Author: Cassie Hernandez

Going Strong in Siberia

In spite of all the coronavirus frenzy back home, our Siberia mission trip volunteers are doing very well in Siberia. They are working in three large cities (Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Ulan Ude) where they are conducting health clinics during the day and Bible presentations at night.

The doctor in Novosibirsk, who also happens to be the preacher, summarizes his day as follows: “We are fully utilizing the clinic space to register our guests, perform a number of health screening tests (including a step test, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings). After a prayer with the whole team, we sit down with our guests to discuss the health topic of the day. So far, we have discussed diabetes and epigenetics. Today, we will be discussing cancer screening and prevention. Following the group discussion, we set aside time for one-on-one consultations with the guests, during which we personally invite each and every one to our nightly meetings. Attendance at the nightly meetings is usually between 20-25 people. I am presenting both a health topic and the main sermon every evening. We continue to have new guests coming each night, and some have responded to appeals for baptism.”

Keep praying for our team in Siberia.  They are doing an impressive work for the Lord.

It Is Written Honors Black History Month With Three Special Programs

In February, It Is Written aired three special programs in honor of Black History Month. Two were new programs, and one was a rebroadcast of last year’s “Black Wall Street,” which won five Telly Awards

Black History Month is an important part of the American landscape,” said John Bradshaw, president of It Is Written. “Last year we began filming programs specifically for Black History Month, realizing we had the opportunity to not only tell important stories from the history of this country but also to draw powerful biblical principles from these stories.

In recent years, It Is Written has invested more time and energy into filming inspirational and uplifting programs on location, which has allowed for a greater and more diverse range of storytelling. “These on-location programs give us the opportunity to dig deeper into biblical themes and present Christian principles, taken right from the Bible, with far greater effectiveness,” said Michael Bell, It Is Written media production director. 

The Black History Month programs cover important historical civil rights events. “The story of the Black Wall Street in Greenwood, Oklahoma, is barely known, in spite of it being one of the most shocking events in American history,” said John Bradshaw. “The story of the Scottsboro Boys once gripped the country, but it’s a story that’s now all but forgotten. It shouldn’t be. The story of what happened in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 is frequently retold and even reenacted, but for many people, it’s history and little more. These stories can inform our todays in addition to reminding us of our yesterdays. We’re not only remembering history, but we’re also looking at that history through the lens of the Word of God.”

The programs were well-received by a diverse audience. One viewer wrote, “Thank you so much for your acknowledgment of Black history! Thanks for the courage to share the wrongs of the past!”

“We would like you to know how full of gratitude our hearts are for, not just the It Is Written program, but in particular, the ‘Black Wall Street’ broadcast,” said another viewer. “We were not aware that this event ever took place. That is why we want you to know how thankful we are that you took the time to produce this program. This worldwide ministry is a blessing to us and so many others; it looks into things that most churches don’t pay much attention to! In conclusion, we say to the entire staff and volunteers, keep up the great work. ‘Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:6).”

“Thank you for producing these programs in recognition of the American history which involves African-Americans and our connection to the mission of Christ,” wrote a third viewer. “When the church speaks openly of issues (past and present), we learn how to speak with compassion and Christian love. Thank you again for your ministry!”

“I just watched it on TBN,” another viewer wrote. “It made me cry. I’m from Mexico, and I owe Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others like him and Pastor Reeb for all they sacrificed so I can now enjoy the freedom I have. God bless all who are still sacrificing so much for others.  And I thank God for His Son that made the biggest sacrifice for us all.”

“It’s not just our viewers that have taken notice,” said Michael Bell. “Our peers are also praising our programs for their quality and excellence. Last year, ‘Black Wall Street’ won multiple Telly Awards, including those for writing, editing, and cinematography.”

Learn more about the programs below. Click each title to watch it. 

“Black Wall Street”

In 1921, more than 300 people were massacred, thousands were left homeless, and an entire town was destroyed when people turned on their fellow citizens—in the United States of America. Which raises an important question: What kind of person would do that? The answer is surprising. Join John Bradshaw on location in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as we look at the challenge faced by every person: the sinful heart.

“Rights & Wrongs”

In the 1960s, the civil rights movement made history as Americans took a stand against racial injustice. Join John Bradshaw on location in Selma, Alabama, as he examines the atrocities committed there and the bravery of those who stepped up to do what was right, even when it cost them their lives.

“The Scottsboro Nine”

It was a colossal miscarriage of justice: nine young men found guilty of a crime they didn’t commit, and the deciding factor was the color of their skin. Join John Bradshaw in Scottsboro, Alabama, for this story of brutal discrimination, and learn why it’s so important to serve a God who is just.

At the Right Time

God’s time is the right time. It may not always make sense, but it is always the right time. I was recently vividly reminded of that in two very different places in the world: Indianapolis, Indiana and Beirut, Lebanon. These are two of the places in the world where It Is Written is actively involved in sharing Jesus with people. Our approach is simple: Go where God leads and build relationships with those we encounter. This method has proven to be extremely successful.

A couple weeks ago, a group of us went into diverse Indianapolis neighborhoods to distribute the first lesson of the It Is Written Bible Study Guides. By the time we were done, 57 individuals had gladly accepted the lesson and were open to receiving another one the following week. David and Sandy, who were part of our team, stopped by the house of a lady who was watching a preacher on television. She explained to them that she was confused about what he was teaching. That’s when Sandy opened her Bible and clarified the confusion straight from the Word of God. The lady was so thankful that she invited them to come back. They did, and together around a table, they are now opening the Bible and allowing it to speak for itself.

A few days ago, just like in Indianapolis, a group of us went into the suburbs of the city of Beirut in Lebanon. There was some fear and trepidation because this city is made up of people who are committed to their family’s religion. But where God leads, He opens doors. And He amazingly did that for us. Two of our volunteers found a woman who told them that she’s been recently reading the Bible but having a hard time understanding it. My two friends eagerly gave her the first study of a series that they explained would help her understand the Bible. She was so happy. They were at her house at the right time.

Even though I don’t speak any Arabic, I joined two other volunteers to go where God would lead us. As we approached a busy apartment building, we ran into a lady who was buzzing someone at the door. My Lebanese friend started conversing with her. She gladly interacted with him. Even when her family joined her downstairs she was in no rush to end the conversation. When we offered her the Bible study lesson, she took it with a smile and was open to another lesson in a week. As we parted, we remarked that if we had arrived at the apartment a minute or two later we would have missed this family altogether. God’s timing. After just two days of going into the community like this, 50 homes are open for a return visit. Isn’t that awesome?!

Keep praying for It Is Written and our faithful volunteers who go into the highways and byways to find people for Jesus. Millions and billions are searching for something better in life, and we have what they are looking for: Jesus.

The city skyline of Beirut, Lebanon.

Best-kept Secret: ReCharge!

Evangelism is the very front line of Christian warfare. That’s where amazing victories are secured but also where bitter defeats are endured because the devil does push back. And all can be at a significant emotional toll for all those involved in soul-winning. That’s why in 2018, It Is Written inaugurated ReCharge, an annual evangelism retreat, designed specifically for those in the thick of the battle for lost souls. It is a time to recharge and then to go back out, invigorated to charge on for the Lord.

Our most recent ReCharge took place December 15-17, 2019 and included church leaders, pastors, and members from 16 conferences. At the serene Cohutta Springs Conference Center near Dalton, Georgia, the group was inspired by the timely presentations of Bill McClendon, Alan Parker, and Eric Flickinger, all veteran evangelists, as they focused on church revitalization through evangelism. However, the best part about the time together was the fellowship, a time of sharing and encouragement. 

One of the pastors in attendance shared a little bit about his journey in evangelism. He opened up about the struggles he faced leading his church from complacency to church growth. Everybody felt and related to the raw emotion. What he was going through was exactly what so many others present were going through as well. When he was done, the group paused and prayed for divine intervention. It was a powerful moment. 

The three days went by way too quickly. Everybody departed energized to start a new year, 2020, with God’s wind in their sails. The departing comments were encouraging. One attendee said in reference to the experience, “It recharged me with renewed energy to keep going and not give up.” Another person shared that “the combination of specific leadership and personal experiences helped me greatly to incorporate the learning into my own situations. I loved sharing some of my story and praying with others.” Another person put it like this: “I’m so happy I took the time to come. This must be one of the best-kept training event secrets.”

It Is Written is already planning for the next ReCharge retreat at the end of the year, December 13-15. We pray for an even larger group to be present and that ReCharge will no longer be a best-kept secret. Jesus is coming soon and more than ever we need to fulfill the Great Commission entrusted to us. View photos of the event below.

It Is Written to Host Grand Opening of New Headquarters

It Is Written Headquarters

It Is Written will host a grand opening of its new ministry headquarters in Collegedale, Tennessee, on Friday, November 22, 2019, from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. The event will feature a dedication, a ribbon cutting, an open house, ministry tours, giveaways, and refreshments. Speakers will include John Bradshaw, president of It Is Written, and representatives from the local community, Southern Adventist University, and the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. It Is Written invites ministry supporters as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about It Is Written to attend.

After 63 years, It Is Written finally has its own home. Previously headquartered in California, the ministry moved to Tennessee in 2014 and began leasing separate office and warehouse spaces in Chattanooga. After two years of construction, staff moved into the 41,000-square-foot building in September. The new headquarters employs over 40 local residents and allows for office, studio, and warehouse space to all be under one roof. The space greatly expands and improves the efficiency of studio capabilities and provides room for future growth.

“Another major advantage is the increased ministry effectiveness this move brings us,” said John Bradshaw. “We can not only do more than ever for God, but we can also now be more efficient than ever.”

The grand opening will take place at 9340 Four Corners Place, Collegedale, Tennessee. The building site was originally slated for a hospital, but red tape curtailed the plans. Several property owners later, It Is Written is humbled to offer hope and spiritual healing to people around the world from its new headquarters.

To view past construction updates, purchase a commemorative brick, or donate toward the completion of the project, visit itiswritten.build. For questions, email [email protected] or call 800-479-9056.

About It Is Written
It Is Written is an award-winning media evangelism ministry sharing the everlasting gospel worldwide for 63 years. The first religious television program to broadcast in color, It Is Written is also the ninth-longest running television program in the United States. It Is Written is impacting lives for Christ through satellite and digital television, websites and mobile apps, global evangelistic ministry, and faith-sharing resources.

To God Be the Glory–Always

It Is Written’s mission trip to Ethiopia is now in the rearview mirror. Our faithful volunteers are making their way home with lots of photos, memories, a greater appreciation for the simple things of life we take for granted at home, and a renewed passion for the Lord and His mission to save humanity. It was indeed a wonderful and life-changing journey.

Yves Monnier, left, and his translator, Oromo, right, introduce the sermon.

The grand finale of our two-week mission trip took place this past Saturday. That’s when we had an amazing worship service with well over 2,000 people in attendance. Wow! One of my fellow pastors, who had learned quite a bit of the language (Oromo), decided to be my translator for the introduction (we had scripted what I was going to say ahead of time). You should have seen the people smiling and laughing in appreciation. At the end of my sermon I made an altar call. At first very few moved and then the congregation spontaneously started singing. A God-moment, because that’s when people started streaming down. Just amazing. 

Hundreds gathered on the shores of Lake Langano for the baptisms.

As soon as the worship service was completed, the It Is Written team was whisked away to the shores of Lake Langano where hundreds of people had gathered to be baptized. On this day, this picturesque lake surrounded by rolling hills became a giant baptistery. Our pastors joined the local pastors to baptize 440 precious souls. The age of those baptized ranged from children to a one-hundred-year-old lady–a reminder that it’s never too late to make Jesus first in your life. The smiles of all the people coming out of the water said it all. 

When good things are happening, the devil always seems to show up. And he did at one of our nightly preaching sites, the largest preaching site. There was significant political unrest in that city (not caused by our meetings). The military were called in, the internet was shut down in the entire country, and our nightly meetings had to be canceled for safety reasons. Thanks be to God that no one was harmed and our dear pastor was able to get out without problems. However, the very large baptismal service planned for that area had to be postponed. 

The pastors line up with their new It Is Written jackets.

On Saturday evening the It Is Written volunteers and the local leaders and pastors had one last meeting together. This was a time to thank our hosts and, above all, praise our Almighty God. During the meeting we gave all the Ethiopian pastors a jacket with the It Is Written logo. This is not something we usually do, but we did in this case for a very particular reason. When I came to Ethiopia in January to plan and organize the mission trip, I quickly realized how poor the people here are. What drove this point home with me was when I saw one of our dear pastors whose only jacket was a hand-me-down with the logo of a cigarette maker. What?! That’s when I determined that he and the other pastors needed It Is Written jackets. The ear-to-ear grins of these guys wearing their new jackets was priceless.

To God be the glory for another successful mission trip. By the way, we’ve got a great line-up of mission trips in 2020. Join us on one of them and experience God in a most powerful way. 

Click to read the first report of the Ethiopia mission trip.

Click to read the second update from the Ethiopia mission trip.

Lives Changed in Ethiopia: Ours

This mission trip to Ethiopia has been a difficult one for those of us dependent on things considered luxuries here: electricity, running water, WiFi, traffic rules, etc. Well, you get the picture. Electricity comes and goes. There’s been mornings that we wake up to no running water. Great! And the WiFi… what can I say? It works smoothly for a while, and then suddenly, with no warning, it’s gone just as I’m about to send an important email. The roads are like the wild, wild west. And guess who wins? The donkeys. I’ve never seen so many donkeys in my life. In spite of all these challenges, albeit small ones when I’m reminded of the hard lives people endure here, this has been a most rewarding trip for everyone. 

Some of the team’s medical professionals gather during a busy day of work.

Two thirds of our team of 30 are health professionals. We have doctors representing diverse specialties (general surgery, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, OB/GYN, anesthesiology, pulmonology, ENT), dentists, a nurse practitioner, a PT, a doctor of public health, nurses, and wonderful support staff. They’ve been working tirelessly and seamlessly to meet the huge health demands of the Negele Arsi region. One thing that’s been so frustrating to our doctors is that so many of the cases that would be very treatable in the United States are not here because of lack of equipment and medication. As an example, one of the patients they saw was a man with a disfiguring growth on his jaw (due to chewing tobacco). After multiple surgeries and the right treatment this man could have a chance at a normal life. Not here. This thing will kill him. And he’s in his 20s. It’s a heartbreak to face these kinds of situations.

A newborn baby girl is admired by her parents and the doctor who saved her life.

On the other hand, our people are having a profound impact on so many people. One of our OB/GYNs stumbled upon a woman in labor. Things were not going well. He quickly assessed her situation and determined that the baby was in distress because something was wrong with the umbilical cord. He ordered the woman to be rushed to the OR for an immediate C-section. A little while later, a healthy and screaming little girl was born. Sure enough, the umbilical cord was in a knot and was tightening with every minute passing. Had they waited any longer the baby would have been stillborn. By God’s grace and mercy, our dear doctor saved the little girl’s life. You can imagine how thankful and joyful the parents were at the turn of events. They came so close to mourning a death instead of celebrating a new life.

Eye surgery patients wait to be seen by Dr. Jacob, who typically works in India.

There are countless stirring stories like this one. Some of the best come from Dr. Jacob Prabhakar’s (Eyes for India) 1,028 cataract surgeries. He returned this week for a quick follow-up visit on all his patients. Imagine hundreds of patients in line to see him. An amazing sight. The best part of the sight is the fact that they have sight. These people were literally jumping with joy because they could see again. Every consult was accompanied by lots of embraces and smiles. The most astounding thing about it is that all 1,028 surgeries were a complete success. Praise be to God.

Meanwhile, the preachers at our six sites are doing a phenomenal job. In our schedule, they were supposed to have Thursday nights off. Do you think that’s what is happening? Absolutely not! People want to hear the Word, and our preachers are like the Energizer bunny. In health and sickness (yes, we’ve had some sickness), they preach their hearts out. I sit in the back and am so blessed to hear their heartfelt messages. I was there when one of our preachers made an altar call. Stumbling from outside the church came forward a man. He heard the sermon outside because at most sites they not only have speakers inside the church but outside as well so that anyone within 300 yards can clearly hear the presentations. This Muslim man heard it all and came forward. Wow.

It’s the rainy season here in Ethiopia and that means it rains every day. Just when you think it’s going to be a beautiful sunny day with no rain, the rain comes. This muddies up the roads and makes movement very difficult. However, people keep coming. I preached one night at a site where people were under a large canopy and the stage was 30 feet away (also under a canopy) separated by open air (don’t ask me why it was done like that). Anyway, when I was preaching, there was a sheet of rain separating the people from me. No problem. They were there, and I preached away. 

One thing I’ve noticed is that when our preachers are done, the meeting is not quite over. The pastor or lead person stands up, and then here we go for another mini-sermon with a passionate appeal for a decision. Even though I don’t understand a word he says, I know exactly what he’s saying, and people are responding. Last night at least 25 people came forward at the little church I was visiting. God is good. 

I’ve been told that this coming weekend about 600 people will be baptized. 600! Amazing. Although I wish we could take credit for these souls, the credit goes all to Jesus and the faithful brothers and sisters who have been working in their community. God blesses where people witness. These baptisms will take place on the shore of picturesque Lake Langano. It’s going to be wonderful. Our cameras are ready.

Saved lives and saved souls. Yes, this has been a great mission trip. And, without a question the lives most changed have been ours, the missionaries.

Click here to read the first report from the Ethiopia mission trip.

Click to read the third and final update from the Ethiopia mission trip.

One Step at a Time

On June 9th, I was on my way to Peru from the Atlanta airport. I had butterflies in my stomach, my thoughts were running rampant, and my heart was skipping beats. Not because I was on a plane, not because I was leaving the comfort of my home, but because I had a big responsibility to It Is Written and to the local people in Peru. 

Let me backtrack a little. I have been doing the logistics, behind the scenes, for several mission trips now. Handling things behind my computer is comfortable, but being in the mission field? Well, that is an entirely different story. You see I have never been on a mission trip before, and now I have been given the task to lead a group of 25 people in a foreign country. I did not know what to expect. But I did know Yves Monnier, It Is Written’s evangelism director and my supervisor, expected a lot from me. Rightly so; this was huge! 

When we landed in Peru, we were all exhausted but that quickly vanished due to the overwhelming love shown by the local pastors, our volunteer translators, and the local church school. Wow! We were not expecting that. From that day on, I knew God was going to be right by my side the entire time. No more butterflies, my thoughts were calmed, and my heart went back to beating regularly. God is good.

The group received a warm welcome at the airport from church pastors and the local church school.

No time to waste. After our warm welcome, we were transported by the pastors to our hotel, El Portal del Marques, and while everyone was getting their room keys and settling into their rooms, I was being pulled right and left, a question here, a problem there. Whoa! Typically, when I am working on a mission trip back home from the comfort of my computer, once the leader of a mission trip leaves for the country, most of my work is done. That was not the case this time around. Decisions needed to be made, and everything was up to me. No more turning to Yves for direction. This was completely new and foreign to me, but I knew I was ready. “One step at a time,” I thought to myself. Decisions were made and plans organized—finally, bed. 

The first clinic in Cajamarca, Peru.

The next morning, Friday, we got ready, bright and early, and were excited about our first day doing the medical clinic. After months of planning this mission trip, I was about to see my work in action for the first time. So many emotions ran through me at that moment. Upon arriving to our first site, one of the small plazas in the city of Cajamarca, more decisions needed to be made. Again, one at a time, I was able to get through them, but not alone. God was right by my side, and so was my team. I can’t express my gratitude enough to all the wonderful team members I had the pleasure of working with. As a team, we decided where triage was going to be placed. We then assigned the doctors, which included a local dental surgeon, to individual stations. Afterwards we set up the last two stations: one for our pharmacy and the other for eyeglasses. We gave close to 700 pairs of glasses away for free. Praise the Lord!

Although it was winter in Peru, during the day it was extremely hot. That didn’t stop the line from growing. We saw nearly 200 people that day. We were able to help people of all ages, from small issues to severe ones. 

Suranny, right, and Ines, left, saw many patients at the clinic.

Suranny Sarria, our nurse practitioner, shares her testimony. “It was the first day of the clinic, and I was with a patient when I heard one of the pastors scream ‘We need help now, someone just fainted!’ I immediately dropped my clipboard and ran to him. When I arrived, the patient was awake and alert, but she was still very pale and weak. I brought her to my station and checked her vital signs and asked her questions about her food and water intake. She said she had a small breakfast. I asked her about her family, and she told me she had been married for two years, since age 18. I don’t know what prompted me to ask her, ‘Does he treat you well?’ ‘No,’ she answered. I followed with more questions, ‘Is he abusive? Does he hit you?’ All to which the answer was ‘Yes.’ She was being abused emotionally, physically, and sexually. I asked her if she could go to her parents; unfortunately they both had passed away. At that time, I stepped away and spoke with Ines Requejo, a local nurse and wife of the campaign coordinator. I told her we needed to report this to the authorities. I went back to the young lady and before calling the authorities, I asked her if she wanted to report this. She agreed; Praise the Lord! Ines took the woman to the authorities where she was able to report the abuse and get counseling and therapy. Before she left, we gave her food, water, and multivitamins. I prayed for her and we cried together. I told her that if I didn’t see her here on Earth again, I would see her in Heaven. I also told her how much God loves her and that she deserves so much better.”

Before we knew it, it was five o’clock. The whole team was exhausted, but our hearts were touched by the many individuals who trusted us enough to let us help them. 

Brian, left, and Maria, right, speak and translate at their assigned church.

On Sabbath morning, we had 12 speakers assigned to 12 different churches. Praise the Lord for the hard-working pastors and translators who were also there day and night helping the team. I was assigned to Sabogal Central B with speaker Brian Kretschmar. This was his first time preaching and my first time translating an evangelistic series. A first for both of us. As I was sitting up on the platform waiting for our time, I began to feel butterflies in my stomach and my legs started to feel shaky. As the congregation sang, I began to pray. I heard Brian’s name announced, and we both stood. Immediately, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Just like that, they were gone! No butterflies, no trembling, nothing but calmness. God is good.

Everyday had its challenges, but with lots of prayer we were able to get through them. Dr. Mark Murray experienced a challenge with getting medicine. “Each morning,” he said, “I was taken by the pastor to the wholesale pharmacy to purchase medications that had been depleted from our inventory. One morning, we showed up, and the pharmacy was closed. We learned that the government had shut them down due to some rules infractions. The pastor got on the phone with the owner of the pharmacy and asked if he would help us. Soon enough someone appeared at this metal door and opened it for us. We walked down a dark alley to the back of the pharmacy. Thankfully, he did business with us, and we were able to continue operating the clinic.”

Day after day, our team, although exhausted, was always ready for another hard day’s work. Medical in the morning and preaching at night. At every site we went, a big line awaited us. Some people would arrive as early as 4:00 a.m. The need is great in Peru, and we were so thankful that the Lord brought each of us there to help his children. 

Tina Arnall, one of our nurses, told her testimony. “We brought many supplies to treat the people who came to our clinic. However, we had so many people that came to be seen, that we were very limited in the amount of medicines we could give each person. I think we saw around 1,800 while we were in Cajamarca. It dawned on me that we couldn’t rely on the medicines and treatments we had brought with us; we must rely totally on Christ for the real healing. It was so beautiful to see the doctors praying with the patients.

Tina, right, cleans a man’s diabetic ulcers.

One man I prayed with came with four diabetic ulcers on his ankles. He had evidently been managing them for 25 years. I was impressed they weren’t deeper than they were and had no odor. With there being such a short time for treatment, I prayed a heartfelt prayer for guidance. I felt a peace over me as I cleaned the wounds and lightly removed damaged tissue. I felt a deep thrill as I thought of Christ washing His disciple’s feet and the opportunity I was given to do this for Christ in ‘one of the least of these my brethren.’ I put charcoal in some ointment, applied a dressing, and did some teaching with him and his family. He came back a few days later, and new tissue growth could be seen. I praised God, and we prayed some more together. In the clinic, I found myself teaching lifestyle medicine because it could really make a difference when our little bit of medicine ran out. One man had a very high blood glucose level. Our medicines had disappeared that day, so Dr. Murray had gone to buy more. I had nothing physical to give the man, so I taught him the principles of reversing diabetes as I had learned from Wes Youngberg’s Diabetes Undone seminar. I had him out walking. It was so sad to send people away in the evening. Made me think of the many that thronged Christ for healing. Certainly I’m learning how true it is that the medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel!”

Pastor Jeremy gives El Camino a Cristo (Steps to Christ) books to inmates at the prison.

We had one more day of clinic, but this one was going to take place inside of a penitentiary. Being inside a foreign prison was a first for almost all of us. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were all ready to help each individual. The process to enter was long but for good reason: They wanted to make sure the same people that went in, came out. We were all thankful for that. One hundred and fifty prisoners later, both men and women, we were done. Each one of them showed gratefulness for our presence. They each received a El Camino a Cristo (Steps to Christ) book, and they all accepted it with a smile. 

Our last Sabbath in Cajamarca came too soon. It was a bittersweet day–our last Sabbath with our churches, our new families. I will never forget these members who welcomed us with their whole hearts. I’m sure I can speak for the whole group when I say they will all hold a special place in our hearts. We had several baptisms that Sabbath afternoon from all 12 of our locations. Praise the Lord! 

Jeremy Arnall, pastor of the Greeneville Church, explains what happened with the baptisms that morning. “As we approached the end of our evangelistic campaign at the Cajamarca Central church, the pastor and I, along with my translator, went visiting with some of the interests. Several appeals were made throughout the week with a few coming forward each night so that on Sabbath morning before the first service, we were anticipating seven baptisms. As we finished first service, we had two baptisms and then had Sabbath school. As I finished preaching the message at second service, I began an appeal for individuals to come forward for baptism. A few came forward, and then I announced I needed to go get dressed for the baptism. We had planned five to be baptized at second service. I quickly got ready as the pastor stepped in for me and continued the appeal from the front. Finally, due to the length of his appeal, I came around outside and looked into the window to see what was happening in the sanctuary. I was so inspired to see several more who had come forward. We ended up baptizing 12 at second service, and then, as I was getting dried off and ready to go, I was told one more had come forward for baptism. Most of the congregation was now gone, but I quickly put the pastors waders back on. The few remaining members gathered about as we baptized the fifteenth precious soul that morning. I was inspired by the enthusiasm and energy that the Peruvian people bring to evangelism and their work at building the kingdom of God.”

What an experience! What a blessing! I will never forget my first mission trip, the team, the pastors, the translators, the hotel staff, the sweet smiles on the kids, and the members from Sabogal Central B church. With God’s help, our mission trip was successful, one step at a time. 

A Message of Hope for Ethiopia

It Is Written’s mission trip to Ethiopia is happening right now in the Negele Arsi area. We have 28 volunteers present with three more expected this weekend. The volunteers are split into two teams. One team works at the general hospital in Negele Arsi and the other conducts Bible presentations every evening at six different sites with hundreds of people in attendance. 

This amazing mission trip is the brainchild of Dr. Gohalem Felema, a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist. Even though Dr. Felema practices in Jacksonville, Florida, she originally hails from Ethiopia and thus has a big burden for her people. A few years ago she approached It Is Written about doing a mission trip, but things didn’t quite line up. She didn’t give up until finally here we are in 2019. 

Ethiopia is a colorful country with breathtaking scenery. However, the most striking aspect of Ethiopia is the people. They are warm and kind but also very poor. I mean very poor. They survive through subsistence farming and commonly get around in carts pulled by donkeys or horses. The roads are a cacophony of pedestrians, trucks, three-wheeled vehicles called bajaj, buses, horse/donkey-drawn carts, and animals of all sizes that wander on the road with not a care in the world. Our driver has to slalom around all of that to get to our destination. Quite an adventure.

The needs of this country are great, especially health-wise and spiritually. Thus, our trip is facilitating something people desperately need. Under the careful care of Dr. Felema, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, health educators, and support staff are busy working at the hospital. Two of our doctors have already done several interesting surgeries. Meanwhile, eight of our other volunteers open God’s word every night and preach the everlasting gospel. People walk to the meetings and are blessed to be given a message of hope. Many of these people are planning to be baptized.

It’s the rainy season right now in Ethiopia. Rain is something this drought-prone country desperately needs. As you can imagine, however, rain can negatively impact the attendance at our nightly meetings. So, we’ve been praying as a group for rain except during our meeting times. And that’s exactly what’s been happening: Rain except during our evening meetings. As a matter of fact, at one of our outdoor meetings the rain did not start until the preacher had said “amen.”

I should also mention that as part of our mission project in Ethiopia, Dr. Jacob Prabhakar, the Eyes for India ophthalmologist, spent a week here with his team earlier this month. He did 1,028 cataract surgeries in a span of five days. One of those surgeries was particularly moving. Dr. Jacob operated on a nine-year-old girl who was born with congenital cataracts and had never seen her parents. Dr. Jacob described with emotion the moment she saw her parents for the first time. Powerful.

Please keep the It Is Written team in your prayers. The final day of the mission trip is July 20. We have another week to go. May God use us in a powerful way to draw people to Him.

Click to read the second update from the Ethiopia mission trip.

Click to read the third and final report from the Ethiopia mission trip.