This Is Your Time: God’s Spirit Withdrawn

In recent times, the world has witnessed events that just a few years ago might have seemed unbelievable.

Flooding, record temperatures, and devastating fires have given evidence that our planet is fragile. Traditional moral values have been turned upside down, while defenders of biblical standards have been ridiculed. Social media has become an ocean of unbridled anger and malice. Cancel culture ruins lives, careers, and reputations. Politics has become openly hostile, seemingly devoid of the collegiality which once characterized political discourse. The lingering COVID-19 crisis revealed that in no time at all the attention of the entire world can be fixed on a single, polarizing issue. A raft of restrictions was swiftly implemented, impacting everything from one’s ability to work to a congregation’s ability to assemble for worship. Riots in our nation’s streets left a trail of damage and death. Recent data from the CDC states that the U.S. has just experienced its largest single-year murder rate increase in more than a century, rising 30 percent between 2019 and 2020.¹

The logical question to ask is, “What in the world is going on?” While murder, immorality, abortion, and natural disasters are almost as old as our planet itself, what we are witnessing today is a fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24. Speaking of the signs of His return, Jesus said in Matthew 24:8, “All these are the beginning of birth pains” (NASB). Just as contractions increase in frequency and intensity prior to the arrival of a baby, the signs of Jesus’ return are increasing as we approach the second advent.

For years thinking people have asked where society was heading. We now know. Yet as sinfulness increases, it is vital to remember that what we see around us reflects a solemn truth. The Holy Spirit is being withdrawn from the earth, just as He was in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:3-5). History is repeating.

The temptation for Christian believers today is to seek political, civil, or economic solutions for the serious challenges the world faces. However, elections, protests, and legal decisions cannot remedy what currently ails our world. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3–4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds).” We wrestle today, “not with flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12), but with a jealous devil whose millennia-long campaign against God is rapidly gaining ground. Caught in the midst of a great controversy, as the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world, Planet Earth sinks ever deeper into the morass of sin.

The vital question we must now ask ourselves is, “What character are we manifesting in this time of crisis?”

The larger question is no longer, “What can we do about the state of our world?” The world is on a trajectory that cannot and will not be altered. Before long we will face “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1). Recognizing that it is in a crisis that character is revealed, the vital question we must now ask ourselves is, “What character are we manifesting in this time of crisis?” Revelation 18:1 says, “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” The nearer we draw to the return of Jesus, the nearer we approach that time when God’s people will demonstrate to the world the character (glory) of Jesus.

Though it may be easy to become frustrated with the condition of the world, we must remember where we are in the stream of time. The same people who have excitedly looked forward to the return of Jesus must bear in mind that Scripture has only ever promised that society will decline in earth’s last days. Jesus assured us that prior to His return, “iniquity shall abound” and “the love of many shall wax cold,” (Matthew 24:12). Paul said people in earth’s last days would be “covetous,” “blasphemers,” “unholy,” “without natural affections,” “despisers of those that are good,” and “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4). Now that we are witnessing the fulfillment of 2,000-year-old promises, the appropriate response is not anger and despair, but hope and assurance in the God whose Word has again proven unerring. 

The inquiring world is to know that God’s people possess assurance, not malice and bitterness. As difficult as it is to digest current events, the God who is “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3) can uphold you. As Jesus fills your life with His presence, the universe will see the final and full display of the power of the gospel in all who have continued to surrender their lives to Him. 

Christian believer, this is your time. We were told what to expect from our world. Now that we are seeing that which was promised long ago, it is time to let the world witness the power of God in the lives of His people.


¹https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/10/27/what-we-know-about-the-increase-in-u-s-murders-in-2020/

Gideon in the Dominican

This is the word of the Lord… “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts. —Zechariah 4:6

God is never limited by the number of people or resources available to accomplish His purpose. Over and over in Scripture, God does mighty things through little. He brings beauty out of ashes and glorifies Himself through the weak things of this world. He did this again during the It Is Written mission trip to the Dominican Republic in May. 

A woman reads the Christian literature she just received while waiting to be seen at the clinic.

It Is Written partnered with the Southeast Dominican Conference in an initiative to reach a previously unentered territory by the church. A church plant is developing, and the church building is almost finished. Our mission team partnered with church members to conduct a medical clinic for the neighborhood right in the unfinished church building. Hundreds waited patiently for the free healthcare offered, which included dentistry, general medical care, cardiology, neurology, pediatrics, and more. Patients also received gifted items of soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks, vitamins, and much-needed medication. Every person received Bible-based literature, and many began asking questions immediately as they waited.

More than 600 community guests came through the clinic over several days, with more than 450 people saying yes to the invitation for Bible studies. The church is currently following up on those interests. Many people who came through the clinic will eventually become members of that new church family and worship in the building where they were first introduced to Jesus! 

A boy is examined by the team dentist.

The finished church building

The mission team also funded and painted the newly constructed church inside and out, which significantly shortened the move-in date. The conference graciously dedicated the new building to It Is Written for substantially advancing this mission goal. A special thank-you to you, our Partners. Without your prayers and support, this trip would not have been possible. God receives the glory; we receive the joy!

In addition to medical clinics and church renovation, our team also conducted four evangelistic meetings and children’s programs. Several hundred attended the meetings, and more than 40 made decisions to follow Jesus in baptism! Hundreds of children participated in the nightly VBS meetings, and many learned about Jesus for the first time.

One young man made his decision after wrestling for several years. His hesitation was due to the impression that God was also calling him into full-time ministry. “I did not want to be baptized because I did not want to be a pastor,” he said. “Yet, God softened my heart through these meetings, and I surrendered to the call to be saved and serve others.” What a joyous moment! Another lady had been considering baptism for more than 10 years. God moved her heart through the preaching. She said, “Jesus is coming soon! I can’t afford to put Him off any longer. Christ is calling me now, and I am answering.” These are just a few of the 40+ testimonies of God’s greatness.

Pastor Wes Peppers, center, shares his testimony.

The conference also owns a radio station that reaches the entire country of 11 million people. It is the third most listened-to station of any genre, and several influential business owners and high-ranking government officials listen to the programs daily. I shared my personal testimony, “The Atheist Who Found God,” live on their afternoon program, and we received several callers in response.

Marion Peppers and community members pose for a picture as they pick up medication.

Indeed, it was like Gideon’s army again! The Lord did mighty things through just a small handful. This trip was a prelude to a more significant effort in August 2023. The conference will celebrate its 25th anniversary with 25 evangelistic series. It Is Written will conduct another mission trip with clinics, VBS, and possibly construction. Pastor John Bradshaw will join, and his live evangelistic presentations will be broadcast on the radio station, reaching every home in the Dominican Republic!

We are also recruiting speakers for all 25 meetings. Perhaps God is calling you to be a part of this trip, a different one, or sponsor someone you know to go. We invite you to join us for a life-transforming experience! God is calling; are you ready? 

Visit itiswritten.com/missiontrips for more information or to sign up.

Pastor Wes Peppers and his meeting attendees.

Spanish Book Drive

We are collecting Spanish children’s books for our mission trip to Puerto Rico. The school library in Vieques was destroyed in 2017 by Hurricane Maria, and we would love to give them as many books as we can! 

Books must be:

📕 in Spanish
📘 spiritual or educational
📗 for children in grades K-6
📙 in good condition

Send your books by July 7 to:

It Is Written
Attention: Eric Flickinger
9340 Four Corners Place
Ooltewah, TN 37363

Thank you!

May Spotlight: Mental Health & Asian Pacific American Month Programs

The month of May marks two special occasions: Mental Health Awareness Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In honor of these events, we have put together a list of our programs that pertain to these important topics.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health issues have significantly increased in the past several years, affecting millions of Americans, young and old. Find programs below on depression, anxiety, addiction, stress, and improving your overall mental and emotional well-being. Click the episode title or image to watch it.

Note: These programs are presented for the purpose of educating people about health issues only and should not be used in place of the advice of your qualified health care provider. Please call your physician for any health care-related questions.

“Depression and Its Causes”

Almost every American is affected by depression—whether a person suffers from depression or has a friend or family member who does. But what, exactly, causes depression? Join John Bradshaw and Dr. Neil Nedley to find out.

“Depression and Its Cure”

People of faith aren’t immune to depression. A committed Christian might battle depression as much as someone who doesn’t believe in God. So is there a way out? Join John Bradshaw and Dr. Neil Nedley for the conclusion.

“Boosting Your Brain”

It’s one of our most precious possessions, but likely isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Learn how to boost your brain function and open your mind to richer blessings from God.

“Pathway to Hope”

The saying goes, “Healthy body, healthy mind.” With God’s help, you can get much more out of life than you imagined. Get on the pathway to health with this presentation from John Bradshaw and Dr. Neil Nedley.

“Emotional Intelligence”

Instead of being controlled by our emotions, how can we benefit from them? Join John Bradshaw as he interviews Dr. Neil Nedley and discover how your emotions form a vital part of your relationship with God.

“Coping With Stress”

How did Jesus combat stress and are there healthy ways of coping with stress today? Discover the Great Physician’s divine prescription for stress that will help you successfully negotiate this stress-filled world in “Coping With Stress.”

“Stressed Out”

The Bible calls Jesus the “Prince of Peace,” and yet more people than ever are suffering from debilitating levels of stress. Join John Bradshaw and Dr. David DeRose and learn how to successfully negotiate this stress-filled world!

“The Physiology of Worship”

Research demonstrates that worship is good for you. How does worship benefit a person spiritually and emotionally? Join John Bradshaw and special guest Dr. James Marcum for “The Physiology of Worship.”

“Take Charge of Your Health: Depression and Mental Health”

Learn how you can improve your mental health and look forward to each new day with confidence.

“Take Charge of Your Health: Coping With Stress”

Stress can have serious consequences for physical and mental health. Find out what you can do to cope with stress and be free from its damaging effects.

“Take Charge of Your Health: Overcoming Addictions”

Addiction affects millions of people every day. Discover how you and those you love can find lasting recovery from addiction.


Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The It Is Written episodes listed below provide an immersive experience into major historical events and their spiritual significance. Click the title or image to view each episode.

“Nunuku’s Law”

Years ago, a peaceful tribe on a remote island was invaded by warriors. Their actions in the face of death would not only be a bold stand for peace but would also speak of the sacrifice Jesus made to save a world lost in sin.

“I Shall Return”

Having left the Japanese-occupied Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur boldly declared, “I shall return.”  Two thousand years earlier, Jesus made the same promise to a world held captive in sin: “I will come again!” Join John Bradshaw on location on Corregidor Island in the Philippines.

“The March of Death”

Just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japan invaded the Philippines. In the midst of destruction, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were forced to march on what became known as the Bataan Death March.

“Blood Rock”

The Bible talks about God wiping out whole cities. In fact, only eight people on Planet Earth survived the Flood. How do we reconcile that God commanded the eradication of entire people groups? Join John Bradshaw at Blood Rock in Australia as the answers are revealed from the Bible.

“The Holy City”

Join John Bradshaw as he visits vibrant Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, on the banks of the Ganges River in India. Don’t miss “The Holy City,” as one of life’s most important questions is asked and answered.

Blessings in Bolivia

The excitement of traveling to foreign lands is a lure for many, and sharing the everlasting gospel is what we all have been commissioned to do. But to have the opportunity to do both can be a dream come true. It Is Written’s mission trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia, in April offered just that opportunity, and 68 people jumped at the chance.

A Bolivian woman walks down the street.

Cochabamba is a sprawling city of one million inhabitants, nestled within the Andes mountains in central Bolivia. With a consistent, moderately warm climate year-round, it was the perfect location to assist the Central Bolivia Mission with their 2022 major evangelism efforts that culminated at the conclusion of the special week we were there—Holy Week, leading up to Easter.

Our large group consisted of 48 from the Greeneville Adventist Academy (GAA), in Greeneville, Tennessee, as well as 20 others from different parts of the US, including five from Ouachita Hills Academy in Arkansas, and myself, my wife, and our four children. After working through the initial logistical issues of transporting nearly 70 people to various locations around the city, we settled into our different tasks. Following in the steps of Jesus as He healed and preached, not only were we able to do what It Is Written does best—preach—but we were also able to have a vision clinic and a general medical clinic that served over 1,000 people in five different sites throughout the city. 

Dr. Brad Emde fits a patient with glasses.

The eye clinic was run by GAA and led by Dr. Brad Emde, whose wife Angela organized the GAA group. They treated over 800 patients and were able to provide a pair of prescription glasses and much needed sunglasses to each patient. Many people suffer from vision problems in Bolivia owing to its geographical location and high altitude. One very grateful woman brought a large squash as gift for her treatment. 

The group also visited the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia.

The general medical clinic treated about 400 patients, was led by Dr. Martin Kelly, and consisted of a comprehensive team of many nurses, a pharmacist, a laboratory technician, and a nutritionist, as well as a team of massage therapists. Countless patients were brought to tears by the prayers offered for them at the end of every consult. One young man arrived to the health clinic with his young daughter. When Dr. Kelly listened to his lungs, he heard a severe case of pneumonia. The man didn’t realize the gravity of his situation and had no means to seek medical help, until he heard of the free clinic that day. Praise God he was given the proper medication just in time to save his life!

It Is Written mission trips are all-encompassing as we offer not only medical and preaching, but also opportunities to help local churches with construction. Two teams of 34 workers helped to build one church, Villa Concepcíon, that was under construction and paint another, Villa Parador. Much goodwill was spread in those two communities through the team’s tireless efforts. 

GAA members work on church construction.

With the large group that we had, we were able to preach in 10 church sites on Sabbath mornings and nightly for one full week. There were 50 baptisms resulting from the team’s preaching, and hundreds more responded to nightly altar calls, making commitments to be baptized in the near future! I had the privilege of baptizing Julieta, a 40 year-old mother of two young teens. Her husband had left her for another woman last summer, and then two months later she was diagnosed with cancer. Her life was in shambles. The words of Jesus that were shared, and our constant prayers, meant everything to her. Through much tears of joy, she expressed how she now faces what once was a bleak future with a renewed hope, a strong faith in Jesus, and a new church family for support. 

Pastor Michael Pelletier baptizes a woman during the final meetings.

There was no better way to finish the week than to gather together on the final Sabbath for a live, televised event that was broadcast throughout South America. At the event, 5,000 gathered to hear music (including the wonderful GAA choir), witness baptisms, and listen to the preaching of Pastor Robert Costa of Escrito Está. Overall, more than 2,500 precious souls were baptized in the city of Cochabamba in the month leading up to, and including, this event. Thousands of lives were positively touched in a short period of time. What a fun way to share the gospel!   

Read about Pastor Costa’s Bolivia campaign in Spanish on the Escrito Está website.

Michael Pelletier is the It Is Written Planned Giving representative for the Northeast.

The GAA choir prepares to sing.

Why Would Jesus Die for You?

It’s a remarkable verse in a remarkable chapter. In a chapter loaded with power and promise, this one line seems to stand out somehow, expressing a thought unparalleled in its majesty.

Isaiah 53 deals with the life, ministry, and death of Jesus. The chapter is quoted in the New Testament by Matthew (Matthew 8:17), Mark (Mark 15:28), Luke (Luke 22:37; Acts 8:32-33), John (John 12:37-38), Paul (Romans 10:16), and Peter (1 Peter 2:24). The human subject of Isaiah 53 is sometimes referred to as the “suffering servant.” And while some may choose to question the identity of the chapter’s focus—among Jews there is no consensus on what the passage is about, with some suggesting the subject of Isaiah 53 is Isaiah himself, or Jeremiah—it is apparent to most Christian believers that this 2,700-year-old passage centers squarely upon Jesus.

According to Isaiah 53, Jesus would be unextraordinary (humanly speaking), despised, rejected, wounded, bruised, beaten, the sacrifice for sin, buried among the wicked, innocent, and yet considered a sinful man. Isaiah 53 is in large part the story of the first Easter weekend, when Jesus, as the true paschal sacrifice, gave His life to redeem a fallen world.

The story is too vast to distill into only a few paragraphs, but one thing stands out as we consider the events at Calvary 2,000 or so years ago. Jesus knew all about the circumstances of His death before He came to the earth. Jesus knew every word of Isaiah 53 before He left the security of heaven for the danger of a distant planet. Jesus knew. He knew He would be beaten. He knew He would be nailed to a cross. He knew the sin of the world would be placed upon Him. He knew He would come to His own, and His own would not receive Him. And knowing, He chose to come to this world and die as a sacrifice for sin. He knew He would be the victim of a nauseating miscarriage of justice and endure indescribable pain, and yet Jesus “laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).

Jesus understood the horrors of crucifixion. Victims would often be tied to the cross on which they died, but as David wrote in Psalm 22:16, Jesus would be nailed to the cross, “cursed” as He hung there (Galatians 3:13), His life slowly draining away. Archaeological evidence suggests that the nails would have been driven through his ankles and wrists. Although tormented by excruciating pain, a crucifixion victim could be expected to survive several days on the cross, shifting their weight from their feet to their hands, desperately yet vainly seeking even a modicum of relief. Yet it was not the pain, the shame, or the rejection He experienced that caused Jesus’ death. As Isaiah wrote, “The Lord… laid on him the iniquity of us all,” (Isaiah 53:6). He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

It was the weight of the sins of the world that crushed the life out of Jesus. In order to hasten their death and prevent them from hanging on a cross during the hours of the Sabbath (John 19:31), the legs of the two criminals crucified with Jesus were broken. Crucifixion victims typically died from asphyxiation. As the Encyclopædia Brittanica records, “Death ultimately occurred through a combination of constrained blood circulation, organ failure, and asphyxiation as the body strained under its own weight. It could be hastened by shattering the legs [which was called crucifragium] with an iron club, which prevented them from supporting the body’s weight and made inhalation more difficult, accelerating both asphyxiation and shock.” This is why Pilate “marveled that He was already dead” (Mark 15:44). Jesus ought to have been alive when the Roman soldiers intended to carry out their grim task, but in a mere few hours, Jesus had died. He died for, and because of, our sins.

How hideous must sin be if the only possible remedy for sin had to be the death of the divine Son of God? One author wrote, “The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God” (Education, p. 263.1).

But the question remains: Why would Jesus, fully cognizant of the horror of sin, die for the human family? During a recent visit to the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga, I read the story of Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter, who served with the United States Marine Corps from 2009 to 2014. In November of 2010, while serving in Afghanistan, Carpenter used his body to shield a fellow Marine from the blast of an enemy grenade. Corporal Carpenter survived and has undergone more than 40 surgeries since sustaining his injuries. His act was truly selfless and done for the benefit of others. But unlike Jesus, Carpenter gave himself to save his friends, his fellow Marines. Jesus died for his enemies! “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

John 3:16 gives us the answer to our question. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Which brings us back to the verse I mentioned earlier. In it, Isaiah magnifies the words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3. Just 13 words, and they’re unforgettable. Isaiah writes in Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”

Satisfied! Jesus looked down through the reaches of time, saw the results of His crucifixion, and was satisfied. Jesus allowed wicked men to apprehend Him because He was satisfied with what would follow. He endured inhumane mistreatment at the hands of men He had breathed life into, He hung on the cross with searing pain raging through His body, He bore the sin of the world… and He was satisfied. Satisfied that His death would purchase pardon for all who wished to be saved. Satisfied that the brutality He endured would be worth it in the end. Satisfied, because you would consider the story of the cross, and have the opportunity to come to faith in Jesus.

As the Christian world commemorates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus Himself considers Calvary and His abhorrent, repulsive death, and is satisfied. The question now becomes, Are you satisfied? Are you satisfied with the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the certainty of everlasting life?

Jesus is soon to return to this earth. If you are waiting to see Him, waiting to spend eternity with Him, He will be satisfied again.

Under Attack

The truth is that what we have seen in recent days should not shock us.

I’m not suggesting images of tanks rolling into towns, bombs causing devastation, people fleeing their homeland, and of men going off to war with the possibility of never returning home should sit well with us. They should not. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t be shocked by what we see.

War has been a fact of life on Planet Earth for thousands of years. Every country on every continent has at some time witnessed war and its accompanying carnage. Our parents or grandparents lived through the horrors of World War II. Their parents witnessed World War I. Add Korea and Vietnam and the Gulf War, and the many wars not as visible to the Western world, and we realize conflict is a fact of life. A regrettable, bitter fact of life, but a fact of life nonetheless. This generation should not expect to avoid senseless sorrow on a massive scale. What generation has?

Although we understandably feel we should. This is 2022! Invasions, needless killing, and unprovoked aggression? Exactly. None of it makes sense, at least from where we view the world. But why should we be shocked when a larger nation invades its smaller neighbor? This is what nations do. It’s what they have always done.

Sanctions and weapons and fierce resistance and humanitarian aid are entirely appropriate at a time like this. But they won’t stop future invasions from happening, nor will they dissuade despots and dictators from doing what despots and dictators do. The war in Ukraine will one day be over, and before long another will begin. And when it does, we’ll ask ourselves the same questions again: “Haven’t we learned from the lessons of the past? How can one country do this to another? What about all the innocent people and the tragic loss of life?” 

Ignoring the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, rejecting reason, compassion, and mercy, it is human to dominate, to subjugate, and to take at the expense of others. What we see in Ukraine is the inevitable outworking of fallen human nature, sin showing its true colors like an outgoing tide reveals a rocky coastline. It was there all the time, the right circumstances enabling us to see what had been obscured from human vision.

We’re shocked by oppression, ambition, and greed? How easily we forget. This world has been shaped by such forces. Like a glacier slowly but steadily carving huge chunks out of a mountainside as it slides downhill, hostility between nations has shaped the geopolitical landscape of today. Animosity and violence are hardwired into the human psyche, and given time, will be expressed. With tragic results.

Less than halfway through the fourth of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible, a man kills his brother. Just two chapters later, wickedness fills the earth in such a measure that God is moved to say, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth,” (Genesis 6:7). One chapter later, the planet is destroyed with a flood. Only eight people survive the deluge and its attendant destruction.

When the landowner in the parable stated “an enemy has done this” (Matthew 13:28), he was stating an eternal truth. The reason for destruction and devastation, incursions and invasions, suffering and adversity, is the corrupt human heart, bent away from the heart of God due to the cancerous influence of sin.

So how do we react in light of such a stark revelation of human brokenness? The world will endeavor to help the people of Ukraine with humanitarian aid. Weapons will be sent. Diplomacy will be undertaken. We genuinely hope such initiatives will relieve suffering and foster peace. But in addition to helping the people of Ukraine, the Christian believer must see in this conflict—in all such conflicts—a call by God to help the world. Followers of Jesus Christ possess the solution for all human misery and suffering: only the gospel can so radically alter a heart that thoughts of domination and conquest are banished. 

Political and humanitarian responses to a global crisis are necessary. But if we want to see lasting change in the world, we will strive to shine the light of the gospel into the hearts of others. The world desperately needs a revelation of the power of the love of God. And it is essential to remember “the world” starts in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities.

A friend once told me he stopped for gas on his way to commit suicide. It seemed to him life had become so completely hopeless he had no better option than to end it all. While he was walking back to his vehicle after paying for his gas, he heard a voice calling his name. A man he vaguely knew approached him. “What are you doing Tuesday?” the man asked him. “Would you be interested in attending a Bible study in my home?” My friend paused, considered the invitation, and accepted. He drove home, resumed his life, and looked forward to Tuesday night. Months later he was baptized. Today he is a lay leader in his local church, having been used by God for many years in Christian ministry, and very much alive. The reason? Someone intervened, someone reached out, someone followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to invest in the life of another.

There’s a war raging in hearts everywhere. The great controversy between Christ and Satan is playing out before our eyes. As we see an armed conflict taking place in the world, we mustn’t forget the even greater war that is raging in hearts and minds, in the lives of defeated people who desperately need intervention.

How is God asking you to intervene? The victimized, the displaced, and the fearful need you. Right now. They’re all around you. Surely it’s time to do all we can to save God’s children.

Thousands Receive Sight at Annual It Is Written Eye Camp

Editor’s Note: Eyes for India is the long-running It Is Written initiative restoring sight to the blind through cataract surgeries in India. Every year, Dr. Jacob Prabhakar, ophthalmologist, and his medical team hold an eye surgery camp at a temple in Northern India. He shares the following report from the recent event held in January.

Dr. Jacob Prabhakar examines a patient’s eye.

The temple camp conducted every year in a remote village—Hariakol of Barabanki, in the most populous and poverty-stricken Indian state of Uttar Pradesh—is the highlight of all community services rendered by the Ruby Nelson Memorial Hospital. This unique mega eye camp (resumed for the first time since 2020 due to the pandemic) creates a tremendous impact, in that Hindus steeped in superstitious beliefs acknowledge Christ’s methods of medical ministry and are convinced that this kind of phenomenal healing they witness year after year is possible only through a God who is very much foreign to them. Praise God for this window of opportunity!

Despite a cold, misty night and a 24-hour journey in the It Is Written-gifted bus, loaded heavily with medical supplies and equipment, navigating at times through zero visibility, the spirit and enthusiasm of the medical team was not dampened. Their commitment to serve the poor against all odds is a blessing.

A man waits for his cataract surgery.

Patients also traveled long distances in the biting cold, mostly on foot, carrying the blind and the disabled either on shoulders or makeshift beds, while others reached the campsite on two-wheelers, buses, or trains. To these marginalized poor in the far-flung areas of North India, the free eye camp is a flickering ray of hope that will make their dream of restored sight come true. This drives them to brave the risks and challenges of an arduous journey through forest lands in inclement weather.

We are motivated to complete these camps by the high success rate of a seemingly simple cataract surgery that can drastically transform lives. Having understood the importance of holistic health, the temple priests, volunteers, and camp organizers are receptive to the distribution of spiritual and health literature and health and hygiene talks.

Dr. Jacob looks over patients before their surgeries.

The eye clinic opened early every morning. We screened, on average, 500 people every day and carefully selected for surgery the bilaterally blind—those with hypermature, hard cataracts which over time will turn into a permanent, painful blind eye. The selected patients then undergo a detailed preoperative workup and undergo surgery for cataracts, wherein they are implanted with an intraocular lens, under sterile conditions.

The pandemic necessitated the implementation of additional safety protocols such as rapid COVID-19 antigen screening tests, social distancing, and vaccination mandates. The provision of COVID PPE kits and other safety preparedness, a thoughtful and kind gesture of It Is Written, kept the medical team safe under the circumstances.

Dr. Jacob performs a brief cataract surgery on a patient, restoring their eyesight.

The backlog of patients encountered this year loomed greater than before, on account of the ongoing pandemic, which kept those who needed help indoors and prevented them from seeking timely medical attention. Moreover, the surgeries were also reduced to 200 per day due to the COVID restrictions on spacing of beds. It was truly a sad moment when nearly 2,000 patients registered for surgery had to be turned away for want of time and surgical supplies.

Despite these setbacks, a total of 2,628 people received the precious gift of sight. Praise God! The operated patients with sight restored beamed with joy as their hearts swelled with sincere gratitude to the It Is Written sponsors. They left the camp praising God, knowing that they can now lead independent lives and earn their livelihood. 

God has been gracious and merciful in helping us make a difference by touching lives and restoring sight. It has brought health and healing not only to the receiver but a greater blessing of joy and achievement to the giver as well. 

Thank you, It Is Written, for this amazing ministry in enabling us to reach the unreached.

Learn more about Eyes for India here. Support Eyes for India with a fundraiser kit, which includes everything you need for a successful fundraiser. The kit is free; only pay for shipping. Order one by clicking here.

Dr. Jacob (front left) and his medical staff.

The Boy With No Future

His story is the stuff of legend. Raised by sharecroppers in the American South during the Jim Crow era, Jesse Owens was born without any real prospects in the world. By dint of the color of his skin, he wouldn’t have access to a decent education, would never be able to attend a good college, and would more than likely end up working the land like his parents.

Be sure to watch our upcoming program, “Running the Race,” which features the Jesse Owens story, available February 11.

But wanting a better life for their children, Jesse’s parents, Henry and Mary, joined the hundreds of thousands of African Americans who headed north in the Great Migration. After Jesse’s prodigious athletic talent caught the attention of a teacher at his high school in Cleveland, Ohio, he attended Ohio State University and ran and jumped his way into history by setting four world records in 45 minutes during the Big Ten championship at Ferry Field in 1935. The feat has been referred to as the “greatest 45 minutes in sports history.”¹

Fifteen months later, Owens won four gold medals in front of German dictator Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics. Returning to his home country, Owens was greeted with a hero’s welcome. That is, a black hero’s welcome. Owens wasn’t permitted to use the front entrance of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in order to attend a reception held in his honor, being forced instead to use a freight elevator. While much has been made of Hitler’s “snub” of Owens in Berlin, Owens believed he experienced a greater indignity at the hands of his own head of state. “Hitler didn’t snub me,” Jesse Owens said. “It was our president who snubbed me. The president [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] didn’t even send me a telegram.”

Owens went on to eventually earn a comfortable living. He was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United States government and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1976. 

Jesse Owens died in 1980. He is remembered by history as an American hero, a trailblazer who broke down barriers, stood up to a tyrant, and lived his life with dignity. But had Jesse Owens followed the script written for him by American society, you would have never heard of him. He would never have been the subject of documentaries, movies, and books, and he wouldn’t be remembered as one of the greatest athletes to have ever lived. In fact, he wouldn’t be remembered at all. 

An interesting aside: Dave Albritton, Mack Robinson—older brother of baseball’s Jackie Robinson—and Ralph Metcalfe were other African Americans who won medals in Berlin. Like Owens, they were all born and initially raised in the American South. Like Owens, they all moved north during the Great Migration. And like Owens, if they had stayed in the South they would have been denied opportunities and would never have become champions. Owens’ great rival before the Olympics, Eulace Peacock, was, like Owens, born Alabama, but was raised in New Jersey after his parents moved their family north.

It was expected that Jesse Owens would have no future. He would be another statistic, another casualty of a system deliberately set up to prevent him from becoming what he might be. In the same way, many people today—even many Christians—believe they have no future, the system conspiring to prevent them from fulfilling their potential.

Jesus died that “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He said that He would accept anyone who came to Him in faith (John 6:37), and would draw all to Himself (John 12:32). Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). In other words, every single person alive may become a child of God and inherit everlasting life.

But not everyone feels that way. For some, personal history stands between them and everlasting life. For others, a life of repeated failure convinces them that they’re not worthy of the love of God. But like Jesse Owens, every person who walks on heaven’s streets of gold will have overcome significant challenges. A fallen nature, a sinful heart, and a spiritual enemy determined to rob everyone of everlasting life. The book of Revelation speaks of the saved, saying, “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11). They overcome. They succeed. They triumph.

The message of the Bible is not “Yes, you can,” but, “Yes, He can.” There’s never a need to believe the devil’s propaganda: “You’re no good. You’re not worthy. You’re not deserving.” The devil’s accusations are true, in part. We are not good, we’re definitely not worthy, and there’s no doubt we are not deserving. But no person alive needs to be good, worthy, or deserving in order to be saved. Jesus is all of those things. Faith in Him sees us credited for His goodness, worthiness, and deservingness. “By His stripes we are healed,” says Isaiah 53:5. Our hope is in His righteousness.

In spite of the obstacles you face—your weakness, your predisposition to fall into sin, your broken promises—God is able. And He will, if you are willing to have Him do so.

Don’t miss It Is Written’s Black History Month programs this month. “Running the Race” (available February 11) focuses on the story of Jesse Owens, who overcame immense obstacles to become the greatest athlete in the world. “The Hero” (available February 25) looks at the stories of multiple Medal of Honor recipients, including Robert Augustus Sweeney, the only African American to have received the Medal of Honor twice. Watch “Running the Race,” “The Hero,” and other It Is Written programs here: itiswritten.tv/programs/1


¹https://www.si.com/more-sports/2010/05/24/owens-recordday

Sharing Jesus in Guatemala

In October, a small Escrito Está team traveled to Guatemala to distribute water filters to a community desperately in need of them. We also joined a local radio station to share solar-powered radios with the Kekchi people, giving them access to Escrito Está programs translated into their native language! 

It all began with a recently baptized young couple who wanted to share the gospel in a small community in southern Guatemala. A friend from a small village in Moyuta told Anthony, “If you want to do service, please remember my town, it needs as much help as it can get.” After visiting a village in Moyuta called Palos Abrazados (hugged trees), Anthony and Angie realized their friend was right.

Despite government efforts, the people there live in extreme poverty. Many work in agriculture and only earn between $2-4 a day. Anthony and Angie started visiting once a month and invited other young people to come and serve. The amount of work grew so much, they created a non-profit organization called Familias con Futuro (Families with a Future). Now, every month a group of young people travel 2.5 hours from Guatemala City to Moyuta to spend time with the families there.They celebrate birthdays, play with the children, bring school supplies, organize health fairs, help repair homes, and other things.

Volunteers unpack the water filters.

For their most recent project, the volunteers decided to provide water filters to local families. They realized people did not have access to clean drinking water and were getting sick as a result. High heat and humidity only compounded the issue. Drinking water is essential for people who work under extreme heat and who have no AC in their homes, to stay hydrated; and for children to avoid illnesses, such as cholera. In February 2021, Escrito Está joined forces with the church to support this initiative. 

Thanks to various donations, 300 families, the entire community of Moyuta, received water filters this fall. We helped distribute the water filters and shared a special message: “God loves the people of Moyuta. You have not been forgotten. Every time you drink of this water, remember the One who has promised to give you the water of life. If you drink from it, you will not thirst again. Trust in the love of Jesus.”

As he received his water filter, one person from the community expressed, “Thank you for what you have done for our community, for coming all the way here to show us the love of Jesus.” Another lady stated, “I thought Jesus had forgotten me. This means so much to my family, thank you!” Alejandro, one of the community volunteers, said: “Thank you for supporting this project. Seeing an organization like Escrito Está coming to Guatemala to help a small group of volunteers serving in a poor community defines what church should be. I’m very encouraged and will continue helping my community with more fervor than ever.”

Our next stop was in Chicanutz, a small village in the middle of the mountains populated by the Kekchi, a native Guatemalan community. It was an eight-hour trip north from Guatemala City. Roads are rough and not all cars can enter the area. We traveled along with members of Unión Radio Guatemala, a radio station that covers most parts of the country and broadcasts Escrito Está programs. They recently began broadcasting in the central part of the country, where there is a large Kekchi population.

Approximately half a million people speak Kekchi. A local volunteer is translating the daily devotionals, Una Mejor Manera de Vivir, and our half-hour programs into the Kekchi language for his community. We called this trip “Una Mejor Manera de Vivir para los Q’eqchies” (A Better Way to Live for the Kekchis).

There is no electricity in the area. The only building that has a generator is the small church, and they only turn it on during worship hours on Saturdays. Only a few people in this community know how to speak Spanish fluently. Having Christian content that they can understand is essential for their spiritual growth. 

Oscar Cucúl is a Bible worker who has been pastoring the kekchi community. He is a Kekchi himself and feels that God has called him to look over and train new disciples to continue his work. He said, “I wish I had met Jesus when I was younger. Before coming to Christ, I was a homeless man. I only learned of the gospel when I was 39 years old. My dream is to have a school of discipleship to train young Kekchis how to share the gospel. I’m getting older and the day will come when I won’t have the strength to continue. This is the greatest burden in my heart.”

Oscar provides translation.

During worship service, Oscar was our interpreter, playing a key role in our connection with the community. We were received with smiles and a lot of love. B’antiox was one of the easiest words to learn, which means “thank you.” Children were shy but curious when they saw our cameras. The congregation proceeded to sing from the Spanish hymnal, many not understanding what they were singing. Can you imagine singing to God without understanding what you are saying to Him?

The weather was very humid and hot. We only stayed for a few hours due to the threat of rain, which would cause us to be stuck due to the poor roads. We delivered the radios and hurried to the next group that lived further up the mountain. The second group is a growing church, but they meet in someone’s house because they don’t have a church building. There was no AC and the room was dark. The locals were very excited to receive us and prepared a delicious soup for us to have for lunch.

During each short visit, we spoke about the importance of sharing Jesus and learning of His Word, then distributed the solar-powered radios. Many rushed to unbox because they wanted to learn how to use them. The people were excited to discover that they could listen to sermons in Kekchi and look forward to receiving more content in their native language.

Further above the mountains, there is a third group. It was starting to rain, so we were not able to visit them. We left Oscar in charge of distributing the remaining solar-powered radios and training locals how to listen to the Christian programs. 

Although this trip was a great achievement, it is only the beginning of an important mission: creating more content that can reach areas that are yet to hear the gospel in their tongue. Let us continue to pray for people like Oscar who are in a vast mission field. Let us continue to support the creation of more content in different languages. 

Thank you for your support of Escrito Está in making these donations possible. You are also helping in the translation of more content into the kekchi language.  Together we can reach many more people with the good news of Jesus and provide a better way to live for the Kekchis.

The people hold up their new radios in their church building.