Thousands of believers in northern Nigeria have been displaced and are on the run from persecution…
When God called us as a family from South to North India in 2001, we were immediately confronted by the spiritual darkness of this massively unreached region. Here, only .05% of the population of over 600 million identify themselves as Christians. Our city, Chandigarh, is named after the Hindu deity Chandi, who is popularly known as the “goddess of power”. The second part of the city’s name, Garh, means “dwelling”. In similar fashion - be it a road, a mountain, or a river - everything in this part of the world was dedicated to or attributed to some form of spiritual darkness. No wonder Paul admonished the Ephesians in chapter 6, verse 2 that, “… our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Before we could expand Global Advance initiatives to train pastoral leaders in this region, it was crucial to pierce the darkness by mobilizing massive prayer walks and prayer movements. From 2001 - 2005, we were intentional in organizing prayer walks that covered thousands of miles in North India, as well as twice through the entire nation of Nepal. Easter week of 2003 found our team conducting prayer walks in the Himalayan Mountains over an eight day period. Our team felt that we should make it to a church on Easter Day to worship, but our local guide informed us that the closest church was another four days’ travel away. To our disappointment, we wouldn’t make it by Easter Day. But today, thanks to years of prayer and Global Advance training initiatives, we now have a church in every district of these regions that were once absolutely closed to the gospel! We are grateful to the Lord for the many Global Advance prayer partners who are covering us in prayer as we continue to pierce the darkness. Today, through the Global Advance South Asia Coalition, we have a prayer network that covers eight nations through intentional, ongoing prayer initiatives. We who are on the front lines can feel the power of God at work as Global Advance prayer partners join forces to pray with our prayer coordinators in South Asia.
We are seeing breakthroughs, open doors, and miracles as a result of prayer. The success and the progress we are making through the Global Advance South Asia Coalition is the result of much prayer. Prayer alone gives power and wings to the gospel.
“The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.” – Andrew Murray
You and I have the greatest resource for advancing the gospel through our ability to come before God in prayer to plead for what is already on His heart - the fulfillment of the Great Commission. While advancing the gospel is the work of the church, prayer is the engine that fuels its momentum. God’s decree for the advance of the Kingdom is dependent on prayer for its fulfillment: “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” – Psalm 2:8
Will you pray with us?
Pastor James Chacko, Ph.D., Global Advance Field Director to South Asia
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:
“How good and pleasant it is when
brothers dwell together in unity….”
Recently in Guatemala we had the opportunity to come alongside pastors and church leaders to provide training and encouragement. The Holy Spirit ignited the hearts of these leaders to see their nation transformed. Dozens responded to plant new churches and send Guatemalan missionaries out!
“This week has been like a refreshing river in the midst of a desert!” exclaimed one pastor who oversees multiple churches.
“Most of the training for pastors occurs in Guatemala City but in the region of TecPan it is a rare thing. We’ve never had anything quite like this!”
Later in the week Global Advance had the privilege of convening entrepreneurs and business people in the region. Our team of company owners from the States toured several businesses owned by Christians to offer advice and prayer support.
Energetic anticipation filled the room at our marketplace conference as they were taught principles from God’s Word related to business. Eighty-two committed their work life and businesses to advance God’s Kingdom purpose in Guatemala.
Christian entrepreneurs and business people are crucial in nations like Guatemala to prevent “brain drain” and to bring blessing to the local churches and communities. Many times developing nations lose their best and brightest to opportunities in more developed economies.
Thank you for praying for frontline pastors and marketplace leaders worldwide! The unstoppable Gospel of the Kingdom marches on.
This month, nestled in the highlands of the Himalayas in far Northwest India, Global Advance is training frontline leaders with one passion, one vision, and one cause – to advance the Gospel and expand the Kingdom.
As the training was set to begin we received this request: “Friends, let us continue to uphold one another in prayer and to encourage one another with words of affirmation and prophetic declarations - we just can't do this alone!”
Sadly, the day before this training we were informed that a Bharat Bandh - a nationwide shutdown - was implemented in this region. During the previous nation-wide strike, protests across the country had turned violent after agitators resorted to stone pelting, damaging public properties, and blocking rail and road traffic movements.
Some pastors traveling to the training were stranded on the roads for hours.
Once the delegates arrived at the Frontline Pastors Conference, they went through four security checks to enter the church area, all as a precaution to protect them from violent protesting. Through all of this, they made their way to be encouraged and to receive the much needed training for their work.
The front line of the Gospel’s advance is littered with painful and difficult opposition to God’s purpose.
Hate does not surrender easily to love.
Evil does not submit quietly to good.
When pastors and leaders gather to be trained, often they are overwhelmed by the struggle to push forward as they bear the burden and overcome the daily fear of spiritual collisions. These training events lift these hidden heroes as they respond to the Great Commission.
Regardless of security obstacles and impending persecution, these pastors are seeking a sovereign move of God in their region. Please pray for these leaders, and consider giving to Global Advance to help bring more training to the frontline leaders of the Gospel’s advance. They need our help more than ever.
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.