SALT Update—Another Miracle

At our Gatlinburg, Tennessee Partnership event in early September, we were blessed to have our SALT class share testimonies about how God has been blessing this year’s fall program.

SALT gives students the opportunity to learn how to share their faith with others. SALT teaches students to be effective soul-winners while expanding their understanding of the Bible and providing them with a deep experience with God. SALT has proven to be transformational, not only for young people but for people of all ages.

Kyle and Daniel shared a powerful story showing that when people make themselves available for God to use, He brings them in contact with people who are looking for Jesus.

Andy was raised in a Christian church but had drifted far away from God. Several rough experiences because of his life of selling drugs led him to begin thinking about his future.

“I decided to end my life, but the revolver jammed when I pulled the trigger,” Andy told Kyle and Daniel. “Another time I was shot in the back, but I had a Bible in my backpack and the Bible stopped the bullet from hitting me.” When the students met Andy, his arm was in a cast. “A car hit me while I was riding my motorbike,” he told them. “It’s a miracle I wasn’t killed.”

Another miracle might be more accurate. After getting to know Andy a little, Daniel and Kyle asked if he’d be interested in studying the Bible together. They’ve begun meeting regularly to open up God’s word.

Only God knows where this will lead. But for now, Daniel and Kyle—and the rest of the SALT students—are praying God will touch Andy’s heart and draw him back to Him.

Daniel and Kyle sharing their experience.

Pastor Douglas Na’a, SALT program director.

Mission to Bulgaria

Starting this weekend, It Is Written Associate Speaker Eric Flickinger will be leading a major outreach effort in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria, a socialist country for almost 50 years in the twentieth century, is bordered by Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, and Romania, while to the east it is bordered by the Black Sea. It is known for its winemaking, roses, and world-renowned yogurt.  More than three-quarters of Bulgarians describe themselves as Eastern Orthodox, with another 10 percent being Sunni Muslim. While Protestants are a minority in Bulgaria, the gospel has been moving with power since the fall of communism.

Pastor Flickinger will be partnering with a group of 12 pastors and administrators from Maryland as part of the Total Member Involvement initiative, designed to encourage all church members to use their God-given talents for the glory of God. “The purpose of TMI is—as the name suggests—to get every church member engaged in sharing his or her faith,” Pastor Flickinger said. “A concerted outreach program has been in place for many months, and along with an outstanding team I’ll be preaching the message of Christ and calling people to make a decision for the Lord.”

Evangelists will be speaking throughout western Bulgaria, while Pastor Flickinger will be holding meetings in Kyustendil, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. Kyustendil is largely populated by Romani (Gypsies). “I’ll be working with a group of 12 pastors, providing training and evangelism mentorship during the day. Then, in the evening, we will each be preaching meetings in different cities across western Bulgaria. This is another way It Is Written invests in the work of the gospel around the world. On the one hand, we proclaim the message, while at the same time providing training for gospel ministers in the area of evangelistic outreach.”    

Bulgaria is a historic country, and this work of gospel ministry will make a historic contribution to the forward momentum of the gospel.

Pastor Flickinger has conducted outreach events in numerous countries and is encouraged with how church members and leaders in Bulgaria have prepared for this initiative. “Please keep this important outreach effort in your prayers as our team seeks to bring the gospel to the wonderful people of Bulgaria.”

Mission: Mongolia — Miracles

When It Is Written brought a medical missionary team to Mongolia in 2016, a woman came to one of our clinics. At that clinic, she interacted with Christians for the first time in her life. She was so encouraged by the missionary team and what she learned about the Bible, that she began attending church. Before long, she and others in her family had given their hearts to Jesus and were baptized.

However, for the past 12 years, her son’s tongue has been attached to the bottom of his mouth. This means he cannot speak and has difficulty with the sorts of things most people take for granted. Yesterday, an oral surgeon on our team corrected the issue, ending more than a decade of difficulty. No longer tongue-tied, he will now undergo speech therapy on his way to a full recovery. He and his family are overwhelmed by the goodness of God.

Every day our Mission: Mongolia team sees God doing great things. Very often, in the simplest of ways.

One of our team members decided only at the last minute to bring a pair of compression stockings to Mongolia. They were too small for her to wear, but she brought them along anyway. Why? She had no idea.

God knew. A lady came to one of our clinics with a leg problem that couldn’t be treated by surgery, but it could be helped by… pressure! The husband of the woman who brought the compression stockings had made a last-minute switch and was at the site the woman was visiting. He knew his wife had just what the lady needed.

But how to get them to her? Perhaps they could meet at the evangelistic meeting that night? They met, she received the compassion stockings, stayed for the meeting, and committed to attend every one of the meetings.  “I’ve never heard anything like this,” she said. “I want to learn more about God!”

God continues to pour out His Holy Spirit on our nightly meetings. It’s a challenge to present the gospel when many of the people in the congregation have absolutely no background in the Bible. Noah’s ark? Many people coming to the meetings have never heard of it. The same is true for Adam and Eve, the story of Abraham, and Bible stories such as Daniel in the lions’ den.

Yet that hasn’t stopped people from being enthusiastic. My translator (who is doing a magnificent job), remarked about the way the audience applauded at times during each presentation, and after my final remarks every night. “People never applaud here,” he said. “Not for Bible meetings. This is unprecedented. They are definitely enjoying what they are hearing.”

One physician told me as we were leaving the evangelistic meeting that many of her patients are attending the nightly gospel meetings—which is why we are here in Mongolia. We are here to encourage people to know more about God and surrender their lives to him.

A Mongolian pastor told me, “In many of our communities it is difficult to get people to visit the church. This It Is Written health emphasis has been enormously successful in helping us engage with our community.”

We now have only one day left of our Mission: Mongolia health clinics, and then another day of preaching and baptizing. Our time has flown by. Soon we will be leaving Mongolia, with its fascinating language and gracious people.  Please join us in praying that as we depart this country the Spirit of God will continue to do a miraculous work.

Mission: Mongolia — Prayers

God continues to bless the work of our mission team here in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We are becoming accustomed to seeing the improbable take place, and hearing stories of God’s miraculous providence opening doors for the sharing of His love and grace.

A 12-year-old boy living in an orphanage heard about the free health care being provided by the It Is Witten Mission: Mongolia team. He was so intent on getting treatment that he rode a bus to one of our clinics. When examined, the doctors discovered that he had a perforated right ear drum, something he had been living with for four years. 

When he was asked why it hadn’t been fixed, his answer was telling—and sad.

“The doctors told me my immune system is not strong enough,” he answered. Doctor Marty Kelly, an emergency room physician from San Antonio, saw this young man. “Of course, that was just an excuse to not have to deal with this poor child because of his standing in society. Often, children in orphanages are considered to be just above the city dump as far as their status in society goes.”

“My heart went out to him,” Dr. Kelly told me. “He’s never going to have hearing in that ear again because it wasn’t fixed when it could have been. I literally prayed to the Lord and asked Him to perform a miracle.”  Tears came to Dr. Kelly’s eyes as he related this experience. 

“As I was treating him I sat there wracking my brain, asking myself, ‘Is there anything else I can do for this child?’ He reminded me of my grandson. Sweetest, nicest boy you could ever meet. He said thank you for everything, always smiling, not an angry bone in his body… Please pray for this kid.” 

Our mission team received an unexpected blessing yesterday. Some of our much-needed supplies were being held in customs at the airport. Although the necessary permissions had been obtained ahead of time, it seemed impossible that these supplies would be released for our team members to use. We had been told that the only way we could get the supplies was by picking them up on our way back out of Mongolia.

But the God of heaven had different ideas! He arranged for members of our team to treat the family members of a high-ranking judge in this city. The judge was extremely grateful for what our team had done, and in the course of conversation learned of the challenges we were having in getting ahold of our supplies. “Let me take care of this for you,” he said. “I’ll get in touch with the people involved and see to it that you have your supplies.”

Before long our supplies had been collected from the airport and were being put to use in treating people who need vital medical help. We’re thanking God for his goodness. Another miracle was worked!

Mission: Mongolia — Healing

Our 120-strong team of medical missionaries has so far touched the lives of hundreds of people. Offering dental, vision, surgical, OBGYN, and numerous other services entirely free of charge, Ulaanbaatar has become a place of healing for many.

The highest aim for our medical missionaries is to share the love of Jesus—and that often happens in difficult circumstances.

Last night, several of our team were asked to make a house call. A 29-year-old mother was terminally ill with neck cancer. Arriving at the lady’s home, it quickly became obvious there was nothing our team could offer in the way of physical healing. Yet they were able to offer something even better.

Dr. Gordon Guild tells the story.

“The woman’s Christian family members wanted us to pray for her and show her Jesus. So I spoke to her of a loving Creator God who made the world so we could come to know Him and live with Him forever.  I shared with her how the disobedience of Adam and Eve plunged the world into sin, but that God sent His son to forgive us of our sins and provide for us an eternal home.  I told her that just as He forgave the thief on the cross, He would also forgive her of her sins. I read John 3:16 and gave her a new testament we had all signed.  I reassured her of Jesus’ love for her and asked her if she would like to accept Jesus into her heart. She replied in English, ‘I would like to accept Jesus into my heart.’ I assured her Jesus was with her.”

“The family gathered around and we all prayed,” Dr. Guild continued. “The woman’s three-year-old daughter thanked me for praying for her mom!  That was special.  I never expected to make a hospice call on this trip, but to have a woman accept Jesus on her death bed and know she will soon sleep awaiting Jesus’ return was more than payment in full for making this trip. God’s blessings on these It Is Written mission trips just keep pouring in!”

Our hope and prayer is that everyone we reach would experience healing. But while physical healing, in this lady’s case, can only come as a result of a mighty miracle of God, the greatest healing has already occurred.

On the front lines in mission situations, the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan becomes obvious.

At one of our sites, a 19-year-old Mongolian man is assisting our team of medical missionaries as a translator. Our translators do an incredible work! His experience demonstrates how difficult it can be to be a Christian in Mongolia.

His father, a shaman (witch doctor) was training him to follow in his footsteps. As a boy, this young man did not want to emulate his father. At only 40 years of age, the father was white haired and old-looking, because—as the young man explained—shamans give their youth to to the evil spirits in exchange for power. Being a shaman was stressful for his dad because the neighbors would frequently come to him, asking him to curse and even cause the death of other people. Because his father was continually dealing with trouble, the boy wanted nothing to do with the shaman lifestyle. His father would often beat his mother and siblings, and was an alcoholic. When the father left the family, the young man’s life became much happier. 

As the only Christian in his family, he lives apart from his brothers and doesn’t want them to know where he is. “They don’t know I’m doing this work for the church,” he told a member of our team. “If they did, I don’t know what would happen to me.”

He was baptized four years ago. When asked how he came to faith in Christ, he answered, “Guitar!” The church offered guitar lessons to neighborhood children and he and several others came into contact with the church through these lessons. “I was attracted to the church because Christians were happy, and they didn’t drink. I had seen the damage done by alcohol and didn’t want anything to do with it. Then I learned about God’s love for me.” Now he serves his church, and his life is heading in a positive direction.

Our team was interested to know how he learned English so well that he could act as a translator. “Cartoons!” he replied. “I watched a lot of cartoons!”

There’s much more to share with you from this city of bad traffic, terrible (terrible!) drivers, and miracles of God’s grace. Check back soon for another update from Mission: Mongolia.

Mission: Mongolia Update

Mission: Mongolia is now in full swing.

Our team of more than 120—including around 80 medical professionals from at least five countries—are conducting clinics at numerous sites around Ulaanbaatar. At hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and churches, teams offering dental, vision, surgical, and multiple other services are touching lives. They are providing medical services that in many cases people here would not otherwise be able to receive.

Hundreds of people were seen at the clinics on our first day. The reports from the teams have been incredibly positive. Several of our team members are back in Mongolia for the second time, having come here in 2016 with our last Mission: Mongolia trip. It’s not always that a medical missionary gets to see the results of his or her labors in a short period of time. However, one story that has emerged over the last few days is especially encouraging.

Last year, a non-Christian woman came to one of our clinics for some desperately-needed medical help.  Not only did she get the medical help she was looking for, she also heard for the first time about someone named Jesus. She was prayed for and expressed a desire to know more about the kind of God who would motivate a medical professional to travel all the way to Mongolia from the United States—at their own expense—to minister to people they had never met.

She began to study the Bible and then started to attend church. Before long she was baptized, and this week in Ulaanbaatar she is a part of our missionary team, working as a volunteer alongside the very physician who ministered to her and led her to faith in Christ!

One of our team members here in Ulaanbaatar is a nurse who lives and works in Central London, in the United Kingdom. I asked Millie how she came to be a part of Mission: Mongolia.

“I’ve watched and enjoyed It Is Written for several years. I saw the program you filmed in Mongolia and thought at the time it would be a blessing to do something to help with God’s work there. When I read an It Is Written update saying that a mission trip was going to Mongolia, I felt like I had to be part of it. I’ve taken my holidays to be on this mission trip. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!”

While people here in Ulaanbaatar are benefiting from the medical services being offered, it’s interesting to know that it’s not always the patients who are most blessed.

A physician on our team shared the following story with me.

“My family and I agreed to be part of a mission trip to Cuba. Just before we left the United States we found out that our family was going to make up an entire team! We weren’t expecting that. So I would be preaching 11 sermons, and we would be holding a vacation Bible school and doing other mission projects. We had never done anything quite like that before.”

So how did it go?

“During the meetings, I found out that the wife of my translator was in the hospital several hours away, seriously ill. Yet my translator—rather than being home—was at the meetings with me each night. I urged him to go and be with his wife. His response really got to me. ‘I need to be here,’ he said. ‘The gospel must be preached. People need to hear about Jesus.’ I thought to myself, ‘How many times have I missed meetings because I didn’t want to miss a game on tv or for some other similarly weak reason.

After much urging, the translator did go to visit his wife. Leaving early in the morning, he traveled several hours to visit his wife and then return in time to translate the evening meeting. “I rethought a whole lot of things,” my physician friend told me. “That mission trip changed me, and it changed my family.”

The patients here in Ulaanbaatar are definitely being blessed and helped and encouraged— and our missionary team members are being blessed also.

“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Patients receiving treatment at a dental clinic.

Mission: Mongolia Continues!

After years of planning and ministry, the culmination of Mission: Mongolia, a major outreach in the nation of Mongolia, is upon us.  Most of the 120 members of our medical missionary team have arrived in Mongolia and are now preparing to begin a major health emphasis in  Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Mongolia is a fascinating country.  Almost the size of Alaska and with the population of Mississippi, Mongolia was once the seat of the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world.  The legendary Genghis Khan is still revered in Mongolia, a land which has recently begun to stake its claim as a significant player on the global stage.

For almost seventy years, Mongolia was a communist country.  In the early 1990s, a transition to democracy took place.  Today, about half – perhaps more than half – of Mongolia’s inhabitants live in Ulaanbataar.

Less than 3% of Mongolia’s population is Christian.  With the exception of Buddhism, the majority of Mongolians identify as having no religious faith.  While the challenges of sharing the gospel in a secular country like this are significant, the enormous need in Mongolia has driven our team to travel to this remote country to lift up the cross and proclaim the name of Jesus.

Starting Sunday, June 4, It Is Written begins a major health project in Ulaanbataar.  At several locations around the city, our team of medical missionaries will be providing a wide range of free health services.  In cooperation with city government, physicians, ophthalmologists, dentists, nurses, nurse practitioners, and many others will be ministering to thousands of people.  At the same time, evangelistic meetings will be held in the center of Ulaanbataar each night, giving people the opportunity to know Jesus as not only Healer, but as Lord and Savior.

Please pray for Mission: Mongolia, as our team settles in and prepares for a major initiative that will touch and change lives for the honor and glory of God.

To watch Mission: Mongolia, an It Is Written program on the situation in Mongolia, click here.

Every Man Has a Story


I read a news story about a newly-married couple who shared a piece of their wedding cake with a homeless man outside the church where they were married. It was a touching story—the man had lived on the streets for years and spoke of the unkind treatment he so often received. He thought the couple were going to chase him away, but instead received a piece of cake, kind words, hugs, and friendship.

The ensuing media attention on the homeless man’s plight saw more of the man’s life story emerge. He had a good upbringing in a religious home, he left his home country, joined the military, served with distinction, had some difficult experiences, returned home, developed a drinking problem, and wound up living on the streets. A place where more often than not he encountered derision and rejection and even outright hostility.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about people. A criminal is easy to dismiss as worthless, or, as worth less, as a bad person. A problem child or a cranky old man are easy to judge without taking certain things into consideration.

The homeless man said something that struck me. 

“Don’t judge me,” he said, “because every man has a story.” Every man has a story.

Jesus said in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” It’s important to keep that in mind. It takes no skill at all to rush to judgment. It’s always better to learn the facts of a person’s situation. Better yet to do something to be help the person in question. It’s always right to be compassionate, no matter what.

“Every man has a story.”

What would the world be like if we remembered to remember that?

Positive Thinking

slider-positivethinking-noclickStudies of the brain have revealed that every experience you have, every thought or feeling, triggers thousands of neurons which then form a neural network. Repeated behaviors form—as it were—bridges in the brain. Which is why certain things “come naturally” to you after a while. A Canadian neuropsychologist said years ago, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” 

But this means that negative behaviors can also become deeply embedded in a person’s psyche. For example, scientists say that complaining rewires your brain. Studies reveal the average person complains once a minute during a typical conversation. If you continue to complain, you become a complainer. Stanford University research has said complaining shrinks your hippocampus, the brain’s center of emotion and memory.1 

However, research out of UC Davis has found that people who cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood and energy and much less anxiety. James wrote in James 1:2,3, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” The old phrase, “look on the bright side of things” might contain more wisdom than we’ve realized. 

While adjusting your attitude can take time and persistence, it’s worth being proactive as the negative habits you develop can lead you into full-blown negativity. People actually become changed by their behavior, including negative or destructive behaviors. The very good news is that the Holy Spirit is able to remake you, to remake your mind, to adjust your attitude, to give you a positive outlook, and to make you the kind of person that speaks of what God can do in a life. And negativity takes the edge off a person’s witness for God. Who wants to be a follower of God, if being a follower of God has made you into a grump? 

Remember what God can do. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Be positive today! Let God make you into a positive person.

  1.  Shrinkage of the hippocampus is implicated in Alzheimers disease. If you’re an habitual complainer, you might want to change that!

Making America Great


The inauguration has come and gone. President Trump has officially set out to “Make America Great Again!”

However, like every president before him, President Trump faces challenges that legislation alone won’t be able to solve.

A president is in a tough position. It’s the president’s job to set high goals for the country.  No president would ever stand before the world and say, “Realistically, we’re never going to be able to stop terrorism but we’re going to give it our best shot.” Or, “We’re always going to have people on welfare but at the very least we might be able to get some folks back into work, and there’s a good chance we might be able to see crime rates inch down some.”

Instead, a president makes promises to stop crime, get people back to work and eradicate terrorism.  But how does something like that actually happen?

While political initiatives certainly make a major impact on society—and while it is right for politicians to do their job and plot what they see as the best course for a country—the actual solution to the problems faced by America is identified in God’s Word.

The wise man wrote long ago, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).  Isaiah 32:17 says, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”

Experience has taught us that you simply can’t legislate a country out of sin and into righteousness, out of crime and into order, out of chaos and into peace.  The reasons crime exists at all go all the way to the human heart.  The United States is one of only four industrialized countries that imposes the death penalty.  In 2015, the only countries to execute more people than the United States were Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.  Yet few people would claim the death penalty is a deterrent against murder.  The murder rate in states which do not have the death penalty is lower than in states which do.

Politicians absolutely must do all they can to steer a country in the best path.  But God’s Word is clear.  “Righteousness exalts a nation.”  Meaning people who really care about their country will live in connection with God, enabling the blessing of God to flow into and through their lives for the benefit of the country as a whole.  While the congress and senate will do all they can to better the country, God alone is able to make a country all it can be.  “Righteousness exalts a nation.”
Presidents, senators, and members of congress have been elected to lead.  But the only way to prosperity and peace for the United States is the conversion of the heart, which comes from a reliance on God and His Word and a total surrender to God’s will.