Global Advance kicked off our Summer training initiatives in Mbale, Uganda, where 1,200 women gathered to be trained at our Esther Initiative Conference. For a glimpse into our time in Uganda, don’t miss this quick video…
This is my new friend Daisy. She and her husband founded and oversee an amazing work in their nation.
At the end of every Global Advance Esther Initiative conference, there is always a commissioning. This time, I had the privilege to close out the conference. I referred to India as home to the world’s largest concentration of unreached people groups. I felt led to share what God was laying on my heart as it related to the specific position of these women, and then I asked if any of them would commit to being missionaries to the unreached and least reached in their nation.
The Spirit of God moved powerfully in that moment, and twenty-five of them stood up to say yes. They lined up in the front, and Daisy began to pray. As we stood there together, the presence of God was so overwhelming that neither Daisy nor I could stop the massive tears from flowing. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before.
I have seen God’s Spirit move in incredible ways, but this was uniquely different. The only way that I can describe it is that it was like God’s heart, Daisy’s heart, and my heart all collided at the response of these willing women; at the call of God on their lives in their nation. It was one of the most special moments of my life, and one I will never forget. I’m so thankful that God allowed me to be there to experience it, and I’m so inspired and thankful for my sisters who know sacrifice like I may never know in my lifetime - and who are still willing to say yes to advancing the gospel, even in the midst of major hardship.
I’m humbled and filled up.
I’m thankful for Global Advance, and for all who prayed for these women as I went! I’m thankful most of all that our God writes eternity in our hearts, and that we get to be a part of advancing His Kingdom together.
Global Advance Ambassador to India
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.
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.
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.
Two streets over from our hotel in Quito, Ecuador was the “Red Light District.” Armed with hot chocolate and crackers, we split into two teams and walked a couple of blocks to a whole new world.
Once a week for the last twelve years, our Ecuador friends have walked these streets with a very simple goal in mind: Love the people who are there. They simply keep showing up, week after week, with hot chocolate and crackers. They continuously ask them one question: “Can I pray for you?” That question is usually answered with a very quick, “Yes.”
Every prayer request involved their families. Some asked for prayer for their health. Another, a prayer for a job so she could get off the streets. We talked to her for a while and she said she loved to cook. We heard story after story until we were out of cups and crackers. I stood in the background mostly, pouring hot chocolate and observing, while prayer warriors prayed over women, and men who were dressed as women. They were all very kind. They all received us with joy.
They all simply needed us to walk down the street.
As we walked back to the hotel, I realized how close we were to all of the people we just prayed for. It dawned on me that I’d been there for three days and didn’t even realize it. I was safe, warm, and comfortable in my hotel room, and there was so much need just around the corner.
God has not called us to meet EVERY single need of EVERY single person. But, He has called us to do work that He’s already prepared in advance for us to do.
What streets do you need to walk down?
What people are you bypassing who need prayer? It doesn't have to be in the streets of Quito; it could be at your workplace, in your neighborhood, or at the ball field. The Church is not just a building… it’s you. If you can’t get them to come to your church, take it to them. Hot chocolate and crackers have been opening doors to minister the gospel in Quito for quite a while. But, they had to get out of their normal routine and take a bit of a risk.
They are fearless.
They are consistent.
They keep it simple.
As a result, they’ve been shining an amazing light in a very dark place for many years.
As God leads, will you take the risk, refuse to be “normal,” and walk down the street?
Global Advance Ambassador to Ecuador
Our Esther Initiative team was recently in Quito, Ecuador to train frontline church, community, and government leaders, many of whom are involved in the restoration, education, and empowerment of women who have been exposed to sexual exploitation. Ongoing partnerships with frontline women leaders reveal how they are creatively gifted to address the needs of their communities. The Esther Initiative provides practical and spiritual support to these standout leaders, empowering them to build relationships, identify local assets, and own the dreams God has given them in order to advance the gospel and transform their communities for Christ.
It has been an audacious dream of frontline leaders for years, and in August it became a reality. Over 350 women gathered for our first ever Esther Initiative conference in PAKISTAN! Words can't describe the JOY in our hearts as we see God building an army of kingdom women who are boldly saying YES to accelerating the gospel's advance in this Islamic domain.
As a Muslim-saturated nation (96%), the culture in Pakistan is becoming increasingly influenced by radical Islamic militants such as the Taliban and the Islamic State. This fundamentalist Islamic rule has contributed to escalating violence, widespread corruption, and the persecution of Christians. Sadly, Pakistan is known for the abduction of over 700 Christian girls per year, who are abused and then forced to marry Muslim men and convert to Islam.
With over 350 tribal groups in the Sindh Province of Pakistan who have never heard the gospel, there is an alarming need to train leaders and plant churches in this region.
This is where Global Advance comes in.
Following the momentum of our Church Planting conference in May, and in collaboration with our ongoing Alpha Relief water well project, the timing and location of this Esther Initiative conference couldn’t have been more strategic.
“Women were so much encouraged and on fire to take the message to others. They were restored, touched, and are now mobilized to impact other women living in Sindh and all over Pakistan.” - Pastor William, Global Advance International Coordinator
At Global Advance, 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…
…for such a time as this.
Empowered with a vision in their hearts and tools in their hands, hope is rising for the Church in Pakistan! Thank you for praying, going, and giving as we lock arms with these frontline leaders in the hardest, most unreached regions of the world.
We first met YC* at our Global Advance Frontline Pastors Training Conference in the small and beautiful nation of Bhutan. Bhutan is nestled in between China and India in the eastern Himalaya mountains, and is categorized among the least reached people groups with less than 2% of their population identified as Christ followers.
Living under a Buddhistic dynasty, local pastors face persecution and social ostracism, and are mostly severely limited in their gatherings in this restricted access nation.
In spite of these challenges, God is raising up passionate frontline leaders in Bhutan who are pressing forward in great faith.
When YC was a young girl, her family planted a church in their village. Immediately, they faced intense persecution. But young YC was not deterred from serving her Savior. When she was just seven years old, God led YC to start a Sunday school class for kids her own age. Today, she serves full time in their growing church network, and is part of an influential leadership program in her nation.
God has placed the same dream in YC’s heart as that of her mother; to disciple and empower the women of Bhutan to become intercessors and leaders who will impact their families, the marketplace, their communities, and their nation for Christ. Equipped with personalized training through Global Advance’s Esther Initiative Mentoring Track, we partnered with YC and the Global Advance Bhutan national team to host an Esther Initiative training conference in June of this year.
"The Esther Initiative has just encouraged me so much. Going through the Esther Manual was just so uplifting and encouraging in my personal life, which helped me commit to this national vision of taking the Esther Initiative to every church; to every woman... getting them mentored and coached with what the Word of God says. We were blessed to host the first Esther Initiative conference here in my church, and I was in tears as I was listening to the testimonies. Many of them left so encouraged, and they have been begging me; asking me when the next Esther Initiative program will be."
YC’s commitment to raising up modern day Esthers in Bhutan, combined with Global Advance’s practical leader multiplication strategy, is a powerful force for the advance of the gospel in South Asia. From remote villages to large cities, YC is on the move with a vision in her heart and tools in her hands across the borders of the most unreached region of the world.
One of the biblical assurances we have before the second coming of our Lord is that there will be a great spiritual harvest. Many people will become followers of Jesus, and there will be a great harvest of souls into the Kingdom of God. The gospel will be preached to every nation, and people will be saved out of every nation or "people group" before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). The book of Revelation tells us about a multitude of people worshipping around the throne from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Revelation 5:9).
What God is doing in the nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives through the Global Advance South Asia Coalition is exactly the fulfillment of the above promises. God is enabling our leaders in these nations to present to the Father redeemed people from among 3,218 unreached people groups.
This massive undertaking by Global Advance is something that has never been done in the history of the church in South Asia.
What makes this initiative unique is that it is national leaders led, powered by the training and equipping provided by the proven ministry of Global Advance. As a result of the huge investments of finance, Global Ambassadors pouring into the lives of the national leaders, and backed with valuable training resources, today we have the best of the best, top-level national teams collaborating in unity to reach their own nations. This has resulted not only in the development of strategic national strategies, but also a regional Kingdom coalition that is now set in motion to reach over 2 billion people.
Some of the challenges and threats we face in this region are radical religious groups persecuting Christians, political instability, corruption, poverty, caste discriminations, natural disasters, population explosion, forced re-conversions, sex trafficking, child labor, civil war, laws to hinder or stop Christian activities, the burning of churches and Christian establishments, imprisonment of pastors on false charges, and threats to our very families and personal lives. Amidst these challenges and more, our leaders in South Asia are laser focused on our vision of planting at least 15,000 new churches within the next five years.
Prayer is needed for the following nations classified as Restricted Access Countries: Afghanistan and Maldives under Islamic rule, and Bhutan under a Buddhistic dynasty. God is providentially and supernaturally providing creative access to bring the gospel to these nations.
Our second classification of nations is Limited Access Countries: Pakistan and Bangladesh. Both of these nations are Islamic domains. God has made it possible for our leaders and Global Ambassadors to travel to these nations to provide in-country training and equipping to hungry leaders.
Our third category of nations is Cautious Access Countries: India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. India - a predominantly Hindu nation, with the second largest Islamic population in a country - is now leading the way for the world’s fastest church planting movement. God is also raising up key apostolic leaders from this nation to advance the cause of Christ, not only in this region, but throughout the world.
“This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” - Psalm 118:23
This groundbreaking South Asia Coalition continues to make tremendous gospel advances, but we're not done yet. May Jesus Christ be known, loved, obeyed, and worshipped by every tribe, people, and nation so that the Great Commission becomes the Great Fulfillment! Thank you for your partnership that provides frontline leaders in the toughest parts of the world the vital training and tools needed to impact God's Kingdom for eternity!
Dr. James Chacko
Field Director, Global Advance South Asia Initiative
At Global Advance, we're passionate about telling the inspiring stories of how hope is rising in the hearts of God's people throughout the world as together we carry out the Great Commission. Don't miss our most recent Enlightened Newsletter, where you'll find just that:
- Learn how God is multiplying our original projections for a higher impact through the Esther Initiative beyond what we could have ever imagined.
- Hear testimonies of how our recent Frontline Pastors Conference in Kaduna, Nigeria is making a difference for the advance of the gospel across the Islamic rim of Northern Africa.
- Read about how our resources go farther when we equip indigenous leaders like Zin from Myanmar through our Alpha Relief Initiative.
- Review why the marketplace matters, and how YOU can be a part of a move of God through Marketplace Missions!
Click the button below to take a look at the highlights of how your support is impacting lives for the kingdom of God:
"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” - Jeremiah 29:7
Our team of seventeen had been preparing for months to train leaders in the city. From a large Esther Initiative conference, to Marketplace Missions workshops, to training in a local social community, there would be many moving parts to our ten days of strategic ministry together. To say that we were fired up to get on the ground and get to work would be an understatement.
But a week before we were set to depart for Porto Alegre, an unexpected truck drivers' strike was paralyzing the nation.
In twenty-four of twenty-six states, trucker roadblocks shut down highways in protest against rising fuel prices that took yet another hit to Brazil's suffering economy. Airport transportation was halted due to lack of fuel. Supermarket shelves became sparse. A massive loss of livestock resulted from lack of animal feed, and procedures in some hospitals were suspended due to lack of medicine. It is estimated that the strike resulted in a loss of over seven billion dollars of economic production over just five days. All the while, tension grew between a frustrated people and its government.
And so we hit our knees and we prayed.
Our Global Advance international coordinators in Brazil have become more than beloved ministry partners; we have a deep heart connection that truly feels more like family. For the last five years we've dreamed God-sized dreams with them, lifting their arms as together we train leaders and pray for the transformation of their nation. In this time of historic economic crisis, political corruption, crime, and the poverty of millions, we know that the answer for Brazil is Jesus. There's no denying that Brazil's recent challenges have opened the door to bring the hope of Christ to this hurting nation like never before.
We felt strongly that the time to GO was now, and God answered our prayers.
The weekend before we were set to travel the truck drivers' strike was lifted. We were on our way to witness MORE of the powerful move of God in this city...
Three years ago we launched our first Esther Initiative training conference in Porto Alegre. One church was represented and 400 women gathered, hungry to know more of who they are in Christ; to know of their calling and capacity to be used by God to advance the gospel in their city.
Two years ago the Lord captured the hearts of the Brazil team to help bring unity to the city by inviting multiple churches to our second Esther Initiative conference. South Brazil - with only 11% of its population identified as evangelical Christians - had long been known as the "pastor's graveyard" due to a rejection of the gospel and the disunity of its people. A powerful moment during that conference came when representatives from 26 churches came forward, humbled themselves, repented, and committed to serving God better together. Over 700 women in one auditorium proclaimed that together their focus is Jesus, the message is the gospel, and their task is the Great Commission.
When God moves in a city, the beauty of multiplication is evident.
Last month we partnered for our third Esther Initiative conference - this time in a university campus auditorium in order to accommodate the 1,200 women who flocked together from 65 churches! From one to sixty-five churches. Only God!
These women know without a doubt that God has called them to work together to shine His light in their city... for such a time as this.
They joyfully accepted our challenges to recommit to daily time with God, to pursue intentional mentoring relationships, and to boldly step into their calling to reach the unreached in their city and beyond.
But the impact doesn't stop there.
In between conferences church leaders have begun meeting monthly to build relationships, pray, and seek the Lord together for the welfare of their city. Their unity and momentum has caught the attention of additional leaders throughout the marketplace, social, and government sectors.
As God continues to move in hearts across Porto Alegre, city leaders are now asking how they can work together.
When God moves in a city, it has the potential to transform an entire nation. We believe that in Brazil He is doing just that.
Please PRAY for our additional training conferences in Brazil yet this year: for our large NextGen event that kicks off next week, and for our much longed for Marketplace Missions conference in November. Lord willing, we're already strategizing about how our holistic approach to Global Advance trainings can impact even more cities in Brazil in 2019.
The harvest is plenty, and the workers in Brazil are multiplying thanks to your partnership. Just look at what God is doing around the world as we empower frontline leaders to fulfill the Great Commission... together.
The bright colors that gracefully adorned each woman stood out in stark contrast against the dark spiritual background of the beautiful nation they call home.
The nation is India, where the heat of violent persecution is rapidly rising for Christ followers.
These women are not unlike you and me in many regards. They are daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, ministry leaders - passionate women who carry bold dreams in their hearts, yet manage many realms of life and responsibilities in order to nurture, protect, love, and disciple the ones God has placed in their influence. Like us, they balance great joy in the Lord, mixed with the pain that the world can so often bring because we're not home yet.
But unlike most of us, these women wake up each day in a nation where precious lives could be on the line simply because they identify themselves as Christians.
In 2013 India ranked 31st on the list of the top 50 countries where it's most dangerous to follow Jesus. In just five short years, India has surpassed more well known persecuted nations by earning an astonishing rank of number 11 in 2018.
Let that sink in. India just surpassed twenty of the most highly persecuted nations in the world.
News of increasing government restrictions and the violent influence of radical Hindu groups flood today's headlines. There is talk that their goal is to eradicate both Islam and Christianity from this second most populous country in the world by the year 2021. School curriculum is denouncing the name of Jesus, and Bibles are being burned in the streets. It's more and more common to hear of pastors being beaten and martyred for their faith. Most recently, an eight year old girl was targeted, abused, and tragically killed at the hands of Hindu extremists.
These are real stories reported to us from our very own partners on the front lines in India. These dear brothers and sisters in Christ need our support now more than ever.
This is why Global Advance is unwavering in our commitment to go to the most unreached places to empower frontline leaders to fulfill the Great Commission. This is what took us to Ludhiana, India this month for our second Esther Initiative training conference for women leaders in ministry.
To say that these incredible women - most of them first generation believers - are hungry for spiritual training on the next level would be an understatement. They have a strong desire to be intelligent women of the Word. They need to be encouraged to persevere in hope in an environment that rejects the one true God whom they treasure more than life itself. They long for someone to believe in them in a culture that often devalues them; someone who will lift their arms and empower them to go into the hard places - despite the many challenges stacked against them - to light this predominantly Hindu nation with the gospel.
And so we went with great JOY.
With connected hearts and our common bond in Christ, we trained, encouraged, believed in, and empowered these modern day Esthers. We challenged them to shine the light of Christ in their spheres of influence, and zoned in on intentional discipleship multiplication. We showed up to remind them that they were created for such a time as this, and that they aren't alone in this battle.
And as all Global Advance conferences go, corporate biblical training paved the way for profound personal impact.
Don't you love how God is such a personal God like that?
One delegate named Phoebe had miscarried just two days before the conference. This was tragic for this sister and her husband as they had been praying and waiting anxiously for this baby for the past six years. Phoebe knew that she had to attend this conference - a rare opportunity for women - in spite of the pain and agony. Through the teaching and testimonies of our team, the Lord spoke to her specifically, bringing much needed healing and comfort. Through tears she whispered, "This conference was just for me. God has provided for me through this training at just the right time."
She was comforted, and found healing and wholeness in the arms of her Savior.
Comforted, so that she can comfort others with the comfort she has received from God.
Comforted in the hard places, so that she can rise up and shine His light in the darkness around her.
Phoebe's personal testimony was just one of many heard throughout the conference. These women are now fired up and on mission for God. As their time together concluded, ninety-one of them stood to proclaim that they will go into the hard places - into the most remote villages of North India and beyond - to reach those who have yet to hear the good news of the gospel.
Now that's a story worth telling over and over again.
What a privilege it is to remind you that YOU are a crucial part of this story.
Your prayers matter.
Your going matters.
Your giving matters.
We'll keep telling what great things God has done because your partnership has significant Kingdom impact, and because He deserves all the glory.
Friends, we can't tire now.
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.
As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018, our Global Advance Ambassador Team was busy making final preparations for the launch of our Esther Initiative Training Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. With a passion for seeing their churches empowered and their city transformed for Christ, local leaders reached out to Global Advance for help. What followed was a powerful move of God in their city.
“There are no words that can ever explain what we experienced and what was revealed to our hearts this weekend by our Lord and Savior through you as instruments of the highest Lord. Indeed, women's lives have been changed and will never be the same.”
“Women are launching into a new level of Kingdom purpose. My experience has forever changed my life and increased my intentionality in Christ.”
In addition to powerful testimonies like these, we are praising God for 286 conference women who recommitted to daily time with God, 256 women who committed to personal mentoring relationships, and 130 women who said yes to cross-cultural missions. Utilizing the Esther Initiative Leadership Training Manual, key leaders are now empowered to go into their communities and carry out the Great Commission. Multiplication occurs as these frontline leaders in turn disciple women in local mentoring relationships.
At Global Advance, we dream of the day when women everywhere know their true value, worth, and identity in Christ. When the older are equipped to teach the younger, and when the younger are empowered to boldly carry the torch that lit the fire in them to a lost and dying world. God is using the ministry of the Esther Initiative to empower women to joyfully proclaim these truths where the Gospel has yet to go. Thank you for your partnership that helps us get one step closer to that day.
They entered the room soberly and quietly - some cradling infants. Was that fear or sorrow in their expressionless eyes? I had been told that many of them had arrived in the back of a small truck – 43 men and women to be exact - counted as they walked through the front gate of the compound where we gathered. It was the faces of these women that captured me as they entered our “Upper Room"; not just their stoic nature, but also the painted black vertical stripes that were part camouflage, part defense against evil spirits, and part cosmetic beauty, I was told. And then there were the multiple silver-colored rings lining their ears and the pieces of what looked like bone in their noses. But it was the somberness of their facial expressions that drew me the most.
On my way to India I had asked God His purpose for my trip.
I did not want to miss what He wanted me to accomplish. The answer was clear: “To encourage them and share in their suffering. It is not just what you will say, but showing them My love that is important.” I later learned that one of them, a pastor’s wife with three small children, had recently become a widow; her husband shot by “Maoist militants” in their jungle village.
Father, show us how to love them.
We started with the story of Esther, an ordinary woman with courage and an extraordinary gift of beauty that God used to save her nation. They listened intently throughout the lesson and its translations: English to Hindi to Kui. Gradually their expressions softened as the lessons progressed, and soon there were hesitant smiles breaking across those beautiful faces as they sat for hours cross-legged on the blanket-covered cement floor. Yes, they were nursing their babies and tending to toddlers, but they were also beginning to believe who they were in Christ. They were loved, they were chosen, they were forgiven, they were accepted, and adopted by the King of Kings, and He had a calling on their lives to bring transformation to the women in their villages and their nation. They began to worship and even to dance before the Lord. Smiles lit up their faces, young and old alike, as they received God’s love and hope and in turn prayed for and encouraged one another.
And yes, very quickly we hugged them and prayed for them. We blessed their babies and laid hands on the sick. We shared our own life journeys of hardship and victory in Jesus. In small groups women shared their struggles and prayed for one another. They dreamed together about what they could do to bring hope and help to their communities, and how to encourage and support one another.
We laughed and cried together in that small room, sharing the “suffering” of the heat and crowded conditions, but rejoicing in the truth that we are one. Sisters. We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who sees each of us, and loves us, and unites us in service for Him and the expansion of His Kingdom. When the commissioning call was given in the final session of the conference, many of them responded. “Yes, we will go to the villages who have never heard, and share the good news of God’s love and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.”
Somehow, I believe that our lives will never be the same.
In an outcome I could never have anticipated, these humble, courageous women have challenged me to not fear suffering for the sake of the Gospel.
Lord, here am I. Send me.
- Connie Parker, Esther Initiative Ambassador to India
Global Advance is training frontline leaders with the call to reach remote villages in India where the Gospel still needs to go. In February, our ambassador teams conducted two powerful Church Planting and Esther Initiative conferences to provide training and resources in Chhattisgarh and Odisha States, where persecution for Christians is on the rise and only a fraction of 1% of the population professes Christ. Global Advance is on a mission to see the Great Commission become the Great Fulfillment. Your gift today helps us move one step closer to THAT day...
Building a kingdom coalition is hard work. At Global Advance, we have spent the past three years investing in high capacity leaders in eight nations located in South Asia known as SAARC. It came as a big idea from God to accelerate the Great Commission through partnerships and collaboration in this region. We felt God’s invitation to step out in faith and begin a massive Kingdom advance into the SAARC nations of Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, and the Maldives.
These SAARC countries represent a high concentration of unreached peoples, hostility towards the Gospel, and present financial and logistical challenges. Despite these challenges, a massive harvest potential of lives yet to be transformed by the power of the Gospel resides within South Asia.
In February of this year we convened these high capacity leaders in Sri Lanka. The 2018 SAARC Summit was a vital gathering to continue the work of strengthening relationships for the purpose of these leaders sharing resources and ministry strengths to fulfill our common vision. We recognize that this act alone goes against the tradition and culture of this region. However, we are seeing a powerful movement of God take place.
This big idea is rooted in our desire to see a spiritual breakthrough to the over 2 billion people in the SAARC region who have little to no exposure to the Gospel. In partnership with these leaders, Global Advance has made a 10-year commitment to train leaders, as well as to produce and distribute resources and discipleship tools for the advance of the Great Commission.
To accomplish this task, we are working with each national team to create deliberate, bold, and focused evangelistic initiatives in each of the eight nations. The indigenous national leaders are designing the strategies that are most effective. Together as a coalition, we want to see the planting of over 15,000 churches in SAARC over the next few years.
The opportunity lies before us and the groundwork has been laid. Now trust has been established. Synergy and passion is in play to boldly advance the Gospel throughout our SAARC network. A plan to equip South Asian frontline pastors and church planters has been formed, and the network has established teams that are already multiplying. In each nation, a multi-pronged holistic approach is being implemented to equip Kingdom leaders and Church planters, and our Alpha Relief Initiative has become a supply line for the front line of the Gospel's advance.
Your partnership with Global Advance positions you to participate in this big idea from God. Thank you for praying, giving, and sending us to empower frontline leaders for the Great Commission. Please continue to support the SAARC Initiative at Global Advance.
Paula Togni carries a personality you can't easily forget, but her energetic demeanor and warm Brazilian embrace are just friendly introductions to the deeply compassionate servant leadership she brings to her church and community. She's a wife, a mom, and an entrepreneur, who also happens to be pursuing her doctorate in Transformational Leadership and Cultural Transformation.
Paula is a woman of God on a mission for God.
Her passion? To propel leaders forward to help them accomplish their God-given dreams.
Several years ago Paula began training local marketplace leaders as a marketing and business consultant, but it didn’t take long for God to deposit a more intentional gospel-focused dream in her heart. It was at that time that Paula was introduced to Global Advance. God used this new Kingdom partnership to solidify her Marketplace Missions vision not only for her business but her entire nation. A Kingdom Business Network was launched in her church, and Paula began coordinating the first of many Global Advance Marketplace Missions Conferences. As a result, Christian business leaders across Brazil have been empowered to impact their churches and communities, and many in their influence have received Jesus as their Savior.
God is now expanding Paula’s vision to reach her community for Christ by incorporating multiple Global Advance initiatives into her ministry outreach in a local favela (slum) just outside of Porto Alegre. In a place where extreme poverty, drug rings, and violence compromise the physical and spiritual health of its people, local church, and marketplace leaders are coming together in unity to offer hope, healing, and community transformation through job skills training and the message of Jesus Christ. After hosting a second Esther Initiative Conference last year and launching hundreds of women leaders into mentoring relationships through our Esther Mentoring Track, Paula now dreams of an expanded training center in the favela where her team can continue to empower women and children to fully realize their identity, worth, and purpose in Christ.
We return to Porto Alegre in June 2018 where an expected 1,200 women from all over Brazil will gather for our third Esther Initiative conference. This multi-faceted event includes the strategic training of high capacity regional leaders; then the focus turns to putting this leadership training into action through a three-day social engagement ministry in the favela. Two additional conferences - national NextGen Engagement and Marketplace training - will follow this year under Paula's leadership. That brings the total number of frontline leaders trained in Brazil to over 2,500 in this year alone. Global Advance is providing the practical and spiritual support to stand-out leaders like Paula, empowering them to build relationships, identify local assets, and own the dreams God has given them to transform their communities for Christ.
When Paula was nine years old, God gave her a dream to become a missionary. Today, Paula is indeed going into all the world and advancing the Gospel as she represents Global Advance on the front lines of Brazil.
As mentioned, we have three training events in Brazil in 2018. Would you consider partnering with Global Advance on one of these events? Your support will have a far-reaching impact as we lock arms with Paula and her team to bring the transforming power of God to her nation.