In Her Eyes

by Calcutta Mercy Ministries.

We have a dispensary at Shishu Bhavan, a Calcutta suburb, where patients line up and we provide medication.  We see children with scarring skin rashes and fathers weary with hunger and disease.  We see three-year olds no bigger than six-month olds, whose mothers could not get enough food or vitamins when pregnant.  Diagnosis: severe malnutrition.  Clinical treatment: vitamins and milk.

Animals and trash line the streets surrounding Shishu Bhavan.  The smell of rotting garbage and human waste hits your face so strong you have to hold your breath.  The people living amid the heaps are called the Untouchables.  Of the four levels of India’s caste system, the Untouchables are ranked so low, they do not have a level.  They are considered nothing. Zero.

Today, outside the clinic, there is a woman sitting upon broken concrete with her two children.  She has bright blue eyes that look stunning against her dark skin.  She smiles at volunteers and motions to her children’s stomachs.  She is in need of love, help, and hope.

CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF IN HER EYES?

When you dare to see yourself in the eyes of someone considered the lowest of the low, you dare to let God pull the platform of your status and wealth out from under your feet.  Pride evaporates.  The ground is made level.  Any walls between you and the other crumble, and love rises in its place.

To see yourself in her eyes is Christ’s daring call to be a servant – to touch an untouchable and let love conquer all inhibitions and fears.  It is to see more similarities than differences, knowing you both are in equal need of the same Savior. What a privilege to be his hands and feet to the least of these in India.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO INDIA IN 2016.

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Meet You on the River

by Steve Edwards, President and Founder of Global Passion Ministries

I stood on the boat, amazed at the line I saw in the water. So defined was the difference between the two rivers, that it was visible from a distance. The Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes come together to form one of the greatest rivers in all the world, the Amazon.

Our missionary, Mark Lemos, began to share with me a vision to build 100 churches on this great river. His passion was evident as he told me of the need. I heard the urgency in his voice as he described the needs of the people, and my heart was stirred to action. I told him that Global Passion would do whatever we could to help. The boat we were on is the boat a team would live on while building the churches. I looked at the rooms with bunk beds and saw the kitchen where meals would be prepared. I could envision youth and adults working side by side, sleeping in hammocks, sweating and laughing, and praying together, all while living life on the river. All the while accomplishing Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25: “I was hungry and you fed me…”

Can you imagine being a part of something like this? Can you see yourself giving up a week of your summer to be the answer to someone’s prayer? Today men and women of God are praying, “Lord of the harvest, send workers.”

Don’t let another year pass you by without living the dream. Remember, you were born for days like this!

See you on the river!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO BRAZIL IN 2016

Woven Stories

by Paige Baker, who traveled with Global Passion to Nicaragua in 2015.

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I love stories. I have always loved stories and this has served me well in our five years of ministry. Being youth pastors at our church has given my husband and I opportunities to hear multitudes of stories. Stories of prayers answered and past sin overcome, broken hearts and hopelessness, aching stories of lostness and the joyous stories of being found. We had been taking our motley crew of Stories on state-side missions trips for the past three years and in 2015 decided to branch out. We knew who our students were- we knew their stories– we knew they were growing, and we were certain they could handle themselves well on a new slightly scarier adventure in another country.

If I close my eyes now, I can still see everyone in their seats on the bus in transit from our quinta to the Orphanage where we worked most afternoons. As creatures of habit, we created an unspoken seating arrangement. Several rows behind me, I can imagine my sweet girl Gracie sitting alone staring into her notebook. Gracie’s transformation on the trip was visible. We took over a service at the church of our beloved interpreter Abdeas two days after we arrived. Gracie was full of uncertainty those first few days but this church service changed all that. A crew of little girls found her as soon as we got off the bus and they never left her side. Divided by language, they communicated in smiles, hugs, hair braiding and piggy back rides. This was Love beyond words – love that doesn’t need language. Jesus’ kind of love.

On the bus to my left was Alana. Her story is one of my favorites- from a history of brokenness, I have seen Jesus pick up piece after piece and refashion her into a new and beautiful creature. This was her first missions trip and she fell instantly and hopelessly in love with the kids at the Orphanage. I sat on the front porch of the compound one day after a morning of painting and scrubbing and watched Alana have an hour long conversation with a little boy, not more than seven years old. They would point, and smile, and try their hardest to pronounce each other’s foreign words. They laughed at each other, at how silly they sounded, at how much fun they were having. There they were, each without fathers, each with so many broken pieces, but both full of joy. What a good Father we have who brought them together.

I know the stories on my team. I know Rissa, who had never prayed out loud for anyone in her life – whom I saw lead a little girl to Jesus, praying her through the sinners prayer. I know Justin, who was a militant atheist for years. I watched him cry as He shared his story with a small village in the middle of nowhere, untouched by modern conveniences like running water and electricity. I watched him proclaim the Truth, that Jesus changes everything. I see how Jesus is still writing all of their stories and it makes me wonder about the stories of our Nicaraguan friends. We went to serve with Global Passion for one week and could only be a small moment in the stories of these beautiful people. But I know the Author is working all of our story lines together.

My favorite stories are the weaving and winding ones that come together in the end. And I believe this is how God works. Only he can see the significance and reach of each interaction, each bowl of food distributed, each hug, piggyback ride, prayer, testimony, or tear. He is writing a beautiful story through Global Passion – and through us all.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus – the Author…” Hebrews 12:2a

 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO NICARAGUA IN 2016

Change One Life, Change the World

by Guy Sottile, founder of Italy for Christ.

Just imagine a crowded area in the midst of one of the toughest areas of Naples, Italy. Lots of scooters and people going around a tent where the gospel is preached every night for over 4 weeks straight.

Many hungry and searching souls fill up the tent. So much so, that the local mafia gets interest in what’s going on inside the tent. Even if no offerings are taken, because the gospel is a free gift, the gang members think that the tent is a money making machine. So they want to offer us their protection in exchange for some of the money that they think we’re making. I say no way, but the local pastors who live in the area are afraid that the gang members can break in their homes or steal their cars.

So I  agree to pay, but on one condition: the gang members must be present during the service to prove they are protecting us. As I start preaching I can sense the Lord’s presence; and as I progress to give an invitation I feel that something great is going to happen.

Yes, those gang members are pierced in their hearts and come forward to accept Jesus Christ in their life! We gave them more than money ever could: we gave forgiveness of their sins and a new life in the name of Jesus!

This is not the end of the story. The city has a piece of property to give away for building a church. Usually this property goes to the Roman Catholic Church. The evangelical church asks for the property to build their new church but the mayor doesn’t want to give it to them.

The gang members already integrated in the church body go to the local police to confess all of their crimes. The chief of police is astonished! Why are you doing this? Because now Jesus is the Lord of our life! The evangelical church is changing the social environment through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus. Tell the mayor to give the property to the evangelical church!

The mayor surrenders, and ignoring the pressure of the Roman Catholic Church, gives the property for the building of the the  evangelical church, where today over 500 people gather regularly!

That church gave birth to another 3 churches in Naples!

The gospel not only changes hearts and eternal destinies, it does change the world around us!

 

Trust in Me

by Allison Von Fange, Missions Director for Global Passion Ministries.

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As our plane descended to the small, frozen runway, out my window I saw waiting a vast ice-land of St Michael, Alaska: white, beautiful and barren. My nose pressed and breath fogging up the window, I felt a little like a 7-year old at the Christmas window of a toy store. Alaska. The mere word conjures thoughts of wilderness and adventure. My thoughts raced with the possibilities of what God might have in store.

After 7 years on staff with Global Passion, more than 20 countries and countless trips under my belt, this trip stirred something that I hadn’t felt in a long time…a familiar and unwelcome hint of fear. I recognized it from memories of the first couple trips I took. It was wrapped in the unshakable feeling that I was going way outside of my element. To be completely honest, it wasn’t the 18-below temperature, or the six-seater plane that unnerved me. It was the full schedule of children’s ministry that had been completely handed over to my planning and leadership! Don’t laugh! I know it seems silly.  I’ve assisted with a few top-notch VBS’ and my teams have helped many missionaries run their own VBS…but that was just it. We assisted. The VBS had always been put together and lead by someone else. On this trip the missionary needed me to do it (plan it, teach it and lead it – yikes!). This was definitely outside of my comfort zone!

I have to admit, I had even tried to find another leader. I asked two different, highly qualified children’s pastors if they would lead the trip, before reluctantly saying yes. There are times when the Lord puts His loving, fatherly finger on something and there is no avoiding it. God was asking me to do this.  He was asking me to trust Him. He would give me what I needed. “I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” Psalm 32:8b.

We landed and were shuttled by snowmobile to the warm home of our missionaries, Brian and Linda Staub. What a privilege awaited us. We would spend the next week putting on a VBS for the 45 kids that regularly attend the after-school program at the Staub’s church. Linda had specifically asked us to come in January. With only a few hours of sunlight each day and the coldest temperatures of the year, the children of St. Michael have very little to look forward to in the winter months. Depression and suicide are issues that Brian and Linda address in their congregation on a regular basis.

Each day around 2:30, kids would file in and peel off their puffy layers. The hallway would pile high with miniature hats, snow gloves, jackets and snow boots. Our program would start with snack. For some this was their first meal of the day. From there it was games, worship, skits and Bible stories. Each kid was hungry for every bit of affection and attention that we could muster. I remember tickling one precocious, little eight-year old. I remember being mobbed by a crowd of kids desperate for the interaction they don’t get at home. As we shared with them the simple truth in our lessons, their pink cheeks and tired eyes would look up, soaking in the hope their lifestyle doesn’t offer.  The unspoken message to the children in St Michael is that you’ll never amount to anything, you’ll never leave this village, you are doomed to live with the same suffocating oppressions that your parents and grandparents did. But the message we brought was different. God’s message to them was the same as His message to me. “You can trust Me.”

“Trust in Me. There is hope in Me. Even though no one in your family has graduated high school…even though you have watched every grown man in your family struggle with alcoholism and addiction…even though kind and loving words are almost never heard at home…trust Me. I have plans for you. I have created you for great things.”

It is His message to all of us. God says He knows the plans He has for us,: “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) He will go before us and make a way. We must trust Him and follow.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO ALASKA IN 2016.

25 Years Later…

by Steve Edwards, Founder and President of Global Passion Ministries.

Chile 2013

Pastor Ricardo and Sonia sat in my office and began to tell me about their church in Casablanca, Chile. As usual for me, I tried to find common ground to add to the conversation. My only experience to date with Chile was 25 years ago when a missionary to Chile came to the church where I was youth pastoring at the time. He told us about his country and how he had a dream of planting and building 15 churches. We decided as a church to sponsor one of those church plants and help pay for the building.

Now, here I am talking to pastors from Chile, relaying this story to them. They asked me the missionary’s name. “Patrick Devine,” I said. Well, their jaws hit the floor.

“That’s the missionary that helped us build our church 25 years ago.”

It was one of those “small world” moments, to say the least. As we sat there and talked, I sensed the Holy Spirit moving and suggested I come down to Chile and see the church and country. They invited me to preach at their mission convention that following January. I accepted the invitation, and to Chile we went. It was surreal to walk onto that campus and see what the Lord had done. How the church had grown and the affect it had on the community. As I shared that week with Pastor Ricardo and Sonia they asked me “Why can’t we do Global Passion here?” 

“Why not?,” I said.

So we began to plan on how we would accomplish that. The next summer,we had a team from North Dakota join with a team from the Casablanca church to do a mission outreach to the city. Kids ministry and street outreaches took place with the two groups acting as one. It’s was a true taste of heaven. American and Chilean students working side by side building the Kingdom of God.

As we continue to dream, we are excited to see what God has in store. I know there is much more for us to do in Chile and I can’t wait for the day that Global Passion has a full time site there. Sending Chilean students all over the world, preaching the good news. Would you pray with us that God would show us the way and give us the resources needed to make it happen? Would you join us on a trip next summer to continue advancing the kingdom in Chile?

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO CHILE IN 2016.

What If?

by Matt and Adele Corke, Missionaries to Ireland.

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We, as a couple, like order and control! We like the handles of our cups to face
 a certain way in the cupboard, we like our DVD’s sorted by genre, we like our socks
to match and we like our books ordered by height on the bookshelf! All of these things are silly and a bit unnecessary but we like to have some things done our way, in our order, in our home. Through various aspects of our ministry recently, God has taught us a lot about being in control, or rather, letting Him be in control. Often as we look at our ministry, our lives, our plans, we see many situations and ‘what if’s’ that are beyond our control; ‘what if’s’ that we have to let God handle.

If we are all a bit honest with ourselves, when God asks us to do things for Him our hearts race, our minds go into overdrive and we are excited and passionate to serve Him. However, within a short period of time we begin to let the ‘what ifs’ creep in: ‘What if I can’t do it?’, ‘What if I’m not good enough?’, ‘What if God picked the wrong person?’, ‘What if God doesn’t show up?’

We spin out of control, in a downward spiral of self-pity, succumbing to doubt and rejection of our God-given abilities.

But, what if for a brief moment we looked at our situation from God’s point of view? What if we began to let Him be in control? What if we believed wholeheartedly, instead of doubting pathetically?

In our ministry in Cork, Ireland, we have decided that the ‘what if’ questions are vital to how we serve God, but we have decided to look at our situations from God’s point of view and not our own. ‘What if I CAN do it?’, ‘What if God HAS picked the right person?’, ‘What if God DOES show up?’, ‘What if our ministry grows BEYOND anything we could ever dream or imagine?’, ‘What if God changes the hearts of HUNDREDS of children’s lives in Cork?’, ‘What if I give GOD control?’

Our prayer is that this year, many children in Cork will begin to think, ‘What if? What if I give my life to Jesus?’

We need people that will come and serve with us in Cork, people that are bold enough to say ‘What if I follow Jesus to Ireland?’, ‘What if God uses me to reach others?’, ‘What if I let go and let God?’

God can change your life if you let Him, trust God with your ‘what if’s’ today!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO IRELAND IN 2016.

God is Able

by Rachel Kenny, from Medical Ministries International

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Navunievu, Vanua Levu, Fiji… one of the most breathtaking villages in all of Fiji I presume. The village by the sea greets us with warmth and a brisk sunshine infused breeze as we make your way down the rust colored clay road. I think to myself that in such a place of beauty, God must be present at all times, but what I don’t realize is that there are deeply rooted cultural and traditional spiritual strongholds in existence that have resisted God for decades. But, God… God is able!

The medical clinic is flowing with ease and we are seeing patients as planned. A woman comes to me at the “Blood and Guts” station in need of wound care on her hand. You can see the sweetness of her spirit as we talk while I do what I can for her. She tells me thank you for coming to her village. She tells me she is so glad our medical team has come to see her friends and family. She tells me that she is excited because she has just accepted Jesus as her Savior. She tells me that today, she hopes her husband will find the same joy and peace she has received through Jesus Christ. After finishing up with her hand, I pray a blessing over her life and thank God for the eternal life she has found in Him.

As she left my station to continue her way through the clinic, I felt a subtle nudge in my heart to find her again; there was more of her story I needed to hear. After awhile I went outside to find her, following the feeling I had inside, thinking I was being silly. When I see her I begin to ask her questions about her family and children. I am pulled away shortly after our conversation began, leaving her, still feeling like I needed to speak with her a bit longer.

As lunch is served our clinic ceases and we enjoy deliciously prepared food. All the while I am thinking of this woman, Senijale, and this urgency I have to talk with her again. After lunch, as soon as the clinic resumes, I approach her yet again. She tells me that her husband is back from farming and that he is coming to the clinic. Then, after all of our small talk, she tells me what I have needed to hear, the unknown reason I have been chasing after her conversations… Her husband is the village church pastor; a pastor of a religion that believes in God, claiming Christianity, but has dark and twisted theology, mixing cultural customs and even witchcraft… distorting the transforming truth of the Gospel, opposing real relationship with the Lord, and resisting Jesus Christ as Savior. They read the Bible, yes, they read it daily, but the Word is not alive to them. They are avid churchgoers, but not to seek relationship with Jesus or to surrender and worship our King, but because it is just what they do. But, God… God is able!

As Senijale’s husband, enters the clinic, right before I follow him in, she turns to me and says that she hopes with all of her heart that he gives his life to Jesus, receiving the peace and joy she feels so fully… She says that if he does, he will be able to preach the true Gospel on Sundays, impacting the whole congregation in a way they have never encountered.

Suliasi is his name, and he is ready. Before he came to visit me at my station for some wound care, he had his information written down on his intake card. One of the spots on the card is for church affiliation, and he had Methodist written down… But, God… God is able! I take care of the snakebite on his finger and all the while I talk to him about his wife and the new peace she has through Jesus. When I speak of this, his face softens. I ask him if he wants the same peace and joy she has… he does! I speak to him more about the abundant life that Jesus provides through Salvation in Him, and Suliasi’s face softens even more. As I finish up with my care, I pray with Suliasi. He thanks me with a wide grin across his face. I send him to the next station then make my way around to the team members to ensure that they know who he is and that he is coming around the clinic. Once he had gone to al of the stations, he sat down with Jerry at the prayer station. At some point in the clinic after seeing me, but before sitting down with Jerry, Suliasi had made a big decision, going so far as to correcting it on his info card. He had crossed out “Pastor” and had written “Christian”… Suliasi wanted the truth found in Jesus Christ alone. A man that has rejected relationship with Jesus through cultural and traditional ideology opened his heart. He had an encounter with God. Jerry helped him pray the prayer of Salvation, and Suliasi fully surrendered his life to Christ.

Suliasi is a new man, with the hope of glory found in our Savior Jesus. He has new life and will me discipled to pursue Jesus and preach the Word of the Lord. He will lead his wife and children, and he will lead his congregation. God knew. God made a way. God prepared and opened a heart. God revealed himself. God is able!

Go and see that GOD IS ABLE… Ephesians 3:20-21

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A MISSION TRIP TO FIJI IN 2016.

The Fight for Swaziland’s Future

by Alli Wyman, from Partners International.

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Scientists and sociologists would tell you Swaziland is dying.

But when I went there, I saw life budding in pockets of the desert.

One such place was in the hearts of missionaries Kevin and Helen Ward, who are passionately endeavoring the change the course of their native country, which is projected to vanish by 2050 because of the AIDs epidemic.

Another was in the faces of the people, whose resilience and tenacity seems to eclipse any statistical projections.

Another was in the tone of a woman leading a mobile medical clinic into remote areas. Her drive leaves onlookers dizzy from the whirlwind way she sweeps in and unapologetically makes change.
Yes, deep-rooted strongholds of polygamy and idol worship and child marriage have their clutches on this country. But there are those slowing peeling back evil’s fingers in a knockdown, drag-out fight to save it.

On my team’s visit, we drove on chalky, rust-colored roads to a remote village, where people live in huts of caked mud. We walked the paths between clusters of homes, stopping to visit and pray for people. In one cluster, we met an older woman, her head wrapped in a pink scarf wearing only a light sweater against the winter cold. She told us of her struggles to provide for her family, how lack of rain had stifled the growth of crops.

“Can we pray for you?” we asked. She smiled eagerly and held her hands out for us to hold.

And in that moment, a little life budded.

Another day we drove up thin ribbons of dirt roads cut into mountainsides. Once through a gate, what lay before us was an oasis in the desert around it, with cows grazing on lush grass, children chasing soccer balls in blue uniforms and colorful homes lining the hillsides.

This is Bulembu, an orphanage part of the Ward’s ministries, which funds itself through the sale of honey, water, bread, milk and other products made on site.

Meanwhile, the children are being trained up as the next leaders of Swaziland.

Here, life is in full bloom.

The thing is, life is fragile. It takes care and water and light. The Wards need help to continue what they have started. They have asked for teams to come, see and understand their country, and help them turn the tide.

God has not forgotten about Swaziland.

We shouldn’t give up on it either.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP TO SWAZILAND IN 2016.

Be the Light

by Rebekah Reese, Outreach Director for One18 Movement

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Back in February, Elizabeth and I had a frozen pipe start to leak in our apartment. Naturally, we decided to be the independent women that we are and we took my little princess flashlight and marched down to the dirty dungeon basement to find that leak. You see, the basement is my least favorite place to go. It is dark, smelly, ugly, and to make matters worse we have found mice down there. I had no desire to go down there at all but what we found was a bunch of pipes, and no clue what to do. So once again I practiced my freedoms as an independent woman, and I called my Dad. Thankfully he was able to talk me through several steps on how to fix things.

I thought about how much more of a pain it would have ben to have had to figure all that out without my little princess flashlight that I had. It helped shed light on things that I needed to see; and what I saw was a mess. With the help of my Dad, we were able to figure things out. A few days later God used this story to speak deeply into my heart. Light exposes and transforms darkness, and Jesus is our light. When we become Christians, we also take on that light. We have the ability to shed light in the darkness but it is only through Him and with Him. God wasn’t just exposing some broken pipes in my basement, He was also exposing some broken things in my heart so that I might call upon Him to help guide me through transforming my heart.

I am so thankful for a Father who is always loving and patient with us. God gently reminded me of this and transformed some things in my own heart. He wants me to be the light in this dark world. He wants to use me to bring hope where there is none, share truths with those who know none, love those who are unloved, and bring joy to those who are fully of hurt and sorrow.

Every summer, we as a ministry are blessed to be a light in this dark world. We go to areas and speak to people who would never darken the door of a church or ever even think about how Jesus truly loves them.

Our vision as One18 is that God has called us out of darkness to go back. Because of this, we chose last summer’s theme to be called, “Be the Light.” I want this next summer to be so powerful and intentional with how we are the light in this dark world, too. May we be willing to be the light in those places that need Jesus the most. May God use us to expose and transform hearts and lives for eternity.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON A TRIP WITH ONE18 MOVEMENT.