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.

 

The Value of Esther’s Friends

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: CALLING FOR SOME SUPERWOMEN

We Do a Lot With a Little

Global Heart Ministries!  People tend to assume any organization with the word “global” in its name must be huge.  When it comes to reach, GHM certainly qualifies, because of the millions who tune into our programs through satellite broadcasting.  However, there’s only a handful of people who are actually on-staff with the ministry, around ten in total, according to how you count them.  (We also have a Board of Directors and an advisory board who are critical to our success, but are not considered staff.)

One of the ways we stretch our assets is through volunteerism.  Around the world, from home pastors in our target countries to guests on our programs, to the ladies who fold our newsletters, GHM thrives through the efforts of our volunteers – and when it comes to volunteers, Esther’s Friends are the bomb.

Lori’s very elegant table

A Little Background

Though volunteers have been the backbone of this organization from the very beginning, last year we decided to formalize their role.  We had a tea hosted by volunteers that we called The Open Hearts High Tea.  From that we developed a list of about forty-five women who said they were interested in volunteering with us and we dubbed them Esther’s Friends in honor of the women who fasted with Queen Esther before she went to the king with her request to save the Jewish nation from annihilation.

Hooray for Esther’s Friends!

If you think 45 women doesn’t sound like a lot, then you’re forgetting how few people we have on staff.  The role of Esther’s Friends in our ministry is critical.  

One of the most important roles these volunteers play in our organization is their willingness to pray for us.  Almost half these women agreed to receive a weekly prayer update and pray for our needs.  We know those prayers are effective, because we see the results every day.

To describe all the other things these women have done for us since the tea would take a whole lot more than one blog.  Yes, they hand address invitations, fold newsletters, and help us with other clerical work, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.

When events come along they sponsor tables, help us play hostess, find silent auction donations, assist with set-up and break-down, and just about anything else we need help with.  When we’re getting ready for a video shoot, they bring in food, host our guests in their homes, and help out on the crew.  Whatever the project, when we put out the call, we get the help we need.

There’s Room for You

While we are grateful for every single woman who devotes her time and energy to this ministry, in spite of the many other things claiming their time and attention, the truth is, the scope of our ministry gives us plenty of room for many more of Esther’s Friends.

When we dream, we dream of fundraising events organized and managed completely by volunteers, weekly prayer meetings right in our conference room, volunteers willing to fill part-time positions needed on our staff, volunteers who act as a liaison between the women in their church and GHM, teams of volunteers to make phone calls to donors – and a woman who leads them in all these efforts as the president of the group.  The possibilities are only limited by the imaginations of the women who are ready to step forward and count themselves among Esther’s Friends.  Are you one of those women?

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.

Sweet Conversations Shoot Needs You!

An expensive undertaking

HEARTS ON THE MOVE: THE COST OF FILMING

The Costs of Video Shoots

It costs a lot to film a season of programs.  Considering the millions of people our programs reach via satellite broadcasting, it’s money well invested.  One day we sat down with a calculator to put a price tag on an individual contact for one of our children’s programs.  We discovered two children could hear the Gospel for a quarter.  That’s a pretty big return on the investment of twenty-five cents.

It is only because we are a media organization that we can reach inside some of our target countries at all.  Most nations in The Middle East and Central Asia do not allow any missionaries in their countries at all, so we couldn’t send anyone there if we wanted to.  While this is challenging in many ways, it opens the door for economy.  The price of the shoot wouldn’t begin to cover the cost of having a missionary and his family in these countries and the missionary would never be able to reach the millions of people our programs do.

Setting up our shoot in the conference room

Other Money-Saving Measures

Two other factors add to the economical nature of our video ministry:  The Hope Center and volunteers.  Ministries who are tenants of The Hope Center get a lot of perks, which is why there is such a long waiting list and also why we feel so blessed to office there.  Chief among those perks are the opportunity to use the conference rooms during the work day free of additional fees. We take over two of the large venues on the first floor of the building.  Imagine what it would cost to pay for studio time.  We are so grateful to be at The Hope Center.

GHM volunteer with slate and white balance board

Our other important financial weapon is volunteers. Many people on a GHM set are volunteering their time, beginning with our talent and their guests. Professional make-up experts, cameramen, production assistants, and others show up and put in long days for the pure joy of serving the Lord and the people in our target countries.  But that’s only the beginning.  All of our guests are hosted in private homes.  Volunteers run errands and make trips to the airport for us.  During our last shoot we saved over $1000 because volunteers provided all our meals.

Sweet Conversations Shoot Later This Month 

We’ve already made a call for volunteers for the Sweet Conversations video shoot coming June 25-July 1, but while you might not have time to join us at the shoot, perhaps you’d like to underwrite one (or more) of these expenses:

  • $4 – the cost of two dozen hard-boiled eggs – one of our crew’s favorite snacks, a days’ supply.
  • $5 – two 24 packs of 8 oz water bottles, will last a couple of days
  • $15 – for a 24 pack of AA batteries, a critical, frequently needed item
  • $25 – the cost of doughnuts for the morning break (many on the set arrive very early and by 8 AM need a pick-me-up)
  • $55 – to pay for gas for a round-trip visit to DFW Airport
  • $100 – Selection of sodas for crew lasting all week
  • $150 – the cost of providing a mid-day meal for the crew at The Hope Center’s Cafe 6:19
  • $200 – to pay an on-set technician for a day’s work (and this is a rate much lower than these professionals usually make)

Or perhaps you’d be interested in underwriting the cost of an episode.  Please contact us for more information.

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.

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.

Still Glowing from Shukur Aytaman

HEARTS ON THE MOVE: PICTURES FROM THE SET

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

Shukur Aytaman Afterglow

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

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

Touching the Cultural Heart to Share the Spiritual Message

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

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

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

Guests from Around the World

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

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

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

Join Your Heart to Ours

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

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

 

Ron Seher, Cameraman, Carpenter, Servant

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

There at the Beginning

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

The Original Production Desk Ron Built for GHM

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

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

Still With Us

New Mobile Production Desk Stored For Next Shoot

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

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

Ron and his desk on the set

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

Ron at his camera

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

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

Fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.

Join Your Heart to Ours

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

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

 

 

Daniel’s Men of Valor

Is this the Darius who fasted for Daniel in the Lion’s Den?

HEARTS OVERFLOWING: ANOTHER PERSIAN LINK

Ripped from the Pages of History

This month we’ve been taking a look at Ancient Persia, tracing its links to the Bible and to modern day culture.  Last week we explored the story of Queen Esther and how situations in her life inspired our women’s volunteer organization.  Well, there’s another GHM tie to Ancient Persia we want to share.

Daniel in the Lion’s Den is one of those stories many of us heard first in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School.  The exciting tale follows Daniel into a den of hungry lions where he is forced to spend the night.  God protects Daniel from harm and we were taught He can do the same for us.

While Daniel was alone with God in the Lion’s den, he was not alone in his daily walk.  When Daniel was brought to Babylon as a captive, other young men from Israel were also taken away in exile at the same time and trained alongside Daniel to serve in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.  These men stood together faithfully to face the challenges of life in a foreign court.  The rules of law, fiery furnaces, and hungry lions couldn’t convince them to abandon their faith.  Their influence was so great that even the king himself honored Daniel’s God.

But Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar (Nabonidus) did not follow his father in honoring the Israelite God and chose to insult Daniel’s God by using captured Temple treasures at one of his banquets.  In the Bible, it is at this moment that God allowed the Persians to take over the kingdom, and Darius the Mede, later known as Darius I, became ruler of Babylon.

We do not know if this Darius was the same general who later became Darius the Great, but history does tell us Cyrus, who carried the title King of Kings, installed Medo-Persians to rule conquered lands alongside the trustworthy men who were already governing the nations.  History also tells us that rather than using battering rams and a siege to conquer Babylon, Cyrus used propaganda to influence the citizens who over threw their own king. Perhaps Belshazzar/Nabonidus was that king.  It makes sense for Cyrus to install one of his lieutenants to be in charge of Babylon and oversee his benevolent practices of rule, which included freedom of religion. 

Just like King Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius recognized the talents and gifts of Daniel and kept him among his advisers and officials.  And just as the evil Haman set a trap for Mordecai in the story of Queen Esther which, if successful, would have wiped out the Jewish race, jealous courtiers also sat a trap for Daniel.  In Daniel’s case, God sent angels to hold the mouths of the lions closed and in the morning was able to share the testimony of it with the king.  Just as Darius had predicted, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you,” Daniel 6:16.

Daniels Men of Valor

Can you imagine the prayer meeting that was held as Daniel spent the night in the Lion’s Den?  Do you think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were still alive at the time, lifting up the name of Daniel before the throne of God or do you think it was their sons? Even King Darius spent the night fasting.  If this King of Babylon was the general who became Darius the Great, then imagine what an influence this miracle would have had on him.

Little is accomplished in the Kingdom of God by one person alone and it’s the same way at GHM.  President/CEO, Steve Sharp travels  around the world engaging organizations and foundations to support our work, but he is able to do that because so many wonderful volunteers and prayer warriors are standing with him–our own Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednigos.

In honor of the men who stood beside Daniel in Babylon, we call the gentlemen who stand beside GHM Daniel’s Men of Valor.  These men support us in prayer and donations, but they also show up to give us a helping hand when there is some heavy lifting to do.  In cooperation with Esther’s Friends, they multiply our ability to do the task set before us. Are you a man who would like to stand beside Global Heart Ministries?  Then please contact our volunteer coordinator via email, jane.sadek@globalheartministries.com.

Join Your Heart to Ours

Joining Daniel’s Men of Valor 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.

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.