This article was originally published in the February 2019 edition of ITMI Monthly.
When believers connect, it makes a difference. When we look back over 2018, we’re jazzed at what the Lord did through the connection between you and our partners.
That last part is important.
What the LORD did.
It’s His mission, but graciously, He lets us be part of it. This month, we’re hoping you’ll be encouraged by some of the highlights from 2018 that He let us collectively be part of.
WE STARTED 2018 OFF WITH Steve Evers and Kent Reisenauer visiting Uganda and South Sudan. One-hundred and twenty-five women in South Sudan were blown away by the revolutionary-to-them Biblical ideas presented by ITMI’s Vicky Waraka and Steve about godly finances.
Steve and Vicky equip 125 South Sudanese women to follow Biblical principles with their finances.
By God’s grace, the guys narrowly escaped being arrested for recording video at Vicky’s house. By spring, ITMI supporters had helped Vicky build a bathroom and finish the home she shares with 5 orphaned girls.
Vicky and Kent walk past Vicky's old bathroom facilities.
Vicky sees the officials as Steve is recording an interview with her.
In 2018, we began another new focus of getting audio Bibles to those that cannot see or read. This year, ITMI supporters sponsored 47 audio Bibles: 5 in Arabic, 3 in Bemba, 3 in English, 3 Afrikaans, 3 Zulu, 10 Burmese, 10 Kannada, 10 Tamil.
Charl equipped a local missionary who works with an illiterate population with an audio Bible.
These Bibles were distributed by our partners and are always a huge blessing to those around the world who don’t currently have access to God’s Word. For example, in one remote village where Steve left an audio Bible with the induna (chief), he returned a year later to learn that the entire village gathers two or three times a week to listen!
This is a beginning, we hope that with the Lord's help and your partnership, many more will be distributed.
In February, our Romanian partner, Adi Ban and a team traveled to the war-torn Donbas region of Ukraine.
They encouraged the struggling and suffering throughout the region, demonstrated the love of God to 170 families with two-week care packages, installed a highly effective outreach tool for a persecuted church - a commercial water-filter - for a local church in a community plagued by contaminated water and rejoiced that 6 new believers came to faith!
Families in war-torn areas of Ukraine being blessed with care packages.
CREATIVE WAYS OUR PARTNERS OFFER HOPE WITH EDUCATION
Education has long been a tool for breaking the cycle of poverty and injustice, and our partners continue to see the fruits of educational outreaches, both as a way to mold future leaders and their parents with Biblical knowledge, wisdom and worldview, but also as a way to build relationships and gain the trust of traumatized youth.
In Bangalore, India, ITMI’s David and Taru Kumar were reaching Muslim and Hindu families living in Modi Road slum through Deepam Education and Women’s Center.
Twenty-five women graduated from a 6 month tailoring training. They were also taught they can know if they are saved, an assurance not offered by the Muslim faith.
Deepam Women's Center reaches women suffering difficult family situations in Modi Road slum in Bangalore.
Thirty-six children, mostly aged 3-5 were part of the Deepam preschool, where they learn about Jesus and are prepared for elementary school. Twelve were admitted and thriving in elementary schools.
A teacher helps one of the students at Deepam Education Center.
Deepam students often teach their parents what they learn about prayer at school.
Two-hundred children from the slum were part of summer programs and camps where they learned about the Lord through Bible stories, fun crafts and illustrations.
About 1000 pastors and believers in rural villages were trained by David to share Jesus and dialog effectively with Muslims.
ITMI’s Paul, Molly and their co-laborers in India cared for and shared Jesus weekly with around 725 children through educational programs. Their sports ministry continues to thrive, and Paul and Molly responded to a new call to reach a village of people labeled “untouchable."
"Untouchable" villagers sit to listen to Paul's teaching.
Paul equipped about 500 Indian pastors who may or may not have ever received support or training as they face persecution in rural places of this Hindu country.
Sixty-three inmates completed the program, internalizing life-changing Biblical truths and many more heard the Good News at their graduation ceremony!
After preaching the good news to a large crowd of prisoners, Kawede confers certificates for those who completed the course.
With the help of supporters, ITMI’s Cindi Parris was able to purchase an electronic technology-based school-in-a-box kit and launch a tutoring center in Stone Hill, South Africa - an informal settlement with a staggering drop-out rate, making K-12 curriculum available to 52 learners in their original languages and drastically improving their odds for graduating.
Cindi with some of the young women she is building relationships with through tutoring.
Speaking of Stone Hill, with a medical clinic seeing 16-35 patients a day, an Early Childhood Development Center employing 5 women from the community, multiple weekly outreaches at the community center, sports outreaches for youth, three weekly Bible studies, Sunday services attended by 60-80 youth and a soup kitchen that runs 3 times a week feeding about 100 each time, the investments supporters made in past years continued to accrue dividends in 2018.
New believers came to Christ, pledged their allegiance to His Lordship and continued to grow in dedication to Him.
The Stone Hill medical clinic.
While ITMI’s Charl van Wyk continues to minister in Stone Hill, he and Cozmore, the passionate, godly Zimbabwean, continued finding ways to push into the lives of villagers in Cozmore’s country, offering the Good News, discipleship and establishing projects that bolster local churches in ministries.
Parents of youth from a remote Zimbabwean village couldn't believe the positive changes in their sons after attending Charl and Cozmore's Gospel camp.
Meanwhile in Poland, ITMI’s Dr. Piotr Zaremba and his team of translators had been pushing hard through 2017, and were excited to realize the publication of two digital editions of the literal translation of the Bible from its original languages into Polish before the first half of the year was gone!
Piotr’s team completed the massive job of laying out this par excellence Study Bible, unparalleled by anything Poland has ever seen, for print in 2018.
This year - 2019 - should see the printing of this revival tool and the publication of a third digital edition. In 2018, Piotr noted 30 years of actively pastoring and opened his arms to many more!
As Piotr’s Bible made its way into the hands of Polish communities all over the world, Bread of Life continued their mission of enabling Poles to put into action what their countrymen could now read.
Seven thousand Polish families or individuals participated in caring for the suffering. The foundation expanded to an additional city, Radom, Poland.
With a 20% unemployment rate - the highest in all of the EU - Radom offers lots of opportunity to, as co-founder Brooke Nungesser put it, “share the Gospel both in word and in action.”
Six hundred miles southeast, ITMI’s Adi and Ema Ban’s discipleship ministry to 21 young families continued to yield fruit as those families establish their roots and begin participating in demonstrating the Good News to those suffering in nearby Ukraine.
This year Adi and Ema’s reach extended to five conferences with a total of about 405 participants in Romania, Poland and Spain.
Adi Ban teaches on Biblical relationships in Spain.
As 2018 wound toward changing leaves and colder temperatures, in Zambia, we celebrated the digging of 6 new wells, giving about 400+ people access to clean, safe water in tandem with Johan Leach’s trained Zambian evangelists explaining that the Lord has a free gift for them.
Also in Zambia, Timothy Keller made his annual evangelism and discipleship visits to around 20 remote villages in Eastern Province, made multiple trips to the village of Chongwe, while also teaching his Biblical Worldview Training course in four new police precincts in 2018.
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.