Garry Brunson, Behind-the-Scenes Hero

Garry shooting Shukur Aytaman

HEARTS AFLAME: GHM’S CAMERAMAN AND VIDEO PRODUCER

The Quiet Guy in the Back Cubicle

Were you to visit the GHM offices in The Hope Center, it’s entirely possible you could go home afterwards without even realizing Garry was there–unless of course you were here for filming.  In the daily hustle and bustle of ministry business, Garry goes about his day with a very low profile.  Most visitors come by to see Steve Sharp, our CEO/President & Founder or his Executive Assistant, Hannah Beth Roberts.  Guests taking a tour of The Hope Center are always excited to discover Umida, host of Shukur Aytaman (I Am Thankful), our Uzbek women’s program, doing translation work right in our office.

Garry sits several cubicles away from any traffic and most of the time he’s wearing a headset, so he’s disconnected from any commotion involving the rest of us.  He gets there early, frequently chooses to eat his lunch at his desk and often leaves without the rest of us realizing he has gone.

Nonetheless, probably more than anyone else in the ministry, Garry  impacts what our viewers see in our broadcasts.  Our hosts and co-hosts plan their scripts and are visible on-screen.  Our executive producer and director are in charge of the film shoot. However, once we say “That’s a wrap!”, Garry is the one who edits our programs and delivers them to the satellite companies.  What our viewers see is a result of his work with what we filmed.

While he may be almost invisible in the office, when it comes to filming, Garry comes out of his cubicle and becomes an active and vocal part of our production team.  He is a gifted cameraman with a great eye.  He’s the one who decides where the sets will be placed, and between episodes, he’s always fine-tuning the props.  When the director or producer wonders how something will look on film, Garry is the one they turn to.

Devoted Believer 

By working with GHM, Garry is merely acting out the faith he came to as a child.  Since then he’s lived his life “being a servant” and “trust[ing] the Lord’s guidance”.  He started his college career as a art major, but found supplies were expensive and he couldn’t attend university full-time.  Then he discovered a TV production course and “it turned out to be a perfect fit…[he] really enjoyed it.”  He found a production assistant job right after he graduated.

He met Steve Sharp while he was freelancing and as soon as GHM was big enough to justify it, Steve offered him a full-time position.  When asked about his favorite thing about working with this ministry he said, “Getting to use my skills and be creative in ways that ultimately effect people on the other side of the planet really thrills me!”

Mary and Garry with Zafar

Talented Musician 

Our quiet cameraman is also a talented musician.  During our last two Uzbek Women’s Program shoots, he came out from behind the camera to perform with Zafar.  Garry’s musical forté is percussion, and he really spiced up the sound stage with several different varieties of instruments.

As much as we all love Garry, we have to admit that one of the things we like best about him is that he’s married to a lovely and talented violinist named Mary.  She also appeared in some of the musical segments we recorded for Shukur Aytaman, and has graced us with her musical skill for a number of our events, including the Open Hearts High Tea and A Night of Dreams.

Grateful of Garry

The entire GHM staff appreciates how lucky we are to have such a talented teammate.  He is particularly appreciated by the Uzbek cast members who recently included him in an Uzbek worship celebration they held in a park after the Shukur Aytaman shoot.

Garry says, “Foreigners like Central Asians are not very hard to find.  We should always be aware that just because someone isn’t from here, doesn’t mean they are dangerous or scary.  They just have a different culture than ours and that’s OK.  Jesus isn’t about changing someone’s culture, He is about changing their heart.”  He went on to “encourage others to pray for the foreigners in our community and to stretch themselves to learn about other people and cultures.  The world is a beautiful place and it seems to be getting smaller all the time.”

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Set Your Heart Aflame

Like Garry, you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to Fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

Praying in the Name of Jesus

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: PRAY FOR GHM

GHM Target Countries

When we tell people GHM produces Christian TV programming for The Middle East and Central Asia, they usually want to know more.  Sometimes they have specific countries on their heart that they already pray for.  Others aren’t quite sure exactly what countries are in Central Asia.

GHM has produced original programming in Turkmen, Uzbeks, and Azerbaijanis, but that doesn’t begin to reflect the wide reach of our ministry.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • In these regions, political borders are not related to the use of of languages inside the countries.  So, for instance, while Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan, there are large populations of people in several surrounding countries, including Iran and Turkey, who use Azerbaijani as their primary tongue.
  • Many of the languages in the region developed out of the same branch of the Indo-European language family or out of the Turkic language family, meaning that many people can understand many of the languages they do not actually use themselves.
  • Because languages flow so freely between the various countries we minister to, many of our potential viewers speak more than one language.

Languages Add Spice to Life

While our office is staffed by people with names like Steve and Hannah Beth, we communicate daily with our program hosts, Umida, Abror, Feruza, Narmin, and Tarana–and that’s only the beginning.  We have others who regularly appear in our programs, like Aziz, Bahtiyor, and Zafar.  During our last filming we had Mexicans, Russians, Kuwaitis, and Americans as guests, along with many Uzbeks.  There’s rarely any way to guess how many languages might be spoken on any given day in our office, and it’s hard to know which ones we’ll be hearing.

We laugh as we listen to one another struggle with an unfamiliar name or word–and spelling is a whole different subject!  We’re not complaining though.  It makes what we do so much more interesting.  That’s why we’re inviting you to join us in a little language game.

While there is only one Savior, His Name comes in many forms, according to what language you speak.  We invite you to pray to Jesus Christ for the salvation of those watching our programs, using various translations of his name spoken by our viewers  (Translations courtesy of Google Translate):

  • Arabic:  Almasih Eissa
    المسيح عيسى
  • Azerbaijani: Müqəddəs İsa
  • Georgian: Ieso K’riste
    იესო ქრისტე
  • Kazak: Иса Мәсіх
  • Kyrgyz: Ыйса Машайак
  • Russian: Иисус Христос
  • Tajik: Isoi Maseh
    Исои Масеҳ
  • Turkish: Yüce isa
  • Turkmen: Isa Mesih
  • Uzbek: Iso Masih

Join Your Heart to Ours

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Praying for us (in English or any other language) is just one of the ways you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Jesus in the Quran

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: PEOPLE OF THE BOOK

Three Religions, Many Books

In Arabic tradition, Jews, Christians, and Muslims are collectively called the People of the Book and these three religions are referred to in the Quran.  The belief systems are bound together in monotheism and in shared patriarchs, but the person of Jesus Christ divides them.

A more appropriate title for these three monotheistic traditions might be the People of Many Books.  

  • The Torah, the five books of law attributed to Moses, is the foundational text of of Judaism, but other texts like the Tanakh, the Talmud and the Kabbalah are studied, revered and observed.
  • As Christians we embrace the Holy Bible, a compilation of 66 books divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.   The Old Testament comes directly from the Torah and the Tanakh.  The New Testament completes the divine revealed Word of God. Other Jewish texts are studied for historical and interpretive value, but they are not recognized as canon.  Some denominations add other texts, such as the Apocrypha.
  • Islam too, looks to many books.  While the Quran is the central text of Islam, other holy books are recognized, like the Tawrat/Torah, the Zabur/the Psalms and the Injil/Gospel.  However, only the Quran is considered the Holy Word of God and all the other books have been degraded by translation and cannot be trusted by Muslims.

Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone

1st Peter 2 recognizes Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone of our salvation promised in Isaiah, but Peter also refers to the verse in Psalms which which tells the builders rejected Him before He became the chief cornerstone.  This Cornerstone is still being rejected.  Jews, looking for an earthly kingdom for their Messiah, crucified Jesus for blasphemy when He came to us, and while they recognize a historical man named Jesus, they do not acknowledge Him as God.  Muslims deny Allah/God could have a Son or become a human, and see the Jewish/Christian tradition of the trinity as a polytheistic practice.

The North American Mission Board says, “Among the major world religions, Islam is the only non-Christian faith that recognizes the person of Jesus.”  They go on to list all the times Jesus, called Isa, is discussed in the Quran and they say, “Islam corroborates that Jesus was born to a virgin, was sinless, performed miracles, and was superior to other prophets. Yet, Islam teaches that Jesus was no more than a prophet. It denies the central message of Christianity by denying Jesus’ divinity, crucifixion, and resurrection.”

Umida, the host of Shukur Aytaman (I Am Thankful), our Uzbek women’s program, says that regardless of what the Quran may say, few Muslims actually read the holy text. Instead, most depend on what they are told by their mullah. In the mosque she attended in Uzbekistan, they acknowledged the crucifixion and the resurrection, but did not believe God could have a son.  Thankfully, she was introduced to Christ and now devotes her life to spreading His Truth.

The Good News of the Gospel

In our target countries, religion is more cultural than spiritual.  Islam is primarily an overpowering tradition of rules which burden the lives of our viewers.  We take the message of Christ to them in our broadcasts, but it is the Holy Spirit which moves in their hearts to bring them to Christ.  It is not a book, but a person who brings them hope and that person is the Living Lord.  Once our viewers come to know Christ, they are anxious to read of him in the Holy Bible and to fellowship with other Believers in the hidden home churches.  For that reason we support our broadcasts with text/phone counseling and the training of home pastors.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Hallelujah! He is Risen!

HEARTS OVERFLOWING:  THE RESURRECTION IS THE GOOD NEWS

Jesus Christ, The Risen Lord

The Risen Christ, emerging from His Tomb, joyfully represents the purpose of everything we do at Global Heart Ministries. Our mission is laser-focused on bringing the Good News of Christ to the lost in the Middle East and Central Asia. If it were not for Resurrection Day, there would be no Hope for us to carry into this dark place, the Most Unreached Region of the World.

Celebrating Easter

Christians celebrate Easter in a variety of ways and usually at couple of different times, but in this year of 2017, Easter falls on the same day on both the Julian calendar, used by the Orthodox Church, and the Gregorian calendar, used by other Christian denominations.

For many, the holiday begins forty days before with Ash Wednesday and is observed by fasting until Easter, in honor of the sacrifice of Christ. While some in the world try to drown the holiday of Easter in stuffed bunnies and chocolate eggs, this commercialized celebration does not represent the focus of Believers during this sacred season.

For Believers, the Resurrection is the single most important thing that has ever happened. The Lord God sent His Son into the World so that through Him the World could be saved. Christ emerged victorious from the grave, three days after he suffered the Crucifixion, for the sake of the World. Jesus Christ is the Hope of the World.

Sharing the Good News in The Middle East and Central Asia

Christ Resurrected is the message of the Bible and it is the message we carry in every program we produce. Many of our viewers live in places where they could be jailed for the crime of carrying a Bible. Church is not a building where they go to listen to a vigorous rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus. Church is a handful of fellow Believers who must meet in small groups, often in homes, but sometimes in caves or other rugged locale to avoid the authorities.

In spite of their difficulties, these Believers in the Middle East and Central Asia understand the Joy of Easter. Perhaps they understand even better than we Westerners do – in spite of our megachurches, 100-voice choirs and seminary-trained ministers.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

These words and other messages of Hope are the verses in the Bible that Believers in the Middle East and Central Asia cling to. They know personally the difficulties Christ was speaking of and the blessings He promises sustain them.

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Join Your Heart to Ours

We need your help in partnering with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Bringing Truth to Easter

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: PEELING AWAY MYTHS

The Rites of Spring

A quick glance around the Internet will quickly inform you of the pagan history of Easter.  The Easter Bunny comes from some Nordic tale of an egg-laying hare.  From the beginning of time, in myriads of cultures, an egg is the sign of new life.  Many gods and goddesses of mythology have tales of rebirth among their legends.  Even the very name of the celebration is often linked back to the name of a goddess.  For these reasons and others, some Christians shy away from celebrating what they feel is a holiday tainted by other religions.

Easter in Persian Cultures

For Christians in Central Asia, Iran, and other Persian nations, Easter is a very special time.  Before they became Christians, most Persians, like Azerbaijanis and Uzbeks enjoyed a holiday called Novruz, which we discussed last month.  Many of it’s traditions relate to the coming of spring and the signs of new life in nature.  The history of the holiday has many links into a number of religious traditions, but it has come to be celebrated in our times for the pure fun of it.  To those brought up celebrating the signs of life of nature with Novruz, the hope of Christ has a very precious meaning.

As with much of the world, America’s commercialism is pervasive in GHM’s target countries.  Our TV hosts tell us that decorated eggs, chocolate bunnies, and stuffed chicks can be found in many of their stores.  Central Asians, Iranians, and others throughout the Middle East watch newscasts and movies where Americans are making a big ado about an Easter frock or the White House Easter Egg Roll.  They are able to enjoy the festivities without any understanding of what Easter is.  They see it as a sort of American Novruz.

However, once someone becomes a Christian, New Life means much more than fresh green leaves or the return of agriculture.  Narmin, host of Sweet Conversations, our Azerbaijani Women’s Program, loves to celebrate Novruz because of the memories of friends and family it offers, but Easter has become her favorite holiday because it assures her of the hope she has found in Jesus Christ.  Umida, host of Shukar Aytaman (I Am Thankful), our Uzbek Women’s Program, could not carry her Bible when she went to her home church in Uzbekistan, but now she proudly wears a cross around her neck since she has the freedom of America.  For these women and for Christians everywhere, it is the cross and the empty tomb which are the true symbols of Easter, not rabbits and eggs.   

No one loves hope more than those who have known hopelessness. Our viewers know what it is to live without hope.  Soviet occupation squelched all religious practice. When the Russians left, Islam flooded the religious vacuum, but it did not offer hope, only rigid rules encompassing every facet of life.  The Good News of Jesus Christ, offered in every program we produce, is a refreshing wind of hope, embraced by Believers–old and new–in our target countries.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Still Glowing from Shukur Aytaman

HEARTS ON THE MOVE: PICTURES FROM THE SET

Pictures tell the story best.  Hover over pictures to see captions.

Shukur Aytaman Afterglow

Zafar, Umida, and Feruza – Musician, Host, and Co-host of Shukur Aytaman

HEARTS ON THE MOVE: UZBEK WOMEN’S PROGRAM USES HOLIDAYS TO SHARE THE GOSPEL

Touching the Cultural Heart to Share the Spiritual Message

Every culture has its own special occasions and these celebrations provide a strong link to the hearts of its people.  For instance, Americans don’t have to be Christians for festive decorations and traditional carols to evoke a deep emotional response at Christmas.  This is the cultural heart, and when we create programming to touch it, GHM gains deeper access into the lives of our viewers.

Utilizing this principle for the latest season of Shukur Aytaman (I Am Thankful), our Uzbek Women’s Program, the theme for nearly every episode was an Uzbek holiday.  Each holiday opened the door for a spiritual lesson.  For instance:

  • Teacher’s Day allowed us an opportunity to introduce Jesus Christ as the Greatest Teacher.
  • Ramadan, a time of personal sacrifice, led to a discussion of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
  • International Women’s Day was a perfect chance to discuss the role of women according to God’s Word.
Behind the Cameras – Garry and Hannah Beth, with Ron in the background

Guests from Around the World

One of the biggest challenges for our programs is lining up our guests.  In the past we have tried to focus on featuring Uzbeks, primarily because Uzbekistan has been a very politically shuttered society.  However, the new president has indicated an interest in opening the door for outside influences, which allowed us to cast our net further for potential guests.  This season’s line-up has a definite international flair–and Umida, our host, even wore jeans on one of the episodes, a real no-no in the past.

In conjunction with this, we changed our format a little.  Before when we’ve featured guests who did not speak the language, we would dub their conversations into Uzbek for airing.  This time we allowed our co-host Feruza, an accomplished linguist, to translate the conversation into Uzbek on the spot.  We tried it as an experiment in our first take and were thrilled with the results.  The conversation seemed to flow more naturally, so we used this method for the rest of the shoot.

We were pleased to have several Uzbeks in our line-up, but also very glad to have the opportunity to include a Mexican, a Russian, a Kuwaiti, and an American.  It was truly an international cast.

Join Your Heart to Ours

By partnering with Global Heart Ministries, you are helping to Fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

Ron Seher, Cameraman, Carpenter, Servant

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: BEFORE THERE WAS DANIEL’S MEN OF VALOR, RON VOLUNTEERED FOR GHM

There at the Beginning

If GHM is filming, then probably Ron Seher is on the camera crew, but he’s been a lot more than a cameraman to this ministry.  When Steve Sharp was still brainstorming through how to accomplish GHM’s goals, he turned to Ron for advice, because Ron had been a television producer/director himself.

The Original Production Desk Ron Built for GHM

In those early days, Steve needed a production desk to use for the taping of programs, so Ron built one for him. Woodworking is another of Ron’s skills which has been helpful to GHM.  At that time, Steve was still serving as music minister at a local church and the desk was used in a production space of the church.

When Steve went full-time as the President/CEO & Founder of GHM, he moved to The Hope Center in Plano, TX and did not have a permanent studio, so Ron’s original desk is currently being stored until the day God sees fit to provide another permanent studio.  We don’t waste anything!

Still With Us

New Mobile Production Desk Stored For Next Shoot

With no permanent studio to call home, we’ve still needed a production desk, but mobility was an important feature to consider.  When we shoot, we may go on location, set up a temporary studio in The Hope Center or rent/borrow someone else’s studio.  When we’re not shooting, the production desk needs to fit into a cubicle of our office.  So, again, we looked to Ron and he did not disappoint.

In addition to mobility, the desk gives us a secure place to store the technical equipment used with Each bin of the cabinet is numbered and all the items inside are inventoried, so we know exactly where our gear is between shoots.   The storage bins make set-up and tear-down a breeze, because it keeps all the components close at hand.

Ron and his desk on the set

But while he enjoys being able to help out with the odd carpentry job, Ron’s favorite task at GHM is cameraman.  He’s been running a camera since 1970 and his degree is in Radio and Television Broadcasting, and he says, “The challenge is finding interesting shots and being on your toes with the talent does something unexpected.”

Ron at his camera

“I love the television production aspect of [this ministry],” Ron told us,”and meeting the people on the programs who have such a  great heart for the Lord and bringing the Good News to their people.  It’s really great to be able to use my God-given talent to further His Word with the skills He gave me.  I’m blessed.”  We think we’re blessed to be able to call on someone like Ron to work with us!

Of our ministry, he says the main thing he wants people to realize about GHM is this, “God gave GHM the capability and opened the doors to be able to deliver the Word of salvation to millions who are repressed from hearing it because of government control…[if] you are so lead [to help] this ministry by [the]contribution of money or or time, you should do so.”

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Join Your Heart to Ours

Volunteering your gifts and talents is just one of the ways you can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor.  Contact us today by phone or email.  Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

 

 

Farsi, The Persian Heart Language

“Farsi” Written in Persian

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: MODERN LANGUAGE WITH ANCIENT ROOTS

Multiple Languages in One Nation

Several months ago we told you how the Iran of the Ancient Silk Roads has become a modern day linguistic crossroads for The Middle East and Central Asia.  Representatives from virtually every language of these areas live in Iran and speak their own tongue within its borders.  However, Iranians also have their own language called Farsi and it has ancient Persian roots.

One Language, Ancient Roots and Much Influence

Use of Old Persian, the grandmother of the Farsi used in Iran today, can actually be traced back to Persis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, discussed in a previous blog, so it is at least 2500 years old.  What was once the capital city of Persis is in the Fars Province of modern Iran, hence the name “Farsi.”

According to Farsinet.com, Farsi is the most widely spoken of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages and Wikipedia says there are about 110 million people around the world who use it.  The primary countries using Farsi are Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, but it is considered a prestigious cultural language in Western, Central, and South Asia and has influenced neighboring tongues such as Arabic and the Turkic languages.

Because of a long history in literature, Middle Persian (the form before the current language and after the original Achaemenid use) was the first language in the Muslim world to break Arabic’s monopoly on writing, according to Wikipedia.  The literary classics in these countries include many works of Persian authorship.

So What?

Perhaps you are wondering why all of this matters to GHM.  Well, because the use of heart languages is foundational to what we do, that’s why.  Our programming is designed to reach the cultural heart of our viewers and part of that task is accomplished by using native speakers of our heart languages as hosts.  We have produced original Christian programming in Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and Turkmen.

To our delight, these programs are enjoyed throughout The Middle East and Central Asia, regardless of the name of the country, because the geographical boundaries have little influence on the use of heart languages.  Also, Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and Turkmen languages can be understood to a great degree by other people who also speak Turkish-based languages.

Now we want to take it to the next level.  Since Iranians already share the Persian culture our programs target, by lip-synch dubbing them into Farsi, we could multiply exponentially the number of potential viewers.  Remember, Farsi is spoken by 110 million people in the world and the influence of the Persian culture followed the Empire into the Indian subcontinent and throughout the rest of Asia.

Lip-synch dubbing is a translation method which seamlessly transforms the language spoken so well only an expert can tell it has been dubbed.  Imagine all the lost men, women, and children mired in hopelessness who could be freed into the joy of salvation by watching our programs.  So that is our dream, to lip-synch dub all the many programs we have already produced into Farsi.

While lip-synch dubbing a program is inexpensive in comparison to producing a new program, it still takes money.  While money is not something we like to spend much time talking about, it is very necessary to this opportunity the Lord of languages has set before us.  The Lord God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel and now He is leading us to take His message to His children who speak Farsi.

Help Reap the Harvest

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.

We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.

Happy Novruz!

Novruz Khoncha

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: CENTRAL ASIANS WELCOME SPRING

Celebrate Novruz!

Did you know that today, the first day of spring is Novruz?  Novruz is a springtime holiday which is enthusiastically celebrated throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.  It’s a holdover from ancient times when  these regions, along with most of the civilized world, were  part of the Persian Empire.  Recently, we’ve explored the history and culture of Persia and its many ties to the Bible.

Today Novruz is merely a popular observance with no ties to any particular religion and everyone, regardless of their religion, loves the holiday.  However, its origins can be traced to pre-historic pagan rituals illustrated in cave paintings.  Around 1000 B.C. the monotheistic Zoroastrian religion, with it’s focus on light order and truth, became the primary religion of the empire and many of its more desirable tenets like a focus on family life, hospitality, generosity and respect for nature, are still a part of Novruz.

Narmin in traditional costume discussing Novruz on Sweet Conversations

Narmin Loves Novruz

Here’s what Narmin, the host of Sweet Conversations has to say about Novruz:

As an Azerbaijani, I love Novruz Bayram. It is one of my most favorite holidays as well as a favorite of the whole nation of Azerbaijan. Novruz has a deep tradition in Zoroastrianism, but we do not celebrate it because of that anymore, especially, we as the believers in Jesus Christ.

This holiday represents and symbolizes the coming of Spring and all that is connected with it. For Novruz we bake Azerbaijani traditional sweets such as pakhlava (Americans call it baklava), shekel bura, gogal. We make khoncha (tray of sweets and dried fruits with candles), we color the eggs (this tradition is very similar to the one at Easter here in States). We grow semeni – sprouted wheat to represent the grass and the spring itself. Youth and children build bonfires and jump over them, which is a lot of fun, but unfortunately is prohibited here is the States.

The mood is festive, people are celebrating at home as well as on the streets. There are a lot of street entertainment to see and to attend. On the day of the Novruz, people are dressed up and visit each other with sweets and presents.

One of my favorite memories as a child was to put a hat by the neighbors door, knock at the door or ring a bell and run away. Traditionally people would put the sweets in your hat from their table or khoncha, so the kids can enjoy them later. Neighborhood kids did it for us and we did to them and everyone loved it. During the Soviet Era this holiday was officially banned, but we still celebrated it and now it is a public holiday in Azerbaijan.

Uzbeks Gather to Enjoy Sumalak

Umida Loves Sumalak

In Uzbekistan  the celebrations are focused on a dish called Sumalak, a wheat bran pudding that is cooked in communal pots shared by all the families in a neighborhood.  The dish looks similar to chocolate pudding, but tastes very different.  Most Uzbeks love any opportunity to gather with friends and family to enjoy food.  These communal cooking pots provide a marvelous excuse to do just that and the celebrations include dancing.

Several legends are put forth as the genesis of the Sumalak tradition, but all of them point to the importance of sharing, especially with those in need.  There is also a tradition that if you eat from seven different pots during the celebration you will have a good year, so visiting others outside your immediate neighborhood is encouraged.

GHM Uses Traditions to Touch Hearts

One of the unique aspects of GHM’s programming is that we discuss traditions like Novruz on our episodes, to touch the cultural heart of people in the Middle East and Central Asia, then once we have earned their attention and trust, we introduce spiritual truth.  We have found this to be a very effective way to reach the lost in these areas.

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Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.
Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

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