In this issue:
- Covid-19 And the Gospel
- War Zone Campaign Is On For June
- South Sudan President Mayardit Challenges His Nation To Receive Forgiveness And To Ask For Forgiveness
- East Siberia — I Have Waited For This My Whole Life!
- The Gospel And Rocket Fire In Israel
- Satellite TV Supreme in the Middle East
- Transformation Stories Transform Lives In Russia
- Let's Unite In Prayers Before God's Throne Of Grace!
Covid-19 And the Gospel
The Coronavirus is causing widespread fear and havoc worldwide; airlines, the travel industry, the stock market, the oil market, businesses, country-wide quarantines, hospitals overflowing, mounting death figures, etc. We are bombarded with words like epidemic, pandemic, contagion. In the Bible, the choice of words is plague and pestilence. Pestilence means a deadly and overwhelming disease that affects an entire community.
Jesus And Pandemics
In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke of the end times and foretold that there would be a list of signs including religious deception, war, famine, natural disasters and “pestilences” or disease epidemics (Matthew 24:7).
"Pestilences" is also associated with one of the Four Horseman in the book of Revelation.
By the time the fourth horseman completes his ride, a fourth of earth’s inhabitants will experience devastation. The death toll will be unlike any from plague and disease in human history.
Pestilence can mean any sudden fatal epidemic and it generally connects to a divine visitation.
Scary? For many, very much so! For followers of Christ, not so. We have forewarning of things to come. Whether we are ready is another matter.
David And Pandemics
There are comforting words in the Bible for those who believe.
Psalm 91 bears a beautiful working title. It is referred to as "Being In The Shadow Of The Almighty!"
In verses 2-6, King David writes: "I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in
whom I trust. For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from
the deadly pestilence.
"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your
shield and rampart. "You will not fear the terror of night...nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday."
In times like these, it is necessary to meditate on verses like these. Psalm 23 is another comforting Psalm. You might call it God's psychiatry or God's promises to you when you pass through life's darkest valleys.
Beyond a doubt, the current Covid- 19 pandemic is a wake-up call for everyone, everywhere. But it is not the grand finale of God's condemnation of the world, not yet.
John spells out God's immediate agenda for the world in his Gospel: "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (3:17).
Some 3,000 years earlier, King David penned those same thoughts in Psalm 103. "Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit."
As a child of God, we may fall sick, but even in sickness He comes to us as our healer, writes King David.
The coronavirus pandemic will pass in time. But, how will we react while it is with us?
Message From Wuhan, China
Here is a message that I read from a pastor in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the pandemic. He writes:
"Brothers and sisters, be strong in Christ's love. Even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father. With so many millions facing this pestilence, can it be outside God's will?
"Please ask the Lord to use this pestilence for His glory, so that when it is over, there will be many more souls born again into the kingdom of God than have perished.
"Please intercede, asking our wonderful Savior to bring peace and healing to those who are afflicted with the illness, to provide supernatural strength and protection for the medical personnel struggling on the front lines!
"Please pray for the peace of Christ to rule and reign in our hearts, so that we may be a witness to those who are without hope. "Pray that through this hardship, God's children will grow nearer to the Almighty, and that the Lord will use it to purify our souls and give us many opportunities to proclaim the gospel."
May we be of the same mind to use this pestilence for His glory, so that when it is over, there will be many more souls born again into the kingdom of God than have perished.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
War Zone Campaign Is On For June
In June, Great Commission Media Ministries will work together with Ukrainian churches along a 400-mile stretch of war zone in East Ukraine.
The war zone extends from the Sea of Azov to the major cities of Luhansk and Donetsk to the northwest.
The war has claimed more than 13,000 Ukrainian lives in 5 years. Most villages along the front lines continue to witness shelling daily.
The focus of the campaign will be the Ukrainian side opposite to the territory occupied by the Russians. All evangelical churches have been shut down. They do not have the freedom to preach the Gospel in the occupied territories.
But radio and television media know no boundaries. Television media will reach 10 million people in major cities like Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk Zaporhiye.
Stories of transformed lives are being produced to reach those living in the conflict zone on both sides!
Preparations for the upcoming media evangelism campaign has entered an active phase.
"We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world." Eph. 6:12 (CEV)
Paul writes: "God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And He has given us the work of sharing his message about peace." 2 Cor. 5:19 (CEV)
"...not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors." 2 Cor. 5:19 (NIV)
Can we ask you to keep this upcoming unusual evangelistic media campaign, in a very difficult region of our world, in your prayers?
Yours for millions of Ukrainians,
Int'l Director of Missions
South Sudan President Mayardit Challenges His Nation To Receive Forgiveness And To Ask For Forgiveness
Perhaps the most dangerous mega City Media Campaign that Great Commission Media Ministries
has conducted took place in South Sudan in 2018-2019. The campaign deeply impacted the nation viciously torn by brutal years of tribal warfare.
While the enemy (the devil) was disturbed, God was on the move in powerful way. Four hundred local churches reaped a harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God not seen before. And the Gospel shook the political establishment to the core.
In the five years leading up to the campaign, deadly tribal wars had caused the slaughter of about 400,000 people. Several million had fled to neighboring countries seeking refuge. Villages have been burned to the ground one after another.
Yet, the Lord blessed the GCMM mega city media campaign beyond all expectations.
Not only were millions of South Sudanese reached with the Gospel. Not only did the president of the nation endorse the evangelistic campaign. And not only did hundreds of thousands of people respond to the campaign message. But even the military's top general was convicted by the Holy Spirit of his deeds. He had caused indescribable suffering and death and had come to repentance requesting prayer for his tormented soul.
According to UNESCO, about 70% of South Sudan is illiterate. In order to overcome the barrier of illiteracy
in thousands of villages with no schools, no teachers, no books, GCMM delivered thousands of digital audio players (DAPs) with the message that God forgives you, and He gives you the power to forgive your enemies.
Each unit contained 15 powerful Sudanese transformation stories, the road map to new life in Jesus, the
prayer of salvation and select dramatized Bible stories for children.
Thanks to the public endorsement of the campaign by South Sudan President, the campaign received an unexpected extra boost.
In late February 2020, the President spoke at the signing of a peace treaty with his opponent the Vice President.
President Mayardit challenged his countrymen, the warring tribes to reconcile, to forgive one another while asking for forgiveness himself.
The President's message was clear: “I encourage all South Sudanese to spread the message of forgiving one another. The campaign message is also meant for those who have not heard it yet. We need to take this message seriously. We must forgive one another. Everybody should ask forgiveness for all their offenses done against their brothers, sisters, and their rivals”.
BBC World News was present at the signing of the peace treaty in February and quoted the President who said: "We need to forgive one another and live peacefully with each other. I call on the Dinka tribe and Nuer tribe to forgive each other. My pledge to you is that we will do whatever is necessary to end your suffering".
President Mayardit forgave ex-Vice President Riek Machar and asked for forgiveness from the same. Mayardit challenged the Dinka and Nuer tribes to do the same.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese responded to the campaign message.
To our friends and partners, I say that without your support we could never have done what has been done. We are so thankful to have been able to serve together with you in South Sudan in reaching those who are hopelessly lost. Thank you for helping to give the gift of Salvation to hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan.
Dr. Hannu Haukka
East Siberia — I Have Waited For This My Whole Life!
Wednesday, February 18, 2020 was a big day for the East Siberian Buryat tribe.
The largely unreached Siberian tribe of the Buryats received delivery of their first 20,000 copies of evangelistic iterature in their own mother tongue to aid the Buryat Churches in leading their own tribe to faith in Jesus.
The Buryats are a Mongolic people, numbering approximately
500,000, and are the largest indigenous group in Siberia, mainly concentrated in East Russia along the Russian/Mongolian border.
Until now, the Buryats have not had any evangelistic material in their own language.
A very warm thank you for your financial support in making this landmark printing project a reality. The joy in the Buryat churches is hard to express in words.
Similarly, the East Siberian Yakut tribe has received the same powerful evangelism tool in their own Yakut language.
Yakuts are ethnically related to Turkish people now living in the Republic of Sakha in northeastern Siberia. They number about 480,000.
The Gospel And Rocket Fire In Israel
New TV programs for Jewish Ministry are produced weekly at GCM Ministries studios near Helsinki, Finland.
Great Commission Media Jewish Ministries is poised to see further expansion in 2020.
A few years ago, in 2016 we saw how God began to answer our prayers. At that time the Russian government had passed a new law severely restricting the activities of the evangelical churches of Russia.
Despite the new law, unexpected doors opened up for ministry. For example, KRIK TV, a Russian commercial TV channel wanted Jewish and Israeli program content. GCMM began to produce the Shabbat Shalom series "An Intimate Look at Israel and the Bible".
These same programs were aired on cable channels in Israel streamed on the Internet reaching hundreds of thousands of Russian speaking Jews.
Beginning this year another TV channel is Georgia national Television (formerly a Soviet republic TV channel).
In addition to our in-house productions we are partnering with other producers. In the city of Kiev, Ukraine we have assumed responsibility for the Russian version of Jerusalem Dateline, a highquality news program made in Jerusalem.
In early February we held a special event timed to coincide with the Jewish celebration Tu Bishvat. Tu Bishvat marks the season in which the earliest blooming trees in the land of Israel emerge from their winter. This was another opportunity to present the message of the Messiah's power to change lives to a Jewish audience.
Our staff took part in the "March For Life" event that was held in Germany.
Their message was that, it is not enough to simply say, "Never Again."
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Europe lately. We need to show our colors regarding this issue and stand alongside God's chosen people.
Prayer is Key
All things are possible when we pray. Because of friends and partners like you we can do things on God's harvest fields that otherwise would not happen. We ask you to keep us in your prayers.
As we move ahead, we need heavenly wisdom and your support.
Our dubbing team in Kiev dubs a news program from Jerusalem, into the Russian language. The programs bring an objective and balanced view and can be seen weekly.
Satellite TV Supreme in the Middle East
Last year in 2019, at Great Commission Media Arabic Ministries our team produced 1,000 TV programs in the Arabic, Farsi, Somali, Sudanese Arabic, Amharic and in Tadzhik. These programs are telecast over 16 satellite channels reaching over 500 million viewers. Our follow up teams in the Middle East and North Africa on average receive 200,000 responses per month. Below are some excerpts:
Hakeem – Iraq
Hakeem, a Shia Muslim, had heard about Jesus through a Christian program. He was a regular listener of the programs and felt that God was calling him. Hakeem received Jesus as his personal Savior about 5 years ago and began reading the Bible. His family saw the change in him. They watched him closely and looked through his personal belongings and found his Bible.
They tore up his Bible, verbally abused him, did not give him any food to eat nor clothes to wear in an effort to convince him to turn back to Islam. Hakeem had to quit his job after suffering much public ridicule, labeled as a religious heretic and received death threats over the phone.
Hakeem contacted an associated Bible study group of GCM Ministries and asked for their prayers and help to start up another business far away from his family. The prayer group has kept contact, encouraging and nurturing him spiritually. They also arranged for Hakeem to receive support from a "Persecuted Christian" support group.
Ameen – Egypt
Ameen contacted one of our call centers in Egypt. He had read a book, called "Testimony," by Josh McDowell, after which many questions arose about Jesus Christ. At the same time, he began watching our TV programs, designed for Muslims, as he searched for the truth. One day while watching
our program Ameen received Jesus as his Savior.
There is no church in his area. Ameen is now a disciple of Jesus as a result of watching the programs on TV.
He has met with our staff in Egypt. After praying together Ameen was given help literature. Now Ameen is
committed to an underground Bible study group and is learning more of God's Word.
Malika – Algeria
Malika is a Muslim. She is looking for the truth. She had heard about Jesus through a friend and called our call center asking about the "Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit" She was given a copy of the Bible. Our staff responded to her questions about God, and was given an internet link to the Bible and a Skype contact number to our call center in Algeria for further follow up and help her in her spiritual growth.
Text: Hani Henein
Transformation Stories Transform Lives In Russia
"A great door for effective work has opened to me..." so wrote the Apostle Paul to the Church in Corinth.
These words of Paul became a reality for Great Commission Media Ministries in 2003 when our first mega city media campaign was launched in the great Russian city of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad).
For the Churches on the ground, the campaign required a solid tool for one-on-one evangelism, a tool that would be used to meet the exploding response produced by the Gospel appearing in all mainline media of the city simultaneously.
The tool would be a 100-page book containing high impact local transformation stories together with the road map to new life in Jesus. Over the next 17 years, the same book as used in Volgograd, would be revised, culturally adapted and used in over 107 major city evangelistic campaigns on four continents to lead over one million people to a personal faith in Jesus.
To date, millions of campaign books containing these powerful life-changing stories have been printed and used during mega city campaigns.
Additionally, Great Commission Media Ministries has served churches throughout Russia by printing Bibles, New Testaments and the Gospel of John. According to the reports received so far, over 2,500 new house churches and fellowships in Russia have been planted as a result of this outreach.
Bishop Yuri Ananiyev, GCM Ministries representative, says that 40 outreach teams and more than one thousand churches have used the campaign books as an evangelism tool in reaching out to their people from western Russia all the way to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The campaign book has been printed in
over 30 languages.
"I am thrilled to see the impact of these campaign books that GCM partners through their financial support have made possible. Only heaven can count Transformation Stories Transform the souls that have received Jesus as a result!" exclaims Ananiyev.
For people all across Russia and beyond, these books have been "personal missionaries" that have played a huge role in their search to find God and to receive Jesus as their Savior," says GCM Ministries president Hannu Haukka.
For example, these books have played a central role in evangelizing Sakhalin Island and the Kamchatka Peninsula.
East Siberian Bishop Pyotr Yarmolyuk says: "This book has been a great blessing for our people who live far away from Russia's large metropolitan centres.
"Using the book, large numbers of people have been evangelized in Russia's far east. The book can be compared to a good seed that is sown, and it grows to bear fruit. It is like bread that feeds the soul as we share it with others,"
GCM Ministries prayer partners have financially supported the printing of millions of evangelism books in Russia. On Sakhalin Island, we delivered twenty thousand New Testaments, campaign books and large print Gospels of John to the elderly as well as a pocket-size Gospel of John for students. Lately universities in the region have seen many students come to faith in Jesus.
"This is a crucial outreach. It is our honor to work with you in missions in Russia," says Bishop Yarmolyuk.
GCMM prints all books at a Siberian print facility. Director of GCMM printing, Irina Garabanova says, "More Christian literature is needed in Russia because there are so many people who have not heard the Gospel yet. Many people struggle with problems such as alcoholism, and need to hear the message of true change that only God can give a person."
"People are searching and yearning for change more than ever before. We have a great opportunity to share the Word of God with these people. It is our calling and our first priority," says GCM Ministries program director Laura Haukka.
In 2019 we printed and delivered 1,200,000 New Testaments, Gospel of John and evangelism books. This year, requests for this evangelism material have exceeded 1,250,000. As usual, there is no fund to fulfill this order. But somehow God provides as we move in faith, as did Joshua in the battle for a mega city called Jericho.
We at GCMM want to be faithful in that which has been entrusted to us. It is our goal that any gift will render maximum ROI, that is, return on investment. In his parable of the talents, Jesus clearly tells us what "return on investment" means (Matthew 25:16,19-21).
Return On Investment – ROI
Jesus said, "I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10)
For each book printed, there is a return on investment. One more person will receive Jesus as Savior.
Together, let us cause heaven to rejoice over many thousands of Russians who will repent and receive Jesus in 2020!
Let's Unite In Prayers Before God's Throne Of Grace!
1) COVID-19: May His Name Be Glorified!
- Peace and healing to those afflicted
- Supernatural strength and protection for medical workers and those on the front lines
- God’s people to be drawn closer to Him, bearing strong testimonies, and leading more souls into His Kingdom
2) Next Mega City Media Campaign – Ukraine War Zone, June 2020
- Thank God that the mega city media campaign is now ready to be launched this June in the 400-mile stretch of war zone in Eastern Ukraine. May God continue to bless the unity between GCMM and the churches involved.
- Smooth and speedy preparations for the many tasks that need to be done – campaign books of life-changing testimonies, TV and radio productions, call center setup, training of volunteers, etc. Though this is a very difficult region to run such a campaign, we know we are serving the Ancient of Days, the King of kings and Lord of lords
- For the Holy Spirit to sow into the hearts of Ukrainians and that there will be a huge hunger for God and His Word. May many respond to the campaign and embrace Jesus and His power to change and forgive.
3) South Sudan Media Campaign, 2018
- Thank God for hundreds of thousands who responded to the campaign, and the continued transformation and spiritual growth in South Sudan following their 2018 campaign. At the highest level, last month, President Mayardit, in his peace treaty speech, forgave his rival and asked for forgiveness from his rival. He encouraged his country to do likewise. What an amazing testimony to the Lord!
- May there be a continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit and healing in this land!
4) Praise God His Word Continues to Go Forth
- To the mostly unreached Siberian tribe of Buryats: Much joy when they received 1st 20,000 of evangelistic literature in their native tongue
- Opportunities to produce more Israel and Jewish TV programs, reaching hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking Jews
- Satellite TV programs to Muslims worldwide continue to bear fruit as our follow-up teams in Middle East and North Africa share with 200,000 Muslims responding every month, seeking Jesus.
- There is such a hunger for God and His Word: 1,200,000 New Testaments, Gospel of John and campaign books (bearing testimonies of local Christians) were printed in 2019. So far this year, the demand has already exceeded 1,250,000. May we see a great harvest of souls through printed literature!