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).
By Gustavo Velázquez, Regional Director of GNPI-Mexico
I want to share some feedback from those interacting with our media content on Vimeo and YouTube. No doubt each of these comments motivates us to work with greater enthusiasm and commitment as viewers express their hearts about our ministry.
Freed by Blood (Raziel)
“I just finished watching your video, and I think about my brother’s life. I hope he can change the way you did, of course with the help of God.”
“This man is called Raziel and I have known him very well since childhood. Everything that happens in this video is true. I saw when it started to come together with the greatest people in the neighborhood, Kiko Cano and Vato Alonso Reyno. It gives me great pleasure to see that Raziel has changed. Now he is respected, and I feel great admiration for him as he has proven his transformation shamelessly through this film. I want you to share this video so others can see and share it too.”
“This video made me mourn. It is amazing how God can change the lives of people who were unbelieving. This movie really made me think, and I cried. Thanks to those who made this film.”
“What a beautiful message! It has come at an important time in my life. Thanks for uploading this kind of movie.”
“Beautiful movie! I cried a lot with this movie because this mother tries to do everything to see her son in the way of our Lord. Blessings to the actors, producers, and especially those who see the film, so that the Word of God can penetrate their hearts. Onward, my brothers! “
“I thank God for the creators of these Christian films. I pray that God will bless your ministry together with your families, today and always.”
“The message of this film helped me realize I need to change my life and accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.”
“Great movie for presentation at the parks to youth. God give you more ideas for further work in this ministry in many more problems you have today’s youth. Keep up this great ministry, blessings from Colombia “
“I liked the movie. I did not know about murdering the fetus. This movie is educational, and it is very good to evangelize. Producers, God bless.”
“Congratulations on this excellent film with a message for youth and parents. Move forward in the ministry that God has entrusted to you.”
Promise of Love
“Thanks for uploading this movie. It encouraged me a lot. I’m married, and I know God. I know that one day God will touch the heart of my husband. I know God will keep his promise.”
“What a beautiful film! God always gives us a light and a hope. I was very shocked and wanted a new life too.”
“Terrific post, many young people may say that they are not going to happen, but the reality is very clear. This is a video that reflects the reality that we live in these times “
Continue to pray for us. We will soon be ready to release the third short film No Return. Thank you for partnering with us to provide practical and meaningful Christian messages to Spanish speakers. Blessings!
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.
Kolay came to my office recently. He lives in another township 100 miles away. He wanted to tell me how our Christian media tools are helpful in convincing people of the true God. Kolay shared his own testimony of choosing to follow Christ after being the head of a monastery. He has told many others of Christ.
This is Kolay’s testimony:
My name is Mr. Ko and I’m now 54 years old. I went to a monastery since the age of 9 years old. After I had learned my monastery education for 16 years, I became the head of a monastery.
First, I heard the Gospel from KS. At that time, I did not believe in Jesus Christ. I argued with KS. I told him, “Jesus Christ is a western God, a hooligan, a bad man crucified on the cross.” Later, KS wanted me to listen to the Message from an evangelist who lived in another place. On the way there, we had a motorcycle accident, and I injured my head and was sent to a hospital. I knew nothing for three days in the hospital. At that time, I was taken by a man to Heaven, and he let me see the houses. There I saw Jesus Christ, who told me, “I am the one you called a western God, a hooligan, a bad man crucified on the cross. See, I built these houses, and I will make one for you too. Yet, you cannot stay here now. You must go back to the earth.” After going back to my house from the hospital, I really did not believe in Jesus Christ, but I took baptism. As soon as I took baptism, UM sent me to a Bible school and paid all the costs for me.
In 2000, I finished my studies at the Bible school. James 1:27 had touched my heart, so I started an orphanage. In 1998, I read a tract, For You, written by TP. It introduced Christ and Christians to Buddhists simply. In 2011, I received A Handbook for Evangelism and last year, I also received Who Is the True God from a preacher. These materials help believers and non believers understand about the true and living God. With the help of these resources, I am evangelizing Dr. KMA, a liver specialist in our capital city. He accepted Christ and took baptism. I discussed with seven monks about the true God. One of them has accepted Christ. I gave him a Bible and the other tools. He said, “I really believe in Jesus Christ as the living and true God. What should I do because now my age is over 85 years old?”
It is exciting to see people of all ages coming to Christ. Thank you very much for your unceasing prayers. Because of your prayers, God is working wonderfully among the people in this region.
by Manee Massey, Regional Director of GNPI-Damoh, India
We want to share some of the new developments happening in India. One of the major national satellite channels, Sadhna TV, contacted us regarding the broadcast of our TV series Nav-Chetna, based on the problems of youth. We thought that this would be a great opportunity for us since their channel has a vast national viewership. According to their terms and conditions, we will have to pay a fee for broadcast. The fee includes three one-minute slots for advertisements. The whole staff spent hours praying about it, and everyone felt that it was the right decision.
We accepted their offer. By the grace of God, we have found three sponsors who are willing to cover the broadcast fee. We have a weekly, prime time slot that started on Sunday night, August 3, and runs for the next 13 weeks.
While discussing the details of the first TV series, we also mentioned the possibility of another TV series based on the problems that families face. They immediately liked the idea and asked us to send a pilot within a week. We were already in process of preparing the scripts for this series. Considering the opportunities in the future, we started shooting the pilot immediately using local actors.
One good thing about this is that the channel has accepted our request to close each episode with a Bible verse that is related to the subject. I will keep you informed with future developments. Please pray that the broadcast of Nav-Chetna touches many hearts.
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)
It’s been said that those who fail to read history are doomed to repeat it.
I received word this week from a colleague in Ukraine about a wonderful opportunity to share God’s Word in public schools there. Yes, you read correctly – in the public schools of atheistic, post-communist, eastern Europe! Here is some of what this colleague shared:
“…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, about Scripture as his revelation for us, and 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!”
Only a small percentage of American schools would welcome a strong presentation of God and his Scriptures as the plumb line for human ethics! Yet, only one teacher, in what we see as an environment highly resistant to God’s Word, had any objection. Yes, the tide is turning and some are asking, “Is history repeating itself?”
In the many US churches I visit, I often share about opportunities our centers throughout the world have to replicate what you’ve read above. In Ukrainian public schools, at Kenyan political rallies, on South African public television stations – God is opening doors for the spread of his Gospel.
People in the congregations hosting me often say, “Hey, we need to see productions like this in our schools – we need our politicians and television networks showing them!” Isn’t it ironic that 90 percent of GNPI’s financial and prayer support comes from the United States, yet we’re seeing the most impact through open doors in other nations – even atheistic, post communist Ukraine?
I’m so proud of each of you who support our global evangelism efforts! You’re taking the blessings God is giving us here, in this nation, and using them to plant seeds in other parts of the world. Those seeds are growing into a bountiful harvest!
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.