Important Update

 
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Dear friends,

Hello, my name is Colin Williams and I will be taking over as the new Director of Development at Global Action UK. I am so grateful to Euan Woolley who has laid a great foundation for me to build on. I know he will be missed.

Let me begin be introducing myself. I have been married to my wife Paulette for the last 20 years.  We both share a passion for worship ministry.  Also, I love to support Arsenal football team and I play golf whenever possible.

Before joining Global Action, I was ordained as a Pastor at Emmanuel Evangelical Church (Westminster) in 2010 and I have worked in full-time Christian ministry for the last 13 years.  In 2010, I graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Missional Leadership from University of Wales.  This course challenged my perception of mission and stimulated thoughts of being more engaged in outreach.  In 2013, I started leading short-term mission teams to India, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Edgware, London. 

I am very passionate about the vision of Global Action.  In Cyprus, I saw first hand that Pastors in the developing world (generally speaking) need the kind of training that Global Action has to offer. Also, I saw just how much a young church benefitted from sound pastoral care.

I would like to see Global Action UK, including all who support this ministry, expanding our reach into new nations and continue to train Pastors and local trainers. To that end, Global Action UK will continue to need your input. We literally cannot exist without your generosity of spirit in finance, prayer and service.  I pray that just as you have blessed this ministry, God will continue to grant you His favour. 

I look forward to meeting you face to face.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Important Update

 
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Dear friends,

Thank you so much for all your support and prayers for our vital work training Christian leaders in the developing world.  It’s been such an encouragement serving alongside you over these last 10 years. 

During this time, I’ve been inspired time and time again by your generosity.  Some of you have given when you have little to spare.  Others have sacrificed time and effort to help us raise awareness of our cause.  In all these cases, because of your support, thousands of Christian leaders have been equipped for effective ministry.  Many have then gone on to transform their communities.  I hope you appreciate the huge difference you have made through your support.

After a lot of prayer, I feel that God has now called me to move on to a new area of work.  As such I will be moving on at the end of this month.

However, I’m pleased to announce that we have a new UK director in post.  His name is Colin Williams and I know he’ll be a great blessing to the work, both here in the UK as well as overseas.  Please see above for more information on Colin.  I’m sure he, like me, will be inspired and blessed through his relationships with you.

Please do keep Colin and Global Action UK in your prayers as we go through this transition period.

Thank you again for all your support and prayers, support which is vital to us as we equip the global church for action.

God bless,

Euan

Recruiting Leaders for Global Action's Training

Sometimes it can be a challenge recruiting the right leaders for Global Action's training (Global Church Foundations, GCF).  Often the temptation is to have clear parameters about who we will and will not accept.  And often these parameters are based on vision, commitment and ability, i.e. those able to commit to and understand the training.  And those who will go on and do something with the training. 

The problem with this is sometimes it means we overlook those who God has called, but who don’t “fit the mould”.  Gloria Fernandez, our national director in Honduras experienced this situation recently.

Last year, Gloria, along with the Global Action team attended a conference in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, organised by Rick Warren’s Church, Saddleback Community Church.  During the conference, Gloria was given the opportunity to showcase GLOMOS – Global Action’s leadership training.

At the end of her ‘plug’ twenty leaders rushed up to Gloria enquiring about training.  She was delighted about the response.  However, as she explained to them the sacrifices they’d have to make – financial commitment, time commitment, travelling to the training centre – one by one they walked away, shaking their heads in disappointment.  Finally, Gloria was left with three pastors.  They were badly dressed, illiterate peasants from impoverished villages many miles from the city.  But they insisted they wanted to be trained.

Gloria thought to herself, “how are they going to afford the training?”, “will they make the standard?”  She repeated to them all the difficulties they would encounter.  And yet they said again they wanted to be trained.  She knew they would struggle with the training, but she prayed, asking God whether she should accept them.  He then told her very clearly that she should.  And so she accepted them on the course.

The training was hard for them.  In fact, their low education levels meant Gloria had to assign them intense tutors who walked them through each module.  Come exam time, they needed someone standing behind them, helping them find the correct answers. 

But Gloria was amazed by their commitment.  They worked hard and demonstrated a real passion for ministry.  When they prayed during training sessions, the whole room fell quiet, amazed by their passion for God. 

During one of the modules, one of them couldn’t hand in an assignment on time ‘because his last candle burned out’.  This was the poverty they were from!   But they were passionate and committed to their training.  And although they struggled with most of the concepts, back in their villages they were preaching and discipling and evangelising.

GLOMOS is a programme.  And when we carry out programmes, sometimes we can be hindered by the many things we build into the programmes to make them a success – like recruitment strategies.  However, it is important to be sensitive to God’s leading, and to look for the people He is sending our way, rather than those we think are the right ones.

Pastor Guatam

Above, left and middle: Pastor Guatam; Right: Jaigaon, where we're training 15 Bhutanese Pastors

Pastor Guatam is one of our current students at our Jaigaon training centre on the Indo-Bhutanese border.

Once known as the “Witch Doctor King” of Bhutan, he was the man to visit when you wanted to put a curse on someone.

After a dramatic encounter with a Christian, he gave his life to Christ and embarked on a ministry of healing. In fact, it turned out he had a gift for healing far surpassing his former powers to curse.

As he travelled around the country healing people, people began to enquire about Jesus, and Guatam started leading them to the Lord.

He was desperate to minister effectively to these new converts and looked around for someone to teach him how to disciple Christians. But there was no-one available.

Finally, Global Action set up their Global Church Foundations training in the area and Guatam enrolled on the course. He has since shared what a difference the training has made to his ministry.

Guatam is one of many leaders we have trained in Bhutan.

Prayer Requests

1.     In the USA office, we are currently transitioning to a new accountancy system.  Please pray that this process runs smoothly.

2.     Pray for the USA office as they go through major strategic changes.  Pray for wisdom during this period.

3.     Pray for our accountant in the USA, Carin, as she moves on to a new job, and new chapter in her life.

4.     Pray for our programme coordinator in the USA, Nasko Lazarov, as he spends some time with family in Bulgaria.

5.     Pray for RJ Koerper and the curriculum team as they work to finish revising all the Global Action leadership training curriculum.

6.     Pray for Mike and Lesley Wood as they travel to Honduras and Guatemala to teach.  Pray for safety and a fruitful time of ministry.

7.     Pray for all our staff, volunteers and beneficiaries around the world, that God would protect and use them.

8.     Pray for funds for India.  We are £18,620 thousand pounds short of our budgeted needs there.  Pray that God will provide all the funds we need to minister there.

9.     Thank you for your prayers!  As always, please do get in touch if you would like us to pray for you.

Reaching an Unreached People Group

 Mountains of Intibuca, courtesy of Intibucatv

Mountains of Intibuca, courtesy of Intibucatv

High in the mountainous region of Intibuca, in Western Honduras, live the Lencas tribe, currently an unreached people group.  Intibuca is the most mountainous region of Honduras, with densely wooded peaks and rocky outcrops reaching up to 3,000 metres above sea level.  Because of the mountainous terrain and dense woodland, travel to and around Intibuca is very difficult.  Perhaps this is why the Lencas tribe has had such little Christian influence.

However, Gloria Fernandez, national director of Global Action in Honduras, is determined to reach this people group.  “We have a vision to reach all 8 ethnic groups within Honduras”, she explains.  “So far we have only reached 3 of these”.  And there is a great need to reach this particular people group.

Although there are churches serving the Lencas, the pastors of these churches have very little contact with the wider church.  “They are very isolated”, explains Gloria.  “They don’t get paid; sometimes the church’s collection is just one dollar.”  Because of this, their families live in great poverty.

Gloria is planning on leading an expedition to bring care packages for the pastors’ families.  They will provide them with the basic essentials they need for living.  This will be a huge encouragement to them.  It will also begin to build bridges with their hitherto disconnected Christian community.  The hope is that they will begin to raise awareness of Global Action’s training, so that those pastors that desire it will have the opportunity to participate in the training we provide.  We hope to bless those pastors, and to help them as they carry out their great work in a very remote part of the country.

Training in Jaigaon

 Students at the Jaigaon centre outside the training centre

Students at the Jaigaon centre outside the training centre

Amit Mondal, Global Action’s National Administrator in India recently travelled to Jaigaon, where he met the leaders we’ve started training at our latest centre.  Jaigaon is based high up in the Himalayas, on the border between India and Bhutan.  Here we train 18 Bhutanese Christian leaders who travel across the border to receive training.

Bhutan was until recently a closed country.  Even tourists were unable to enter the country.  Because of this, it was difficult for missionaries to access the country.  In fact, until recently there was only one church for the entire country (source: Bhutanese Christian Services Centre NGO, 2002).  Because the expansion in churches is so new, our training in Bhutan is equipping the first generation of Christian leaders in this country.

Amit shares his experience of meeting our students in Jaigaon:

‘This is my great joy to share with you about my recent experience when I met with our 15 loving and adorable brothers in Jaigaon. 

‘When we reached our school, they had already completed [the first module] Old Testament Survey and they were studying New Testament Survey.  At the end of the day, when their class finished, they welcomed us with great smiles on their faces, and with open arms. Before I asked anything, they started sharing with me the reason for their joy. The first thing they said to me was: “we are very happy and excited to be part of this training programme.  We praise God for GLOMOS, because we never expected anything like this before and we had prayed that God should teach us His Word. It was a wonderful experience to know and understand the books of the Old Testament in a whole new way.”

‘They couldn’t stop praising God. 

‘Most of the students come from hilly villages towards the centre of the country.  To reach our training, most walked four or five hours before catching a bus to Jaigaon.  This shows the level of commitment to the training these leaders have. 

‘One of our students, P David Rai, travelled two days to reach the school. David was in prison when he accepted Christ, and the high justice fined him 4,00,000 Bhutanese Ngultrum (about £5000) because he preached the Gospel.  

‘Another brother, Ngawang Jurmen, accepted Christ when he came out of his coma after 65 days.  He gave his life to Christ and never married.  He is a “homeless” person; he travels from place to place to preach the gospel, and three times he’s been imprisoned for carrying out this mission.  

‘Brother Tamang was a Buddhist monk who accepted Christ when he got healed and came out of his death bed.  

‘Brother Lukas Rai travels fifteen hours to reach the school.  He says: “I have been praying for GLOMOS training for the last four years after missing it the first time, when it was conducted in Kalimpong; God is kind to me”. Kalimpong is 22 hours travel from his village.

‘All 15 students shared their wonderful testimonies of how Christ changed their life.   

‘Most of them have been in prison for preaching and sharing Gospel, and all of them had no biblical training before GLOMOS.’

Pastor Guatam

Pr Gautum is one of our students at our newest training centre, Jaigaon, a town on the Indo-Bhutanese border, high up in the Himalayas.  Bhutan until recently was a closed country; even tourists couldn’t enter the country, much less missionaries or evangelists.  Bhutan's a Buddhist country, but before it was Buddhist, the predominant belief system was Bon.  Bon is an animist and shamanistic belief system, encompassing aspects of black magic and witchcraft.  Many witchdoctors and high priests operate within the religion.

Pr Gautum grew up in a family of witchdoctors, and following the tradition of his family become one himself.  As he got older it became apparent that he had a special ability to put curses on people.  In fact, he was so good he developed a reputation across the country as the best person to visit if you wanted to put a curse on an adversary.  People would travel from far and wide to visit Gautum, where they would pay him to curse and afflict their enemies.

One day, someone visited Gautum and asked him to curse a certain lady.  Gautum tried to curse this lady but immediately sensed he had no power over her.  His curse wouldn’t work.  Instead it rebounded on him and he became ill with a mystery affliction that none of his witchdoctor friends or family could counteract.

After about five months a lady heard about his affliction and came to visit him.  She told Gautum that she was a Christian, that she would pray for him, and that she wouldn’t leave him until he was healed.  Dutifully she prayed for him and visited him time and time again, each time chatting, praying, and ministering to him.

During one of these visits, it emerged that the woman was the same lady that he had unsuccessfully tried to curse.  Guatum was immediately filled with terror.  He confessed what he’d done to the lady.  She calmly told him it wasn’t her that he needed to apologise to, but God.  And so she led him to the Lord.

Soon afterwards Gautum was healed.

After becoming a Christian, Gautum regularly read his Bible.  As he read it, there was a passage which he felt particularly drawn to.  It was a verse from James 5, where it says: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you might be healed.  For the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”.

From this passage, Gautum felt led to pray for the sick in his community, and it turned out that he had a gift of healing.  Time and time again he would pray for someone, and they would be healed.  Soon he developed a reputation as a healer, and people would travel far and wide to visit Gautum to receive prayer so that they or their loved ones could be healed! 

God is bringing hope and healing to many people in this region through Gautum’s faithfulness.

However, Gautum has been desperate to evangelise and minister to the people that he has been healing, yet has felt ill-equipped to do so.  As a result we are training him to be an effective missionary and pastor, so that he can share the gospel to those that he has helped.

Prayer Requests

-Please pray for our national director in Honduras, Gloria Fernendez.  She is currently very ill with a bacterial infection.  Please pray for healing.  Pray also for wisdom for the doctors.

-Please pray for the trustees of Global Action in the UK.  We are due to meet to discuss vision and strategy later this month.  Please pray for wisdom over these discussions.  Please do share with us any pictures or words that come to you as you pray.

-Please pray for our training in all our schools around the world.  Pray for those that we’re training, and for their ministries.

-Please pray for all our graduates, those we have trained in previous years.

-Please pray for the government in India.  Pray that God would use them to further His Kingdom in India.

-Please pray for the violence in Eastern Ukraine, that God would bring peace.

-Please pray especially for our newest training centre in the Himalayas, on the Indo-Bhutanese border.  Pray that training would get “off to a flying start”.

-Pray for the work in the Sundarbans, that they would successfully oppose people trafficking and promote safety and well-being in this region.

Blankets for India

 Parvathi with Amit

Parvathi with Amit

Each year Global Action distributes hundreds of blankets to the poorest families and communities across north-eastern India.  In this region it gets extremely cold in the winter, and each year many people die from the cold or cold-related diseases because they lack warm clothes and bedding.  This year, because of your generous support Global Action was able to distribute over three-hundred and fifty blankets to those most in need.  These blankets save lives.

One lady that we helped was eighty-six year old Parvathi.  Parvathi lives in dire poverty with her son, a daily-wage labourer.  His income is meagre and unpredictable.  Because of this, they are unable to clothe or feed themselves properly, leaving them especially vulnerable to the cold.

When Amit Mondal (Indian National Administrator) met Parvathi in the middle of winter and gave her a blanket, she was overwhelmed with joy.  She couldn’t believe someone would care enough about her to give her a gift like this.  Amit then took the opportunity to share the gospel, and to tell her about Jesus’ love.  Parvathi responded by saying that although she wasn’t a Christian, and had never heard of Jesus before, she said she loved Jesus “because he loves poor people”.   Amit left her filled with gratitude over her new gift.

A few weeks later, Pastor Isaac, one of our graduate pastors, was preaching in the same region.  We were able to train Pastor Isaac a few years ago because of donations from the UK.  He happened to be speaking with Parvathi and shared the gospel with her.  At this point she received Christ.

Parvathi is now attending a local church and God is working in her heart.

This ministry was only possible because of your prayers and generous support.  Thank you for partnering with us in this essential ministry.  I hope as you hear stories like this you are encouraged by what God is doing in India and other parts of the world.

In Depth on India

India is a very difficult place to do ministry. 

By 2050 it is estimated that it will be the biggest Muslim nation in the world, surpassing Indonesia, currently the biggest Muslim nation in the world.

What’s incredible about this is that Muslims only make up 7% of India’s population!  Eighty percent of the Indian population are Hindu – almost a billion people.  And within the Hindu population there is a growing opposition to Christianity and its influence in India.  The Hindu fundamentalist movement (responsible for much of the violence against Christians in 2008) is rapidly gaining momentum. 

In this context Christians, who make up just 2.5% of the population, face increased discrimination.  There are repeated calls within India for the country to be renamed Hindustan, demonstrating deep-held commitments to religious nationalism.  And this is having tangible knock-on effects for Christian ministers in the region. 

Just two weeks ago it was announced that Compassion International, the Christian child sponsorship charity, is shutting its India office, citing pressures from fundamentalist Hindu groups working at the behest of the government.   As the New York Times reported at the time, Compassion is finding itself negotiating with the “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu ideological group that is closely connected with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party but that has no official role in governing”.

This is not an isolated incident.  More and more Christian organisations are reporting facing “government crackdowns” and tighter operational restrictions.   In fact it has been estimated that more than 11,000 NGO’s have lost their licences to receive overseas payments since Narendra Modi’s government took office.  This puts Christian organisations in a very precarious position.

Global Action had its own run-in with the government last year.  Without warning, and without any explanation, our local bank told Amit Mondal (Global Action India national administrator) that Global Action India’s account had been frozen, and that Global Action could no longer receive payments from other international offices (i.e. from donors in the UK and USA).  This effectively crippled our work in India.  For 10 months, our staff “toughed it out”, working without salaries, trying to support their families…it was not easy.  However, following months of difficulty (and still without any explanation) our account was reactivated, and we were able to send the money that had accrued in the UK and USA to support our work in India.

These cases indicate some of the problems facing individual Christian ministries in India.  But they also generate a picture of a wider trend across India, that of a hardening opposition to God’s Kingdom.  In this context, it is more important than ever to work with local Christian leaders, and to help them as they reach their communities and “free the captives”.

But the challenges to ministry don’t end with groups opposed to Christian mission.  Even within the relatively tiny Christian population there are many challenges to ministry.  The vast majority of Christian leaders have received less than one-hours’ worth of Bible teaching.  Many are so poorly equipped that they teach a mixture of Christianity along with whatever the local prevailing belief system happens to be.  As a result, it is estimated that seventy percent of new churches will close within one year because their church leaders become discouraged, succumbed to false teaching or fall away because of their own lack of a solid Biblical foundation.

Even when things seem to be going well it is sometimes an illusion.  For example, Hyderabad has one of the biggest churches in the world, a mega-church of around 150,000 worshippers.  However, the teaching within the church revolves mostly around prosperity gospel.  This is perhaps understandable, considering the great poverty that many in India experience.  But it is a shadowy reflection of God’s word.

So there are many, many challenges facing Christian ministry in India.  But we know that when leaders are properly equipped they can achieve so much.

At our Hyderabad school we recently trained a pastor who felt called to a village outside the city.  There was no church in the village, and there were no Christian influences for miles around.  He considered carefully how he would reach the village.  Soon he set upon a plan.  Following an old Hindu tradition practiced by witchdoctors, he stood under a tree and started to preach.  Initially children come to listen to him.  After some time, families came to hear him too.  Before long, people started committing to Christ and he found himself leading a church.  In line with the recommendations of his training, he has started discipling believers within the church.  He disciples twelve men.  A colleague disciples the women.  These people are becoming “rock-solid” in their faith, because someone is taking the time to build deeply into their lives.  Discipleship like this is how believers grow in faith and wisdom.

Not only that, his church is now providing medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the village.  We are supporting him in this.  Because of this commitment to the village the many Hindus in the area respect him.

In a country with so many challenges, both spiritually and physically, it is essential that Christians are equipped to minister within their communities.  Global Action is working to support the local church.  But there is a great deal to be done.

Please pray with us that we will be able to continue to meet the need in this great country.  Please pray for India, for Indian Christians and for God’s great commission to this country.

Opposing Human Trafficking

One of our training regions in India is in West Bengal.  Here we partner with the West Bengal Christian Network (WBCN), an organisation representing many Christian leaders across the region.  It is incredibly inspiring to work with them.  Their staff are passionate about ministry, and they are a constant source of encouragement to us.  We collaborate to provide the training. West Bengal Christian Network identify those most in need of training in the region.  They also provide the facilities, food and lodging for those we train.  We, in turn, provide the teachers and teaching materials.  This means we can add value to our training, achieving so much more than we could on our own.

One of our schools within the region is in the heart of the Sundarbans national park, a beautiful mangrove forest on the Ganges delta.  Designated a UNESCO heritage site, it is a popular tourist attraction famous for its tigers, dolphins, lush jungle scenes and sumptuous resorts.

Within the Sundarbans delta there are around 155 Islands where thousands of people live.  The only way people can get around is by boat; the region is famous for its “barges” – the main method of travel.

Ranganga is one of the Islands at the furthest edge of the Delta, where it meets the Bay of Bengal.  Here we’ve been training 13 Christian leaders who are working in this remote part of the country.  From Ranganga the pastors are able to easily access the other remote southern Islands, “hard to access” from the mainland.

Pastor Tarun Ghosh is one of the graduate pastors from the Ranganga centre.  He and his congregation have been evangelising in villages across the southern delta, and many people have come to Christ as a result.  From this he has been able to disciple about thirty new believers who are attending his church.  And he is now helping to train other church leaders in the region. 

Tarun reports that one of the main challenges they face in this remote part of the world is human trafficking.  In fact, the problem has been described as ‘epidemic’.  Traffickers approach children promising them jobs.  However, once they have accepted they are trafficked abroad either as household servants or as part of the sex trade.  As a result, Tarun and his congregation run education and awareness projects across the region, helping to “push-back” against sex trafficking.

Please pray for Tarun as he carries out this vital ministry.  Pray against the work of traffickers, that God would frustrate their plans.

A Visit from the International Director...

Dear friends,

I’m pleased to announce that Dr. R.J. Koerper, International President of Global Action will be visiting the UK from 31st May until 6th June.

 R.J. Koerper, second from left, front row

R.J. Koerper, second from left, front row

While he is in the UK we will be meeting with supporters, and R.J. will be speaking at several events across the country.  These will provide fantastic opportunities to hear updates on the excellent work being carried out around the world, as well as how your support is changing lives.  R.J. will be sharing how our pastors are bringing the gospel, combating people trafficking, reaching out to violent gangs and helping relieve poverty in some of the world’s most needy communities.  I can guarantee you will be inspired by what you hear.

We are still working on his itinerary while he is here.  Once this has been finalised I will be in touch with details of various events he will be speaking at.  In the meantime, if you would like to meet him for coffee while he is in the UK, please do get in touch and we can factor this into our plans.  You can contact me on ewoolley@globalaction.com or 07740 841 460.

For more information on R.J. please click here for a biography.

Thanks again for your prayers and support.

God bless,

Euan Woolley
Global Action UK

Prayer Requests

Thank you for your prayers!

1.     Please pray for Igor Grishajev (our national director in Ukraine) and his family.  Some of you will remember Igor from his visit here earlier this year.  Igor recently lost his mother; the funeral was earlier this week.  Please pray for peace and healing for the family.

2.     Please pray for the Gypsy community in Western Ukraine where we equipping local Church Leaders (see the video on our training in this location).  This community has faced lots of hardships.  Most of the Gypsies there live in shantytowns, with little access to education or healthcare.  The winter will be bitter and will hit them hard.  Pray for safety and health.

3.     Pray for our partner pastors in northern India as they carry out our annual Blanket Distribution project.  Many people in the region face freezing winter conditions and they lack basic shelter and warm clothing.  This is why this work is so essential. 

a.     Pray that the blankets get distributed in time. 

b.     Pray also that there are opportunities for evangelism.

4.     Please pray for finances, especially for Global Action USA.  It has been a more difficult year financially, yet there are so many people dependent on our income.  Pray that God will bring forward the right people to fund our ministry.

5.     Please pray for the safety of our students in Honduras.  Many, like Edwin Avilez, face great danger.  Pray also for our national director, Gloria Fernandez and her family as they face the risk of personal harm due to the gang violence.

6.     Pray for the GA leadership team in Honduras as they select new trainers and students ahead of the next training cycle.  Pray that God will bring forward the right trainers and students.

7.     Pray as the GA International leadership team oversee the writing and publishing of new materials for our training.  Pray that God would direct this process and would give the curriculum writers wisdom.

8.     Pray for the class and teaching team in the prison in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  The atmosphere in the prison is currently thick with hatred, and violence keeps breaking out. Last week the prison administrator, a guard and an inmate were killed.  Pray for protection for our volunteers in the prison.

9.     Please pray for our staff as they plan training in India and Central America.  Pray for wisdom and direction ahead of the next training cycle.

10.  Please pray for our community of supporters and volunteers in the UK.  Pray for protection and safety this Christmas.  Pray that we would all be brought closer to God this Christmas.

 

As always, please let me know if you have any prayer requests.  I can then pass these along to the Global Action community around the world who will be able to bear you in prayer.  Some of them are great prayer warriors – it is well worth having their support!!

 

Markus Nag

 Markus Nag

Markus Nag

Markus Nag came from a Catholic background.  His family attended mass every Sunday.  But their worship ended there.  Whenever they faced challenges, instead of going to church they would visit the local Hindu temple to pray to the various gods.

But Markus noticed that none of these rites or rituals ever did any good.  Life was difficult.  An illness afflicted their family that never seemed to leave them.  And their family always lived in abject poverty.  In fact, they were so poor Markus had to leave school at a very young age so he could help his family run their smallholding.  This was their only source of income.

Markus became increasingly disillusioned with his parents’ constant dependence on futile rituals.  He saw that they made no difference.  He became angry and despondent.  Over the months he began experimenting with drugs, and he gradually became an addict.  Life became empty and pointless to Markus.

It was about that time that a relative invited Markus to visit his church – a local mission fellowship.  Markus found the worship fascinating and the fellowship inviting.  It provided a sense of freedom that he had never before experienced.  Markus went back the next week, and the week after, and before long he was a regular attendee, standing at the back of the church and clapping along to the worship songs being sung each week.

Although he was a regular attendee at church, it took him much longer to accept Christ.  The minister noticed Markus lurking at the back of church and came alongside him.  They met up to discuss faith.  It wasn’t long before Markus found in this church a depth of sincerity that he had never before experienced in his parent’s faith.  Meaning poured back into his life.  At the same time Markus was impressed by the many testimonies he heard being shared by Christians, who, despite facing great persecution, held on to their belief in God.

This really made an impact on Markus.  And it was just at the right time.  His family had heard about his new fellowship, they were very concerned that he came back to their church.  So much so that they threatened to kick him out of their house if he didn’t abandon his evangelical church.

But Markus decided to trust the God he had heard so much about, and stayed at the mission church.  Over the following few months, God worked in his heart and he soon accepted Christ.

His first mission focus, following his conversion, was his parents.  He brought the minister back to meet them, and together they shared about a personal relationship with Jesus.  His family were initially very wary of the minister.  But as they heard more, and as they saw their sickness vanish in response to his prayers, they too decided to accept Christ.

Seeing great potential in Markus, his minister asked him to start a fellowship in a nearby village, Kudasthathu, which at the time didn’t have access to a church.  But ministry was difficult.  He and his fellowship experienced great persecution, which culminated in several very real threats to his life.  He decided it would be safer to move on.  However, this caused him great anguish.  He slipped into depression and began to question his faith.

It was about that time that God brought to mind Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  These words gave him comfort, and he began to search for God’s will.

It wasn’t long before he was called to plant a new church amongst the Mundari tribe – a largely unreached people group.  The Mundari are a forgotten and greatly despised group of people living in Jharkhand.  They speak their own language and keep to themselves.   They experience the same kind of isolation that the Gypsy community in the UK experience.  Markus felt strongly called to minister to them.

Ministry was going well, but Markus felt a strong need to receive training for his ministry.  He heard through a friend about the Global Action training in Ranchi and his heart leapt.  He is now receiving training to be a rural church leader.  He says that he praises God for this opportunity because he believes God is fulfilling all His promises.  It confirms God’s calling on his life as a missionary and pastor.

 

Graduations in Honduras

 Graduations being held for trainee Church Leaders in Honduras

Graduations being held for trainee Church Leaders in Honduras

 

Over the last few years, we have trained hundreds of Pastors and Church Leaders across Honduras.  However, there remain thousands of leaders, working in very remote regions of the country, who don’t have access to training.  Last year, we got together with some of our graduates to try and reach these isolated leaders.

Following training in San Pedro Sula in September last year, we held a conference for some of our top graduates.  You may remember me mentioning this at the time.  The leaders at the conference were those with the greatest potential.  Those most passionate about transforming their communities. 

 The initial meeting with some of our graduate leaders

The initial meeting with some of our graduate leaders

During this conference we addressed the question of how best to reach Church Leaders working in isolated parts of Central America.  Those working without any training or support.  We mentioned the costs and difficulties of carrying this out using our traditional model.  In response, our leaders at the conference said, “Why are you trying to do all the work? Why not let us train those leaders for you?”  And so began a new phase of Global Action’s leadership training in Honduras and Guatemala…’Training the Trainers’!

We are now training leaders, so that they can train other leaders!  It is ‘Disciple Making’ in action.  Through this new model we have been able to train many more leaders for the same costs.  Since then, these leaders have started 13 additional courses in remote locations across Central America, where they have utilised our materials to train 267 leaders!  As you can imagine, in October, when it came to graduation time for all these leaders there were huge celebrations at the ceremonies.  Gloria Fernandez (national director in Honduras) was so excited to see what her graduates had accomplished in training so many other leaders.  And the graduates who led the different training courses were so proud of their students’ achievements, especially seeing Church Leaders growing in vital ministry skills.

Click here to read about one of graduates who is now leading training in one of the most remote locations in Honduras, the jungles of La Mosquitia 

Jaime Ariza

Above Left, Jaime graduating from training (centre); Above Centre, Commissioning talk at graduation; Right, Graduation pictures.

This year, some of Global Action's former students helped the Global Action Honduras staff provide training for other Church Leaders in remote locations of Honduras.  Pastor Jaime Ariza was one of these trainers.

In 2013 Pastor Jaime  from the Miskito Ethnic tribe of Honduras, would travel 14 hours by boat and bus to get to the city of San Pedro Sula to be trained and equipped by GLOMOS.  This was only possible with the help of a missionary couple from the United States.  They would faithfully donate $150 (about £120) every month to cover the cost of transportation only.  During that year of training, Pastor Jaime would pray for the opportunity to bring other pastors to San Pedro Sula where they could  receive the life transforming training he was experiencing.  He knew that pastors from his community of Brus Laguna, in the jungles of La Moskitia, desperately needed this kind of ministerial training.  In Janurary of this year, he participated in a special GLOMOS teacher training in Guatemala.  Our best students were going to become teachers in their own villages and towns.  He recruited 14 students from different churches in his home region of Misquito.  He taught in both Spanish and Miskito.  This is the first GLOMOS class that Global Action has graduated in this remote community.  God has placed in our hearts the burden to reach all eight ethnic groups in Honduras to give them the training and tools for an effective ministry.

The Global Action Craft Shop

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This winter, Global Action is selling a selection of beautiful handmade crafts from India.  Many of these have been made by our staff and beneficiaries.  Please take a moment to have a look through what’s on offer.  Perhaps you might find a nice gift for family or friends.  Or something for yourself.  What’s more, you will have the added satisfaction knowing that everything you purchase will help support needy communities in some of the world’s poorest places.
 

A few notes:
Before clicking across to the shop please be aware of the following:
- There is a £1 surcharge for postage and packing on top of the listed price.  This will appear at checkout.
- We have a large selection of earrings, and each one is unique.  However, this means that we have had to make a separate listing for each pair.  Please take a moment to scroll down and look at the different sets on display.
- I will be exhibiting the jewellery at a craft fayre on Saturday.  As a result, some of the items may not be in stock from Saturday.

Graduations in Honduras

This weekend I returned from nearly two weeks in Honduras and Guatemala, attending our largest graduation classes in both locations. To see the students coming in with candles lit, worshiping the One who has called them to be La luz—the light was so inspiring! At the graduation banquet at El Faro, Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, four graduating seniors came up and prayed, each in their native language: Garifuna, Q’ecqhi, Spanish, and English (Belize speaks both Spanish and English). I am so grateful that God is using GLOMOS to equip these pastors from different people groups and from different nations.

Our Honduran graduation also included two students from Nicaragua, who are ready to begin GLOMOS in their country. God is using GLOMOS, and Global Action in significant ways to extend His Kingdom around the world. It reminded me of the last thing Jesus said to His disciples before His final ascension in Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. These statements are both promises and facts, if we appropriate that power to accomplish God’s purposes.

Prayer Requests

·         Need - Our GLOMOS graduates as they take their ministries to the next level, for guidance, for provision, for a vision of what God is calling them to.
 

o   Promise: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…” Colossians 1:9-10
 

·         Need - Good response to our quarterly update letter from financial supporters of Global Action that we sent out last week.
 

o   Promise: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
 

·         Need - Swift resolution to the sale of the Hope Center Property in India, and for the legal aspects connected with it.
 

o   Promise: “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5-6
 

·         Need - Carin’s (our accountant at the USA office) 19-year-old daughter is struggling with depression. Please pray that she will be healed and/or that she would be willing to accept help.

o   Promise: “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalms 107: 28-30

In His grace,

RJ