Doing What Has Never Been Done: The Global Advance South Asia Coalition

  July 2018 Frontline Pastors Conference in Sahiwal, Pakistan

July 2018 Frontline Pastors Conference in Sahiwal, Pakistan

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.

 

  Raising up modern day Esthers in Sikar, India

Raising up modern day Esthers in Sikar, India

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. 

  Women leaders sit shoulder to shoulder to receive vital training at our Esther Initiative Conference in Thimphu, Bhutan

Women leaders sit shoulder to shoulder to receive vital training at our Esther Initiative Conference in Thimphu, Bhutan

 

 

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.

 

  Empowering church planters to fulfill their vision to plant a church in every district of Nepal at our Frontline Pastors Conference in Kathmandu

Empowering church planters to fulfill their vision to plant a church in every district of Nepal at our Frontline Pastors Conference in Kathmandu

  Over 600 leaders gathered for our Frontline Pastors Church Planting Conference in Karachi, Pakistan in May 2018

Over 600 leaders gathered for our Frontline Pastors Church Planting Conference in Karachi, Pakistan in May 2018

Prayer is needed for the following nations classified as Restricted Access CountriesAfghanistan 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
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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

  Dr. James Chacko and Global Advance team arrive in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a Frontline Pastors Church Planting Conference in July 2018

Dr. James Chacko and Global Advance team arrive in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a Frontline Pastors Church Planting Conference in July 2018

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  Dr. James Chacko with representatives from the Global Advance Sri Lanka national team

Dr. James Chacko with representatives from the Global Advance Sri Lanka national team

Enlightened Newsletter: A Summer 2018 Update from Global Advance

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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:

Global Advance in Vietnam: Shining the Light of Christ through Marketplace Missions

We are “the light of the world,” said Jesus, like a town on a hill or a lamp on a stand that cannot be hidden and whose light shines in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16). The marketplace ministry of Global Advance equips business leaders to shine the light of Christ in their spheres of influence.

For more than 10 years Global Advance has engaged with believers in the marketplace of Vietnam. Most of the time they are first-generation Christians. The Holy Spirit has set them ablaze to be His witness in the factories, the board rooms, and the back offices.   

  Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, bursts with economic progress.

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, bursts with economic progress.

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In Hanoi, some estimate that there are only several thousand Christ-followers among a city of millions. On the 72nd floor of the highest building in the city, we sat down with Bernard. “I am the only Christian in the office. People are watching how I deal with stress, family, and temptations. I know God has put me here to be a witness.”  

 

 

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In Ho Chi Minh we met Lucky, a young owner of a fashion clothing outfit. Together we prayed for God to use Lucky for His glory. “I have a passion to bring young people to Christ and run an excellent business.”   

  Lucky owns a high-end fashion store. He wants to use his influence for the Kingdom.

Lucky owns a high-end fashion store. He wants to use his influence for the Kingdom.

Diep owns an audio equipment business in Saigon. Before turning to Christ, she trusted in the hundreds of idols and shrines that lined her office. She struggled with an illness of bleeding, much like the woman in the Bible. That’s when she met our friends from LEC church. The pastor and his wife prayed over Diep and the Lord healed her. From that moment Diep rid her idols and surrendered her life to Jesus. She is now active in helping youth and recovering drug addicts find hope.     

Global Advance has sponsored many Marketplace Leaders Conferences, impacting hundreds of business leaders in Vietnam. A team of 20 businesswomen from the financial district in Taiwan also joined in the marketplace ministry in Hanoi. Seminar topics included Kingdom Entrepreneurship, Dealing with Stress, Building a Kingdom Corporate Culture through Vision and Values, and a call to join in the Kingdom Business Network our Father is building.

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  Business women from Taiwan flew to Hanoi to participate in the conference.

Business women from Taiwan flew to Hanoi to participate in the conference.

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The harvest field is ripe for souls. Years of war and devastation are being overtaken by investment and growing prosperity as the people are diligently responding to greater market freedoms and opportunities. A great door has opened for the Gospel through "pastors in business" and leaders influencing their businesses and culture through their faith in Christ. Please join us as we continue to pray for and invest in Vietnam and other countries through Marketplace Missions.

 

Gratefully commissioned,

Jonathan Shibley 

 

  Ti runs a print shop which produces 90% of the Christian literature for Vietnam.

Ti runs a print shop which produces 90% of the Christian literature for Vietnam.

When God Moves in a City...

"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

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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...

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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 forwardhumbled 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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

Whitney

The Strategy Behind the Training: Fueling a Church Planting Movement in Siberia

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Our Global Advance team recently traveled west of the Ural Mountains and across the Siberian plains to a city called Novokuznetsk, carrying with them a passionate commitment to advance the Church in Siberia.

Our mission at Global Advance is to empower frontline leaders to fulfill the Great Commission. Through our relationships in this region, we have been helping to advance the Great Commission through a strategic church planting movement. While most consider Russia to be a Christian country, there are still many people who have never heard the Gospel. In fact, out of the 173 people groups that make up the population of Russia, half of these groups remain unreached. We believe that church planting is one of the greatest ways to measure the advance of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the Great Commission in a nation. 

 

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It was amazing to see 150 church planters gathered from many parts of Siberia to receive the three days of training that Global Advance offers at our Church Planting conferences. Leaders are provided a training manual translated in their mother tongue, practical teaching, and personal mentoring to see the Church planted. When we partner to bring our Church Planting training to a region, we have three strategic objectives. These objectives help stimulate the church planting movement and create a more sustainable approach to this important work:

 

  1. We work with local leadership to equip leaders for church planting. Leaders are developed and mentored to raise up future leaders. Leaders must lead themselves well, so that they in turn can lead others well.
  2. Our church planting strategy aims to see rapid reproduction. The urgency of reaching people for Christ should exude an emergency for the sake of the lost. This will manifest in the rapid reproduction of churches and aggressive outreach. 
  3. When churches are planted, we encourage a vision for churches planting churches. When reproduction is natural and a part of reaching more people, church planting will maintain momentum by instilling a DNA of reproduction. 

 

These church planting objectives will ultimately fuel leadership development, evangelism, and create momentum for the Great Commission to become the Great Fulfillment.

 

At Global Advance the focus is always Jesus, our message is the Gospel, and our task is the Great Commission.

 

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When you partner with us, you are helping us put resource tools in the hands, and fresh vision for advancing the Gospel in the hearts of these indigenous leaders. Your partnership enables leaders to have a life-transforming experience that will exponentially affect their impact for Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Ken

 

The Real Cancun: Where there is good and evil and life is not all a vacation...

Ah, Cancun!  Beautiful beaches and good times can be found here. But Cancun is also home to an entire region of real people, with real struggles and hopes and dreams.   

 

We came at the invitation of Mundo de Fe Church for a Marketplace Missions week. We would visit numerous businesses and conduct a Global Advance Marketplace Leaders conference. But within five minutes of meeting our host pastor named Lalo, we learned of a tragedy that had struck too close to home that very week.

 

“Three members of our sister church were murdered this week. They think the Narcos mistook them for someone else.”

 

Then it sunk in.   

 

I’ve traveled to Lebanon, Egypt, Africa, and Asia. Cancun is facing serious challenges too.  

 

Our team was expectant that God was going to do something special during our days there. But our expectancy was small compared to the people we were privileged to meet. 

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Meet “The Chef” Luis and his wife Nilma. Together, with their son and daughter-in-law, they create some of the finest casual cuisines in the Yucatan. Strategically placed next to a large high school, they see their restaurant as a ministry.

 

Covering the walls are unique artistic chalk drawings of Biblical scenes with Scripture. “I am the Way and the Life,” declares one creative drawing of Jesus offering a hand to all who are willing.

 

Hundreds of students and their families crowd their little place in the mornings and afternoons. “My passion is to provide hope to the young people,” says the Chef. “They come here every day and need to know they are loved and have a future.” 

 

The Chef’s other passion? 

 

“I want to help feed the hungry in my city.” They already host outreaches and provide meals to the downtrodden, and serve their local church by providing meals for special events.

 

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(The first Bible recipient at El Chef's restaurant, thanks to a generous donation from a Global Advance Ambassador.)

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Israel is being primed by his father to take over a three generation family-run windows and mirrors business. They’ve built a legacy of integrity and generosity, now selling thousands of mirrors and windows annually. Their family generously supports their local church and other ministries in the region.  

Jessica has taken territory in a man’s world. Her custom tools and construction appliance shop has grown for two decades. In a machismo culture, somehow God’s favor has allowed her to prosper with a majority-women staffed team.

Her fear?  

“I cannot put my name on the other store location because the Narcos might threaten me to pay for protection.” This is a common problem in Mexico. If you are perceived as prosperous, you might be targeted to pay a monthly fee to gangs for protection of your business. If you don’t pay, you might face the threat of kidnapping... or worse.

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We had the privilege of visiting a dozen businesses in Yucatan that are run by believers. God has strategically placed them in the marketplace for His glory. They are called to bless the city. They are Gospel bearers. They are problem solvers and nation builders.

Almost 200 attended our Global Advance Marketplace Leaders conference. Hungry for training and a touch from God, they cried, cheered, and committed their lives to further His Kingdom.

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These wonderful people were challenged and affirmed as missionaries to the marketplace.  They are raising the spiritual and moral capital of the nation. Pray for God to raise up millions like them around the world!  

 

Thank you for supporting Global Advance to empower God’s frontline leaders around the world.

Jonathan Shibley serves as president of Global Advance. He started the Marketplace Missions initiative in 2003 to encourage and equip Christians in the marketplace in developing nations.

 

Doors Wide Open: How God is strategically bringing his daughters together all around the world

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There’s something stirring.

 

God is moving in the hearts of His women... and it’s something like I have never witnessed before. 

 

Sure, maybe I’m hyper-aware of the women of God who are taking hold of and walking in the purpose for which they are created. Bringing these women together and helping lift their arms is what I know I’m to be about in these last days.

 

But it’s more than this.

 

It’s more than an awareness brought about by a personal call.

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God is strategically bringing His daughters together all around the world.

 

The generations of daughters who have gone before us have shown us strength and how to be strategic in the positions where God has placed us.

 

Like Abigail, who after hearing of the destruction soon to come upon her house, prepared a meal and came in complete humility before David. Her wisdom in choice of words and demeanor not only saved her household, but made her queen shortly after (1 Samuel 25).

 

The same is true of Queen Esther (Esther 5).

 

These past daughters showed us how to be fierce and bold like Jael, who was on guard and ready to act when the enemy came to her tent. She was ready to use the tools in her hands and the preparation she possessed due to her position. She executed the enemy and saved her people (Judges 4:21).

 

There are so many examples we could look to; women of God who have gone before us to pave the way. These women have modeled how to be strong and strategic, bold and fierce, and how to be all these things while walking in a gentle, quiet, and humble spirit before our Lord.

 

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I believe the difference between past generations and ours is that doors are starting to swing wide open for women of God to walk out their callings and be used in unprecedented ways.

 

This isn’t just happening in our western civilization, but all over the world.

 

I just returned from a very strategic trip to Jaipur, India where I had the privilege of meeting with ten other women leading ministries in six different nations.

 

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We came together, ate together, and shared vision.

 

We dreamed together and ministered together for three days at a Global Advance Esther Initiative conference specifically tailored to women in leadership.

 

As a team we spoke value, calling, and purpose into the hearts of these women.

 

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The relationships built among this team of women across borders were beautiful to see, but it was the new spark of excitement for their ministries and the future possibilities that were by far the most beautiful.

 

I have to be honest.

 

As I prepared for my time with these women, I continually felt the pressure to make something spectacular occur with this opportune meeting with such high capacity national leaders. But God had already prepared the way. As we spent time together, I heard story after story of great ministry taking place and was moved by the countless sacrifices they make daily to advance the gospel in their nations. 

 

I was humbled beyond measure and inspired by the fortitude and strength I witnessed in my sisters.

 

The greatest need they shared was for community with other women who are leading - women with whom they can walk alongside, sharing their joys and burdens while spurring each other on in ministry. Hearing this need sparked and encouraged my heart to press hard to continue to bring women in leadership together.

 

As leaders, we have the beautiful privilege to create life-giving community; a place for relationships to form and flourish, and a space for new vision to be birthed.

 

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Through this beautiful community of women - this army of modern day Esthers rising up in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and beyond - may we boldly advance the Kingdom... together.

 

Cherice Stoltzfus - Global Advance Ambassador to India 

 

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.

 

The Unstoppable Gospel Marches on in Guatemala

“How good and pleasant it is when

brothers dwell together in unity….”

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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!

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“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. 

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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. 

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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.

 

Gratefully commissioned,

Jonathan

 

A Kingdom Business Network in Croatia!

There is a move of God in Zagreb, Croatia to see His Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. At Global Advance we are empowering Christian business leaders across the globe to impact their communities. We believe that the Marketplace and the Church sanctuary working in partnership can transform a nation and advance the Great Commission. Each year we train business leaders in the nations while providing an opportunity for U.S. Christian business leaders to go with Global Advance to impact their peers internationally.

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Recently Global Advance was in Zagreb, Croatia to engage marketplace leaders and share biblical wisdom to help them succeed in business and life. These events include business consulting, conference training of biblical business principles, and even business mentoring. We also work with our international hosts to develop a long-term business mission strategy to see local Kingdom Business Networks established.

When you partner with Global Advance, your investment has a Kingdom return. With your support we are taking critical steps to see nations transformed. Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of the nations.

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But change doesn’t happen without a champion.

At each Marketplace training event, we are strengthening leaders and building Kingdom Business Networks to engage stakeholders (marketplace leaders and pastors) early in their Kingdom work. By doing so we continue God’s work of forming, filling, and subduing. Whenever marketplace leaders bring order out of chaos, whenever they draw out creative potential, and whenever they elaborate and “unfold” creation beyond where it was, they are advancing the Kingdom of God. 

This year in Croatia we began the development of a Kingdom Business Network that will cultivate ongoing ministry to the marketplace and cultivate a rich environment of relational equity and trust. In this environment, viable business ideas connect with seed capital, and Christ followers begin to see their business work as sacred. When this happens the Kingdom of God draws near and the Kingdom Business Network begins to catalyze community transformation. These KBN’s will provide a systematic approach to entrepreneurship and business growth with a Kingdom focus.

This is a powerful process for raising the spiritual and moral capital of a nation...

 

Pastor Ken

 

Advancing the Front Lines in Udhampur 

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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.

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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.

 

Pastor Ken

 

Shining in the Hard Places - Why India, Why Now...

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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.

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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."

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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.
 

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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.

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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.

Whitney D.

 

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A New Level of Kingdom Purpose

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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.

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“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.” 
 
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“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.

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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.