into the night, but people were not going home until almost an hour after that, and continued discussions in groups. They earnestly requested that the club should continue and promised to spread the message about it more widely. So, we are making preparations for the next session. Please pray with us for them.
There are still a lot of uncertainties. However, the spread of the Truth is continuing! May the name of the Lord be glorified!
When I hear these words, I know something important is about to happen. Typically it means there is an announcement for the staff, but sometimes it means something more significant is about to take place: prayer. The first time I experienced an ‘all call’ for prayer I was humbled. It didn’t matter what everyone was doing, they came from their desk, their meetings, and gathered in the conference room.
Since my coming to GNPI last summer, I have been amazed time and time again what prayer means to this organization. Every morning we as a staff gather to pray: pray for those hurting in our community, for each other, for missionaries, for conflict in other countries, and for the Word of God to spread to all corners of the earth.
Because we at GNPI believe in the power of prayer, we make it a priority. Every week we post in our Group 5•16 blog, informing our friends and supporters about the prayer needs within GNPI’s network. I encourage you to look it up at http://gnpi.org/category/group-5•16.
One extra special time of prayer was last November when we used the Internet to join all of our regional centers together for an hour of prayer. Each center was prayed for by someone from a different regional center. Some prayed in English, and some prayed in their heart language. Even though thousands of miles separate us physically, the Internet connected us visually and the Holy Spirit connected our hearts.
As God’s sons and daughters, we can impact our world with our prayers. When thinking about prayer, What if His People Prayed by Casting Crowns comes to mind. Think about these lyrics:
What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His face
And turn from their own way
He said that they would hear
His promise has been made
He’s answered loud and clear, Yeah
If only we would pray
Whatever you’re doing right now, would you consider joining me in an ‘all call’ for prayer? Take a few moments to pray: pray for whatever God places on your heart. Imagine the difference we can make in this world if we would simply pray.
by Eddie Gonzalez, Christian Worker in South Sudan
This Team Expansion worker is convinced of the need to use technology to reach people with the Gospel. GNPI is thankful to partner with Eddie and his team in their growing ministry.
How do you get the Gospel in the hands of those who cannot read?
How do you expand a goal of reaching not one hundred, but one hundred thousand people?
How do you find a tool for discipling those around you, when there are over five different languages spoken within one town?
The right tool is needed to be able to communicate even basic evangelism and basic discipleship when the obstacles are great. That is why our team is excited about distributing audio files. The audio Bible, in various tribal languages, can be given within a device the size of the tip of your finger… an SD card. People can Bluetooth, or file transfer, discipleship teachings and audio Bibles within minutes. It can spread like wildfire throughout the active electronic networks of the people in this country! Villages are already humming with music from radios and cell phones – the audience is already gathered!
An audio file is not constricted by illiteracy, it can be distributed at no cost, and it is not a book to be torn or worn. Our team has a big vision for spreading recorded teachings and audio Bibles throughout this country. It has already begun with our vendors in the market, neighbors, officials we meet at the border, and chaplains in the army.
Long after we leave, these files can keep spreading. Long after the sun goes down on a village without electricity, they can keep listening. Pray that the people who hear the audio Bibles will share them with others and produce fruit in their lives. Pray for us to produce good teaching.
Many times I have traveled to other countries, and you never know what to expect. You try to keep an open mind and be ready to adapt to any situation you might find yourself in. I recently had the opportunity to travel and be part of a unique experience along with my co-worker, Stan.
One principle at the core of the ministry of GNPI is cultural relevance. We talk about culture in countries other than the US. The GNPI-Thai team was invited to film the testimony of a Thai-American dentist living in St. Paul, MN. It was a rare and interesting opportunity for them to offer a reversal for our US mindset of missions and show us what cultural relevance looks like as our Thai co-workers did “missions work” in Minnesota.
Watch this video and I think you’ll understand.
Romans 12 comes to mind for many reasons to help describe my feelings regarding this team and their commitment to follow God’s will and show God’s love in a country other than Thailand.
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
So many of you participated in the Beyond Ourselves campaign, and for that we are truly grateful. To date, we’ve collected 93 percent of all pledges made toward the campaign – a wonderful testimony to your generosity and faithfulness to the legacy of GNPI. Eighty-five percent of churches who made a pledge have fulfilled their commitments.
You’ve helped continue a nearly 40-year legacy of ministry through the creation of NOMaD teams, helping complete projects like The Global Gospel, and upgrading the production capability of our regional centers.
Bob Sartoris, GNPI’s international director, recently traveled to Mexico to deliver some new equipment to the team there. They wanted to say “Thank you” for your generosity, so they shot this short video.