A Heart Language of the Silk Road

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: WHY LANGUAGE MATTERS

Today in Tajikstan

In a remote mountain valley in Tajikstan live a few hundred stubborn souls.  In their villages they speak Yaghnobi, a dialect of Sogdian.  Once there were several thousand Yaghnobs living there, but in 1957 they were forcibly removed by helicopter to work on Soviet cotton farms.   However, since 1983 the Yaghnobs have been returning to their villages.

The Joshua Project recognizes the Yaghnobs as one of the world’s remaining people groups without access to the Gospel in their own language.  Along with the few hundred living in the remote valley, there are others living in Tajik cities, but the numbers vary based on source.

The story of the forced relocation of the Yaghnob people is a sad one.  Their remote villages had existed in isolation for over a thousand years.  Their way of life, including their language and religion, a form of Islam heavily laced with Zoroasterism, continued much as it had since the Middle Ages.   Even the Russians found little reason to disturb them – until the Soviets ran out of workers for their cotton farms.

The villages were targeted for relocation and a swarm of helicopters came to depopulate the mountain valley.  The swift imposition of the modern world was too much for a large number of the villagers and it is reported some died from shock during transport.  Many more died due to the harsh circumstances of the Soviet run farms.  So, what do the Yaghnobs have to do with the Silk Road and what does that have to do with GHM?

In Ancient Persia and on the Silk Road

When Darius the Great, Emperor of Persia, listed his provinces on an inscription in what is today Iran, Sogdia was number eighteen.   The province spread over an area which included parts of modern Uzbekistan and Tajikstan.  It’s capital was Samarkand, which is today in Uzbekistan.

At the height of the Silk Road’s activity, Samarkand sat at the crossroads of the world and Sogdian was the road’s lingua franca.  Imagine a Samarkand where merchants from all over the world haggled in Sogdian  and Sogdian officials mandated the details of commerce.  Sogdian merchants and diplomats traveled from Imperial China to Byzantium.  The Sogdian language was so important it became a court language for one of the Khans.

Then the Ottoman Empire closed the Silk Roads and swallowed up Sogdia.  However, the Yaghnobi dialect of Sogdian language continued in use and thanks to those stubborn people up in the remote areas of Tajikstan, it is still spoken today.

GHM in Central Asia 

To support the hidden home churches in Central Asia, in countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikstan, GHM trains and mentors their pastors.  These men of God, who risk everything in order to share the Gospel and minister to their congregations, are raising up strong churches, in spite of the necessity to limit their size.  One of the evidences of this was observed at a recent training session for a group of these pastors.

The pastors realized it was time for them to begin to develop missionaries among their own congregants.  A plan was developed to identify and train couples who would move to the villages of unreached people groups, like the Yaghnobi, to learn their languages and share the Gospel.  GHM hopes for a day when the Yaghnobi people will hear the Gospel in their own language and we’d love for it to come from a couple from one of the congregations whose pastor is trained and mentored by us.  Wouldn’t you like to be a part of this kind of ministry work?

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.

 

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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.

 

No Safe Place

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST:  WOMEN AT RISK

Somewhere Safe

Throughout the US, in service stations, restaurants and other public places you’ll see signs identifying a location as a Safe Place.  Employees of these locations have been trained to help any youth who asks for it.  No shame is attached to the need for assistance.  Runaways, kidnap, victims and abused kids can step forward to be rescued from their dangerous situations.

While Safe Place is a national program for youth, regional programs throughout the US offer similar help for abused women of all ages.  In many women’s restrooms a discreet sign invites abused women to make their situation known by a phone call or a word to an employee.  If you google “wife abuse”, pages and pages of sites offer their assistance.

Whenever a vulnerable person steps forward, they are applauded for their bravery and within in a very short time they are in a shelter specially designed to assist in the beginning of their healing process.  A warm bed, a square meal, decent clothing, comforting words, de-tox, prenatal care, child care – whatever is needed to break the cycle of abuse which held a victim captive will be provided.  More importantly, even if their abuser discovers where they are, the abuser will gain no access until the victim is equipped to deal with them.

The Abuse of the Vulnerable

Even in places like America, where the call for help is seen as a sign of bravery, stepping out of the shadows and into the arms of caring people can be hard.  Trust is a difficult thing to learn, once it has been stolen.

In The Middle East and Central Asia, with its tradition of subjugation, should a woman or a child cry out for help, their reward is shame.  The beating a man gives his wife is a private thing, unless the husband is bragging about it at the local teahouse.  A woman keeps these things to herself. Enduring the inevitable beating is a sign of strength.

Among the frivolity of a wedding celebration the evidence of male dominance is clear.  In the picture above, the groom greets his bride in the traditional way, by stepping on her shoe.  This is emblematic of a woman’s entire life.  Her role is to submit and to do so with grace and endurance.  Yes, it’s just a small ritual, but would you allow it on your wedding day?

During the celebration it’s not unusual for the men to give advice to the groom concerning the “test beating.”  This is a wedding night ritual endured by many new wives until today.  Umida, the host of our Uzbek Women’s Program, can tell you how frequently this “test beating” occurs.  By administering the ritual of a wedding night beating, a husband can discover the demeanor of his wife.  If she doesn’t submit gracefully, she can be returned to her family.  If she does submit, you’ve gotten a good one and your family will honor her the next morning in the traditional “welcoming of the bride” ceremony.

Should a wife run to her family or friends for help, she’d be shamed.  “What kind of weakling are you?  “What did you do to deserve the whipping?”  “At least you have a husband and a home.  Be grateful.”  “You must learn to submit so you can protect your children.”  For the honor of the family, the errant wife would be humbly returned to the abuser, but there is no guarantee she would be recieved .  In some cases the wife would be severely beaten to demonstrate her family’s shame at her behavior.

God’s Word, the Bible, has a different message for women – a message of equality, hope, and joy.  This is the message GHM delivers to The Middle East and Central Asia in programs for women like Shukar Aytaman ( I Am Thankful) and Sweet Conversations.  Our children’s programs are designed to deliver the message of worth at a young age.  Even our men’s programs underline the respect men should pay women as co-heirs of God’s promises.  Reaching women and saving them from abuse is one of our prime objectives.  Wouldn’t you like to join 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 countries and turn fathers into daddies. 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.

Even to Smile is a Radical Thing

Smiling for the Joy of the Lord!

HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: WOMEN DON’T SMILE IN MY COUNTRY

Ready! Set!  Action!

Umida and Feruza were dressed for the set. Lori had finished their hair and make-up.  The cameramen, techs, and producer were set-up to film around a water feature in a garden. Everything was ready to shoot the opening scene for the Shukar Aytayman (I Am Thankful) Uzbek Women’s Program.  The producer said, “Ladies, there’s no dialog in these scenes.  They’re just part of the titles we’ll have at the beginning of each show.  I want the viewers to be drawn into the program by your joy.  So big smiles, OK?”

It wasn’t OK.  Umida said, “Women don’t smile in my country.”  Can you imagine the implications of that?  How early in a girl’s life would you have to begin training her that smiling is unacceptable? Or perhaps she learns it by observing the women around her who never smile?

A Simple Smile

Look back over yesterday.  How many times did you smile?  Perhaps there was a smile on your face as you took your morning shower?  Certainly you smiled into the mirror as you gave yourself the final once over, to imagine how people would see you during the day?  Over breakfast did you share a smile with a child, a spouse, or a roommate?  Did you nod at your next door neighbor and grin as you backed out your car?  If you dropped your kids off at day care or a babysitter’s did you smile at the employees receiving your child?  Did you smile at the doorman or security guard or receptionist at your office?

Smiles greet, thank, and reassure those around us.  Smiles help us cope with the stresses of life. Smiles allow us to express pleasure and joy.  In our western culture, even in the dreariest of lives, a smile is a necessity for males and females alike.  In Uzbekistan, women don’t smile.  

Imagine a life without smiles.  In fact, give it a try.  See how long you can go without smiling, even to yourself – perhaps especially to yourself.

Back on the Set

For a moment, everything came to a halt.  Steve, our producer, had to think for a moment.  One of the primary things we require of ourselves, as we film our programs, is that they be culturally correct.  We want everything that is said and done, every prop and wardrobe choice, to be true to the lives of our audience.  Certainly through satellite broadcasting and the internet, our audience sees the smiles of women from Westernized cultures, but they do not share smiles among themselves.

A quick prayer went up, “Father, what would you have us do?”  And then suddenly he knew.  Steve said, “Well, we’re going to smile today.  Let’s show the Uzbek women what it means to have the joy of the Lord.”  The resulting footage is a message without words.  Umida and Feruza invite the women of their country into their joy before  a single syllable is spoken.

This is the purpose of GHM programming.  We want the people of The Middle East and Central Asia to know there is something to smile about.  We want them to have hope, in a place where it is unknown.  We want the joy of the Lord to invade their lives with profound change.

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.

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.

 

Shukar Aytaman Update

Sisters and Co-hosts for Shukar Aytaman

HEARTS ON THE MOVE: UZBEK WOMEN’S PROGRAM IN POST PRODUCTION

What Happens Next?

Here at GHM we make a big deal about film shoots.  One reason is they truly are one of the most exciting projects we participate in.  Hair, make-up, lights, people flying in from all over the world, takes and re-takes, musicians, cameras, sound boards, sets, props and a few miracles.  (We start the next one in less than two weeks.)

Another reason we make such an ado about them is because we really need a lot of help to pull it off.  The list of things we need – money, equipment, materials and people – for a video shoot is overwhelming.  We have to make sure we get the word out to everyone involved in any way in the ministry, because it really takes all hands on deck, as well as all the miracles we can get.

If you’re one of the many people who participate in our film shoots, then you may be wondering what happens when we turn off the cameras, break down the set, and store everything away for the next shoot.  (Did we mention set-up for the next shoot begins on June 25th?)  Let’s follow the filming of Shukar Aytaman (I Am Thankful), our Uzbek Women’s Program, into the post-production phase.

Some of the best moments on the set end up on the cutting room floor!

The Voluminous Results of Filming

A couple of months ago we introduced you to our cameraman/editor/ musician Garry Brunson and soon you’ll meet our director Jim McGuire.  While both were very important on the set, they become even more important as uncountable hours of video and audio become 13 tightly-woven 30-minute programs.

While all the recording happens during a one week period, the result is a whole lot of audio and video recordings.  There are three main cameras, with dollies, being manually operated by cameramen which record both video and audio tracks throughout each take, but that’s just the beginning.  We also have cameras running from stationary positions, just in case.  Our talent wears lavaliere mics on their persons that feed directly into the cameras and we have additional boom mic to catch sounds from throughout the set to help make sure we get every last word.

In our world, there is no going back to the studio.  The studio is a conference room and everyone involved in the shoot has gone back to their regular lives.  What we get during that strategic week of filming is all we’ll ever have. 

Turning Raw Video Into Programs Ready to Air

The first thing Garry Brunson has to do is make sure that everything we shot is securely saved in the appropriate places.  The investment of time, money, and energy must be properly archived for our use.

Then he’s got to take a look and listen to what he’s got.  This alone entails weeks of work.  As Garry watches all the takes he begins to see what he wants the finished product to be.  He takes note of particularly good shots so he can find them again in the mountain of material he has available.

Imagine the kind of jigsaw puzzle he is working!  For every moment of the filming, there were multiple feeds of audio and video and his job is to pull the best of the best.  In a short conversation between the co-hosts, Garry has to seamlessly weave together a natural looking and sounding exchange from takes off a variety of sources.  The worst part is that in spite of the many takes he might have to choose from, sometimes there’s just not a good one, but you’d never know it when he’s through.

Once Garry pulls together a rough draft of an episode, he begins to work closely with both Jim, the director, and Umida, the host of the program who is also our on-staff linguist.  The three of them work together to come up with a version that they are ready to show to our Producer, Steve Sharp.  Have they captured the vision Steve had for the programs as he and Umida discussed them before the shoot?  While they are usually close, Steve guides them to fine tune everything into the perfect program.

It’s taken several paragraphs to explain this process, but it does not begin to touch on all the details required. Each step is a tedious technical operation applied with true artistic skill.  Garry goes through months of editing to produce the programs which are aired and the rest of the post-production team is with him every step of the way.  The Shukar Aytaman programs filmed in March will go to our satellite partners in the fall and by then, Garry will also be in post-production on Sweet Conversations.  (We did mention that we needed you for that shoot didn’t we?)

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.

Bring Uzbekistan Home and Invite Your Friends

Chef Abror and his guest Aziz

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: SHARE THE GHM MISSION IN A FUN, TASTY EVENING

Your Friends Will Be Talking About This For a Long Time

Imagine inviting your friends to enjoy an Uzbek feast prepared by the host of a popular cooking show.  It’s easier than you think!  All you have to do is invite your friends, open up your home for an evening and then enjoy the honor of being the host or hostess of a party your friends will remember and talk about for years to come.

Abror and Umida

The chef will be Abror, the host of Hayot Noni (Bread of Life), GHM’s Uzbek Men’s Testimony and Cooking Show.  Your friends will enjoy delicious dishes from Uzbekistan which have been featured on the show and have the opportunity to chat with Abror and his wife Umida, host of Shukar Aytaman (I Am Thankful), our Uzbek Women’s Program, about their home country, their programs and their lives.

In the past few weeks, a member of our East Texas Network test-drove this concept at her home.  Her guests couldn’t get enough of the food, loved chatting with Umida and Abror, and then learned a little more about GHM’s mission and our needs from CEO/President and Founder, Steve Sharp.  The guests were enthralled by the work of GHM and the only problem was getting everyone to head home.

Is Your Home Next?

If this sounds like an evening you’d like to host, we encourage you to contact us and reserve a date for your very special event.  We promise to help make your event a breeze to host, a joy to attend and a memory you will cherish.

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

Share the Overflowing Joy

Hosting an Uzbek evening in your home 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 explore this vision and consider being 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.

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.

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.