Thirsty Souls

Have you experienced a thirst that you were desperate to quench? That situation intensified for me recently when I took a medication for which a side effect was dryness. In jest, I stated the proverbial, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink,” because it wasn’t available when I needed it. I didn’t want to become dehydrated.

Though real dehydration resulting from drought is a reality for many in our world today, spiritual dryness is widespread and ultimately more perilous. Jesus understood this concept when he spoke to the woman at the well: “Everyone who drinks of this water [from the well] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

Providentially, the Lord has provided TWR with an opportunity to reach spiritually thirsty souls in the region of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and North India (PANI). Interestingly, “pani” is a Hindi word that means “water.”

Several years ago, God opened a door in this region of the world for TWR to increase its signal strength from shortwave to AM radio. More than 200 million people live under the reach of the new 500,000-watt AM PANI transmitter. While TWR has shortwave programming in some of the languages of the region — Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Urdu, Farsi and Dari — the new AM transmitter will allow more time each week for programs in these languages.

PANI antenna

Right now the four antennas have been installed and the transmitter is ready to be shipped. The next step is to complete the construction of the transmitter building. Lord willing, we’ll be on the air by July 2013 to the “heart of the unevangelized world,” as the seventh edition of Operation World describes the area.

We’re at 95 percent of our total funding goal of $1,494,000, with a remaining need of about $66,000. TWR’s International Director for the Americas Tim Klingbeil wrote the following: “I continue to be amazed to see how God is providing for this project. Let’s pray together for God’s provision to meet the goal and begin broadcasting by the middle of 2013!”

The PANI project is especially on my heart, and its purpose brings to mind this relevant, powerful verse from Revelation 22:17: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

Please join me in interceding for this significant work and outreach to the thirsty people of Pakistan, Afghanistan and North India. Pray for those who will hear the gospel, that they will joyfully receive the spiritual water of life that Jesus offers.

To learn more about how you can reach thirsty souls through the PANI project, click here.

Photo Credit: “Water”, Zsuzsanna Kilian, photographer

What Has Gone Wrong?

Nearly a quarter of the world’s female population lives under the oppressive teaching that women are deficient in intelligence and spirituality. More than half of Indian women believe they deserve the abuse they receive simply for being females.  Five hundred Chinese women kill themselves every day to escape a life of indignities.  Something has gone terribly wrong!  This picture has remained untouched for ages: historically, women have been on the receiving end of all sorts of abuse and degradation, and they are considered to be property, unclean, inferior and worth less than even a cow! Because cultures are shaped by fallen people who all too often have no understanding of women’s true value and purpose, women remain devalued and disposable, according to TWR’s Media Matters newsletter.

Five women died in my local community since May 2012 as a result of domestic violence. This horrendous, violent act is felt at all economic and educational levels. Often called a “private family matter,” abuse in the home is a reality for thousands. And children who witness such behavior regularly are more susceptible to become victims or perpetrators. In the United States or around the world, we cannot forget that many suffer silently from physical and emotional abuse in their homes every day.

TWR Project Hannah Founder and Global Ministry Director Marli Spieker wrote, “Recently, the outcry of hundreds of thousands of Indian youths awoke the world to the hideous crime of rape. As we prayed for healing and comfort for the family of the young female medical student gang-raped to death in a bus, I kept thinking of millions who survived this type of horrendous assault only to live as if they are dead — robbed of their dignity, honor and value as human beings. Rape not always kills the body but always kills the soul of a woman.”

The sinful cycle of violence and oppression that affects the lives of women and children can be broken, and the solution is biblical. Marli added, “The Bible warns us not to ignore such evil; rather, we must take redemptive action.” Consider the words of Proverbs 24:11-12: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”

What can we do? “What an amazing responsibility we have to seek biblical justice by praying and acting on their [suffering women] behalf,” wrote Marli. “Pray for governments to defend the rights of girls and women while punishing the perpetrators, but most of all, let’s ask God to cause a moral awakening among men everywhere.”

Along with Marli, we know that when broken women bring their pain to Jesus, the One who can set them free, and receive God-bestowed dignity and mercy, restoration happens. Around the world in more than 60 languages, God is using Project Hannah to communicate the grace-liberating gospel of Jesus Christ through its radio program, Women of Hope.

To join us in speaking hope to suffering women, click here.

Agents of Change

With the world watching, the unrest which unleashed the 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations affected the political and social landscape in the Middle East in many ways. Interestingly, both sides of the conflict effectively used social media and the Internet to spread their message and unite like-minded people, though efforts by grass-roots groups were underfunded and disorganized.

Amid this tension-filled environment, TWR’s Arabic Ministries unobtrusively and faithfully continues its outreach in this region — awakening hearts to the transforming power of the gospel. TWR’s Arabic Ministries director offers his perspective on these events and the significant opportunities that developed:

In the last two years, a series of protests, demonstrations and political changes swept through the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and those events went down in history as the “Arab Spring.” For most people in the world, spring is the favorite season. It symbolizes rebirth, life, growth, warmth and hope for the future. But the springs of 2011 and 2012 for the Arab world were different. Flames, anger and frustration just kept on occurring everywhere, and the situation is not getting better. Tensions are not at ease; the “Arab Spring” turned into the “Arab winter”!

In addition to the significant damages and some good developments that the social and political changes afflicted on the MENA region, whether economic, psychological or physical, the popularly called Arab Spring is in danger of becoming a “winter of persecution” for Christians in the Arab world. The denial of freedom and the threat of  persecution hang over people’s lives and result in kidnappings, bombings, killings and forced conversions. Many Iraqi, Egyptian and Syrian Christians are being forced to flee their countries.

In 1990 there were between 1.2 million and 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. Today, it is estimated that less than 500,000 remain. With the current events and the vague future ahead, here comes an important consideration: If “secular media” played a major role in changing the face of the Arab world, can “Christian media” play a more powerful role to bring change into the lives of peoples of the area? What would that role be amid this chaos?

In this situation, TWR Arabic Ministries decided to stand in prayer and action as God showed throughout these two years that he is at work. No matter how hard the situation is, he is still opening amazing doors for outreach and evangelism through radio and various media platforms.

We praise the Lord that the message we are delivering is helping many people from all backgrounds to put their trust in the true God, the One who can provide peace and comfort in the midst of danger and a dreadful future. So radio programs are not just radio programs anymore, but they are becoming and will continue to be “agents of change” in the lives of many Arabs!

We look back at the different ministry opportunities in the last year and can’t but place another stone of help and say along with [the prophet] Samuel, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” The year 2012 was a milestone in the history of TWR Arabic Ministries. Our dream for Arabic Internet Radio (AiR) came to life in addition to our engagement in mobile applications, landing pages, mobile version websites and more. See ArabicPrograms.org for more on these.

We thank God for his rich blessings, for holding our hand step by step and for guiding us to serve faithfully despite the challenges our region faces.

To join us in ministry as an agent of change for the Middle East, click here.

Source: TWR Europe

Photo Credit: TWR Europe

Where the Church Is Growing

China

Where would you find emperors, dragons, silk, tea, spices and rice along with a terra-cotta army and the Great Wall? It’s the People’s Republic of China, of course, and according to the Lonely Planet travel guide, there are 4,218 things to see and do there.

Just looking at a map, one is immediately struck by the vastness of this nation. With 1.3 billion inhabitants, it’s the world’s most populous country and the fourth-largest country in terms of area.

Even though China maintains strict control over its people, it is remarkable that “the survival and growth of the Church in China are two of the decisive events of our generation,” reports Operation World, 7th Edition. “The staggering recent growth of the Chinese Church has no parallel in history—from 2.7 million evangelicals in 1975 to over 75 million in 2010.”

Persecution of believers under a repressive, Communist regime has only served to purify the church, not destroy her. As a recent Morning Star News article reported, “In 2012, the Communist government began the first of a three-phase plan to eradicate unregistered house churches.” This has led to increased attacks against protestant believers and pastors.

China Radio Church Kit

TWR’s vision involves coming alongside and assisting the church in its mission. Since 1994, our team in Asia has distributed Radio Church Kits in mainland China to support the spiritual growth of house-church members. It’s exciting to see the fruit of this labor, but there is also a continuing need for discipleship among house-church leaders and new believers to protect them from false doctrines and legalism.

As of the end of 2012, TWR Asia had distributed 114,200 kits. This year TWR is expanding its ministry in China, and this includes a goal of dispersing 3,000 additional kits as the Lord provides.

The intensity of harassment and persecution faced by our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ probably would send us in the West “over the wall.” The testimonies we receive from these believers communicate a spiritual hunger, resilience and determination to stand firm for Christ’s sake regardless of the cost.

To learn how you can help support our Christian brothers and sisters in China, click here.

China Facts: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/china-facts/

Photo Credit: Ansley James Jensen

A Love Song for the Nations

Are you a romantic? I’d describe myself that way. Even if that trait doesn’t characterize your personality, what an opportunity Valentine’s Day provides us to express our heartfelt love to others in tangible ways.

This morning, I reflected on the meaning of genuine love, which the Apostle Paul richly defines in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 (ESV):

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

It’s apparent to me that this kind of loving is more than simply natural — it’s supernatural. The empowerment to love like this is birthed in a heart surrendered in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who first loved us. There’s no other way.

The merciful, compassionate, loving heart of God is the spring that flows through his blood-bought children to others. This is the stuff missions is made of! “It is not primarily out of a compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God,” writes John Dawson in his book “Taking Our Cities for God.” It’s love of God that propels us.

John Piper unfolds this wonderful truth in his passionate book on missions, “Let the Nations Be Glad,” when he writes:

There is a God-enthralled, Christ-treasuring, all-enduring love that pursues the fullness of God in the soul and in the service of Jesus. It cries out with the psalmist, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. …Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth” (Pss. 67:3-4; 47:6-7).

Let’s link arms and pray, go, send and give as we sing the love song for the nations in praise and glory to God. How will you display the love of God today? I’d love to hear from you.

Photo Credit: Robert Proksa