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Mark Allen Will Be Missed

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

The little sunbird was trying and trying to push its way through the glass window pane to get into our dining hall here at the guesthouse on the outskirts of Nairobi. Up and down, side to side, backing up, literally ramming the glass time after time. It was painful to watch, and it had to hurt a bit. Bottom line: it was useless. With time, and then a little coaxing, it turned directions and flew away, free to soar and do what sunbirds were created to do.

How similar is that experience to our life at times? We push and strain in a certain direction, sure that this is what needs to happen; this IS the direction we will take. We wear out under our own strength, leaning on our own one-directional perspective of understanding. We think we see clearly, but we do not. Over time, and with a nudge from the Father, a new perspective is reached, and we get to soar again, just as God has designed and even ordained.

Four years ago in this very building outside Nairobi, Kenya, called Heart Lodge, Mark Allen’s heart was touched and prepared for new levels of soaring and impact. Mark had come along with Don Anderson, executive pastor of Chandler Christian Church (now Compass Christian Church). Mark was on staff at the time as the media person and came to record the trip for Don and the congregation to see later.

Mark traveled with Don and two of us from GNPI to our regional center in Nairobi. Mark was enthralled with the focus of the ministry to empower local people to use media for their own purpose in proclaiming the Good News. Mark took copious hours of footage and interviews.

There were urban Kenyans to visit with at GNPI-Nairobi, Kenya, and small town ministry partners in Eldoret, Kenya, where an emerging Nomad team had formed. There was a visit to the rustic rural area in northwestern Kenya to actually see how GNPI productions were impacting the local people in their local language. Then there was a flight to Kadiolo, Mali, in West Africa where another Nomad team was forming. All the while, God was working in the heart of Mark, wooing him ever closer to a new career, moving his direction like the sunbird ever so slightly to soar.

A few years later Mark accepted the call to be the Project Nomad Coordinator for GNPI. He would again be traveling the world, now not only recording what God was doing through nationals using media but, more importantly, actually training others to do as he was doing. Mark was making media disciples. He said, “Mike, I feel that all I have experienced and learned was for such a time as this here at GNPI.” Truer words were never spoken, my friend.

Mark, in two years time, learned the DNA of GNPI, put the Nomad curriculum into video training format, and traveled the world teaching over 200 students in 10 different countries. He listened and learned from his students and then taught, shared, and coached each of them. He was loved by all who met him and his contagious personality drew people of any culture to him. He was a natural.

On June Friday 16, Mark had a severe car accident as he drove from his home in Tyler, Texas, to Yuma, Arizona, for Father’s Day. Mark, an only child, agonized over the balance of world travel for his ministry with GNPI and the needs of his aging parents back in Arizona. Mark passed away early the next day.

Mark is survived by his wife Lorri, his parents, and her parents. While Mark may have had a small biological family, he had a huge spiritual family as emails and texts came flooding in from around the world at the news of Mark’s passing. Mark left an impact and a legacy, and it all started when Africa grabbed his heart here at the Heart Lodge in Kenya.

Like the little sunbird outside the dining hall at Heart Lodge, Mark searched for years to find his sweet spot in media. With a nudge from the Father, Mark discovered that it was through Project Nomad, and for two years he soared. Mark, you will be missed, brother, but you are now doing what we are all ultimately called and designed to do, which is to glorify and worship our Father. This is the perfect ending to any video drama story.  

 

Prayers & Praises

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:22-23 (NIV)

GNPI Praises and Prayer Requests for July 31, 2017

Jesus Stories: Praise the Lord for new opportunities to reach youth in the Middle East! A ministry partner in the area has created a serialized version of The Global Gospel for children in Arabic and Farsi. This version includes an introduction, several of the stories, and a closing about the main point into 13 half-hour episodes. It is scheduled to air on a satellite television station in September. The television manager is asking for a Turkish version of this series to be produced as well. These partners estimate that nearly five million youth from the ages of 6-13 will be able to view the programs in the Arabic language alone!

New Believers: Timothy P. of GNPI-SE Asia writes, “Praise the Lord! We have a new brother in Christ, Perisan, who is 15 years old. Perisan accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior and asked us to baptize him. Please pray for God to continue to use our staff and the evangelists who use our materials and productions to bless the people of SE Asia.”

National Elections: Isaac Masiga of GNPI-Nairobi, Kenya, writes, “Please pray for God’s guidance and peace for our country as we elect leaders next month. In the past couple of elections, tensions have escalated and nearly caused a civil war. Our staff is part of a Faith Based Media Group which tries to promote unity.”

Biblical Teaching: Manee Massey of GNPI-Damoh, India, writes, “We have completed a new series of messages by evangelist Elec Robert. The lessons cover a variety of topics: ‘How to Solve Life’s Problems,’ ‘Who Is God?’ ‘Truth,’ ‘Knowing the Importance of Opportunity,’ ‘Unity,’ and ‘Obedience.’ Pray that the Lord would use these programs to draw people closer to Him.”

Interactive Radio Broadcasts: Gustavo Velázquez of GNPI-Piedras Negras, Mexico, “Keep praying for the Gospel to transform lives through Good News Radio. We offer a variety of music, Bible teaching, and several live shows with varied and dynamic content. These live programs have brought us closer to our listeners as we interact with them.

First and Last Nomad Training

Tom Nutt, Director of Operations

This was not Mark’s first rodeo or more appropriately Project Nomad training. Quite the contrary, this was Mark’s third training in three weeks. He finished a training in Dallas on Friday evening, traveled to Manila, Philippines, for a training the next week and then flew an hour south to  Bacolod, Philippines, for the third week of training in a row.

It was, however, my first chance in the two years that Mark worked alongside us at GNPI to be able to observe, learn, and be a part of a Nomad training. What a blessing for me! Even with the AC cranking away, sweat rolled down Mark’s face as he passionately talked about storytelling, strategies, technology, video production, lighting, cameras, 180-degree rules, b-role, and most importantly, telling the story of Jesus.

The young students hung on every word and were eager to learn. Mark had a remarkable way of keeping everyone’s attention through humor and jokes; he had a great balance of being serious and focused when the need arose. Mark loved movies and being able to tell stories through creative techniques and processes. Yet, it was easy to see and observe that what he loved more than anything was people and sharing with them how they could share with others the story of grace and salvation that only comes through knowing Jesus.

I learned many things as I sat, listened, and observed. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to watch Mark in his finest hour, doing what he loved most. Little did I know or could have ever imagined that this would be Mark’s final training.

Total shock and disbelief hit me when I learned from one of Mark’s dear friends that his life had been snatched away in an auto accident. As I started to share the tragic news with some of those from the GNPI global network, it was very quickly apparent that in a short time, Mark had greatly impacted those he worked with and was deeply loved. What we can never calculate, and only God will ever know, is how many others have been impacted for eternity through all of the students Mark trained.

I look forward to the day when we can see the great cloud of witnesses who are in heaven because of the influence Mark directly or indirectly had on their lives.

You only had to spend a few short hours with Mark to clearly see beyond a shadow of any doubt that he loved having fun, deeply loved His wife Lorri, had a respect and strong love for his parents, and lived for the God he served. Mark will be missed more than words can say, but our lives are better and those of us who knew him will be forever blessed by the touches we had, even if just for a moment!

Let’s honor Mark by remembering the things he taught us and by following his example. I am so blessed to have been at my first and Mark’s last training. The best is yet to come. Let’s not waste the minutes we have left.

Click on the titles below to see videos of Mark providing Nomad training in the Philippines.     

Empowering a Generation

Filling the Gaps

Filling the Gaps

This was the last video Project Nomad Coordinator Mark Allen sent us before he passed away on June 17 after an automobile accident in Texas. Mark was traveling to visit his parents in Arizona. He will be greatly missed. [Click here to learn about Mark Allen’s other training near Manila.]

Project Nomad Coordinator Mark Allen worked with Paul and Mary Wilson of Vision for Missions in Bacolod, Philippines, to provide media training to help 17 students become more effective storytellers.

Project Nomad helps people who want to use media and technology to share the Gospel. The students said this training will fill the gaps in their knowledge of production, so they know where to start.

Be sure to watch for Tom Nutt’s article about this Nomad training tomorrow.

Empowering a Generation

Our friend and colleague, Project Nomad Coordinator Mark Allen, passed away June 17 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Texas. Mark was traveling to visit his parents in Arizona. Mark has been a great asset to the ministry for the last two years with his professional expertise and his joyful spirit. Please join us in praying for Mark’s wife, Lorri, Mark’s parents, the eight Nomad teams, and the hundreds of trainees Mark was mentoring.

Mark Allen shares the highlights of training 24 students in Manila, Philippines, in May. The students view the training as an opportunity to become better servants of Christ and the Church. They recognize that Project Nomad is empowering a generation to reach out to more people with the Gospel.

Apps Available

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Could your ministry use free resources in Swahili or Spanish? Swahili and Spanish apps are now available.

The Yunami app encourages spiritual growth with Swahili content.

The + Vida app helps Spanish speakers who are seeking the Lord.

In addition, we also have The GNPI App with all kinds of resources at www.gnpi.org/app.

Thanks for helping us get the word out!

Prayers & Praises

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” — Habakkuk 3:2 (NIV)

A Tragic Loss: Mark Allen, our dear friend, colleague, and Project Nomad Coordinator, passed away June 17 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Texas. He was on his way to visit his parents in Arizona for Father’s Day. Mark has been a great asset to the ministry for the last two years with his professional expertise and joyful spirit. Please join us in praying for Mark’s wife, Lorri, his parents, the eight Nomad teams, and hundreds of trainees Mark was mentoring.

Seeing God Change Lives: Gayle Silkwood of GNPI-Chiang Mai, Thailand, says, “Praise the Lord for helping us meet lots of interesting followers of Jesus through the programs we produce. In Movement Everywhere #11 we met a man who was full of hate and planning to murder his wife, but God changed him overnight. Now he is a Christian who helps many people through subsistence farming.”

Sharing the Truth: Timothy P. of GNPI-SE Asia writes, “Ask God to send us His best servants to convince SE Asia of the Truth of the Gospel.” Timothy has completed the first month-long training of Christian leaders who will train others to make disciples in their own villages. He is preparing for the next training events in August and November of this year.

Sign Language Version: Gustavo Velázquez of GNPI-Piedras Negras, Mexico, says, “Pray for us as we finish the first part of The Global Gospel in sign language. In September we plan to travel to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, to record the last part of this project. We are excited to see how the Lord will work to share the Word through this version of the ministry tool.”

Distributing Materials: Stephen Muturi of GNPI-Mbale, Uganda, writes, “I visited a rural church in Buwakoro, Manafwa District, where I spoke to the congregation about GNPI and distributed DVDs to six churches attending the combined fellowship. Pray for God’s favor as we gather the necessary documents for the release of a new piece of production equipment.”

Dream to Reality

Timothy P., Regional Director of GNPI-SE Asia

Our God is working in mighty ways, and we praise His name! It was a pleasure to have Tom Nutt, GNPI director of operations, attend the first couple days of the inaugural, month-long training at the new facility in SE Asia.

This is a dream come true to have a place to train evangelists who can share with others in the 14 states of our country. I am excited to see how God will multiply the seeds of these disciples.

What are your dreams to expand His Kingdom?

Bringing Biblical Perspectives

Isaac Masiga, Regional Director of GNPI-Nairobi, Kenya

We are excited about our current and upcoming projects. The Redefining the Church series focuses on having a biblical perspective in all aspects of life. We are also working to develop a new Barbershop series to inspire godly manhood and leadership in our culture.

Visit www.gnpi-africa.org to find other resources.

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