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.
This past weekend at our It Is Written Partnership event in Orlando, Florida, I was told an incredible story I want to share with you. You’ll be amazed and blessed as you read.
My friend Adriana Pasos told me that some months ago she attended a seminar in Georgia. She met a woman–whom I’ll call Maria–who had come from California to attend. “Couldn’t you have attended a seminar like this in California?” Adriana asked. Maria replied that although she could have, she felt the change of scenery would be good for her, and that Atlanta would provide her with an opportunity to get away from home and learn the material without distraction.
She shared with Adriana that she came to the United States from Mexico when she was a teenager. Adriana replied by telling her that she too had come to the United States from another country when she was younger.
“I came from Romania,” Adriana told Maria.
Maria then shared more of her experience.
“For some time, I was battling depression, and I began to feel like I had no reason to live. I thought about ending my life. But then I found a television program called It Is Written. I started watching regularly and found new reasons to live. God truly changed my life through the It Is Written program. I found a hope I had never had before.”
As you can imagine, I was encouraged when Adriana told me this. We’re always encouraged when we hear about God touching lives–and saving lives–through the ministry of It Is Written.
But then the story became even more amazing. Maria continued.
“I visited It Is Written’s website, and saw a book that interested me. It was called Hope in Present Danger. I bought the book, and through that book God gave me strength to face each new day. The book was a lifeline to me. It was the story of someone who, like me, came to this country…”
“Wait,” she said. “The woman in that book came to the United States from… Romania.”
Maria stared at Adriana in disbelief.
“Was that you I’ve been reading about?” she asked. “Did you write that book?! Is it your story that helped me so much?!”
After watching It Is Written and deciding not to give up on life, Maria read a book she found on It Is Written’s website that gave her strength and encouragement. And at a seminar three time zones away from her home, she sat down next to the very person who had written that book, her lifeline.
There were tears, smiles, hugs, and a realization that the God of heaven really is an amazing God.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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 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.”