Tag: mission work

Gideon in the Dominican

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

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

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

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

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

A boy is examined by the team dentist.

The finished church building

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

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

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

Pastor Wes Peppers, center, shares his testimony.

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Wes Peppers and his meeting attendees.

Thousands Receive Sight at Annual It Is Written Eye Camp

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

Dr. Jacob Prabhakar examines a patient’s eye.

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

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

A man waits for his cataract surgery.

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

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

Dr. Jacob looks over patients before their surgeries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Is Written and Local Church Leaders Reopen Churches, Provide Community Services in India

After years in disrepair and closure, 53 churches in east central India have been reopened and spiritual, health, and social services have been initiated to keep them active with the help of It Is Written. In November 2018, It Is Written began an initiative with local church leaders to reopen 50 churches that had been closed due to lack of funding. The initial assessment was not encouraging. In addition to being without a pastor, the church yards were covered in garbage, windows were broken, and doors had rusted shut with no keys. Some churches were used to store tobacco or cotton while others were serving as shelters for beggars, sheep, and buffalo. Despite these discouraging odds, It Is Written representative Josephine Biegler, chose 53 churches to reopen. 

Local leadership team at one of the churches

To ensure the churches stayed open, new church leaders had to be trained and paid. Twenty-five Bible workers were selected and began training. They studied the life and teachings of Jesus; Bible doctrines; Daniel and Revelation; history of the church; world religions; health principle; the gift of prophecy; major and minor prophets; and the writings of Paul. Jack Phillips, It Is Written Bible Work Coordinator, traveled to India and conducted a special course on practical methods for giving Bible studies and reaching the local communities.

After thorough training, these Bible workers were placed in the villages to care for their two assigned churches. They cleaned each church, and professional repairmen made repairs and painted walls. Each church was given a new PA system, a culturally essential component to corporate worship. The Bible workers faced prejudice from community members because community members’ trust was damaged or broken when the church closed. 

Community health workers were hired to help the Bible workers overcome this prejudice. These ladies created a way for the Bible worker to enter the community with the gospel. Each worker was given training, a scale, stethoscope, blood pressure machine, and the book Where There is No Doctor in Telugu, the local language. The health workers check glucose and blood pressure levels, care for fevers, and bandage wounds. They taught about cleanliness and educated the villagers about the harmfulness of tobacco and alcohol. These women visited every home–Hindu, Muslims, and any other religion–praying for the suffering at the end of the visit. Some of the villagers accepted Christ because of the health workers’ invitations.

Newly opened churches began conducting night literacy classes in 26 of the churches. Eight adult literacy volunteers taught basic reading and writing along with Christian songs. They also prayed with the students and encouraged each to come back to the church on Sabbath. Through their efforts, people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior through baptism. 

A United States sewing ministry partnered with the churches to offer sewing classes for local women. The ladies learned how to make garments, were given a brand-new sewing machine, and were invited to accept Christ as Savior. They left the class spiritually fed and with training to become financially independent. 

The health and social services were augmented with spiritual resources. Students from an Indian theology school conducted a three-day evangelism program in each of the 53 churches. Their program helped support the Bible workers in reaching the unreached and gathering the scattered members. These students visited the entire village, prayed with everyone they could, and invited the community to the meetings at the church. Later, another seven-day revival meeting occurred in 10 of the newly opened churches. These meetings were targeted to the local youth. They learned songs, Bible stories, and skits and left encouraged to be the strength of the new churches. Many young people gave their lives to Jesus Christ through these meetings. The younger children were not left out. Last summer, over 60 days, two college students conducted Vacation Bible School in 20 of the reopened churches. They worked with the village children, taught them new songs and Bible stories, and made crafts. Nearly 800 children participated. 

Earlier this year, the It Is Written Eyes for India program conducted a medical camp for 100 villages including the 53 villages with newly reopened churches. Medical physicians from the United States provided free medical expertise and partnered with local nursing students. Over 2,300 patients were treated, over 4,500 people were screened for cataracts, and 927 were selected for cataract surgery which began on February 24. 

During the month of February, two It Is Written mission teams traveled to India to hold revival meetings at 20 locations covering the 100 villages that also received medical care. Over the course of the month, approximately 4,500 people attended these meetings throughout the sites. God poured out His blessings, and 1,197 people accepted Jesus into their hearts.

And the work hasn’t stopped. Ongoing plans include quarterly meetings conducted by a local Indian evangelist to cover spiritual growth topics like the Sabbath, stewardship, continuous soul winning, children’s Sabbath school, and health. The churches continue to hold youth ministry events and widow prayer ministry activities. Every quarter, the church will also conduct an eight-day training for elders to equip them to serve the church and community. And 48 more churches have been selected for reopening and have already been cleaned. In May, the It Is Written Hope Awakens sermons were translated into seven Indian languages and livestreamed in Facebook to the entire local area. Thousands have seen the broadcasts.  

The infrastructure is established to ensure these churches stay open for many years to come and continue growing and serving their communities with the love of Jesus. The treasurer for the local church in India writes, “Thank you It Is Written for entrusting us with the resources we desperately needed to reopen churches….Thank you Ms. Josephine and the It Is Written team for everything, and we request that you continue to support the work we are determined to undertake here in India. God bless you all.”

This project was made possible through the support of It Is Written donors. To donate to future It Is Written mission and humanitarian projects, click here and select “It Is Written Missions.”

Bible workers and community health workers

Eyes for India camp

It Is Written Missions: Belize Update

In late February, 27 students and teachers from Jefferson Christian Academy in Jefferson, Texas left for the country of Belize on their first It Is Written mission trip. They didn’t know what to expect, but they were excited. From freshman to seniors, the group was ready to work. And they worked hard. 

Belize is a small, lush Central American country squeezed between Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. In February, the weather is beautiful: warm in the day and cool at night. The students were welcomed with open arms and quickly learned to love the local fare–beans and rice. 

The students made their two-week home at the La Loma Luz Hospital and set out to make friends for Jesus. Several of the students were assigned to build housing at the hospital–a project that has seen very gradual progress over the past three years. In just a few days, they made record progress. A mechanic and fellow student leader repaired several local vehicles, shared some of his trade tricks, and left some of his tools so that more repairs could be made. 

Pila, the academy’s boys dean and trip leader, knew this trip would be different. For the first time, the students were going to be preaching some of the three evangelistic meetings taking place in the evenings. Joined by the mission team choir and equipped with It Is Written media slides and notes, the students prepared to share what they believed in English and Spanish. 

One meeting took place in a tent across the street from a city park filled with young people, loud music, and alcohol. One night, as the students preached, a man approached Pila and asked him about Daniel 11. Pila could smell the alcohol on his breath as the man shared that he had been baptized 45 years before. Pila saw him the next night, listening from under a tree across the street. He prayed that hope was being planted in the man’s heart again. 

During the day, the student choir provided a Vacation Bible School program at a nearby grade school. The teachers took a needed break while the It Is Written mission team sang songs, played games, shared stories, and made friends. Nathan caught the eye of Erian, one of the grade school students. Just seven years old, Erian came from a broken home. When things were not going well at home, his mother would pack him a bag and send him out to the street until the police would pick him up.

Nathan and Erian soon became inseparable. At the end of the two weeks in Belize, the team planned an outing to tube some caves and do zip lining. Nathan couldn’t leave Erian behind. He decided to let his friends go on without him, and he spent the day with Erian. As Nathan left for the airport the next day, Erian hung on for dear life. He didn’t want his new friend to leave. 

As the team left, students gave up purchasing memorabilia from their trip. Instead, they saved the money to buy their new friends in Belize gifts like crayons and colored paper. Nathan said he wanted to save the $45 a year it will cost to keep Erian in Christian school. 

Back home, the academy students asked Pila if they could go across the street and spend time with the grade school children here. They realized how a little attention and a smile could make a huge difference in a child’s life. 

“We will definitely do an It Is Written mission trip again,” Pila promised. “Everything went so well. It was such a blessing to be on this trip. I asked the students to raise their hand if they enjoyed the trip. Everyone’s hands went up and they told me, ‘We went to teach but they taught us. We didn’t just enjoy it, we were blessed!’”

It Is Written hosts mission trips around the world every year. Learn more at itiswritten.com/missiontrips