We received a wonderful email from a long-time friend and Brother who has used our training materials for years. He lives in the interior of Ecuador and has sacrificed much for the sake of the gospel. After reading our last newsletter, he sent this note.
“I have joy in my heart about God’s work in the world. We are praying for the churches in Nigeria and their commitment to follow and serve the Lord. I always feel that the harvest is still bigger than we realize, and the workers are still few. We know the solution is to ask the Owner of the harvest for more workers.
I want to share with you that on December 15th four brothers will graduate who completed God’s Plan for His Church. We also started training 9 students with God’s Plan for His Disciples in Puyo.”
In addition to this, they have a connection with Kenya and 150 people converted to the Lord and want to start learning the Bible by going through God’s Plan for His Disciples. Through our contact in Kenya, we have provided books for this exciting opportunity. Please be praying that these new disciples will quickly grasp the principles of Scripture by the Holy Spirit.
I pondered the amazing opportunity God has given me to travel to Ecuador next month and realized how many aspects of this trip are in the Lord’s hands. With a wife who has always put my physical well-being first, I am humbled that she goes out of her way to make arrangements for me to go with Tim and Tom. We will be introducing God’s Plan for His Disciples to over 700 Quechua Christians and attend a couple graduations.
This reminds us of countless missionaries who left the comforts and securities of home to carry the life-giving message of Jesus to parts of the world yet in darkness. In every case, there were many unknowns that had to be left in the hands of God. From health to finances, living conditions to finding a willing spouse who would go with them, each discovered the all-sufficient supply that comes from God alone.
Hebrews 11 describes the faith of such persons. “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy--” (11:37–38).
Jesus often spoke of the reward that persons will receive if they deny themselves for the kingdom of God. Such a reward will never be fully given in this world. Are we willing to place ourselves in God’s hands, do His work, and wait for the eternal reward?
There are rare occasions when I have time to sit and ponder many of the amazing things God is doing in our day. As I think about the rapid expansion and hunger for God’s Word in Nigeria, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, I wonder why we do not see the interest and passion in the West. We have the same Bible, the same Holy Spirit, just different cultures. Is there something deeper?
In seeking to get an answer to this quandary, I turned to Acts and looked at the elements that contributed to the Church’s rapid growth. Notice these references.
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
“Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had receivedthe word of God” (Acts 11:1).
The word “received” means to take in a teaching “readily, to welcome and believe” because it is true. This is what happened with the new believers at Berea. “They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (17:11).
We lack sincerity and eagerness. “Examining the Scriptures daily” shows an intense desire that is generated because persons give themselves to the Holy Spirit working in them. Let us encourage one another to yield ourselves to His work in us.
What does a good disciple-maker do when he hears a good report about a church he has planted? This is what Paul did when he learned how God was working at Philippi.
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” (Philippians 2:19–20). Notice that Paul sent a disciple who shared the same longing for those in Philippi. It was not a casual selection just for information’s sake. In a way, this is how I feel about Jonathan.
Jonathan will be going to visit David (December 1st to 6th) for mutual encouragement and to discover what God is going to do in this and surrounding countries. David has asked for us to assist in printing more Spanish God’s Plan for His Disciples and our new book for children and young people, God’s Plan for Young Disciples - Teacher’s Edition and Student’s Workbook. If you are interested in being part of meeting this request and impact Central America with the power of God’s Word, please let us know.
Be in prayer for Jonathan and David as they meet and fellowship in the Lord. We want this visit to be fruitful and expand what God is doing in Nicaragua.
Tonight I was going to write a post telling of Tim and Tom taking off this coming Tuesday for Morocco to introduce GPHD and GPHC in Arabic. Tim was notified by Air France that they canceled their flight to Morocco. They were not given a reason, so must assume there is a legitimate cause for the cancelation.
Much planning and work had gone into making sure the Arabic translations were complete and ready for printing. The previous plan was also postponed because some of the students came down with COVID. Is God closing the door for a Morocco training?
We must be careful not to jump to conclusions before waiting on the Lord to see and hear what He is doing. Remember that Paul and Barnabas were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6). Three chapters later we read about Paul’s time in Ephesus and that he “reasoned daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (19:9-10).
If we make conclusions too quickly, we may miss something great that God is going to do. His plan is that all hear the gospel. The timing is also His. We must learn to patiently wait for His direction.
y I have been thinking about how to be thankful for the greatest gift. It was given to me at the age of seven. I did nothing to deserve this gift and there is nothing I could ever do to express enough thanks for the love that prompted this gift. So, what can I do?
Paul says it better than I can, yet in just a few words. “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33).
During Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are very consumed with giving gifts and thanking others because we appreciate them, who they are and what they have done for us. What if we took as much time, put as much thought and spent as much money thanking God for His gift to us through His Son Jesus. Should we put much more into thanking Him for His Son and His great salvation? Should our lives be a continual offering of thanksgiving to God for His indescribable gift? YES!!
Here is another expression of gratitude from the hand of Paul. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4–6). Take time to ponder these words.
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving in America. As I take time to ponder the countless reasons that make me thankful, I think of the hundreds of people who in some way are associated with this ministry. Here are a few of these reasons:
Many other details could be mentioned, but we want to say THANK YOU TO ALL!! None of this work would be possible or have lasting meaning if there wasn’t a very large circle of persons standing with us.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3–5). May God be eternally praised for all He has done!!
By the end of December, our three-year strategy to train over 1,200 EMS missionaries with God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) and God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC) will be complete. By God’s grace, during this trip, we are praying for a new strategy to begin multiplying ministries in 18 new countries in Africa. In addition, we are printing 3,000 more copies of each of GPHD, GPHC and GPYD (God’s Plan for Young Disciples) to meet the increasing demands in Africa.
My Dear Brother in the Lord, Pat will join me on this trip. Pat and I have worked closely together for over 20 years, and it is an extreme joy to have him working with me in Africa. Pat has taught GPHD & GPHC in his church, and now, he will do so to the nations.
Thank you for praying for the work God is doing throughout the world. Here is a prayer guide for our trip. Your prayers unlock God’s power every step of the way!
· Nov. 29-30 - Travel to Abuja, Nigeria
· Dec. 1-3 - Fly from Abuja to Jalingo, and begin GPHD & GPHC introductions to 100 leaders
· Dec. 6 - Strategic meeting with EMS director and lead staff to plan the new strategic initiative to 18 new countries in Africa
· Dec. 7-8 Ministry to orphans, widows, youth and IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp
· Dec. 9-10 Travel back home.
We know many of you are praying for this ministry and because this trip is so strategic to all Africa, we earnestly ask you to bring this trip before God’s throne of grace.
Randy and Pat leave next Monday for Nigeria. We urge you to start praying for them now.
Worthy Ministries gives this report: “Christian leader Rev. Joseph said in a statement: “The evil we are experiencing is more than what an ordinary person in Nigeria can handle.” Nearly 3,500 Christians were slaughtered by Boko Haram, Hausa-Fulani Muslim militant herdsmen, and ISIS West Africa in the first half of this year alone. Over 11,500 Christians were murdered between 2015 – 2020. Rights groups have been warning of genocide.”
As you can see, Nigeria is not getting better, and they need our prayers more than ever. And even despite this increasing persecution, God is doing amazing things among the indigenous leaders we have trained. The gospel continues to spread rapidly through bold and humble leaders, and this last trip of 2021 marks a completion of a three-year strategy and the beginning of a new multi-year, multi-nation strategy.
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3).
Will give more details tomorrow. Please stay tuned to these events.
We were challenged by a message from Philippians 3:7-11, and the central question was, “what are you willing to give up in order to know Christ better?” Let’s look at some of these verses first before getting into the question.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
Take a moment and think of those things in your life that you consider valuable. Would you consider ‘knowing Jesus Christ’ better than you do now, worth giving up things you value FOREVER? These questions were a challenge to my heart. We tend to place so much value and importance on material and temporal things and rarely stop to consider the eternal value of getting closer and more intimate with God’s Son.
David wrote, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
The Holy Spirit will help us re-evaluate what is important and count some of our ‘treasures worthless’ and focus more on knowing our precious Savior. Will you seek His help?
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