Hannah lives in the Philippines, and her transformation story comes to us from Nenette Pacoli, regional director of GNPI-Philippines.
Hannah is a young lady who had been deeply hurt by the actions of her father. Her family had been torn apart. She awoke every morning asking, “Why are we a broken family?”
Hannah was in so much pain that she turned to worldly comforts with terrible consequences. She even attempted suicide. However, in March (2014) she saw All Things New, a movie produced by GNPI-Philippines, and her world shifted.
Hannah came to our church three years ago and I actually saw the transformation in her! We showed All Things New, but she didn’t tell me her reaction until the following day—that she had actually “been thinking about” or “considering” or “I’ll get around to” forgiving her father. It was All Things New that gave that necessary push…the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. There were tears in her eyes as she recalled parts of the movie that touched her deeply.
We have such an awesome God! Although I know of stories of video materials touching people, I am still amazed at how God uses this medium to get his message across.
When Hannah asked her dad if it was ok to use the video publicly, he said, “Okay, if it will bless other people, push it.” The good thing about it is that Hannah’s dad no longer feels shame and guilt that he has to hide. Instead, he has experienced God’s grace and forgiveness so he can talk about his past, both with regret and joy! Even her mom has seen the video and hopes it will bless others too.
Bamboo worms are not what I was expecting to dine on when I agreed to travel to a remote Karen village in northern Thailand. I was invited by a team of workers from a local Thai church in Chiang Mai (a large city also in the north part of Thailand). I was surprised when the worms really did not taste bad at all. In fact, after the first grub, I found myself asking for another. I was told by Tee, who is the wife of the pastor from the church in Chiang Mai, that the Bamboo worms in the village were the best that could be found. I thought, if I am ever going to try a bamboo worm, it might as well be one of the best you can find.
Tee grew up in the Karen village that we were visiting and, in fact, still had much of her family living there. She and her husband have arranged many trips back to her home village to teach English at the local government school. While teaching English, they also were allowed to teach Bible stories and sing songs about Christ’s love for people. It was on one of these mission trips that I was asked to help. I was asked to take pictures, teach English, and show a film on the Solar Kit developed by GNPI. (keep reading to see the 30 second video of the Solar Kit in action below.)
The village was without power, except for a few solar panels used to charge car batteries, which in turn powered light bulbs in some of the homes. This was the kind of village the Solar Kit was developed for. On September 15 I packed up all the equipment I thought I would need and headed up the mountains with the church team.
The first night there we were all introduced to the families we would be staying with. I was staying with Tee’s sister and her husband. They showed me to a mat on the floor next to a window, which was nothing more than a hole in the wall. They gave me a mosquito net and a couple of blankets as I prepared for bed. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my parents worked in a Thai village in another part of northern Thailand. The cool, night air was filled with sounds of insects, dogs, and pigs looking for places to sleep.
We spent three nights in the Karen village teaching English and sharing the story of Christ with the children. On the second night, I had the opportunity to use the Solar Kit. It was a great success.
Word had gotten out that a movie would be shown at the school, and children of all ages came out of the woodwork to see it. Some children were able to stay for the whole show, while others stopped in for only a few minutes as they hurried about finishing their tasks before bedtime. At any one time, there were around 30 children present. All were fascinated by the movie, and by the expressions on their faces, you would have thought each one was competing in a world championship staring competition.
The video shown was a cartoon bought from CBN Siam. They provide good, Christian material for the ages that were going to be watching the video. The cartoon show told the story of Christ, leading up to and including his death and resurrection. It was a good reinforcement to the Bible stories told during the days’ activities.
The Solar Kit system worked remarkably well. In fact, many children asked if another video could be shown. Although I planned to show another video, we ran out of time before I had the chance as we had to return to Chiang Mai.
The Sunday after our return to the city my family went to the Thai church. While there, the pastor invited me again to the village, this time at the end of the year. He stated there was another village he wanted to go to, along with his wife’s home village. He said, “It will be another good place to use your video system to show the message of Christ”. This time I plan to take the whole family with me. Sadly, Bamboo worms will be out of season by then. That’s okay though, as there is always something new to try in the villages of Thailand.
By Sergei Golovin, Regional Director of GNPI-Ukraine
A big danger in times of peace is to take God’s mercy for granted.
When troubles come, we can see how merciful God is and always was. No one could predict what was coming in Crimea and Ukraine (except those who planned the disaster). Yet, the Lord was preparing our ministry for the change, even though we had no clue about it. Praised be God’s name!
I expected the ministry transformation period to take 6 months, if not a year, until the two-campus approach would work completely. However, at our recent team Skype conference, we concluded that we are pretty well adjusted to the change already. It went smoothly because of the ministry reorganization the Lord arranged a year ago by making our structure more flexible and the development of proper leadership for every ministry aspect. We have kept our focus on teaching, training, and discipleship, and the Lord continues to provide many opportunities.
God definitely brings us joy in the midst of any troubles of the world! As an oriental proverb puts it, “The dog keeps barking, but the caravan keeps going.” A church in Kiev, where I teach and do seminars from time to time, has invited me to share the Word of God at their baptism retreat. Despite all the turmoil, all the wars and the rumors of war, the Lord is adding to the church daily! Praised be his name! What a joy to see the fruit from each of us by the grace of the Lord! As Paul put it, one plants, another waters; but God gives the increase! Troubles under the heavens make people seek the answers from above. God is already using the current situation for spiritual awakening in Ukraine. I believe, in a few years, the church of Ukraine will become a much more powerful agent for delivering God’s truth to every corner of Russia, and Crimea will be a special door for it! May the Lord continue to lead us and guide us in spreading his glory!
We are reviving our publishing ministry as well, and plan to a print couple new titles this fall. We are considering our options of printing the books in Crimea, in the mainland Ukraine, or doing some in both places. Printing in Crimea seems more reasonable at this time. We have a developed ministry infrastructure there, and it is completely preserved. Please join our prayers for the ministry field expansion!
I am really excited about the new projects in Kiev for the School of Christian Apologetics and for the Reliable Foundations Club that are progressing. Please continue to pray for them, as well as for peace in Ukraine. We highly desire peace to come. Even if it will not, we will continue to share the ultimate peace and hope in the person of Christ! Your prayers are what we need the most!
We have been praying for wisdom about how to reach the neglected and forgotten Ogiek community of central Kenya. One of the biggest challenges is communication. Most of them do not know Swahili, English, or any other indigenous language apart from their own Ogiek mother tongue. We have a contact person who is a local missionary among them. We wanted to reach out to them using Solar Kits.
God answered our prayers in a wonderful way.
We did go to the Ogiek community several weeks ago, and we were received warmly.
The Solar Kit empowers ministers who go to remote areas to have greater impact.
One church leader told us that the Solar Kit had very important information. This leader said that by watching the film on the Solar Kit, the girls have learned how they can avoid being tricked into immoral habits and spoiling their futures. Another church leader from West Pokot County said, “It was a small box. One could not tell it could do great wonders. When they opened it and did the set up, I realized it was something important mostly for our pastors, but also for our county government leaders to use at church and to teach our children.”
Here is a small video report on the work we did with the Ogiek community using a Solar Kit.
While visiting Uganda, Sir Winston Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II, dubbed it the “Pearl of Africa!” There was no mistaking why. The beautiful landscape and fertile soil along the base of the mountains and along the great Nile River was inviting to many Western farmers relocating to start new coffee and tea plantations.
Uganda was thriving in many ways. In fact, at one time, the majority of African doctors practicing on the continent were educated in Uganda! After independence from Britain in 1962, decades of corrupt leadership caused Uganda to sink economically, socially, and spiritually.
Today, that tide is turning as Christianity once again gains a prominent place within the culture. In 2009, missionaries in Mbale, Uganda, invited GNPI to build a production center to aid in multiplying their church planting efforts.
The result? The number of church plants has grown from 200 to around 1000. These wise missionaries understood the truth that media can accelerate global evangelism!
Today, GNPI-Uganda in Mbale produces and distributes Christian audio and video content. It is also a training center for communications students at another bright spot in Uganda, the up-and-coming LivingStone International University.
Isn’t that encouraging? GNPI-Uganda is strategically located in a city with a growing Christian university in a country that is being revived!
By Tom Silkwood, Regional Director of GNPI-Thailand
We have completed a new Biblical Extension Course (BEC) program on Christian unity with Mr. Boonsak Tongdee. In addition, our partners at Freedom Films have finished a new testimonial program in the Changed series featuring Mr. Boonsak.
Mr Boonsak grew up in a strict, Christian home. When he left for college, he abandoned his Christian life. Then, in his second year of college, Boonsak happened to move into a Christian dormitory. From there he returned to faith in Jesus. Please pray that God would use these programs to teach and encourage many people.
One of our most recent Changed programs features Panida Thongdi. She shares her testimony of how she went from being angry toward her father to a person who works in church ministry and now cares for her aging parents. She became angry with her father because he considered selling her to buy a house. She left her village and stayed with friends in Bangkok. Then she studied God’s Word, and she let God change her heart towards her parents. She lives a life of surrender, forgiveness, and freedom in Christ.
Several weeks ago, we uploaded Movement Everywhere #5. This episode is about how Pastor Nattapong is using his coffee plantation and coffee factory to influence people for Christ in his area. The fascinating art of coffee production is opening doors to share the Good News.
My team is in the USA to visit an Asian church in Minnesota. This is a huge step for my coworkers, and hopefully, a potential new partner for our ministry. Our team is there at the church’s request, and the church is funding a majority of the trip.
My son, Jeff, and his family are doing well. However, Jeff has been shocked at what it takes to live here and the stress of it all. My daughter, Kari, and her husband, Dustin, now live here as well. Dustin and Kari are looking for new employment and have some opportunities that are very interesting. They are praying and trusting the Lord for their future.
All in all we are doing well and trust the Lord will provide, guide, and bless us as we trust him.
Good things come to those who wait, right? Do you remember the advertising campaign for Heinz Ketchup in the late 1980s? Apparently this particular condiment was so good, you’d be willing to tip the bottle and wait a few hours to add it to your burger as it finally came out of the bottle.
Well, if good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who faithfully plan, execute, make necessary adjustments, and then expectantly watch as growth and change occur.
I’m deeply convinced of this as I watch our friends at GNPI-Thailand. Thailand has always been a strategic point for missionaries reaching tribal people groups, like the Lisu and Lahu, as well as the main Buddhist populations of Thailand. Just as important, Thailand also serves as a gateway to more difficult-to-reach places, like Myanmar and even China.
GNPI-Thailand is a collaborative approach to using media and technology to accelerate evangelism, including a long-time partnership with missionary Tom Silkwood and Freedom Films. Tom’s faithful work in Chiang Mai has been building steadily over many years and is now bearing great fruit.
Exciting opportunities continue to emerge as Tom and his team produce videos in the national Thai language and leadership training materials like the Biblical Extension Courses (BEC) in other local vernaculars.
Yes, good things come to those who wait. Yet, reaching Buddhists for Christ takes decades. Better things are coming for the people of Thailand because of the patient presence and media productions of Tom Silkwood and GNPI-Thailand.
Here’s one from the archives! It’s fun to sometimes look back at some of the “old stuff on the shelf.”
We think this video is still very relevant, and Tom Silkwood does an excellent job of explaining how GNPI’s core values are at the heart of the resources each regional center creates. We hope you’ll have a few minutes to watch.
GNPI’s Core Values
God’s Word – Ensure all endeavors are Biblically based. Cultural Relevance – Customize resources for specific world communities. Strategic Partnerships – Create synergy through global networks. Creativity – Infuse the ministry with imagination and innovation. Excellence – Aspire to reflect God’s glory in all we do. Integrity – Honor God in all relationships.
For those who haven’t heard, Jeff Silkwood is the son of Tom and Gayle Silkwood. Tom is the regional director of GNPI-Thailand. Jeff and his family moved to Thailand last spring. Jeff will be working to coordinate the Solar Kit ministry and the communications from this office.
Mary and I are at the end of the time given to us to settle in Thailand. That means, very soon, we will be working full time on the different projects for GNPI. Please pray for us as we start these projects. We are very excited to begin. We are taking a GNPI Solar Kit to a village without electricity this weekend.
God has really provided for us over the past couple of weeks. Honestly, we know that he has provided every step of the way, but we are really seeing it this week. I am now the proud holder of a Thai work-permit. Now I can work in the country. Praise God! With a work-permit, my family can be added to my visa. This visa allows me to stay in the county for a year at a time. After a 6-hour wait in line at the Thai immigration office here in Chiang Mai, Mary, Josiah, and Violet have new visas allowing them to stay in Thailand as dependents on my religious visa. A very long and stressful process is now complete. The only thing left for us to do is to get our Thai drivers licenses. I am happy to inform you that we were able to purchase a new computer. Finally, we have found ourselves a new Thai language teacher.
Thank you all so much. We are beginning to figure out what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. Without the church body, we could not work here.
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.