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God’s Preparation for Ministry Transformation

By Sergei Golovin, Regional Director of GNPI-Ukraine

God's Preparation1

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!

God's Preparation 2

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's Preparation 3

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!

God's Preparation 4

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!

 

Greater Impact

Isaac Masiga, Regional Director of GNPI-Kenya

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.

Greater Impact2

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.

Greater Impact1

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.

Thanks for your continual support and prayers.

A Glimpse into Uganda

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!

Pray for continued revival in Uganda!

 

Moving and Changing to Share Christ’s Message

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.

Moving and Changing1

Moving and Changing 4201206_THA_Training_0026Mr 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.

Moving and Changing 3One 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.

All these programs can be viewed on YouTube. (www.youtube.com/Ffpthailand)

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.

A Glimpse into Thailand

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.

Throwback Thursday with Tom Silkwood

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.

God Has Really Provided for Us

By Jeff Silkwood of GNPI-Thailand

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.

Jeff Silkwood FamilyMary 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.

 

A Glimpse into Mexico

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.

God’s Sower in Latin America

Harland Cary was called to receive his eternal reward earlier this week. Tomorrow (Saturday, September 12, 2014) many will celebrate his life at his memorial service. Brother Cary has blessed hundreds, if not thousands, through his life of 97 years. GNPI is just one of many ministries that has been blessed beyond words. Bob Gurwell, GNPI international coordinator, was just one of those impacted.

As a young man, Bob considered becoming a medical doctor until one day Brother Cary suggested he instead consider becoming a “doctor of the soul.” That conversation set a new course for the young Mr. Gurwell. This so typifies the impact of this working warrior for Christ!

Not that long ago, GNPI’s regional center in Piedras Negras, Mexico, did a video tribute to Harland Cary that we would like to share with you. Please praise the Lord for this life well lived, and pray for the extended family at this time of loss.

Meredith’s Story

serving in Mexico, through the eyes of our 16-year old guest blogger, Meredith Simmons…

MeredithMeredith is a high school student from Missouri who went to Mexico on a missions trip this past summer with her church. They helped with a few projects at the GNPI regional center in Piedras Negras. Here is Meredith’s impressive re-telling of her experience:

Meredith GroupWhen I first heard about the trip that my home church was planning to take to Piedras Negras, I knew it was something I wanted to do. The plan was to spend a week doing various construction and painting projects at GNPI’s local center and at a local church, and serve the community by assisting at the church’s Vacation Bible School. As plans continued to be finalized over the ensuing months, the excitement mounted. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I knew that it would be great.

When our team crossed the border into Mexico and entered Piedras Negras it was dark, so my first glimpse of the town was limited. Even so, I was surprised that despite it being 9:30 pm, there were people everywhere. It seemed like it could have been mid-day for as busy as it was. All the shops I saw were open and people were strolling around, riding bicycles, eating food, and just hanging out.

I looked at everything that night, trying to discover as much as possible about the place where I would be spending the next week.

Meredith CactusAround the town there were no neat lawns filled with lush green grass. Instead, the landscape was rather more desert-like, only without the sand. There were scraggly, prickly plants that could survive the hot, dry weather, and these covered the open areas that were not subject to high traffic. There was also dust everywhere. In many yards there were no plants, just dirt and rocks. I would later find that before Vacation Bible School started at the local church each evening, someone would have to sprinkle the yard with water to help settle the dust before the children came.

Meredith Food LadyDuring our stay, our food was made by some of the ladies from the church. I surprised myself by being excited to taste Mexican food, as I’m not usually eager to try new dishes. Those ladies sure know how to cook delicious meat! Much of the meat was cooked with different vegetables and some kind of sauce.  One night they served us some kind of soup, which they told us contained pork rinds. When my dad began eating his soup, he pulled out a giant, fatty, piece of pig skin that still appeared to have bristles on it. We soon discovered that their version of pork rinds is not the crunchy, chip-like snack that we eat in the US.

Meredith FoodOne of the most interesting things that they served us were our beverages. Every meal we had some kind of fruit juice. Now, I’m not talking about the artificially flavored, bottled drinks that may come to mind when I say ‘juice’. These drinks were made of fresh fruit; we assumed that they pressed the juice from the fruit just like someone would press apples in order to make cider. Some of the drinks we had included watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, mango, pineapple, and lemon. Some of these tasted like they had been sweetened, but the juice itself was the actual fruit juice.

Probably the most eye-opening experience was helping to deliver food to impoverished families.

One of the areas we went into was basically a community of squatters. These people literally had nothing. The houses were constructed of any discarded material that could be found. Wooden pallets and scraps of plywood, torn tarps and cardboard boxes were put together to create shelters of sorts. Occasionally, buildings made of cinderblocks could be seen, but those were few.

When we first pulled into the area, we stopped and handed out a few packages of food, and moved on down the line of shacks. We had gone knowing that we could not possibly give something to everyone, but desiring to do what we could. Before we had gone very far, people began to walk up to our vehicles and ask for food. They were desperate for it, and they just kept coming. It was so hard to have to turn people away when we ran out.

As we were driving away, an elderly lady hobbled out of her house and began calling to us. I couldn’t understand her words, which were spoken in Spanish, but her meaning was crystal clear; she needed food. The lady looked like she could hardly walk, and as she gripped her cane with one hand, she held out her other hand to us, pleading for help. We had nothing left to give her. All of our food had been given to those who were able to come and get it. It was heartbreaking to see her and not be able to help. The image of that woman’s face will be ingrained in my memory for a long time to come. That experience made me realize just how much I take for granted.

Meredith VBSThe most enjoyable times I had while in Piedras Negras were those spent at Vacation Bible School. The dear Mexican lady that led the songs was very fluent in English, which was extremely helpful. She had us Americans get up onstage and help her lead the actions for the songs. The thing was, we had to learn all of the actions as we went, which made for a lot of laughs as we stumbled along, trying to watch the leader and not make fools of ourselves in front of all those people. Each night we improved, and by the end of the week, we had become proficient at most of the actions, even if the words to most of the songs were in Spanish.

Also during VBS, I had the opportunity to interact with the Mexican Christians. The thing that really stood out to me about them was the love that they showed towards me, our group, and the kids at VBS.  Even though my ability to speak Spanish is limited, and few of the Mexicans were fluent in English, I felt as if all of us, Americans and Mexicans alike, were part of one big family. Conversations were difficult because of the language barrier, but even though we could not communicate verbally, there was a connection that went deeper than speech. It was amazing to experience the bond of Christ in that way!

Meredith People

Being with the people of Piedras Negras was a blessing. I loved seeing Christians from another country serve the Lord, and it really showed me how God is using people from all over the world to advance the Gospel.

That’s a big thing that I appreciate about Good News Productions; they help to train and equip people from all different areas to spread the gospel among their own communities. As several people expressed while in Mexico, we may live in cultures that are different, and we may look different on the outside, but on the inside God has given us the same heart; one that desires to serve Him, and to Him, we are all worth giving His Son.

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