...and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:15).
The state of Uttar Pradesh lives under a radical Hindu priest as its Chief Minister, appointed by the Hindu ruling government. Christ followers in this state have experienced more persecution in the last year than any other state in India. Uttar Pradesh has one of the largest concentrations of unreached people groups in the region. For this reason, Global Advance International Coordinators have been strategically training native leaders for tribal, rural, and urban church planting.
Loni, a primitive town with nearly 50 villages and a population of over fifty thousand people, is just a two hour drive from New Delhi, the capital city. One of our International Coordinators has been engaged in evangelism and community transformation initiatives for over two decades in this little town amidst great opposition and challenges. Christian missionaries have been under great threat for their very lives. In spite of various attacks, our leaders faithfully continue the work. As a result, earlier this month, Global Advance hosted the first ever Frontline Pastors Conference in Loni with 125 pastors and their wives. The atmosphere during the entire conference was one of great joy and celebration. Joyful, not only for the opportunity to receive high quality training and resources, but also for the opportunity to come together under one roof for the first time as leaders of the churches in Loni. Celebratory, to know that the church in Loni is growing and to know they are part of a wider and bigger community of believers. Our conference has provided a platform for unity and support for these leaders as they return to their villages and serve under great persecution and trials.
Here is what excites me about this training event…
114 leaders have committed to daily personal time with God in prayer and study of the Word; 64 leaders have committed to plant at least one new church among unreached people groups of Uttar Pradesh; 10 leaders have responded to the call for cross cultural mission work.
This commissioning was a solemn and reverential time before God and the witness of His people. God is breaking through barriers in Loni, Uttar Pradesh.
While encouraging and equipping are major focuses of our trainings, the distinct outcome is always the exponential church planting movements birthed as a result. The uniqueness of these new church plants as a result of our training is that they are evangelistic in nature. A tragedy of today’s missions’ paradigms is the focus on church planting and acts of service with a neglect of verbal witness of the good news of Jesus Christ. We praise God for the vision of Global Advance to bring a passion for evangelism that would result in the planting of new churches.
From its inception, Global Advance has invested heavily in equipping, training, and resourcing frontline leaders to reach unreached people groups and to plant new churches in Asia. I am thrilled to see a kingdom coalition consisting of high capacity leaders from across seven South Asian nations: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Together, we are working in the unity of the body of Christ to see 15,000 new churches planted among unreached communities.
We need your prayers and support; what we are attempting through building a regional kingdom coalition has been never done in our history of Asian missions. We need prayers to overcome the hurdles of cultural, denominational, and world view differences. We are beginning to see God breaking through the barriers and uniting national teams in each of these nations to birth something in our church history that “no eyes have ever seen; no ears have ever heard.”
Join the Global Advance force in Asia and become part of making history as we work to fulfill the Great Commission.
In His Team,
Pastor James Chacko, Ph.D.
Global Advance Field Director to South Asia
At church this past Sunday, my pastor reminded us all to invite friends to church for the upcoming Easter holiday. It’s the weekend during which people in American culture are most apt to attend church, and therefore a prime opportunity to share the gospel message. “When faced with argumentative refusals,” he encouraged, “challenge them to sit through just one service. Because one hour in God’s presence will wipe away every human argument.”
We are witnessing, in our time, a powerful move of God to awaken our cities, stir up our churches, and call out leaders…
THINK ABOUT WHAT GOD HAS DONE
“Fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” –1 Samuel 12:24
In 2014, Global Advance followed the Lord’s leading to a next-level development of the Esther Initiative. For years, women had come to Global Advance training conferences all around the world, hungry for more of what God intended for their lives.
We conducted a Global Needs Assessment for Women with 103 leaders in 48 nations to gain greater insight into the needs of women. We found that while cultures, specific circumstances, and challenges may vary from nation to nation, basic needs remained the same. Women lack personal worth and identity. They need biblical resources and leadership training. They’re made for community and long for personal mentoring relationships.
We listened, we prayed, and we responded.
By God’s grace, we took this information and developed a leadership training resource for women. We intentionally built our Esther Initiative training conferences and mentoring track on our findings, and we began to see communities transformed by the power of God at work through ordinary women all around the world.
The Esther Initiative elevates women to the areas of leadership for which they are gifted and created. Whether it be in the home, the church, the marketplace, or in their communities, women are being inspired to rise up as modern day Esthers in their nations – to courageously say yes to bold faith in action right where they live. We believe that one woman can make a powerful kingdom difference when she knows who she is in Christ and walks fully and freely in her calling. We believe that her unique kingdom contribution could even change the course of a nation.
THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” –Psalm 9:1
Grateful for clear direction from God, grateful for a strong foundation laid, grateful for the inspirational frontline women leaders He has brought in our path, and so very grateful for your partnership that has allowed us to answer such a great need. Our goal was to start small and dream big. But God is multiplying our original projections for a higher impact than we could have ever dreamed or imagined. The Esther Initiative mentoring track is just one example of this. What began as a pilot mentoring group of ten regional women leaders four years ago has now expanded into 27 nations.
TELL OTHERS WHAT GOD HAS DONE
“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.” –Joshua 4:21-22
2018 was another groundbreaking year of expanded vision for the Esther Initiative – this time through the strategic development of select national women leaders. Last May, Global Advance convened NINE high caliber women leaders from South Asia who are pioneering the Esther Initiative vision in their nations. These women come from some of the most unreached places in the world and have sacrificed much to advance the gospel. They engaged in strategic leadership discussions and created practical action plans that are moving them towards greater gospel impact in their nations. The intentional training they received was absolutely vital; equally meaningful was the deepening relationships that have formed as a result of our quality time together. God is strengthening a kingdom coalition to reach South Asia, and these women are playing crucial roles in that initiative.
With 15 Esther Initiative training events in 10 nations on the docket for 2019, this is another year of expanded reach. God is faithfully multiplying the Esther Initiative, for His glory and for the advance of the gospel.
Friends, what a privilege it is to remind you that YOU are a crucial part of this story.
Thank you for praying, going, and giving as we lock arms with these frontline leaders in the hardest, most unreached regions of the world. There's nothing better than knowing, loving, and serving Jesus together.
Around Global Advance we talk a lot about frontline leaders. But what do we mean by that phrase, exactly? What does it mean to serve on the front lines of the Great Commission?
Great things can come from remote and overlooked places! Within the Sindh Province in Pakistan, Global Advance has been developing a vision to reach the unengaged people who live in remote villages. King David came from the tiny village of Bethlehem. While Moses grew up in the corridors of power, the Lord sent him to do simple work as a shepherd before he returned to lead God’s people. Villages are full of people who need to hear the good news that Jesus loves them and came to die for them. The village vision is to see churches planted in the isolated, forgotten, and small places. We want to see Christ worshipped by all.
Recently, I visited one of those beautiful Pakistani villages. As the sun broke over the horizon, our car raced past roadside stands and carts being pulled by camels and donkeys. When we got to the first village, Pastor Guyan was waiting near his motorbike to meet us. The motorbike that he was using was purchased by Global Advance to help him traverse the network of villages that he oversees. He is passionate about evangelizing, opening doors for the gospel to advance, and identifying future pastors to be trained to plant churches in these villages.
Our first stop was at a village hospital. Pastor Guyan took me to the bedside of Pastor Matu, who was very sick from parasites found in unsafe drinking water. Pastor Matu is one of the pastors that Global Advance trained to plant churches last year. He is committed to the scattered villages across this highly populated province. I listened to Pastor Matu as he told me about his monthly routine, which includes walking from village to village 20 days out of the month to share Jesus with the people.
As we stood at his bedside, we began to pray for Pastor Matu to encounter the healing power of Jesus. He was healed immediately! He pulled out his IV and left the hospital to return to his important work. Pastor Guyan then led me to the village where Global Advance has been working to drill new wells that provide clean drinking water for the villagers. It was powerful to see the joy on the faces of the mothers and sisters who go to these wells to provide for their families. Clean water is a door for the gospel, so these wells literally bring living water to the villagers. Because of these wells, the gospel has been received and a church has been planted.
I often marvel at how God uses ordinary things to reach His creation. God’s strategies have always been different than ours. We are impressed by size, speed, power, and strength. We long for what seems glorious and impressive. Our God, by contrast, chose the way of the cross. He chose the way of rejection, isolation, and shame to come for us, save us, and forgive us. He was worshipped and welcomed by shepherds. These were the same kinds of men He chose to father nations, defy Pharaoh, and slay Goliath. Could it be that God could use simple people to reach all of Pakistan?
Ordinary things in the hands of an extraordinary God can accomplish extraordinary things.
A year ago, I was in Pakistan to conduct a Church Plant Training conference. In the year since, we have seen national believers engage poverty within their regions. We have seen dozens of baptisms. We have watched as pastors planted churches in 9 villages. In short, we have seen Jesus make Himself known to the people! On this trip I had the privilege to speak in one of those village churches. I prayed for their sick and dedicated and consecrated their homes to God. As the evening set on this anointed day, we gathered with the villagers to worship Jesus.
From drilling water wells, to supporting undercover missionaries on motorbikes, to training leaders to plant churches, Global Advance has been helping the gospel advance. With your support and monthly giving to Global Advance, we are seeing sons and daughters come to Jesus in Pakistan.
Global Advance was honored to engage pastors and leaders in Bhutan through our NextGen initiative last month. Our national team drove hours through the twists and turns of mountain roads to the Indo-Bhutan border, where over 700 rising leaders received two days of NextGen training. Representing a new era of ministry, most were first generation Christians between the ages of 18 and 30.
Bhutan is a small nation nestled in between China and India in the eastern Himalayan mountains, and is categorized among the least reached people groups with less than 2% of the population identified as Christ followers. These scattered believers often face persecution or social ostracism, and are often severely limited in their gatherings. It is considered illegal to build a church, so many of these believers meet underground in homes. Pastor K strongly believes in empowering the next generation to fulfill the Great Commission. With the help of our partners, Global Advance is coming alongside our brothers and sisters in Bhutan to equip and deploy these young leaders to the unreached areas of their nation.
At the final session of the NextGen Conference, Pastor K gave a closing “call to action,” where 500 young people committed to boldly declare and clearly demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in their spheres of influence.
Dr. James Chacko, Global Advance Field Director to South Asia, reiterated the urgency to train leaders in Bhutan following his recent visit to train pastors and strategize with the Global Advance Bhutan National Team:
“THIS WAS THE FIRST EVENT FOR THIS REGION OF BHUTAN. THERE WAS GREAT RESPONSE AND HUNGER IN LEADERS TO LEARN. MANY TRAVELLED ALL DAY TO REACH THE VENUE. THESE ARE FIRST GENERATION CHRISTIANS THAT HAVE COME TO FAITH FROM BUDDHISM. THEY HAVE A REAL BURDEN AND PASSION AND VISION TO REACH BHUTAN FOR JESUS, AMIDST GREAT OPPOSITION TO THE GOSPEL.” - Dr. James Chacko
HOW CAN YOU HELP US EMPOWER FRONTLINE LEADERS IN BHUTAN?
BECOME A GLOBAL AMBASSADOR, ADVOCATE, AND PARTNER!
To be most effective, frontline leaders need resources, training and tools. Global Ambassadors go to the front lines to train and mentor leaders. Advocates pray regularly for, and share with friends about, the needs of frontline leaders. Partners of Global Advance give financially to provide discipleship training & tools, Scripture, relief, and economic empowerment.
JOIN OUR AMBASSADOR TEAM!
Global Advance 2019 Trips - www.globaladvance.org/goga
PARTNER WITH US IN A CO-OP!
With a desire to expand the number of conferences and leaders that are trained, and to meet the demand for quality conferences, we invite you to partner with us in a CO-OP. Click here to find out more.
OUR FOCUS IS JESUS ⎮ OUR MESSAGE IS THE GOSPEL ⎮ OUR TASK IS THE GREAT COMMISSION
“…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4:16
You could definitely say that it has become a treasured January tradition.
Combine a beautiful, secluded cabin in the woods, nearly thirty women leaders who are passionate to advance the gospel in the nations, a weekend full of relationships and intentionality, and you get our 4th Annual Global Advance Esther Initiative Ambassador Retreat.
To say that these women are on a mission would be an understatement.
The focus is Jesus.
The message is the gospel.
The task is the Great Commission.
Many of these Global Ambassadors will go to the front lines to train women leaders this year. They are teachers, mentors, prayer warriors, and givers, helping to provide discipleship training & tools, Scripture, relief, and more… in places where many have yet to hear the name of Jesus.
Thank you, Father, for the gifts of diversity and unity in the body. Thank you for creating us to function so much better, together…
“In His name the nations will put their hope.” - Matthew 12:21
The new year brings new opportunities to reach the world in Jesus' name.
Our calling is sure.
The time is now.
Won't YOU become a part of what Global Advance is doing around the world?
The strategic significance of our engagement in Chhattisgarh includes the central geographical location of this state in India. Out of a total 526 people groups, there are still 494 people groups who have yet to hear the gospel for the first time. - Dr. James Chacko, Field Director, Global Advance South Asia Initiative
Our latest training initiative for frontline pastoral leaders was held in the capital city of Raipur in the state of Chhattisgarh, India. During this three day training we provided much needed encouragement, equipping, training, and resources to 92 leaders. The majority of these leaders are working among those in extreme poverty: the Dalits (untouchables), and in tribal communities - including the largest tribe called the Gond - from the remote jungles of this state. These leaders provide oversight to approximately 200 church plants and various social and community engagements to advance the gospel in this predominantly radical Hindu state. Many of these tribal people were ancestor worshippers who were forcibly converted to Hinduism. Tribal peoples are generally poor, undereducated, highly superstitious and religious, and deeply engaged in the world of spirits, witch doctors, and sorcery.
Mukesh* was a young cycle rickshaw puller, living in utter poverty and darkness when the good news of Jesus was presented to him. Immediately, he gave up pulling people on a cycle to their destinations in order to pull people to their eternal destiny. Having received the call, he joined the Bible training institution run by one of our Global Advance International Coordinators. Soon it was discovered that he had tuberculosis, a disease most rickshaw pullers in India suffer from due to their poor work environment and the lack of money to provide healthy meals. His pastor took complete responsibility for providing medical treatment for this young man, who was now kicked out of his village for having accepted Christ. Mukesh was completely healed, and upon completing his Bible training was sent to his own community as a pioneering missionary. Today, he overseas over 100 church plants and heads multiple ministry initiatives under the spiritual oversight of one of our key International Coordinators in India. It was a joy to watch Mukesh provide the key apostolic oversight to host our first Frontline Pastors Conference in this state for his own people.
Kindly pray for these frontline hidden heroes as they face great opposition to the gospel. Anti-conversion legislative law passed by radical Hindu government prohibits converting people to other faith. Radical Hindu groups constantly enter into worship gatherings, disturbing the services and beating up believers and leaders. Naxals - namely the Maoist political groups - constantly abduct Christian leaders to extort money. They also destroy churches to create political instability in the region.
Hosting a conference amidst such persecution was a step of faith for the local leaders as well as for our national resource team, but our Global Advance Global Prayer Network stood in the gap in prayer to see the fulfillment of this incredible vision. We aimed to train 70 leaders, but exceeded that goal by training 92. Twenty-two leaders committed to plant at least one new church among unreached people groups within the next six months. We had two leaders commit to become cross cultural missionaries by leaving their state to go to another state to reach the unreached.
Thank you for praying, giving, and joining the Global Advance Ambassador Network to help us reach every unreached people group in Asia. Together, we press on towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Yours in His Team,
Pastor James Chacko, Ph.D.
Field Director, Global Advance South Asia Initiative
*Name changed for security purposes
To write about Christian persecution is a challenging proposition. It is a global epidemic and a mainstay of history, as repeated studies have shown Christians to be the most persecuted group worldwide, year after year. Yet Jesus warned his disciples to expect it, and Peter instructed the church not to be surprised at it “as though something strange were happening,” (1 Peter 4:12).
Global Advance has already committed training and support for church leaders in 18 of the top 50 most-persecuted nations (assessed by Open Doors USA in their annual World Watch List), including direct rescue and relief for persecuted believers through the Alpha Relief initiative. Our commitment to, and involvement with, local churches in these nations bring the challenges of serving Christ under persecution front and center.
When we as believers encounter personal, heartbreaking stories of our brothers and sisters under fire, we wrestle to reconcile the tragic realities of persecution with the knowledge that it is wrapped up in the all encompassing love and sovereignty of God.
Recently, Global Advance received word of a new family in the faith from rural Pakistan. They received Christ last summer through the efforts of local missionaries and church planters we’ve been working with in the area. After committing to Christ they started receiving threats, but they stood firm in their new faith.
Sadly, last week their home was burned to the ground and their daughter Sundari was trapped inside. She was only nine.
We reached out to assess how to we could best help in this situation. Should we relocate them? Could we find them lodging in the city? In amazing faith, they are committed to stay, rebuild, and proclaim the hope of the gospel, and in it their testimony to God’s goodness in the midst of tragedy. Global Advance has committed to help them reestablish and refurnish their home in the village. Continued pastoral care will be provided and we are believing the church in this village will flourish as a result of their faith.
Please consider giving a gift to help care for Sundari’s family. As always, thank you for your partnership with Global Advance.
Friends, revival is in India.
The stirring in my heart while writing this update is similar to that of the prophet Jeremiah who said, "God's Word was in my heart like a burning FIRE shut up IN MY BONES. I could not hold it back…" (Jeremiah 20:9). I pray that the reading of these words may be a “journey on the road to Emmaus” that results in burning hearts and bursting lips!
Global Advance recently conducted the first ever NextGen Conference in North India. Pastors and leaders came from three different states: Gujarat, Maharastra, and Rajasthan. No words can adequately express the immense presence of Jesus on each day of the conference. The state of Gujarat is known for violence, communal riots, and persecution, but we experienced what one songwriter declares, "I see a near revival staring as we pray and seek..."
During the first two days, 230 Pastors and Youth Leaders attended the NextGen training, then over 2,000 young people gathered for the NextGen Conference that followed. The auditorium capacity was so maxed out that the team had to rent extra chairs! Attendees left thoroughly equipped, challenged, and expectant to see the gospel advanced and their communities transformed for Christ.
In the evenings, our team was honored to speak at the public evangelistic crusade. Literally thousands gathered each evening. On the final night, we gave a call for NextGen leaders to surrender their lives to Christ and challenged them to go to the unreached areas. 402 youth came forward; altogether 494 young people were prayed for and commissioned during both the NextGen Conference and the crusade. It was very humbling to hear these future leaders proclaim, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” I am sure heaven was rejoicing to see many of these young leaders verbalize what was in their hearts. Praise God for these decisions!
Just last year in this same region, we held a Global Advance Church Plant Conference for 350 pastors with the goal to empower indigenous pastors to identify unreached areas and plant churches. Since that time, nine brand new church plants have been launched! I was able to visit these churches personally during this trip. I believe India is on the brink of a revival which will literally spread to the nations. The churches have tripled since 2017. Missionaries are willing to take risks to go to areas that do not welcome Christ. I see a boldness that only God can give. Frontline leaders are persistent, and they have never given up. I firmly believe that because of their faithfulness, God has not only provided for them, but He has given them great favor in their nation.
As I look back at all that has been accomplished, I am in complete awe of what God has done. SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We invited 50 pastors to a follow-up meeting to pray for these NextGen leaders and to discuss next strategic steps. Each pastor committed to mentor and disciple specific young people assigned to them using our Global Advance LifeBooks. God laid the burden on our hearts to focus on Northwest India, covering 7 states and 2 Union Territories: Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra (States); Diu and Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli (UTs). Our prayer is that by 2030, there will be a growing church in each village, district, city, and state, and all the people groups will be reached with the gospel. Our prayer is to see every people group in this region engaged through these trained young leaders. Will you commit to pray for them?
My heart is overflowing with thankfulness to God for raising up a ministry like Global Advance to lift our hands in reaching the unreached for Christ. I am grateful to Global Advance for believing in and investing in my generation by empowering us to fulfill the Great Commission, to strengthen the global church, and to penetrate every sphere of culture with the gospel.
My hope and dream for the Church in 2019 is that we would shift from being a Church that does missions to being a missionary Church. These people groups are at the very heart of the unfinished Great Commission task. With the enabling of the One true living, all-powerful God, your financial partnership can make a difference in eternity. Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us in this new year as we continue to empower frontline leaders to reach the unreached in North India and beyond?
It’s a common tag line adopted by local churches and ministries today, but as I scrolled through pictures from our recent training event in Vijayawada, India, this evangelistic creed - placed front and center on a banner where courageous frontline leaders gathered - stood out to me with profound depth and meaning.
To Know Him and to Make Him Known
Maybe it’s the Christmas season that has me reflecting with greater intentionality on the immense privilege of knowing, loving, and serving the One who was born to die so that I might live.
Maybe it’s the news of a martyred missionary that has me more humbled, introspective, and prayerful regarding the reality of the number of unreached people groups around the world.
Maybe it’s because when I take time to look into the eyes of these brave frontline leaders, I’m reminded of their great sacrifice and commitment as they take the gospel into the darkest and riskiest places.
It’s because we know Him that we are compelled to make Him known.
What Child is This?
What Child is this
Who so impacted history
that the calendar of time itself
is dissected by His birth?
To the atom
He is fusion for by Him
all matter is held together.
He’s the Rose of Sharon
and the Lily of the Valley.
To the animal kingdom
He’s the Lion of the Tribe of Judah
and the Lamb of God.
He’s the Star of the Morning
and the Sun of Righteousness
rising with healing in His wings.
To the seeker
He’s the way
To the philosopher
To the penitent
He is Joshua’s captain
Moses’ smitten rock
Isaiah’s majestic sovereign
Saul’s blinding vision
What Child is this?
He’s the poet’s greatest theme
the composer’s sweetest music
the sinner’s dearest friend.
He’s the healer of broken hearts
the mender of broken relationships
the restorer of broken dreams.
To the weary
He is Wonderful
To the confused
To the weak
To the orphaned
To the distressed
Prince of Peace
In His life
He is humanity’s only perfection
In His death
humanity’s only Savior
In His resurrection
humanity’s only hope.
What Child is this?
He is Jesus
God’s love gift to you.
- David Shibley
WHAT ARE FRONTLINE LEADERS?
In every nation, God has positioned influential people to advance His Kingdom. The front line of the gospel is where the Church is taking root in new areas and people groups. Persecution of Christians in these areas is common.
WHY FRONTLINE LEADERS?
Cultural influence and knowledge enables community leaders to introduce the transformative power of the gospel more effectively than outsiders. This also instills value and ownership in their communities.
HOW CAN YOU EMPOWER FRONTLINE LEADERS TO FULFILL THE GREAT COMMISSION THROUGH GLOBAL ADVANCE?
To be most effective, frontline leaders need resources, training, and tools. Global Ambassadors go to the front line to train and mentor leaders. Advocates pray regularly for, and share with friends about, the needs of frontline leaders. Partners of Global Advance give financially to provide discipleship tools, Scripture, relief, and economic empowerment.
“And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” - John 17:3
To Know Him and to Make Him Known.
May this be the cry of our hearts this Christmas season, and all year through.