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 Touch of Turkish

A Sample of Early Turkish Writing, from turkishculture.org

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: FOLLOWING THE TURKISH LANGUAGE ACROSS THE MAP

Mongolian Beginnings

Like the people for whom the country is named, the language of Turkey originated in Mongolia and migrated to Turkey during the Persian Empire.  Linguists have identified roots of the language from as early as 8500 years ago.  Some linguists believe the languages of Korean and Japanese also may have the same roots. Linguists call those roots the Ural-Altaic language.

Hearts represent GHM target countries

Though the roots of the language are ancient, it is very much alive today.  Dialects of it include Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Tartar, Uzbek, Baskurti, Nogay, Kyryz, Kazakh, Yakuti, Cuvas, and others.  Add a “stan” to the end of some of these modern day languages and you’ll have the names of many of our target countries.

We rejoice at this Ural-Altaic root, because it makes our job here at GHM a little easier.  While our goals include dubbing all of our programs into the various heart languages of The Middle East and Central Asia, where the Persian culture of our programs is shared, many Turkish-speaking people in these regions have already tasted the joy of the Gospel through our broadcasts.  They can do this because national boundaries in the area do not necessarily follow the same pattern as the use of languages and/or their own languages share enough similarities with Uzbek or Azerbaijani (the languages in which we create original programming) for them to understand the message.

From an 11th Century Dictionary of Turk Language

Borrowing from Others, But Valuing Its Own Integrity

Over the millennia of its existence, the Turkish language has been an important one for the regions of Mongolia, Central Asia, and The Middle East.  Much literature–poetic, pious, philosophical and scientific–has been produced in it.  The Turkish language vocabulary has been enriched over the centuries, by both the Arabic and Persian (Farsi) languages.  At the same time, there have been conscious efforts to keep Turkish a separate language and not let it be swept up into either of its neighboring tongues.

Sitting at the crossroads of world, Central Asia and The Middle East have a rich history embracing the Great Empires of the Past:  Persian, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and more.  The languages of all these cultures have had some influence on the Turkish language, giving it a rich vocabulary, but Turks resisted having their native tongue obscured to the point of its disappearance.

In early writings, Turks would borrow from neighboring languages and place the foreign words next to their own versions in the text.  However as early as 1072 the fight for their own language had begun.  In that year, a Turkish dictionary was produced to assist Arabs in understanding Turkish.  This effort, along with other measures, helped Turkish remain a language independent of those around it.  However, by the 16th century, as with many languages, the written language of the intelligentsia became separated from the common tongue of the people and renewed efforts were required.

This struggle to keep the Turkish language intact continued into the 19th century, when suddenly there was also an onslaught by western cultures as well.  The Turkish Republic was declared in 1923 and integrated the Turkish language in practical ways into the nation over the next five years.  During this period, President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,  Latin-ized the Turkish writing system and in 1932 the Turkish Language Society was created.  Before 1932, the use of authentic Turkish words in written texts was 35-40%, but today that number is 75-80%, proving their efforts to save the language has been successful.

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 countries like Turkey. 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.

Hagai Sophia – A Cradle of Christianity

Photo of Istanbul with Hagai Sophia in the background from Encyclopedia Brittanica

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE TO MODERN LANDMARK

Since the Time of Legends

The site of Hagai Sophia has been a site of worship since the Emperor Constantine the Great built a cathedral there in 325 AD, but legend tells us people may have been worshiping there for even longer.  Constantine’s cathedral was reportedly built on a site which had traditionally been used for pagan worship.  This sort of geographical practicality is a familiar theme throughout the world and it continues until today.

In ancient times, pagan worship was often associated with hilltops, and, as you can see in the picture above, Hagai Sophia certainly dominates the horizon.  However, the cathedral Constantine built is not the building you see today.

Architectural Aggravation

Constantine the Great

Constantine built his cathedral as a permanent testimony to his Savior, Jesus Christ.  He overturned the religious status quo after Christ came to him in a vision and he was determined to spread the Gospel.  Sadly, his human determination did not protect his cathedral.

Within 80 years (404 AD) the cathedral was damaged by fire.  The population of Constantinople rioted because, after a flurry of political machinations, their archbishop was banished for a second time.  The riots resulted in a fire.  After the fire, the cathedral was rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Constans I and the restored building was rededicated in 415 by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosis II.

Justinian I

But the cathedral’s woes did not end there.  It burned again in 532 under the reign of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I.  It was Justinian I who envisioned the beautiful building we see today in Turkey.  His masterpiece only took six years to build, being completed in 537.

Justinian’s vision had been a little too grand.  The dome collapsed in 558 and was restored in 562, only to collapse twice more.  The determined Byzantines kept at it and eventually made it smaller with enforcement added to the outside.  While Constantine’s cathedral building did not last, his efforts did live on in the succession of buildings occupying the hilltop on which he chose to build.

Political Insults

Since the time of the Byzantine Empire, Hagai Sophia has overlooked the city, but almost as soon as the architecture of the cathedral became stable, the city itself became unstable.  Constantinople played a key political and religious role throughout  the Crusades, which began in 1096.  Power ebbed and flowed between Constantinople and Rome according to who was in charge.

 In 1204 the city became a political ploy.  A group of Venetian Crusaders on their way to free Jerusalem were persuaded to help a king regain control of Byzantium.  The Crusaders did their job, but the people rejected their restored monarch, and after he was deposed, he was murdered.  That left a lot of unpaid Venetian Crusaders, who preceded to extract their payment out of the city by looting Hagai Sophia, only leaving the building intact.  The cathedral continued to stand, though it required rebuilding refitting until the arrival of the Ottomans

Enter the Ottomans

Mehmet II

Due to a prophesy by Mohammed, the Hagai Sophia was a very special target.  Mohammed said the first Muslim to pray there was promised a place in heaven.  When Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453, he went directly to Hagai Sophia where he found a local man looting.  Mehmet was having none of that and he began a 470 year long occupation of the building as a mosque.

Like Christian predecessors, the new Islamic caretakers continued to build and rebuild the edifice adding ever more magnificent accoutrements to the venerable old edifice.

Secularization

After the end of World War I, Turkey was divided up into bits and pieces and the mosque within Hagai Sophia was not its greatest concern.  However, by 1934 the building had been secularized and a year later it became a museum.

Though not being used for worship services, for over 80 years (the lifespan of Constantine’s original cathedral) the world visited Istanbul to admire Hagai Sophia. Careful restorations were carried out during this time and Sophia returned to her former countenance.

Artisans painstakingly coaxed the Christian decorations out from behind the Islamic “improvements”.  Admired by all, the museum was particularly loved by Christians who were amazed by decorations originally applied in the days of Byzantium.  

In 2006, worship returned to Hagai Sophia, but the worship did not match the architectural restoration’s devotion to Christianity.  A small prayer room for staff members, both Christian and Muslim, was opened.  In 2013, the Muslim call to prayer returned to the minarets.  Then, on July 1, 2016, Muslim prayer services returned.

A Christian Landmark No More

The tide has turned against the Christian attributes of Hagai Sophia.  In 2017, the Turkish government limited tourist access to the museum to Mondays, and even that access is only available until October 31.  Rumors suggest it will be closed to tourism and like in the days of the Ottomans, Christians will have to receive a special permit to enter the mosque.

Though precious to Christians for its history, Hagai Sophia is only a building.  The Christian Church is the Body of Believers.  Whatever happens to Hagai Sophia, the Spirit is moving in Turkey.  Even now, in rebellion against the privations imposed by Islamic politicians, Muslims are seeking information about Jesus Christ.  Expatriate Christians from Central Asia and the Middle East have communities with hidden churches.  Satellite TV and the Internet are used to ferret out the Good News.  And GHM is there.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey in the Bible

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST:  FROM NOAH’S ARARAT TO PAUL’S ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA

Ancient Ties to Biblical Stories

When people think of countries which are related to Biblical stories, Turkey isn’t usually at the top of the list.  Israel, Egypt, Rome, and even Babylon may come to mind, but many people don’t realize places famous for their roles in the New Testament, like Ephesus, Laodicea, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and Tarsus, are now part of the country we know as Turkey.

Artist’s conception of Noah’s sacrifice on Mount Ararat

But Turkey’s ties to the Bible go back even further than that.  Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, which is tucked into the eastern most tip of the nation.  From there Noah’s sons spread out to re-populate the world and their heritage can be found in any history book.  Take for instance Shem’s son, Asshur, who was the seed of the Assyrian Nation.

Even those who already knew Mount Ararat was in Turkey might be surprised to discover that 60% of the places mentioned in the Bible are located in Turkey, according to the Biblical Tour Guide.  Even Abraham himself came from Ur of the Chaldeans, now Hurran.  A list of the Turkish places listed in the Bible and the references to them goes on for several pages.

Turkey and the Church

Once you realize Turkey’s ancient ties to the Bible, especially the various mission trips made by Paul and his companions, it is not so amazing that Constantinople was one of the early centers of Christianity, rivaling Rome with its power.  Today, the city called Istanbul is a very different place from the ancient Constantinople.

Hagai Sophia (Holy Wisdom), originally Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral and an architectural wonder of the Christian faith, now hosts Muslim prayers.  The country which served Noah when his family left the ark and was also the home of St. Paul’s friend Lydia, the seller of purple, is not so friendly to Christianity anymore.  The Turkish government allows tourists into the mosque on Mondays, at least until the end of October, but what then?

In July of 2016, there was a failed coup by military leaders.  Opinions vary as to the reason for it.  Some have even claimed it was a false flag operation designed to expose those who were against the government’s policies of Islamization.  Others  claim an exiled cleric living in the US instigated the conflict.  Whatever the reason, thousands of people were arrested after the attempt and many are still imprisoned.  Of those imprisoned, many were journalists.  New laws limiting the freedom of the press have been enacted, making it more difficult than ever to get a true picture of life inside the country.

Turkey is one of the many countries in The Middle East and Central Asia with access to satellite broadcasts of GHM programming.  Some members of our audience there are ex-patriots from Central Asia and Middle Eastern countries.  In the past, Turkey enjoyed more religious freedom, and when persecution made it impossible to remain in their home country, Christians from countries like Turkmenistan and Iran would escape to Turkey.  Since the coup, life has become more difficult for these Believers, but GHM programming is there to encourage them.

Turkey is officially becoming more Islamic, but its population is still filled with people looking for hope and they share the cultural heart of our programs.  Some also share heart languages with our hosts, while others speak these languages as their secondary tongue, and others just enjoy the fact that the Turkish language is so similar to those used on our programs.  Whatever the reason for their access to our heart languages, they are tuning into our programs and finding the hope the official religion of their nation does not offer.

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.

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.

 

 

Open Your Heart on Valentine’s Day

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

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: ALL THEY NEED IS YOUR LOVE

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just for Lovers Anymore

The world is changing.  Definitions, boundaries, and expectations are flexible.  Valentine’s Day is a great example.  What was once the private territory of romantic love is now celebrated by best friends, relatives, and lovers alike.  

In many places around the world, Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar and love, romantic or not, isn’t a consideration.  Their lives are filled with violence, turmoil, hate, and hopelessness.  Many of these people live in Central Asia and the Middle East.

TV Programming that Changes Lives

GHM  TV Personalities
GHM TV Personalities

Then one day, someone with a hurting heart tunes in to one of our television programs. Perhaps a friend recommended it or they happened on it while looking for something to watch.  Imagine their surprise when they see joyful people speaking in their very own heart language offering the gift of hope.

GHM programming is unique in that we reach out to the cultural heart to build a bridge to spiritual truth.  Most of our potential viewers have no interest in watching a religious program of any sort.  They are fed up with religion.  So we provide them something of interest and then offer something more:

 

Umida
Central Asian women discuss the challenges of divorced women or the plight of sex slaves in a viewer’s own country. The stories match the viewer’s own story. Imagine the joy of discovering the freedom Jesus Christ offers to the abused.
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A popular well-known musician is being interviewed by a smiling woman. Female viewers are intrigued, because smiling is foreign to them. Imagine learning Christ offers His joy to everyone.
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Central Asian men in a kitchen, preparing food for a special occasion, discuss the challenges of leading a family in difficult times. The viewer might watch to get the recipe, but he continues watching because answers to his own problems can be found in the Bible.
Abror & Animals
A delightful show about animals features an enthusiastic host from their own country describing an exotic species a family has never seen before. They’re happy to see the animal, but they are amazed that the same Creator God who equipped the animal to live in its habitat has also made provision for the viewers.


Evidence of Lives Changed

We know our programs are making a difference.  We train and mentor home pastors in our target countries, who tell us the miraculous results of people watching our programs.  We get calls, emails and texts from people begging to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ and the God of the Bible.  We walk step-by-step in ministry with Central Asians and Middle Easterners who would still be walking in darkness, but for their encounter with Global Heart Ministries.

We may not be able to change the oppressive government regimes they live under or improve their financial outlook overnight, but when hope is introduced to their lives, they change.  Instead of living in fear, they invite persecution as a badge of honor.  An arrest is an opportunity to save the soul of a policeman.

While we are joyful at every life changed, we are also proud of contributing to positive changes happening in our target countries.  We have met Ministers of Culture who enjoy Sweet Conversations.  New presidents are holding ceremonies to introduce a Bible in the native tongue.  Policemen are as interested in grace as they are in writing a ticket.

A younger Steve Sharp being filmed for Turkmen TV
A younger Steve Sharp being filmed for Turkmen TV, 2008

Open Your Heart Capacity-Building Capital Campaign

Over a decade ago, Steve Sharp first traveled to Central Asia to record a praise and worship CD in the native heart language of the Turkmen people.  Today, Global Heart Media programs reach hundreds of millions in Central Asia and the Middle East in a variety formats and languages.  It’s been a long hard journey, full of joy to be sure, but challenging nonetheless.

God has gone before us opening doors and making opportunities for us, but the needs of the ministry are great.  We need more people on our staff.  Some of our filming and editing equipment is bordering on obsolete.  We have more opportunity than we have capacity to fulfill.  We need your support.

We need to raise more than one million dollars over and above our annual budget during the next two years to substantially increase and strengthen our reach.  In the coming days we’ll be telling you more about the Open Your Heart Capacity-Building Capital Campaign, but it’s not too early to participate.  We have already raised nearly $140,000 and your contribution could help us reach our ambitious goal.  Valentine’s Day would be a perfect time to show your love to the people in Central Asia and the Middle East who need it so badly.

Join Your Heart to Ours

Contributing to our Open Your Hearts Capacity-Building Capital Campaign 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.