New Satellite Expands Our Reach

HEARTS ON THE MOVE:  GHM ON IRAN ALIVE

Satellite Broadcasters Are Our Partners in Spreading the Gospel

First Corinthians 12:5 tells us, “There are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord”  That’s very true when it comes to the work GHM does in The Middle East and Central Asia.  GHM produces original Christian programming in our target countries’ heart languages, but we depend on ministries like Iran Alive for broadcast via satellite.

Pastor Hormuz, Founder and President of Iran Alive says, “We should focus on Iran not because there is a need—needs are everywhere—but because it is the wise strategy. Iran is the gateway to transforming the Middle East with the Gospel. Once Iran turns to Christ, the whole Middle East will fall like a domino effect. Iran is where God is working in a special way today.”

Iran is a patchwork quilt of languages, stitched together with Farsi.  The most frequently spoken language in Iran, after Farsi, is Azerbaijani, the language used in Sweet Conversations, our Women’s Program and in the newly dubbed Children’s Program, Story World.   These programs are important tools used by Iran Alive to reach the Azerbaijani-speaking people of Iran.

Sweet Conversations brings the Gospel to Azerbaijani-speaking women in Iran

Better Technology Reaches More Hearts

Pastor Hormuz was gleeful when he sent an email to Steve Sharp with the news of the upgraded satellite.  He told the story of a woman who was able to watch an Iran Alive program for the very first time.  Late one sleepless night, as she switched among the channels she usually watched, she saw a program she wasn’t familiar with and through it came to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior.  Pastor Hormuz did not specify which program she saw, but it could have very easily been Sweet Conversations.  Each Sweet Conversations program is laser-focused on the difficulties facing women in countries like Iran and Turkey.

The new satellite reaches 15 million new viewers who have not previously had access to Christian programming and can now hear the Gospel in their own living room.  It also reaches 1 million Believers who had been without access to the encouragement and teaching available on Christian TV.  In addition to better coverage, the new satellite broadcasts are subject to less jamming – a ploy used by governments to keep their populations in the dark about Christianity, global politics and Western freedoms.

So join with us as we celebrate this exciting news from our ministry partner.  We are glad to share it with those of you who donate to, pray for and volunteer with GHM.  Every dollar you give, every prayer you lift and every hour your volunteer now goes further in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

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.

The Faith of Our Founding Fathers

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: FAITH’S DISAVOWAL OF DEPENDENCE

America’s Independence Day

July 4, 1776:  The day America officially declared independence from Britain.  Today we celebrate that milestone with picnics and fireworks, but back in 1776, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was a solemn step  which would lead to a bloody war with Britain.  In many ways it was America’s first Civil War, because while those who believed in independence won the war, there were many living in America in 1776 who were actually loyal to the Crown and King.

Taxation was the sticking point that eventually drove Americans to part ways with Britain, but our spirit of independence was born out of a desire for religious freedom.  After Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage in 1492 for Spain, soon adventurers from all over Europe were making their way to the New World with a wide variety of motivations, from pure greed to pious claims of spreading Christianity.  But all these adventurers were merely visiting the New World to plunder it for European fame, fortune or furtherance in religious organizations.

When the Pilgrims came to Virginia in 1607, they came to make a home, because they could not safely practice their faith in their own homeland.  They were followed shortly by the Puritans, Quakers and other groups seeking religious freedom of one kind or another – even the freedom to have no religion at all.

Unfortunately, many of those who came to America to escape religious persecution were quick to impose their own form of religious intolerance on others.  Almost without exception, those who desired to persecute all others who did not practice their own religion, claimed their intolerance was to protect God, but other voices prevailed.

Though Americans have not always gotten it right, the value of religious freedom, for everyone’s brand of religion, was an early concern of the Founding Fathers.  Smithsonian.com points out, James Madison, a future president at the time, “noted that Christianity had spread in the face of persecution from worldly powers, not with their help. Christianity, he contended, ‘disavows a dependence on the powers of this world…for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them. ‘”

Today we imagine the birth of our nation to resemble our national bird, the Bald Eagle, climbing fully-formed out of  an egg, but in truth, like a newly hatched eaglet, it took time to develop the ideas that eventually became our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 and the Constitution in 1788, but the Bill of Rights was not written until 1791.  It is there that our freedom of religions was advanced and today is protected:

 “Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The Disavowal of Dependence

Today, GHM can testify to the Christian faith’s disavowal of dependence on the powers of the world.  In America, where religious freedom is protected, many clamor for a freedom from religion, traditional Christian churches report attendance is down and religions John Madison never heard of spring up almost daily – some with no relationship to Christianity beyond a disdain for it.

However, in The Middle East and Central Asia, where Christianity is actively persecuted in many areas and barely tolerated in others, people are clamoring to have access to the Bible and to meet with Christians.  It is impossible to count the number of people to whom Jesus Christ has appeared in dreams and visions.  The Spirit moves without the support or encouragement of the governments of these countries.

It is for these seekers and new Believers we produce Christian programming to be broadcast via satellite in countries like Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.  By training and mentoring home pastors we encourage Believers in this country to continue to fight the good fight and offer the hope they have to others.  Wouldn’t you like to partner with us in these efforts?

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 in The Middle East and Central Asia. 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.

 

Media Makes a Difference for Volunteer

Alma maintains the GHM database.

HEARTS AFLAME:  ALMA DIXON KNOWS DATA MATTERS

Alma Dixon is a volunteer we can’t live without.  Our database of donors, volunteers and partners is critical to our operation and she’s the one who keeps it percolating along.  Because of her, our supporters get their their newsletters, e-news and records of their donations.  When we pick up the phone and call someone, the number is available because Alma keeps the database humming.  It’s a huge job and its one she volunteers for.

When we asked how she became involved with GHM, her answer was a smile and one name: Steve Sharp.  Steve was worship minister at Alma’s church when he started his ministry in Central Asia.  When he asked her to help, she “really had no choice – he never takes no as an answer.”

Sermon Tapes Put Jesus in the Driver’s Seat

Alma knows the effectiveness of media when it comes to the Gospel.  She had been brought up in a Christian home, but admits “Jesus was a passenger in [my] life.”  After she was married her brother sent her some sermon tapes which caused her to change drivers.  “The Lord began to soften my heart, I started reading the Bible, attending church and eventually I relinquished the driving to Him.”

That’s the kind of life-changing message GHM brings to The Middle East and Central Asia.  Religious leaders there promote a monotheistic belief system, but that system does not satisfy the hearts of the men, women and children of the region.  Alma reminds us, ” The people in that part of the world are eager for spiritual answers and they are responding to the Gospel message.”

Zafar, Umida and Feruza, Musician, Host and Co-host of Shukur Aytaman, Our Uzbek Women’s program

Through satellite broadcasting, GHM delivers the Gospel into the living rooms of countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan.  When a viewer is touched by the message of our programming, there are hundreds of home pastors, trained and spiritually mentored by GHM, who can bring the viewers into their hidden churches.  As Alma pointed out, these home churches are not filled only by our viewers, but many in those areas are encountering Jesus in visions and dreams.  Even as many here in the Western World are turning their backs on Christianity, the Lord is moving in The Middle East and Central Asia.

“Think eternally, life passes quickly,” is the message Alma wants to pass on to others.  She knows her work for GHM is for the Lord and she’s happy to be a part of reaching others so far away with the Gospel.  Wouldn’t you like to join Alma and many others in supporting GHM with your time, talents and money?

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Set Your Heart Aflame

Like Alma, 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.

 

A Invitation to Serve

On the Set with Sweet Conversations

HEARTS ON THE MOVE: SWEET CONVERSATIONS FILM SHOOT JUNE 25-JULY 1

Be Part of the Fun!

Come join us in June for a Sweet Conversations film shoot.  If you’ve been a part of one of our previous shoots, then you already know the excitement involved in filming a season of shows.  If not, then why not let June be the month you change that?  We’ll be filming Season Four of our Azerbaijani Women’s Talk Show, Sirin Sobat (Sweet Conversations).

Narmin and Tarana, the lovely co-hosts of Sweet Conversations, bring a mixture of Azerbaijani culture, current topics for women, beautiful paintings, and the Good News of the Gospel to Azerbaijani speaking audiences throughout Central Asia. For one long grueling week, they abandon their lives in other cities and come to our temporary studio to film an entire season of programs.

Global Heart Ministries
Sweet Conversations hosts Narmin & Tarana encourage Azerbaijani women all over Central Asia.

Thirteen Shows in One Week

It is necessary to film thirteen episodes because our satellite providers require that number in order to air our seasons.  We set up for our shoot in a conference room at The Hope Center and then take care of everything–set-up, filming and break-down–in one week so the other ministries at The Hope Center can utilize the space for their events. With only one week available our talent, technicians, and volunteers are in for some intense work. The call sheet assignments start very early each day and often go on until late in the evening.

Our goal is to have at least one guest per show and this season our guest list will include several visitors from Azerbaijan. Shuffling personnel in and out for the various episodes, finding them a place to stay, and transporting them to and from the airport is a huge logistical nightmare.

Just one of many jobs on the set

So How Can You Help?

First, you can start praying – right now. We’ve been lining up our guests for months.  For this season the task includes dealing with bureaucratic red tape in Azerbaijan for the necessary visas.  While that’s going on, we’re not free to share exactly who our guests will be, but we can tell you the list is exciting.

Like other Christians in Central Asia, Azerbaijanis face persecution for their faith and that makes the visa process more difficult.  The Spirit is moving and doors are opening, but for every joyful success for our believing friends, there is another story of violence, incarceration, and loss of property.  

And There’s More

We also need other kinds of help from our faithful volunteers. Here are a few of the ways you can help:

Transportation – Whether you can help out with one trip to the airport or are available all week to help move people around and run errands, we sincerely need your help.
Hosting Talent – In the Central Asian culture, guests expect to be hosted in a home, rather than in a hotel, so all of the talent will need a place to stay while they are here. Some will only need to stay for one night, while others will need to stay all week.
Providing Food – Each day we have to feed all the people working on the set. We need help in a variety of ways.

  • Each morning we have donuts. Whether you’d like to pick them up yourself and visit the set, or just underwrite the cost we’d really appreciate it.
  • Each midday we have lunch and some days we need dinner. You can help us by underwriting the cost of feeding the crew at The Hope Center’s Cafe 6:19, you can order pizzas to be delivered, pick up your favorite fast food, or if you like to cook, we’d love for you to bring us a meal.
  • We keep a table full of healthy snacks for breaks. Whether you’d like to donate individual snack items, underwrite our shopping trip to Costco, or have an organization that would like to take over the whole job, it would really be a blessing.

Prayer – This is something we always need, but most especially during our shoots. You can lift us up during the day as you go about your routine or you are welcome to arrange a visit to the set and pray as you observe.

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Join Your Heart to Ours

By partnering with Global Heart Ministries during our film shoots 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.

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.

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.

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.

How Did a Jewess Become Queen of Persia?

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: QUEEN ESTHER AND ESTHER’S FRIENDS

Esther by Narmin Backus
Esther by Narmin Backus

Once Upon a Time

While the Bible contains many accounts reading more like an adventure story than part of a religious text, it could be argued the tale of Haddesah is one of the more remarkable:

A young orphan is being raised by her uncle in the city of Susa.  One day it is announced the king ‘s eunuchs are holding a beauty contest to find a new queen.  The lovely Haddesah is quickly chosen to be among the contestants and her personality is so sweetly unique she gains the notice of all.  Because of a friendship with the eunuch in charge of the contest and her own wisdom, she gains the king’s favor when presented to him and the lovely Haddesah becomes Queen Esther.  

The most wondrous thing about this tale is that it is absolutely true, but what makes it even more amazing is this: Haddesah is a Jew.  Today’s Jews still celebrate the festival of Purim, which commemorates her astonishing contribution to the nation of Israel.  How in the world did a Jewish orphan end up queen of a Persian court?

Artist's conceptual drawing of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Artist’s conceptual drawing of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Babylonian Captivity

If you’ve read our most recent blogs about Persian history and culture, you’ll remember the Babylonian captivity of the nation of Israel, by King Nebuchadnezzar, brought Israeli captives from Israel to Babylon.  Then Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, so he inherited the lands Nebuchadnezzar controlled and the Jewish captives in Babylon.

The magnanimous Cyrus allowed all of his subjects to follow their own religious persuasions and he allowed Jewish captives to return home.  The book of Nehemiah tells the story of the return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and the Temple.  However, not everyone wanted to return.

The Jews had been in Babylon for 70 years.  Many had been born there.  Many held important positions in the government of the Babylonians and continued to earn favors under Cyrus.  A life rebuilding their traditional home did not seem as desirable as continuing their pleasant sojourn under the auspices of the wise King Cyrus.

Susa today, a UNESCO world heritage site dates back to the time of Queen Esther
Susa today, a UNESCO world heritage site dates back to the time of Queen Esther

Enter Xerxes and the City of Susa

Susa is the city where the action in the book of Esther took place. While there are some scholars who tag Artaxerxes as the Persian king called Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther, most say Ahasuerus was Xerxes, the son of Darius.  Both kings made their home in Susa, a city which associated with both Daniel and Nehemiah, so one might say Haddesah was in the right place at the right time to save the Jewish nation.

Remember, at the time of Esther/Haddesah, Persia included everything from Turkey to India west to east and everything from Egypt to Russia south to north.  This means that the city of Jerusalem and its new temple were included.  It also means that far flung Jewish communities, like those still existing in Uzbekistan until today were under the rule of Queen Esther.

When the evil courtier Haman, frustrated by Queen Esther’s uncle Mordecai, tricked the King into allowing all the Jews of the Persian Empire to be killed, the entire Jewish race was within the reaches of the empire and they would have all been slain.  But King Ahasuerus didn’t know his queen was a Jew.  The wily Mordecai had insisted she keep this part of her history a secret.

Before revealing how Haman’s evil plot would reach into the palace of Susa and cost the king his queen, Esther and her ladies fasted and prayed.  The roll-out of Esther’s reveal contains cliff-hangers of the highest order, but they also demonstrate dramatically how the will of the Lord works out in the lives of real people – like the King and Queen of Persia, an evil courtier named Haman and Uncle Mordecai, who eventually became second only to the King in Persia.

Esther’s Friends

When Queen Esther wondered if it was indeed her place to approach the king about Haman’s scheme, her uncle told her it was likely God had placed her in her high position, “for such a time as this.”  Like Queen Esther, Global Heart Ministries has been placed in history at a very specific time – a time when technology has opened a window for the Gospel to shine its light into the Middle East and Central Asia.  We have no idea if this modern day miracle will continue, but as long as it does, like Esther, “thus [we] will go.”

Also, like Queen Esther, we have a group of ladies who join us in our endeavors.  We call them Esther’s Friends.  They pray for us, volunteer with us and donate to us on a regular basis, helping to further the Kingdom of God among the Persians and the Arabs.  If you’d like to join Esther’s Friends in our battle for the Gospel in the Middle East and Central Asia, contact our volunteer coordinator at jane.sadek@globalheartministries.org

Join Your Heart to Ours

Joining Esther’s Friends 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.

 

 

Taking the Bible Back to Iran

Cyrua the Great, The Great King, King of Kings, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Four Corners of the World
Cyrus the Great, The Great King, King of Kings, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Four Corners of the World

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: WITH CHRISTIANITY, PERSIANS RECLAIM THEIR PAST

Isaiah Prophesies Cyrus’s Arrival on the World Scene

One hundred and fifty years before Cyrus conquered Babylon, the Prophet Isaiah wrote these words, “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut.” (Isaiah 45:1).  About a hundred years later, Cyrus was born into the Achaemenid clan.

At that time, the high plateau east of the Zagros Mountains was populated by a variety of nomadic tribes who had begun to migrate there in the 16th Century BC. Over time, they banded together to form a federation of clans controlled by the Medes.  Among the 10-15 clans that made up the region of Persia, was the Pasargadae.  Their leader was always chosen from the Achaemenid clan and in 559 BC, Cyrus 11 was chosen as the leader of the Pasargadae.

Over the next seven years, Cyrus led the Persians to overthrow the Median rule, in spite of the fact his grandfather was their king.  In doing so, he styled himself as the first Shah of Persia and he assumed the empire the Medes had built over centuries, even though some of the nations were not ready to peacefully submit.

King Croesus of Sardis
King Croesus of Sardis

One such dissenter was King Croesus of Sardis, but after an indecisive battle Croesus returned home to lick his wounds over the winter, assuming their conflict would be continued in the spring.  Breaking with tradition, Cyrus pursued him and defeated in his primary city.  Then, also breaking with tradition, Cyrus spared Croesus’ life and brought him into the administration of the country he once ruled.

Cyrus went on to conquer Babylon in 539 BC.  However, he did it in his own non-traditional manner, winning the hearts of the nation against their current king with propaganda, before being welcomed into the city with palm fronds strewn along his path.

Nebuchadnezzar
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon

Cyrus Delivers the Jewish Nation

The Prophet Jeremiah warned the nation of Israel that God had run out of patience  with them and would be sending “His servant Nebuchadnezzar” against them. (Jeremiah 25:9)  They would be taken away into captivity, but he also promised the captivity would only last 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:11)

A teenager by the name of Daniel was among the Jews who made the 5-month journey, on foot, to Babylon. In his elder years, after faithfully serving the kings of Babylon for many decades, Daniel read the words of Jeremiah and began to pray for the promised Deliverer.  The Lord sent Cyrus, the deliverer Isaiah had promised 150 years before.

After his triumphal entry into Babylon, Cyrus continued his habit of defying tradition and encouraged his subjects throughout his vast domain to worship their own gods and live according to their own customs.  He even allowed the captive Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple.

persian-empirePersia in the Bible

There are 240 references to Persia and Persians in the Old Testament, but you also find them in the book of Acts.  Acts 2:9 lists the people groups present at the Day of Pentecost.  This list begins with “Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia”, all people who came to Jerusalem from the Persian Empire.

These Parthians, Medes, Elamites and Mesopotamians went back to Persia with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Then they traveled the Silk Roads trading their spices for the silks of China and leaving behind their faith.  In China, Christianity was first known as a Persian religion!

The kingdom of ancient Persia is now known as Iran.  A list of Persia’s rulers, reaches from the Cyrus of the Bible to the last Shah, deposed in 1979.  While the American media focuses on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its ties to radical terror groups, Iran is also the home of the fastest growing evangelical church in the world.  Iranians all over the country are rejecting the violent religion promoted by their radical leaders and embracing the Savior discovered by Parthians, Medes, and Elamites at the Miracle of Pentecost so many years ago.  Global Heart Ministries is devoted to helping Iranians rediscover their lost heritage through love of Jesus Christ and the Bible.

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.

 

26 Free Tablets for Kids

closeboysmileHEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: AGES 4-14 IN THE 10/40 WINDOW

Smiles and Statistics

Everything we do at GHM is directed at putting smiles on the faces of men, women, and children in Central Asia and the Middle East – not temporary happy smiles arising out of situations which will last only a few moments, but smiles reflecting the eternal joy of salvation. These are real people to us, with real challenges, and they need the Lord.  We never forget that.

However, our supporters donate to us with the understanding that we’ve done our homework.  You want us to use your dollar to effectively reach the lost, so your treasure will not be squandered. To do that, we utilize all the relevant statistics to strategize our plans.

The 10/40 Window

second-10-40

The latest relevant statistics focus on an area popularly called the 10/40 Window.  This is the area of the world, delineated by the 10th and 40th lines of latitude, where the greatest numbers of people unreached by the Gospel are located.

GHM hearts map
Hearts indicate countries where GHM is involved through satellite broadcasting, phone/text counseling, and home pastor training.

 

When you compare this map with the GHM Heart Map, it is easy to see why we have chosen Central Asia and the Middle East as our target areas.  Not only are these countries geographically contiguous, they also share a cultural heart.  In addition, while political boundaries divide the areas into countries, the dominant languages spill across borders with little attention to the name of the country.

The 4/14 Age Group

Another important statistic for this region is the fact that 70% of the world’s 4-14 year olds live within these longitudinal meridians.  According to groups like Compassion International and the Window International Network, that’s about 833,000,000 lives. While children are not our sole target in these areas, many ministries do have the strategy of reaching out to children to become global agents for change.

one_hope_logo2One of those child-focused ministry groups is One Hope.  For thirty years their focus has been providing God’s Word to every child.  This year they plan to reach 101 million children with the Gospel and they are partnering with us to reach Azerbaijani & Uzbek-speaking children.

The 26 Free Tablets

One Hope utilizes many innovative and creative mediums to spread the Word and they partner with other ministries to reach their goals.  Many ministries share the the same goals as One Hope and each of us has developed our own effective tools.  Like GHM, One Hope doesn’t consider the job done just because someone has had an opportunity to hear the Gospel.  Both of our ministries want to create a relationship with our viewers to build seekers and new converts into strong Christians.

This is why One Hope has partnered with us for translating our Children’s Programs into Azerbaijani and offering 26 Free Tablets to our Uzbek and Azerbaijani audiences in a contest.  When these programs are shown, we’ll also announce the Tablet contest and ask viewers to enter by providing a little contact information.

Not only will we give away 26 Tablets loaded with all our programming in Uzbek and Azerbaijani, we’ll receive contact information for millions of families across the region. That information will be used by both ministries to reach out to these families on the ground. What a marvelous partnership!

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.