As we embark on our 29th year of ministry, God has given Global Advance unprecedented access to advance the gospel in 2019. See what amazing opportunities await…
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.
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
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” - 1 Peter 1:3
HOPE IS RISING was not only the theme for our Global Advance Light the Nations Dinner last week; it is also the reality for believers in some of the most persecuted nations in the world. There is a great need to resource these hidden heroes. But there is greater HOPE! Your partnership enables us to empower frontline leaders to spread the gospel around the world.
Many of our Global Ambassadors, Advocates, and Partners joined us on October 4 for an evening of gratitude and praise as we shared stories of how HOPE IS RISING in the hearts of God’s people around the world. Enjoy a glimpse of our night together!
Friends, in the midst of hardships and challenges we cling to this unchanging truth: the Light of the World has come! The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness HAS NOT overcome it. The gospel is still GOOD NEWS!
Thank you for standing with us as a supply line to the front lines of the gospel’s advance. When you partner with Global Advance you are helping empower the Global Church to fulfill the Great Commission!
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:
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
"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.
“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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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...