Category: Mission Trips

God’s Marvelous Acts

God's Marvelous Acts title picture

Here are six short stories from our mission trip to Pretoria, South Africa.

Eavesdropping Custodian

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.

Found Purse

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.

John preaching to a crowd at night

Balcony Audience

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. 

 

Christ’s Method

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.

Powerful Prayer

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.

Get Help! 

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.

Doctor prays with patient

Dr. Martin Kelly prays with a patient after an examination. Health clinics were held in addition to multiple preaching campaigns as part of It Is Written’s mission trip to Pretoria, South Africa.

Prayers for South Africa

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.

74 Volunteers, 57 Campaigns: Over 3,000 Decisions

Filipino children playing

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.

Man preaching in alleyway

Dale preached his nightly meeting in an alley.

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 missions@iiw.org to reserve your spot.

Hope for a New Beginning

Girls wearing Escrito Esta shirts

It was Sunday afternoon when I was looking through the news and learned that a volcano had erupted in Guatemala. I immediately contacted one of my close friends from Guatemala to ask about the seriousness of the catastrophe, and he told me: “Carolina, it’s not a big deal, Volcán de Fuego is always erupting.” I was very concerned because in the next two weeks my local church would visit Guatemala on a mission trip that had been planned for over a year.

Next, I contacted the mission trip coordinator, Danny, to see if anything had changed. He said there were no changes, except that we needed to be there more than ever to help as much as we could. The following Monday I requested for prayer during worship at It Is Written. That’s when the general manager, Jesse Johnson, approached me to offer the ministry’s support during this mission trip. What a blessing!

Smoke still rises as workers clear rubble.

The truth is, this wasn’t just another small eruption. The devastation went much further than we ever imagined. This became visible when we reached the community of San Miguel los Lotes to film a program with It Is Written Speaker/Director John Bradshaw and Escrito Está Speaker/Director Robert Costa. The town was completely buried. It was heartbreaking to see survivors returning to their streets, only to find volcanic material covering their houses and relatives. One lady came to us crying: “You’re standing on what used to be my home. My mother didn’t escape. She’s buried under your feet.”

I asked another man who he had lost during this eruption. He said, “I only want to mention my mother and my wife. If I count my uncles, cousins, and other relatives, the number will be more than forty people. But I don’t want to even think about it, the pain is overwhelming.”

As we walked through the once-populated town, smoke still ascended from the ground. The smell of sulfur and death were all around us. I couldn’t stop wondering why people didn’t leave their homes and escape before the eruption. Some said that their loved ones didn’t receive warning in time. Others said that people didn’t take the warnings seriously because the crater was facing a different direction and lava had never descended their direction. People had become so used to living next to the danger of an active volcano, that they didn’t take the warning seriously. They believed, as they had done in the past, that locking themselves inside their homes would be enough to keep them from harm. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Today, the total number of deaths is still under debate. The national government counts are close to 300, but locals argue that the death toll is in the thousands. Unfortunately, finding all the bodies is almost impossible, so we will never really know.  

Mission trip volunteers distribute potable water barrels to volcano victims.

According to the communications coordinator for CONRED, the disaster relief agency in Guatemala, warning people to evacuate on time is challenging. Communication law in Guatemala does not allow for the government to send free text messages to alert people whenever they are in danger. Because of its location, Guatemala is prone to multiple natural disasters and millions of people are vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions. The best way to prevent loss of life like this is to keep people from living in dangerous areas and to train them to be aware of imminent danger.

Today, the road to recovery for this nation and the thousands affected by Volcán de Fuego is long and difficult. Hundreds of people are currently amassed in temporary shelters and will soon be moved to transitional homes. The government will have to implement plans to establish people in a new location. Nobody really knows what will happen next. People have little hope for the future and no trust in their government. Right now is when they most need to hear about the second coming of Jesus and the mansions He has prepared for us – a real future and hope. As vulnerable as they are, the people of Guatemala have open hearts and are seeking God for answers to life’s deepest questions.

During our visit to Guatemala, we tried to share Christ’s love and glimpses of hope in the midst of unbearable pain. Thanks to It Is Written’s support, we were able to see 4,000 patients in our health clinics. We gave medication and over 750 pairs of glasses. We distributed 100, 55-gallon barrels to hold potable water. Twelve full-size family tents were delivered to people who lost their homes and were living in the streets. We handed out 600 t-shirts with the Escrito Está logo and the message “God Is Love” reminding the people who had just lost everything that they were loved by a merciful God. Finally, we gave out year-long scholarships to 68 local children displaced by the volcano so they could continue their education at the local church school.

I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of this trip. I’m grateful to It Is Written for their support and to our donors for so quickly responding to the need in Guatemala. This is the love of Jesus in action. Thank you for your support! As Escrito Está approaches its 25th anniversary, we plan to return to Guatemala in 2019 to share more of Jesus’ love and hope of a new beginning.

Pastor Robert Costa, right, and Carolina Bonilla, center, pose with children affected by the Fuego volcanic eruption.

Faith-building in the Philippines: God at Work

Filipino children playing

Like many construction zones that have big, yellow “Men at Work” signs, It Is Written’s evangelism project in the Philippines also has a sign: “God at Work.” For several of our 58 volunteer evangelists, God was at work well before they landed in the Philippines. One of our volunteers indicated that he and his wife simply could not afford the trip. But they prayed and said, “God, if you want us to go, make a way.” And God did just that. Their tax return this year was exactly the amount they needed to travel to the Philippines. Coincidence? No. God at work.

Flooding in the streets of Manila

Even with heavy rains and flooding, evangelism meetings continue at over 40 sites.

Before coming to the Philippines, we were warned that July is the rainy season. When it rains here, it just keeps on raining and raining and raining. Schools and government buildings have closed twice this week because of flooding caused by massive amounts of rain. And so because of all the rain, a decision had to be made about our 41 evangelistic sites. Cancel the meetings or keep going? By faith it was decided to keep going because people are hungry for the word of God. That act of faith was tremendously blessed.

Pearl, one of our volunteer evangelists, reported that in spite of the rain, attendance has shot up. Over 150 are squeezing into her small venue that comfortably holds 90 people. God at work.

People in church

Meeting attendees squeeze into Pearl’s church despite the rain.

Nancy, another volunteer evangelist, noticed some commotion at the back of her venue. She kept on preaching, however, and the people just sat there soaking in every word. When she was done and ready to leave she realized that the commotion had been about water levels on the street rising fast but never coming into the church. God at work.

Kem, a volunteer evangelist from Maryland, is holding his meetings in a venue with a tin roof. Preaching under a tin roof in a downpour is like trying to preach next to a jackhammer. In Kem’s own words, here’s what happened: “By faith, last night God stopped the rain twice for us. Just when I was about to preach, the heaviest downpour you ever heard began. It was so loud, we couldn’t hear each other even though I was using the microphone. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but I read the word ‘rain’ on the audience’s lips. That’s when I said, ‘Let’s pray.’ Almost immediately after I prayed, the rain stopped. It was a tremendous answer to prayer. Just incredible. I preached for awhile and then the rain came pouring down again. So I prayed again. And just as before, the rain came to a screeching halt. And it didn’t rain any more. That night we had an amazing altar call.”

Kem preaching under a tin roof

Kem preaches at his site, twice praying for God to stop the rain so attendees could hear the sermon.

God at work. It is such a blessing for the It Is Written team and volunteers to be in the front row and watch Him at work over and over again.

It Is Written Speaker/Director John Bradshaw says one thing in particular has made a major impression. “It’s really a blessing to be where people just love to share their faith. Evangelism is part of the fabric of church life here. Congregations know that the reason they exist is to share Jesus with others. That kind of commitment to sharing Christ is rewarded with great results.”

Our city-wide meetings in Manila continue until Saturday, July 28. On Saturday, July 21, we had the first of two big baptismal services. Hundreds of beautiful people were baptized. Please keep It Is Written’s evangelism project in the Philippines in your daily prayers. Pray for the guests, the church members facilitating these meetings, and, of course, all of the volunteer evangelists.

Pastors baptizing many people in a pool

Pastors Yves Monnier and John Bradshaw participate in the baptism of hundreds of individuals.

Faith-building in the Philippines

Filipino children playing

Over 44 It Is Written volunteer evangelists have arrived in Manila, Philippines, ready to begin a two-week evangelism project. In partnership with the local church, evangelists will be speaking from Friday, July 13 to Sabbath, July 20 in Manila and surrounding areas. Speaker/Director John Bradshaw will speak in Pasay City, and Associate Speaker Eric Flickinger will present in Quezon City. In addition to nightly sermons, health clinics will be held during the day. Please pray for these meetings as they get underway.

A group of university students were supposed to attend this mission trip with the rest of the team. However, due to scheduling conflicts, they decided to take their trip earlier this year. Many of these students are not theology majors and had never preached before. But their faith was built as they surrendered their wills to God and allowed Him to work through them. As It Is Written’s mission trip begins in the Philippines this week, the team are encouraged by the stories of the team who went before them in May of this year:

Betzany had never been on a mission trip before. But over and over again, she saw God at work on the trip. When they first arrived, she dropped her computer, with all of her sermon information on it. Later, the computer stopped working and refused to turn on. She decided to make it a matter of prayer and trust that God would provide a way for her to preach. A local pastor let her use his computer for the whole campaign. She shares stories of meeting strangers and being impressed to pray for them only to find that prayer was exactly what they needed at that moment. The love, kindness, and hospitality of the local church members inspired her to be more like them because in them she saw Jesus’ character.

Betzany church group

Betzany (second row, center, purple shirt) and her church members and meeting attendees.

“During this trip,” Betzany shared,  “the biggest lesson that I have learned is that nothing is possible without God. I learned that I am not even worthy to be telling others about Jesus. But when Jesus calls us to follow Him and do His will, we must follow. The reason I really wanted to do this mission trip was because I have felt God calling me to be a missionary. I always knew I wanted to be a nurse, so I assumed that being a missionary nurse was what God wanted from me. I had never been on a mission trip so I realized that I first needed to experience the missionary life. Would I be happy even though I would not have the same comforts that I have back home?

“I realized that being a missionary takes faith,“ Betzany continued. “During this trip, I found myself in constant prayer asking God to give me faith and courage to do His will. Preaching sixteen sermons can be petrifying. The night we arrived in the Philippines, all I could think was, What have I gotten myself into? The whole night as I lay in bed, I told myself that I am not a theology major and that I would not know how to preach for an evangelism meeting. But God knows our hearts, and He knows what goes through our minds. As I began to meet everyone on our trip, I realized that only one person was a theology major! The thing is, we do not have to be theology majors to tell others about Jesus. All we need is to be willing to do God’s will and surrender ourselves completely to God. If we do that, we will be able to see the way God can use us. It was on the last Sabbath as I saw 300 people give their lives to Jesus that I felt God answering my question. Yes, being a missionary nurse is what He has called me to do. During this mission trip, I realized that God has a plan. I did not come by chance to the Philippines. I came because God has a purpose for me.”

Wendy praying

Wendy prays before the start of her evening presentation.

Wendy and Carlos are recent graduates who decided to attend the mission trip before beginning their life of ministry in New Jersey. Carlos writes, “In my time at the church of Pandi, I learned there were several people who, in accepting the truths of Scripture, were willing to lose family, friends, and home. One young man was willing to lose everything when he gave his life to Jesus three years ago. His mother started treating him poorly once he was baptized. At the age of 15, he made the conscious decision to leave his home and leave his future in the hands of Jesus. The young man was eventually adopted by members of the church and they are now his legal guardians and sponsors for his schooling.

“A child between 10-12 years old stood for an appeal for baptism. The following Thursday evening, the child came back to the meeting, this time with his parents and a bag of his belongings. His parents told him that if he wanted to join the church and be baptized, he now needed to live with the youth who were in charge of the program. My translator and the other youth leader went and spoke with the youth’s parents and they agreed to allow him to be baptized and continue his life at home with them.

“These types of occurrences are not rare in the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country. To go against the beliefs and traditions of the family is a great sign of disrespect. Nevertheless, both young and old make valiant choices for Jesus, even if it comes at the price of leaving father and mother and one’s support system.”

Wendy shares a similar story about a young lady. “At my church, I had one baptismal candidate who stood out from the rest. Twelve-year-old Sherwina was visiting the church during my campaign. The young girl had the desire to be baptized and had accepted the truths of the Bible. However, because of her age, she needed permission from her guardian. The church elders had visited the home of the young lady to request permission, but it was denied various times. Once the elder made known to me that this issue was going on, I presented it to my group in prayer. It was the last week of our campaign, and we needed confirmation by Friday.

“We continued to lift Sherwina up to God in prayer and asked that He would make a way for her be able to be baptized. When Friday night came, the night before baptism, I asked the young lady if she was getting baptized tomorrow. She happily said, ‘Yes!’ We all praised God for doing what we couldn’t do.

“During this mission trip, I was not only able to see how God still works in our day just the same as He was working in the times of Israel, but I was also able to see how much God is willing to do to save His children! Through my experience and the relationships I built during these three weeks in the Philippines, I was able to see how the family of God can be one. No matter the culture or the country you may find yourself in, we share the same love for Jesus and a desire to follow the same truths. The word of God unites us and it brings joy to my heart to know that my church family is bigger than my home church. It is amazing to see a little glimpse of heaven when different cultures come together to celebrate Jesus.

“A very important lesson I learned from my specific site was the importance of the youth in the church. I saw how the youth took charge and were willing to take control of the program. It inspired my husband and I to train the youth in a similar way when we begin our ministry back home. I thank you for making these opportunities possible. This trip has not only allowed us to share God with strangers, but it has given each student missionary a chance to know God more personally. Thank you for believing in our mission. May God bless you as you continue to support missionaries and share Jesus.”

Support It Is Written Missions

The Guatemala Volcano Tragedy: A First-Hand Account

The Guatemala Volcano Tragedy: A First-Hand Account

We stood on what was essentially a glacier of sand, ash, and rock. It had snaked its way relentlessly down from the 12,500 feet summit of Volcan de Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, in southern Guatemala. Fuego has been erupting more or less constantly — and harmlessly — for the better part of the last twenty years. Apart from a false alarm in 2012 when 33,000 people evacuated, Fuego hasn’t done much more in recent times than beat its chest and belch smoke into the air.

As we stood in its shadow, the giant was still emitting smoke, but gently rather than a roar. But three weeks ago, before our It Is Written team arrived, Fuego roared. The desolation on which we stood was deceptive. There was no way we could know that we were standing where a town once stood.

The volcanic debris was piled up so high that heavy equipment operators were digging through thirty feet of piled up ash and dust to reach the road and clear it for use. We stood level with what once was the second-floor level of several houses. Virtually all buildings were completely buried. People had been trying since the initial eruption on June 3 to dig out buried family members.

While official figures state that two hundred people are still missing, one man told us he is certain at least 1,500 are still unaccounted for. Another told us that he has lost at least seventy family members in the tragedy. As one person told our team, “In many cases entire families have been killed. They’ve simply disappeared. There’s nobody looking for them, no one to report them as missing.”

As we filmed in what was once the village of San Miguel Los Lotes, a family waited for earth-moving equipment to arrive. The bodies of the man’s brother and his family are buried in the first-floor area of their home. Only the second story rises up out of the ash and debris. Why did the family not flee? “They couldn’t,” their relatives told us. “They had a disabled daughter and weren’t able to get her out. So they stayed.”

In spite of very clear warnings, many others chose to remain when they could have fled. “Some believed that if they locked the door of their home and shut themselves inside, they would be safe,” Rosa Chacón told us. Rosa volunteers for a government agency that issues emergency warnings when Fuego threatens. “I urged so many people to leave, to get to safety. They wouldn’t listen.”

Just a few yards from us in San Miguel Los Lotes a church once stood. Now it is entirely covered by the remnants of Fuego. The worshipers in the church were aware the volcano was threatening, and they received warnings to evacuate. Instead of heeding the warnings, they chose to remain in the church and pray that God would protect them. The entire congregation perished in the volcano.

As dust stirred by the heavy equipment was whipped through the area by gusting winds, a small crowd stood by as a yellow Cat digger removed bucket after bucket of volcanic debris. A body found while we were in the area lay covered by a pink sheet. The digger was stabilizing the area so the remains could be recovered. From there the digger would go the nearby home of the family with the disabled daughter to recover bodies there. The destitute families are covering the cost of hiring the digger and its operator as the government rescue and recovery mission has already ended.

As we were preparing to leave the area, a young man — maybe 18 years old — spotted someone holding several charred pages from a Bible. And with those pages — which included Luke 21 and the story of the widow’s mite — was part of a small sheet of pink paper. There were large letters on the page, written in pencil. While it was impossible to read the entire message, it was clearly part of what was once a card given to mark a special occasion.

The young man recognized it as soon as he saw it. “Please, may I see that paper you are holding,” he said to the missionary holding the page. “Yes, that’s it!” he said, clearly having found something very special.

He was now holding the remnants of a Mother’s Day card he had made for his mother years before. But while he had found what was left of the card, he had not yet found his mother. She was buried in the river of debris that had engulfed the family home. She was somewhere nearby, ten feet or so beneath where we stood. The young man wiped away tears.

Thank you for supporting It Is Written mission projects around the world. Please pray for our team in Guatemala and support It Is Written mission projects at itiswritten.com/give.

It Is Written and Local Church Partner to Aid Guatemala Volcano Victims

It Is Written and Local Church Partner to Aid Guatemala Volcano Victims

It Is Written and Escrito Está are partnering with a local Spanish-American church in Collegedale, Tennessee to help the victims of the volcano eruption in Guatemala. On June 3, Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted, killing nearly 100 and leaving almost 200 missing. The country’s government estimates that 1.7 million people were affected. Displaced families need medical attention, clothing, and help rebuilding their lives.

From June 21 to early July, 40 volunteers including It Is Written staff members and local church members will conduct a mission trip in Antigua Guatemala, a city within a few miles of the volcano. The mission group will offer health services, clothing, and provide financial support for rebuilding infrastructure in the devastated areas. They will hold medical clinics in both Antigua Guatemala and Escuintla, where most of the shelters are. The group plans to purchase tents to provide temporary housing for those who lost their homes or became displaced by the volcano. The mission group will also be reaching out to specifically help children impacted by the disaster.

We are currently gathering supplies. Please help us meet this urgent need by donating now and selecting “Humanitarian Projects.” Right now, your gift will go directly to help the people of Guatemala. Thank you for your support.

Donate now

Mission Mongolia: Two Cities, One Mission

Mission: Mongolia - Two Cities, One Mission

We are promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  And when God sets those plans in motion, the enemy strikes, attempting to thwart the good intended.

Mongolia has a population of about three million people, most of which live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Only about two to three percent of Mongolians are Christian, and most have never heard the name of Jesus.

That’s where our current mission trip to Mongolia comes in. Through March 25, 17 It Is Written volunteers and I are conducting medical clinics and evening seminars in two cities in Mongolia. In past trips, we have always worked in the capital city, but we wanted to share Jesus with some of the other cities as well. The original plan was to work primarily in Bulgan, hosting a medical clinic at a local church there, along with an evening “Jesus Talk” plus a children’s story and health feature. We were informed the Monday before we left that the plan had changed: a virulent livestock disease had broken out, and Bulgan was under quarantine!  

“No problem,” according to our fearless local leader, Enkhe! Plans were quickly made to work in two different cities, Erdenet and Darkhan, to conduct our clinics and evening Jesus Talks.

Please pray that people come to these evening meetings. It is illegal here to advertise this sort of a meeting so personal invitation and word of mouth are our only sources of advertising.

Below are updates and pictures from the first few days of our mission trip. 

Wednesday, March 14

We were 20 minutes from an uneventful landing in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar when the captain informed us that due to high winds (common in March-April), we would have to circle the city for 20-30 minutes longer and hope that the winds would subside long enough for a safe landing. The winds didn’t let up, however, so instead we had to fly to the Russian city of Irkutsk. After a three-hour layover in Irkutsk, we finally reboarded the plane and got into Ulaanbaatar about 7 pm local time. Thursday will be an orientation and sightseeing day as we acclimate to a new culture, temperatures, and time zone.

God is good! And He is on His throne, directing this mission trip.  We thank you for your prayers.

Thursday-Friday, March 15–16

Our group of 18 volunteers all safely arrived into Ulaanbaatar, and we’re slowly acclimating to the local time zone. Initially, it had been quite cold with a daytime high of 20°F and lows in the night of -1°F.  However, it is warming up (spring is almost here, too!), and yesterday it reached 40°F!

Following are pictures that show and tell more about the mission work here.

Saturday, March 17

On Saturday, we split into our two teams and headed to Darkhan and Erdenet to preach and interact some more with our local leaders and community members. I am leading the Darkhan team, and the Erdenet team is led by Dr. Gordon. Our local leader, Enkhe, helped plan and organize the mission trip with It Is Written Evangelism Director Yves Monnier. She has been a tremendous asset in providing translation and organization for this trip. We would not be here without her work and support!

Our meetings will be held Sunday-Friday, at 6 pm local time. Please pray that God will impress the hearts of those who need to hear His word. We cannot advertise the meetings, so it is only through personal invitation that people hear about them. Our meetings will include song service by the church (in Mongolian), then a translated health talk, and finally a translated Jesus talk.

Sunday, March 18

Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”

On Sunday, March, 18, we went to a local orphanage here in Darkhan to provide medical services. It is one of two orphanages in this city. This one is privately owned and operated and has been in existence since 2001. It currently has 40 children ranging in ages from 3-17. The orphanage runs solely on funds given by donors, primarily Japanese donors. They run a bakery, car wash, and tailor shop, and the kids all work in these industries as well.

We also learned that it is not possible to adopt children from this orphanage, and the director told us that she considers all of the children her own, even after they grow up and leave. They stay in touch when they go on to college and have families of their own. Many children go on to college in Japan, China, Germany, and elsewhere. We sense a lot of love on this campus from all the children and the staff. It was actually a very happy place; not sad or depressing at all. It was very evident that these children were very well loved and cared for. In addition to the medical work we provided, our team presented a financial gift to the director at the end of our day to help continue the great work that is being done in this orphanage.

At the end of our visit, we were treated to a 40-minute acrobatic performance from the children. These kids are so talented!

Monday, March 19

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

There has been a lot of praying going on in our team here in Mongolia, both in Darkhan and Erdenet. And we feel the results of your prayers for us as well. Please don’t stop!

The day here in Darkhan started out with eager anticipation because it was our first day doing medical work at a local healthcare clinic. It is illegal to do healthcare outreach at the churches here in Mongolia so we are grateful for this invitation and opportunity to serve the Mongolian people.

As the morning progressed, one of our team members saw two policeman enter the clinic. They didn’t say much but observed what we were doing. About an hour later, a gentleman from the local health authority showed up. He requested to see all of our professional medical volunteers’ licenses, and then he entered our pharmacy area to examine our medication bottles for expiration dates. We had to shut down for about an hour. After he left our pharmacy room, we sent up a prayer to God, asking that He would move on this man’s heart and allow us to continue our work.

Enkhe, our local leader, worked and negotiated with him and he gave us permission to continue through that afternoon. He told Enkhe that she needed to go to his office on Tuesday with copies of all of our licenses and to do additional paperwork. She did, and we are now cleared here in Darkhan to continue our medical work through the end of the week. Praise the Lord!

The situation is not as positive with our sister team in Erdenet. They were doing medical work in the morning and got word from the authorities to shut down. Sadly, for the rest of Monday, they could not administer care to the people of that city. They were able to hold the evening Jesus Talks at the church in Erdenet. On Tuesday morning, Dr. Gordon (our medical director for this trip) visited the health authority with a local church member. They were told that they could do medical work in a nearby town, just not Erdenet.

The enemy hates our good God and will always try to disrupt or stop anything good that He wants for us. Our mission trip here is no exception, as evidenced by the last 24-48 hours. But, God is still on His throne, and He is in control!

It was a long, busy, eventful day. But it ended well. We are all safe and patients have been ministered to, by the grace of God.

Eyes for India team brings sight to the blind in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh

Eyes for India: Over 1500 People Receive Sight

The Eyes For India team was invited to a Hindu temple this January to do the work of Jesus in opening the eyes of blind people. From January 3 to 17, the medical team conducted cataract eye surgeries in the remote forest village of Hardiakol, district Barabanki, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. Led by Dr. Jacob Prabhakar, It Is Written’s humanitarian Eyes for India project seeks to restore sight to the 15 million blind living in India through a simple cataract surgery and intraocular lens implantation. “This initiative will help as many as possible and restore their hope and sight,” said Dr. Prabhakar.

More than 2,500 blind people initially registered for treatment, and 60 percent of those were blind in both eyes. Most patients are very poor with hardly any warm clothing and must travel long distances by road and train. Thick fog created zero visibility and caused trains and buses to be canceled. Many patients who had initially registered were unable to return for treatment. Most of the patients that did make it back to the temple slept outside on sand and hay that served as beds as they awaited their turn for surgery.

Once treatment began, 250 patients were called for surgery each day. It Is Written Partner Dr. Jason Leng, an ophthalmologist from Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute, Chehalis, Washington, participated in the mobile camp for the second time. Dr. Leng, Dr. Prabhakar, and the rest of the medical team completed diagnostic tests for each patient and then the cataract surgery with an intraocular lens implantation. Postoperative patients stayed in a makeshift hall for care, postoperative dressings, and instillation of eye drops. Patients were discharged on the second postoperative day with specific medications and dark protective glasses. The patients are called for postoperative follow up each week for the next six weeks and then advised on the use of bifocal glasses.

By God’s grace, the eye camp was a huge success, despite many unforeseen challenges. A total of 1,672 cataract surgeries were performed, many for children and young women who are the breadwinners of their homes. The patients who missed their operation due to weather are scheduled for surgery during the month of March.

But providing eyesight is only the first step in the the work of our medical team. About 80 percent of the state’s population are Hindus, and 18 percent are Muslim. Many of these patients have never heard about Jesus. Patients were given the book Steps to Christ in their own language and a health booklet. The team prayed with patients and conducted worship services daily in the temple complex.

“Thanks are due to the Eyes For India sponsors for their generosity in making this possible,” said Dr. Prabhakar. “The smiles and the joy the patients demonstrate following surgery is noteworthy! They go back home being able to carry on with work and their daily livelihood. Leading an independent life makes all the difference. We are so grateful! Eyes For India has been such a blessing and we thank God for this amazing ministry.”

Thousands of lives have been changed in just days by a simple eye surgery. People who were once blind are now able to see because of the kindness of many donors who make this happen on a regular basis. Join the Eyes for India team in bringing sight to the blind by donating today.

Video Field Reports:

Donate now