Author: Cassie Hernandez
Ministry partners joined with It Is Written to take high school students on a class trip to Moldova. While there, students conducted eye clinics, community service, and Vacation Bible School.
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Discoveries have a habit of changing the course of history. Take, for example, a discovery made by Karl Benz. In 1885, he did something no one had ever done before: married an internal combustion engine with a three-wheeled carriage, and the automobile was born. I think we’d all agree that cars have come a long way since that first “horseless carriage” that had a top speed of 10 mph. Little did he know where that discovery would lead!
Fast forward 133 years. In the same city where the multi-billion dollar Mercedes-Benz car company has its headquarters today, some other exciting discoveries are being made.
I recently spent three weeks in Stuttgart, Germany conducting an evangelistic series. Scores of people in that very secular city came out each evening to discover what life was all about. Entitled “Power. Faith. Hope.,” the series was designed to help people find answers to the big questions in life. And people responded.
Here are just a few of their stories.
Zehra and her family are from Turkey. She was raised in the Muslim faith, but it didn’t seem to be working for her. One day, she was walking through downtown Stuttgart and came across a literature table that had been set up by a local Sabbath-keeping church. What she read intrigued her, and she began attending church…and loved it! When the “Power. Faith. Hope.” seminar began, she was all smiles as she started to see everything fall into place.
Sam was an atheist who had been living in Iran. He felt something was missing in his life and started searching for meaning. His search led him down several wrong paths, and he ended up more discouraged than ever. When he came to the “Power. Faith. Hope.” seminar, he knew he’d finally found what he had been looking for and the smile on his face was proof of that.
Sofie was attending a Christian church, but she wasn’t finding answers to the deep, heartfelt questions that she had inside. Then a young man who had just finished training as a Bible and health missionary moved into the apartment above her. They started exchanging pleasantries as they would pass in the hall. He offered to give her Bible studies, and she loved them! Then he invited her to the “Power. Faith. Hope.” seminar, and all of the pieces finally came together.
The stories of Sam, Zehra, and Sofia are just a few of the many who have made decisions to step forward in their walks with Jesus and get baptized. There’s no question that the Lord is at work in Stuttgart.
Today, the automobile industry that Karl Benz began with his three-wheeled car is worth a whopping $1.7 trillion. But if you asked Sam, Zehra, and Sofia what their discovery of Jesus is worth, I imagine they’d tell you it’s worth a whole lot more.
When It Is Written moved from Southern California to the Chattanooga area in 2014, we did not fully understand the blessings in store for us. After much prayer, research, advice, and more prayer, we moved to an area with wonderful people, a lower cost of living, close proximity to both students and volunteers, and a large number of churches to live and work among.
Anyone who has visited our temporary location on Bonny Oaks Drive in Chattanooga has seen that we are incredibly tight on space. We have converted closets, corners, and hallways to offices and are still bursting at the seams. We are unable to film many of our productions in our current studio, and we cannot add the staff we need to produce these new programs in our current space. So, with your support and God’s blessings, we are building the new It Is Written headquarters.
The groundbreaking was in July 2017 and was followed by earthworks. Building construction began in May and has progressed as fast as the weather and various construction needs have allowed. As I write this, trucks are preparing to roll in and pour concrete on the second floor. With the steel framing up, it is really starting to look like a proper building.
We do not know exactly when we will be able to move in, but when we do, we will be able to create more, record more, develop more, and evangelize more. We will be able to reach more children with the My Place With Jesus resources. The new It Is Written TV channel will continue to grow and share the gospel around the world. New programs will be developed, recorded, edited, and broadcast from this new home.
So far, about 70 percent of the funds needed to complete the building have been raised. Investing in the new It Is Written Ministry headquarters is an investment in evangelism and soul-winning. In fact, it is an investment in everything that It Is Written will do as we embrace the opportunities God presents to us. Thank you for your prayers and support of this vital work!
Click here to donate toward the building project or keep up with construction updates.
Here are six short stories from our mission trip to Pretoria, South Africa.
Pastor Justin Lyons’ nightly presentations were heard by a person he was not even aware was present: the custodian of the church where the series of meetings were held. Outside in the shadows, the custodian sat, listened, and learned. His heart was so moved that on the night when Pastor Lyons invited people who wanted to be baptized to come forward, he stepped into the church and came forward. I guess some eavesdropping is actually very good.
One of our volunteers took a taxi to run some errands. Unbeknownst to her, her wallet fell out of her purse while riding the taxi back to the hotel. This is a story that had the potential to have a very costly and stressful ending. However, God preserved the wallet from being found by the wrong person. The next person to ride that very same taxi was none other than another member of our evangelism team. God is good.
Pastor John Bradshaw’s meetings were held outdoors in a park surrounded by apartment buildings. Hundreds of people from the community attended every night. The best thing, though, was seeing people with their windows open or standing on their balconies listening to Pastor Bradshaw preach. Can’t beat a location like that.
A wonderful Christian writer wrote: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” Two of our volunteers did just that. First, they went to grocery store and bought bags full of groceries, and then began to deliver food to poorest of the poor in a squatter community. The response of the people was: “No one has ever done that for us,” followed by some joyful spontaneous singing and dancing.
Our video projectors have American plugs. In order to use them in South Africa, we had to purchase an adapter. When Donna, one of our volunteer preachers, plugged in her video projector, the adapter started to spew sparks. She immediately pulled it out from the outlet and wiggled it to make sure that it was properly connected. Then she plugged it again but it did the same. Without the adapter, no sermon slides. Disaster. So, Donna invited everyone present to pray with her. According to a witness, it was one of the most powerful prayers he ever heard. As soon as she said “Amen,” she plugged the adapter in the outlet again and NO problem. The presentation went forward without any more glitches. However, once the presentation was done, the adapter quit working again. Don’t tell me God doesn’t take care of little things too.
Our medical team has seen hundreds of patients. Though limited in what they are allowed to do, they are still doing an amazing job. Case and point is the young man who came to our makeshift clinic in a poor section of Pretoria. After listening to the young man, the doctor did a quick exam and discovered that his cervical, axillary, and inguinal lymph nodes were swollen, firm, and non-movable. A strong sign that this dear man had cancer. The doctor passionately recommended that he get help at the hospital immediately. Before letting him leave, the doctor prayed with the man, connecting him to the Great Physician.
I’m at the Atlanta airport awaiting my 15.5 hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. I’m headed there along with Pastor John Bradshaw and 30+ volunteers to take part in a big outreach endeavor in the province of Gauteng. Gauteng is home to two very large cities, Johannesburg and Pretoria, and over 12 million people.
We are going to be conducting 25 series of Bible presentations in and around Pretoria. Pastor John will be at the largest venue, an outdoor venue, at a place called Fountain Valley, where thousands are expected to attend. Our meetings start on Sunday night, October 7, and conclude on Saturday, October 20.
In addition to our nightly meetings, we have a small team of health professionals who will be working alongside local health professionals to provide basic screenings. The needs are great and the health message is a great way to introduce people to Jesus.
Please keep Pastor John and the team in your prayers. Where God is at work, we fully expect the devil to show up and try to disrupt. However, we know Who wins.
Just a few weeks ago, Pastor John Bradshaw, It Is Written staff, and 74 volunteers converged in the Philippines to conduct 57 two-week Bible presentation series as part of a big Philippines for Christ evangelism project. As a result, 3,147 people have been baptized and more are preparing to make that commitment.
The It Is Written evangelism team was composed of pastors, retirees, students, teachers, health professionals, business people, and entrepreneurs with one thing in common: a passion to share Jesus with others. The meetings conducted were held in churches of all sizes, basketball courts, rooftops, rented halls, outdoor spaces, warehouses, streets, and alleys. The evangelists went to the streets, where the people live. And many people responded, especially smiling young people. Not only did the people attend, but they also responded positively to the nightly presentations. Countless made decisions to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.
Benilda, unsatisfied with the church of her parents, went on a quest to find the right place for her to worship and walk with Jesus. Over the years her search was fruitless. One day, recently, when riding public transportation she overheard a conversation between two people. They were talking about an exciting series of Bible meetings being held nearby. Her curiosity got the best of her, and so she interrupted the two ladies and asked if it would be okay for her to attend the meetings. That night, Benilda was present as Dale, one of the volunteers, preached his heart out. When he made the appeal for people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, Benilda responded. She attended all the following meetings and declared that she had found what she was looking for all these years.
Pearl, another of our preachers, noticed that one of the people attending her meetings was a man who always wore a mask. Many people in Manila wear masks outdoors because of the pollution, but he kept his on when he came indoors. Pearl was curious, so after a meeting, she caught up with the man. He told her his name was Danilo and that he was very thankful for the messages she was sharing. Pearl asked him why he wore the mask indoors. With sadness in his eyes, he explained that he hides his face because of ugly boils. Pearl immediately asked if she could pray for him. He said yes. And so she prayed for God to heal Danilo of his boils. A few nights later Pearl noticed that Danilo was missing. Actually, he wasn’t. She hadn’t recognized him because he had removed his mask. His face had no boils, just a big bright smile. Danilo, like many others, is preparing himself for baptism.
Tina, a volunteer preacher from Tennessee, was on her way to her nightly meeting when she was invited to a funeral service being held near her preaching site. When she arrived, she was told that the family wanted her to say a few words. With fear and trepidation, she stood before the crowd—but that’s when the Holy Spirit took over. With much compassion in her heart, Tina talked about the love of Jesus and how He had conquered death at the cross. It was an impromptu message, but it touched the hearts of many unbelievers.
God works in so many amazing ways to reach people. He empowers humble vessels to do it because, as Paul put it, “When I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12:11. Our It Is Written team has left the Philippines but the Philippines is still very much in our hearts. We went to be a blessing to others but in reality, we are the ones most blessed. Volunteers made some encouraging comments as they parted ways:
I have hope and renewed energy to work for souls back home and to encourage all, both young and old, to follow Jesus all the way. -Dean
All I can say is, “Praise the Lord!” I have to say that this was the most overpowering move of the Holy Spirit that I have ever experienced in my life. –Ed
This is one of the most blessed trips I have ever taken. –Rosemary
It Is Written is gearing up for its next evangelism mission trip to South Africa, October 4-21, 2018. We’d love for you to be a part of that very special experience. Please contact us at [email protected] to reserve your spot.