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Cultural Reversal

By Bryan S. Lawler, Creative Project Coordinator

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)

The Boundless Gospel

The Good News of Jesus knows no bounds. That, in and of itself, is “good news!”

The fact that the Gospel is boundless means no heart is too hard, no nation too impenetrable, and no worldview too complex for the simple gifts of grace and forgiveness God offers freely. His love for people of all nations allows these mercies to break through any barrier!

At GNPI this year, we’re celebrating the boundless energy and reach of the Good News of Jesus. We want to share stories throughout the year of the unshakeable commitment, unwavering faith, unquenchable thirst, and unending joy we’re finding in people throughout the globe being touched by his wonderful power.

Highlighting this theme of “Boundless” for 2015, we’re bringing a special guest for our annual Vision Night events in March (register at www.gnpi.org/visionnight). Sergei Golovin, our regional director of GNPI-Ukraine, will be with us to share how God is using apparent adversity to multiply the impact of our ministry in that part of the world.

Sergei is a prime example of an unshakeable commitment. He’s an internally displaced person, or IDP – a name given to those who’ve had to flee from their homeland because of fighting or conflict. Skirmishes in Crimea, where our center is located, has caused him to seek refuge out of Simperofol, now annexed by Russia.

Despite Sergei’s physical presence in the office in Simpferopol, the staff in Crimea is still producing culturally relevant media. Sergei is now expanding his work in a different location that will continue to reach the people in Ukraine. He’s always seen media as a way to reach people beyond his borders, knowing that with technology God’s Word is boundless!

Recently Sergei shared an email to illustrate this point:
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Dear Mike, I long to share an attached picture with you. Most probably it is done with a simple cell phone. It may not look fancy, has a low resolution, and you will not see anybody’s face on it. Yet, it brings a great joy to my heart. I received it from our coordinator at Central Asia. The picture is taken in a restricted country where one can be arrested and fined for having Christian literature, or one can be sentenced to ten years imprisonment just for having a second copy of the Bible at home (that would be considered as storing and distributing). However, media resources we provide online allow us to avoid all the restrictions. All these people are taking courses of the Apologetics School due to the opportunities media provides. What a joy to be a part of that great ministry!

You see, it doesn’t matter much to Sergei where he’s located. To him, the Good News is boundless. Because of that, he – like so many others in our network – will continue to share the Gospel, regardless of the restrictions and challenges.

A Tremendous Trip! (Part One)

This will be the first of a two part series about a rigorous and exciting trip to train evangelists in new regions.

By PD of GNPI-SE Asia

Our GNPI team recently had a great privilege to go to a new city in the southeastern part of the region for training evangelists. We were invited by pastors and evangelists from different denominations, who are ministering in that region. They requested that we show them what GNPI has produced and teach them how to use the tools effectively in the ministry of evangelism.

Our group had six people and a guest who was from the northern part of our country. Our guest was interested in learning the technique of GNPI in order to penetrate the Gospel to the people who live in his region, so we invited him to go along with us. Our group traveled on the bus the whole night.
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The next day we proceeded to drive up a mountain range. The way was rough and winding. All cars, buses, and vans had to line up single file because the road was so narrow that only one vehicle at a time could pass. Because of the one-way road, it took a whole day for ascending and another whole day for descending.

Once we arrived, a pastor met us with his car and escorted us to the church. All the church members warmly welcomed us. We had time to meet some ministers and evangelists there and rested on that day. All pastors of different denominations nearby were invited to the training at the church.

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The next day, we had training for evangelists. The training was targeted to Christian ministers, evangelists, church pastors, and believers. We all expect that after they have a chance to learn the technique of how to witness to non-believers, everyone will be witnessing and winning the lost souls where ever he or she is. In addition, some non-believers and recently converted also came and listened to the Message. The training was started in the morning with worship songs and prayer. Regional Director TP was the key person who taught about the True God to whom every creature must worship.

The class was so good that everyone who came and listened to the teaching was interested in the Message. The class went on until noon and took lunch break. The church served lunch to those who presented that day. Then afternoon session started with singing and praising. TP continued teaching until 3:00 p.m. When the teaching was over, our group members had the privilege to do a few interviews with some of the people who came on that day.

The ministers of the churches and evangelists also confessed that they were refreshed and opened their minds to share the Gospel in an acceptable way among Buddhists. They told us, “What you have produced is really helpful in sharing the Gospel with Buddhists! We are very happy for what you have done.”

We were invited to many other places to share. However, time was too limited for us to go to every place that invited us.

Please watch for the story about the rest of our trip next week. A Tremendous Trip (Part Two)

 

A Christmas Program to Remember

By Manee Massey, Regional Director of GNPI-Damoh, India

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Greetings from Damoh! We are pleased to report that our Christmas program was broadcast on December 24 at 6:00 p.m. on the Sahara Channel with an approximate viewership of 40 million.

The program included two music videos with a Western-Indian mix of Christmas songs and also a Christmas message by Dr. Ajai Lall. Christian youth from a local college performed on both music videos.

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Before the telecast, we used Facebook and social Websites to tell as many people as possible about the program. We also used text messages to many contacts.

One of the responses we received was from a preacher, Mr. Patras. He said he decided to show this live program to his congregation, and he also invited many non-Christian neighbors. It opened dialog with the congregation and these non-Christian families as they learned about the birth of Christ and the Message of Christmas. These families also enjoyed some cake and tea afterwards. I am sure many other pastors were showing videos in their homes and inviting their friends.

May this program be a gift that continues giving hope to the people of India.

Feedback for Sergei

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Sergei Golovin, regional director of GNPI-­Ukraine, is a passionate teacher. His students share what they learned from two of his courses.

Feedback on the Biblical Strategy of Evangelism Video Course

“Thank you so much for the hope you have given us by teaching the course and presenting the video! I have been praying for such an opportunity for so long. As for the video, the true meaning of the parable of the sower was a revelation for me; I read the parable many times, but never understood it fully. I now have an idea of true evangelism and a passion to master my skills in it. I have become more caring towards the lost people. Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to turn from a ‘hopping caterpillar’ into a ‘butterfly.’ ” — Tatyana

“I enjoyed the video course very much! Sergei himself is a very interesting and motivating speaker because he is well aware and deeply convinced in the subject he teaches. He moves forward in his ministry freely and naturally. This is what I am longing for as well. Such people are the most effective evangelists, who encourage others by being a model of freedom, confidence, and peace. The idea of demolishing the non­believers’ worldview strongholds is something I am truly fond of.” — Yelena

“Thank you so much for the course. The illustrations of caterpillars turning into butterflies and the roof making the foundation of the house are very effective.” — Tamara

“It was useful to understand that evangelism is the art of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, just like Philip did.” — Igor

“It was very important to learn that effective evangelism depends on listening and understanding people, understanding what holds someone back from accepting Jesus. Evangelism is an art that requires skills and needs to be studied.” — Galina

“I liked the illustration with the hopping caterpillar. It is very impressive.” — Valentina

“It was new for me to hear that evangelism is an art you need to learn. Thank you very much!” — David

“It was useful to learn that evangelism is the art of listening, not speaking, and it requires certain skills. It is important to give the right answers to non­believers.” — Yelena

“I liked the course very much. It is simple and easy to understand. Issues that trouble me were well illustrated. I received answers to my questions. Thank you.” — Anna

“The video helped me understand that evangelism means playing on foreign turf and requires work on preparing the soil.” — Lubov

“The video materials were very useful for me. I realized I am still an infant in Christ. I need to be fed well with spiritual food as a caterpillar, to build a strong foundation, to learn the art of listening, building bridges, and destroying strongholds.” — Yana

“It was important to learn that evangelism is a commission, not only for the chosen ones, but for every believer in Christ. Yet, evangelism requires certain learning. We should become friends with those we share the Good News with, giving them an opportunity to talk in order to share the Truth according to their mind set. Each person needs an individual approach, needs to be treated with love and patience. Our lives have to reflect the Truth for other people to see the change in us, to make them ask questions. Having asked the question they become “hostages” of our answer. We need to pray for the people God sends to us, pray for their relationships with God, and study the Scriptures constantly.”— Marina

Students 10

Feedback on the Biblical Foundations for Science Video Course

“I found out a lot of new facts. It was remarkable to learn that many scientists were theologians.”— Tamara

“I learned so much about science and became even more confident in everything I knew about the days of creation, as well as about Darwin. I found out that modern science originated from a Christian worldview, and that the more atheists try to prove God doesn’t exist, the more evidences they get for the opposite. I will use everything I learned for evangelism.”— Rada

“It was interesting to hear that Isaac Newton was a theologian, that science was considered a part of theology ,and it was founded by Christians. It is amazing that God created everything in six days.”— Nikita

“It was interesting to learn that modern science was founded by theologians and many scientists were clergymen. The discoveries of scientists prove the existence of God.”— Raya

“It was interesting to find out that Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton were theologians and devout believers in the first place. Videos like this help me discover the Creator through his creation. Darwinism teaches that death has always existed, but the biblical science claims that death did not exist initially and will not exist forever.”— Valentina

“All of my knowledge about science is now systematized and formed into strong beliefs.” — Tatyana

“Everything is formed into one logically constructed system in my head now. It sounded very new to me that science is based on faith. It was good to know that effective evangelism is based on one’s personal confidence in Truth.” — Yelena

“It was new to hear that God really created the world in six days, and that time periods like millions of years contradict the Scripture. It was interesting to find out that many scientists were theologians.” — Galina

“Exploring the world by means of such resources, I get to know God closer. I am discovering God and myself through his creation. Now I know that atheism is a superstition. I look forward to sharing that with others in evangelism and want to see their reaction.” — Khvon

“The video helped me learn a lot. I found out about Darwinism as a religion, and that it was used by the Bolsheviks to destroy faith in many. Science and religion are complementary to each other. I discover God by exploring the world.” — Lubov

“Thank you very much for the video course. I found out about apologetics. It helped me learn more about God, the purpose of his creation, and the proper way to evangelize.” — Ludmila

A Great Victory!

by Sergei Golovin, Regional Director of GNPI-Ukraine

GNPI maintains an emphasis on strategic partnership to carry out our work. In fact, it’s one of our core values. One of those fantastic partners is Literature and Teaching Ministries (LATM). In recent years, LATM has helped publish a dozen science textbooks in Russian for Sergei Golovin, who leads GNPI-Ukraine. These texts teach a creation curriculum, instead of evolution. GNPI-Ukraine produces video companions that help teach creationism. Praise God, the way is now being opened to use the materials in schools! We celebrate this triumph with Sergei and LATM.

The most painful and the most joyful news of the monthcame on the same day. In the morning I visited with Tatiana, headmaster of Gloria Christian School that used to be on the Donetsk Christian University campus. It was the first school to use our science textbooks in classes, incorporating them into public curriculum.

Warfare came to Donetsk just when the school had moved into a brand new building, and seemed to be on the way to its best times.

Then armed militants took over the campus and turned it into their barracks.

Tatiana’s story was full of pain and tears.

 Russian Science Textbooks

However, the most joyful news came that afternoon. The Ukrainian Ministry of Education approved a concept that would release schools from many outdated rules from communist days, including the government’s monopoly on curricula and textbooks. What a great victory! Together, the work of dozens of enthusiasts like Tatiana, as well as our ministry and resources, made an impact for change that seemed impossible.

God provided us a wonderful confirmation: although Satan might win a battle in this world, he will never win the war! Yes, he will do everything possible to prevent introducing a Bible-based worldview to the next generation in this post-communist world, but God’s truth ultimately wins! May his name be praised!

 

Looking Back and Moving Forward

GNPI is a ministry on the move. In this short video, Mike Schrage, our executive director, takes a look back at what God accomplished through GNPI and her partners in 2014. It’s an impressive list, and looking back gives us great expectations for what’s to come. With God as our guide and you as our partners, it is with eager anticipation we charge ahead into 2015!

Through Samantha’s Eyes

by guest blogger, Samantha Allgood

Samantha just spent a few months in SE Asia. During her time there, she worked with a couple of ministries – one of which was GNPI. We asked her to write about her experience there, and she graciously sent us this beautifully written blog. Thanks Samantha, and thank you for your service to GNPI!

I’ve had the unique privilege of calling this beautiful country “home” for the past two months and have only begun to glimpse the ways in which the Lord is working here. Though the streets sparkle with pagodas and burn with incense, I believe God is beginning a great work in this Buddhist nation.

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The staff here at GNPI-SE Asia are working hard towards many goals which God has placed on their hearts, and many Buddhists are directly responding to their efforts.  Hearts are being changed for his glory.

SamanthaThe group of men here are talented and skillful workers with a sure call on their lives. They spend their days producing effective materials for evangelism through print and audio mediums. There are stacks of books, tracts, and booklets hot off the press for the next stages of training and distribution, and the faint beating of percussion and strumming of guitars is quite often heard from the audio room below as work continues on a new Christian CD. I am continually encouraged as I hear the stories of personal encounters where staff members have used these tools to share the Gospel with monks, taxi drivers, etc.

The staff here have a knowledge of their country and the Buddhist mindset, which is invaluable to the creation of these tools. The Spirit of God drives their efforts, and it is no surprise that many doors for evangelism are being opened. As each morning begins with a time of communal Scripture reading and prayer, I am blessed to see the strong and simple faith that these kingdom workers posses. They truly come before God with all of their needs and requests, and it is him alone who continues to sustain, continues to direct, and continues to provide. There is a thankfulness here for all God is doing, and a humility of service that continually drives me to my knees.

GNPI-SE Asia is thriving as the harvest continues for God’s glory.

Sweet Moments

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).

More Motivation for GNPI-Mexico

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)

  • Motivation for Mexico3“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.”

Last Prayer

  • Motivation for Mexico2“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.”

No Alternative

  • Motivation for Mexico4“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.”

Network

  • Motivation for Mexico1a“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!

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