Let me start by saying there are no words. There are no words that could adequately convey all that God did. I have been a missionary for 18 years now and have been on many trips as a leader and team member, and I can say without a doubt, this was the best team I have ever served with. This was the best trip I have ever taken. I have never seen more fruit born from a trip than I saw born out of this trip.
We started out by visiting our central campus first. We taught a three day mini conference on church planting there.
Currently there are estimated to be 7.6 billion people in the world. Roughly 42% or 3.19 billion people have literally never heard the name of Jesus. They are unreached. That means they have never heard the gospel and have no access to the gospel or even a Bible. Imagine that. It is estimated that, on average, each person in America who has surrendered their life to Christ had heard the gospel at least 7 times before they made a decision to follow Christ. These people have not heard even 1 time.
Many of these students are hearing the call of God on their lives to take the Gospel to the unreached. I had the privilege of teaching the last session at our church planting conference. My teaching focused on answering and staying true to the call God has placed on your life even in the face of persecution. Many of these students have been ostracized from their families and their villages because they openly profess faith in Jesus Christ. They have already paid a cost unimaginable to us and they are on fire to take the Gospel out to a dark and dying world in spite of certain persecution.
We were able to take money to purchase property to build a new school at this location that will allow us to increase the number of students we can accept.
On our next stop we held the first ever All Calvary Chapel Ministry Workers Conference. We paid the traveling expenses to have all the Calvary Chapel workers in the country, and the students of our 3 campuses attend. Many traveled by train for more than 60 hours. So many of the students were excited to attend, even if only because they had never been on a train before. In fact, some had never seen a train before. We taught through the book of 1 Timothy. We also ordained 9 of our ministry leaders. We challenged and commissioned the 120 in attendance to continue in the work, even if it means persecution, working without American support, and working and walking alone. There was a serious charge given to them to continue in the face of hardship, to take the Gospel to the dying, to those without any hope, no matter the cost.
From there we went north, way north, to the foothills of the Himalayas. We visited our northern campus and some of our remote church plants. The above picture is the site where we will soon start construction of the first church ever in this part of the world. Not only did we bring funds to start construction of a church here, but we also brought money to start building a second church in a neighboring village about 30 kilometers away.
These are two of the 380 people in this village that will worship and learn about Jesus in this church. The woman on the left was the first convert in the area, coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ about 10 years ago. It is her son that is the pastor in this village, one of the first graduates of our program.
Think about how easy it is for you to attend church. Just think about how many churches are within a short drive from where you live. Some days you might even choose to stay home because of something that came up. Until now, these women and the 380 people of this village, never had a choice. There was no church to attend. To think that now they are going to be able to raise their hands and worship our Lord, their Lord, in a building protecting them from the elements. How much is that worth? I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be part of a work like this.
We traveled across the country again to host another 1 day conference. One of our pastors who works in this area has identified and targeted 108 villages that are totally unreached. Unbeknown to us, God had greater things planned than what we were expecting. He made it clear to us that we are to start a fourth Bible College in the middle of these 108 villages. He did it by having the owner of the property where we held the conference, deed land and buildings to us for the purpose of a Bible College. He wrote a document explaining what he was going to do, being prompted by the Holy Spirit, two weeks before we arrived. The girls above are the first students of this college, eagerly waiting for school to start. The first semester will start for them February 2020.
As I said from the outset, there are no words to convey what God has done. I am so frustrated by my inability to communicate to you the amazing, the wonderful work of God that we witnessed. I could go on and on. The people that were moved by the teaching, how our team was blown away by the love of those we ministered to. I couldn’t begin to describe how the kids stole our hearts, everyone we met hungry for the Gospel, drinking in every word.
Please pray for us. Pray for the schools. We just started the 4th semester at our central campus. I am currently teaching through the book of Revelation on Wednesday night via Skype. The other classes offered in the 4th semester are: The Minor Prophets, The Gospel of Matthew, The General Epistles, and The Book of Daniel. We also have an evening chapel every Thursday night. This semester’s topic is “The great Doctrines of the Bible.” All the classes and chapels are taught by Calvary Chapel Pastors across the country. This semester we have pastors from Oregon, Idaho, Alabama and California. At the end of this semester we will be graduating 10 men and 4 women. Please pray for them. Pray for the schools.
We will start our 4th semester at our Northern Campus in February 2020. It is a smaller group of men, but no less hungry and excited to answer the call of God on their lives.
Also in February, we will start the 1st semester at our newest campus. There is a big outreach planned in the area just before the semester starts. The college will invite new converts to enroll in the college and go deeper in their walks with the Lord.
Each of our four campuses cover all the costs, asking nothing from the students. At the end of the program, those men who have an obvious call on their lives as pastors and church planters, then serve a 6 month internship; 3 months at two of our other campuses. At the end of the internship, our leaders get together to discuss bringing them on as missionaries and raising support for them so they can devote themselves to the work of the ministry and church planting.
Please also pray for the construction of the two churches we are building and for the funds to start construction on the property we purchased for the central campus.
Pray that more and more Calvary pastors will catch the vision of going into all the world making disciples of the nations, never leaving their studies, teaching in our colleges via Skype. I am always trying to enlarge our teaching pool.
Tina and I are so thankful for your faithful prayers and support. Please continue to pray for us. The work of organizing and overseeing the teaching and communicating with the leaders and staff of the colleges is a full time ministry. Tina and I believe the Lord is leading us to stop working for the Army and return to full time missions and ministry. Pray that God would link us with people who are called to serve as senders, as we are trusting God to provide the finances we need to step into this work, devoting ourselves to it.
Please share this update with your friends, repost it, or retweet it. We would like to have as many people as possible praying and getting involved in all that God is doing among the unreached of the world.
Gary and Tina