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I Was Worshipping False Gods

Ma Myit FamilyFrom time to time, we receive testimonies from or about people who have been touched by GNPI productions. Our prayer is that they’ll serve as an inspiration to you. Know that your support for GNPI is making an eternal difference in the lives of evangelists reaching people throughout the world!

By AS, Evangelist and Coworker at GNPI-SE Asia

I want to testify about a Buddhist family who became Christians. Last year, in 2013, I went back to my home village to teach in summer Bible school. I met a Christian woman named MM. She was a Buddhist before she knew Jesus. She had some kind of sickness, and she spent so much money for treatment. The medicines did not help her. Then she went to a shaman. The shaman could not help her either. One day she heard about a Christian woman who prayed for the sick, so she went to that village. She was baptized after hearing the Word of God. The Christian woman prayed for MM, and her sickness was gone.

Her husband was not happy about her becoming a Christian, and she did not know how to tell him about God. She did not know much about God. All she knew was that she believed in God the Creator, who healed her sickness. She sent her children to summer Bible School because she wanted her children to know about God. At that time I was teaching from TP’s book, Who Is the True God? TP had trained me how to teach non-Christians from his book for this summer Bible school. After a week of teaching, MM’s children decided to accept Jesus as their Savior and were baptized. They were old enough to make their own decisions.

However, the husband/father grew unhappy. He was always angry at them. The wife made a date and asked me to meet with her husband. When I visited their house there were many Buddhist images in their house. We talked about various things. He was a nice man. Then we came to the point that I could tell him about the true God. The husband asked me if there was a true God and if there were any false gods. I told him that there are many false gods. I compared the true God and the false gods. I left him a copy of Who Is the True God?

I went back to my village again the next summer in 2014, to teach in summer Bible school. I also went back to visit MM’s family. I was surprised that I did not see any statues this time. I asked UC, MM’s husband, what happened to the those images. He told me, “After reading Who Is the True God? I realized that I was worshipping false gods. False gods will not save me from the eternal punishment of hell. Now I am a believer.” When he was telling me all about it, I saw tears coming down from MM’s eyes. I was so happy that I thanked God from my heart. They are very happy to be Christians as a family. He told me he was already baptized on August 5, 2013, not long after I met him the first time.

This time we were able to talk about challenges to their faith. They are farmers. They make a living by growing rice. He told me after he became a Christian, all four of his buffalos died. People were saying that the gods were punishing his family. He struggled with the question of why God didn’t keep his buffalos from dying.

Then we discussed about the evil one, which always causes many unpleasant things for Christians and tempts Christians to fall away from worshipping the true God. We prayed together for God’s protection from the evil one. He understands now that they should stay close to God all the time.

This family wants to start a church in their own village, so they have tried to purchase a piece of property for the future church. However, the village authorities would not allow the family to buy the property because they do not allow any foreign religions into the village. I would like to request prayer for UC and MM’s family in this village. Pray they would stay strong in the Lord and have wisdom for their next steps.

 

Get Back to Your First Love

There are more than 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, and this is no accident.

languageIn Genesis 11:7, speaking about the tower of Babel, God says, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other (NIV).” Verse nine says that he then scattered the people all over the face of the earth. This scattering resulted in many things including cultural differences, from what we eat to who and how we worship.

God did this on purpose. He also knew that telling the whole world about Jesus would be a challenge because of the resulting cultural differences—the ways, concepts, emotions, and word meanings often get lost in translation.

Challenging? Yes.
Impossible? No!

This is why GNPI’s regional centers continue to work on projects like this music video from SE Asia. The title for this song translates to the English word, Essential. Written, arranged, and performed by local artists and staff from our SE Asia center, they are taking a bold stand for Christ in their country.

At GNPI, we create culturally relevant materials that speak to the hearts of people worldwide. Our regional center staff, lead by nationals in most cases, know the best way to do that.

The language of this song may not be your first language, but the message is pretty clear.

Essential is based on some hard-hitting truth found in Revelation 2:1-5 revealing how God feels about those who forsake their first love. It’s pretty obvious that it is essential to get back to our first love if we want to please God. We need to do whatever it takes to rekindle that spark we first had for Jesus.

Creator Camp 2014

By Sergei Golovin, Regional Director of GNPI-Ukraine

With great joy, I am glad to say that the most challenging project of the year has been completed! We successfully managed to arrange The Creator Children’s Camp at the occupied territory. The troubles of the world did not stop us. We just regrouped for new conditions. As usual, the camp was a testing field for new curriculum for camps, Sunday schools, and children’s programs.

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This year the theme of the curriculum was Creator of the Universe. It was focused on the design of the universe, the ways people study it, as well as God’s plan for it according to the Scriptures. Various games, sports activities, and experiments helped the kids have a lot of fun and learn the material effectively at the same time.

We had 20-30 children participate, and 10 percent of them were from non-Christian families. All of the media work at the camp was done by last year’s media training course graduates! The main difference this year was a day-camp format.

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Nevertheless, we made several field trips. We went to the seashore and also to the Multi-Purpose Resource Center training facilities for games and astronomical observations. We also took the campers to view the Space Center. At the end of the camp, the children gave a special performance at the church to share what they learned. This was a special occasion for them to bring their parents and friends who don’t usually go to church. The guests received some of our books as a gift.

Now, after some revisions and editing, the curriculum will be available online for other churches and ministries alongside the ones we have issued in previous years. Please pray with us for the seeds planted, both at the camp and after it!

Here is a video trailer about the camp.

A Glimpse into Ukraine

Famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for the quote, “God is dead.” In few places has the attempt to remove God from societal life been more prevalent than the nations of the communist former Soviet Union. Even now, the departure from God as the center of life has created the political and military unrest gripping Russia and Ukraine.

You and I know that God is certainly alive and well in our world. Yet, for people who have known nothing but life without God, the quest for truth can be an elusive search, full of struggle and uncertainty.

Dr. Sergei Golovin is the regional director for our center in Ukraine. However, he used to oppose God and his Word. A scientist by training, Sergei was looking to disprove the Bible while conducting research at an isolated location in Siberia. He was all alone. He came across a copy of God’s Word, so he started reading.

What he started out to disprove would eventually win him over. As he poured over the Scripture, he discovered science proved the Bible true, and that this Jesus, whom the Bible spoke of, was actually the author and keeper of all truth.

Dr. Sergei Golovin, a brilliant man and holder of several patents, was convinced from reading the Bible, and looking at the evidence of creation, that there had to be a creative designer.

He was right! This new passion for knowing God turned into a lifelong mission to bring others to know that they need the saving grace of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to set them free from sin.

Today, nearly two decades after he met the God of the universe, Sergei and his team use science and apologetics to win the cultural wars inside his homeland of Ukraine and in Russia. Hundreds of books and tracts, now augmented with video, deliver a better way!

To learn more about the work of Sergei Golovin and GNPI-Ukraine, watch this video we produced in 2013 while helping to raise funds for a new training facility in Ukraine.

Pray for Sergei and Ukraine, particularly during these unsettling times.

Take My Life

By Marsha Bacon, Communications Coordinator, GNPI

Kiev BannerUkraine has been in the news lately, along with countless other regions where unrest and violence continues to escalate. Russia began her crusade to occupy Crimea (the location of one of GNPI’s regional centers) in March, and that was just about the time the music video embedded below was completed.

I am on staff at GNPI and had some surgery back in April. I was in the hospital when I received the communication from Lena, the office manager in Crimea, that their third music video, Take My Life, was complete. As I sat there in my hospital room, watching the video on my phone, I thought about what my Ukrainian friends were facing—ugly photos coming out of Kiev where Russian troops had already invaded, the threat of violence and war, the threat to their physical safety, so much uncertainty!

Yet, the music video is the exact opposite of that. It’s calm, assuring, and strikingly beautiful. Take My Life, an old hymn, is a song about trusting God and giving him our lives.

I messaged Lena and asked her, “How much of the footage in the video was shot during the conflict of the troops moving in?”

She answered me, “All of it, and the shots by the sea were actually shot during the invasion. In fact, we had to postpone the first studio shooting day because that very morning we were occupied.”

The reality of this reduced me to tears. As I watched the video again and prayed for their safety, God revealed to me that even in the most dangerous storms of our lives, he can calm us with his quiet, tender presence.

I find it remarkable that media has the ability to transcend the limitations of cultures and languages and deeply touch someone in a hospital room thousands miles away. So take my life, Lord. You are certainly more capable of doing something good with it than I am.

May the Lord Finish What He Started!

by Nenette Pacoli, Regional Director of GNPI-Philippines

 

6I recently had the chance to leave the office and see how GNPI productions help draw a crowd and open doors to present the Gospel. Our mission team was composed of seven people from our church (including my husband, Bert, and me). We visited three different communities.

Our road trip began with a 14-hour drive to a seaport where we put the whole van on a ship that crossed the Pacific Ocean. We got off in Allen, parked the van, and got on a motorized banca (equipment, big speakers, and all) to get to San Juan, Lavezares, Northern Samar, a small island of about 300 families where our church planted an outreach ministry over 7 years ago. We showed All Things New (a GNPI drama about the impact of Christian discipleship on the lives of street children). We showed the drama that Saturday night in their town plaza to approximately 500 individuals (half of them kids!) with lots more watching from their houses. We were interrupted twice by 30-second power outages, but the local pastor was able to explain the message of salvation based on what the movie said.

The following day at church, a lady, who is a leader in the church, welcomed our team and mentioned watching the movie the night before. With a catch in her voice, she said that the lesson she learned was that we shouldn’t be focusing on the mistakes or faults of others but instead looking to Jesus for growth, strength, and faith. (Her tears alone made the long trip worth it for me!)

1We left the island after lunch, and we drove another four hours to get to Catbalogan, Western Samar. Around lunch time the next day, we loaded all equipment again on another motorized fishing boat to get to Casab-ahan, another island of about 200 families. (Our speakers, amplifiers, and tripods were stashed among bottles of vinegar, crates of dried fish, blocks of ice, big bags of chips, etc.) The team and I were afraid that the boat seemed overloaded, but the owner assured us that we would stay afloat. Maqueda Bay was calm, so the one-hour trip was uneventful. That night, we were allowed to set up in the middle of the busiest street where most of the people converged. There were absolutely no cars on the island.

We showed the film to approximately 200 people, again half of them were kids, but there were more men in the audience too. In fact, I observed the best reactions from the men as they applauded the antics of one movie character (Nardo) toward another character (Pastor Rico). They called Nardo, “bad boy,” but they grew quiet at the scene where Pastor Rico has a heart-to-heart talk with Nardo. Bert gave the message of salvation in the local dialect, as the pastor of this church was away on a retreat until the following day.

Early the next afternoon, we loaded all the equipment again on the boat to get to Cagot-saan, an island about 15 minutes away. This time a local pastor, Pastor Allan, was with us. It was another fishing village of about 300 families. Since there was still daylight, I saw what seemed like throngs/multitudes of kids, and they came swarming around us as we set up the equipment. I started taking pictures, and I watched these kids’ faces as they smiled and played around me.

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We showed the movie when it grew dark, and after the Pastor Rico-Nardo scene, we paused and Pastor Allan stood up to talk about salvation. He was crying! He said he was so touched by the movie. (He was seeing it for the first time.) In the quiet of night, he led people in prayer. We finished the movie, packed up, and got ready to go home. As we were on the boat, our host, Ellen, told us that her husband, Benjamin, made the decision to accept Christ. She was overjoyed because he was a member of a different sect, and though for over 20 years of marriage he was very supportive of Ellen and their children in their church activities, he never really realized his need to accept Jesus for himself until that night after watching the movie!

The movie was the talk of these three communities. We were able to plant seeds of faith and seeds of knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we are leaving it to the Lord to make these seeds grow, mature, and make a difference in these people’s lives. Let’s fully rely on the Lord to finish what he started.

A Glimpse into the Philippines

The Philippines is a collection of more than 7,000 islands. Interestingly, it seems there are as many expressions of religious practice and worship as there are islands. This can be confusing indeed.

In fact, it is not uncommon for the people of the Philippines to bring together parts of different religions to practice strange “hybrid” sorts of worship. People could be in a cathedral in the morning, and then that same afternoon, they might offer sacrifices to small figurines in their homes.

Idols would not be something most Westerners would be accustomed to, but in the Philippines, idol worship is rampant. The same person who offers such devotion to an inanimate object could also carry a cross and be nailed to it during Easter week to honor Jesus!

GNPI-Philippines has been speaking into this worldview since 1998 with productions like My Worship: Real or Replacement? and WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) series. These have become very popular broadcast series with the Filipino people. Strange, you say, but for Filipinos, these video series accurately communicate into their worldview.

As a result, the one true God is bringing a life of focus and clarity to many who are choosing his one and only son, Jesus.

 

Hannah’s Transformation

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.

Here is Hannah’s story in her own words:

Brainstorming in India

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

Today was an exciting day at GNPI-Damoh, India. We invited a number of families from the local Christian community to discuss problems many married couples in India face. Forty-eight people from different walks of life and a variety of family situations participated in the two-hour discussion. Together they brainstormed and reflected on numerous problems families face.

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Many timeless issues were raised such as a growing lack of interest or distrust between partners, as well as more modern issues like the growing effect of technology and the strain it can cause on marriages. It was an illuminating experience for all who were involved. Some remarked they had never really thought about all the daily hurdles they face in their families. Even though they had experienced some of these problems, they usually dismissed them.

Despite the seriousness of issues they thought about, everyone in the group seemed to enjoy the opportunity. Some of the husbands even joked that their wives were taking advantage of the platform to vent concerns and to bring up every perceived shortcoming in their husbands. Our prayers go with the husbands that they may not face their wives scorn after this friendly discussion.

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At the end of our time together, these 48 different people had listed 33 problems most families face. We feel the topics on this list can be explored through a dramatic video series illustrating these problems and encouraging discussion among families facing similar situations. At the same time, through the series families will learn they are not alone in these common struggles.

Our next step, as a result of this meeting, is to meet with a scriptwriter to develop scripts for 13 episodes for future productions.

All the participants enjoyed the lunch prepared by our staff. Before they left, we gave each of them a copy of The Global Gospel in Hindi.

A Glimpse into India

Know any great teachers? Chances are a great teacher is the reason why you chose your profession, developed a life-long passion for a hobby or special interest, and likely why you came to know Jesus. There’s something special about people who can take ideas and concepts and make them come alive to us. People who teach, especially about Jesus, deserve a place of honor in our society.

Teachers are given this high respect in the nation of India. It’s this veneration for learning that has given our series, The Parable, such high success and popularity.

The interest in the series comes in a place where Hinduism is alive and well and the worship of hundreds, if not thousands, of gods continues. The Parable series was effective in India because it allowed contextualized interpretation to occur between the pages of Scripture. This means people could easily apply what they were seeing on the screen to everyday issues and problems in their lives.

What would Jesus look like, who would he be, what caste would he be a member of if he had lived and taught in India? What would have been the hallmarks of his teaching and of his ministry in the community and in the country? Questions like these shaped what viewers saw. Finding ways Scripture could be portrayed in digital parables made all the difference for the Hindi-speaking population in India.

This impact was multiplied through access to local cable networks. While this great teaching reached thousands, there’s much work to be done. Only 2% of India’s more than one billion citizens follow Jesus. In fact, of more than 2,250 people groups in India, the latest numbers suggest 2,027 are still unreached. The need to make disciples in this great country is huge!

It’s going to take a lot of great teaching by a lot of great teachers. You know what? Your support of GNPI is helping people share the Gospel effectively. Thanks for helping GNPI accelerate global evangelism to places like India by providing Bible teachers with Christ-centered media content that answers everyday questions.

 

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