Saturday, April 2, 2011

Starting Banks, Depositing Hope

HOPE… The feeling or belief that what we need can be had… or that events will turn out for the best”. What sacrifices would you be willing to make today to have hope tomorrow? What would you be willing to do to change the destiny of your family’s future?

These questions should touch the core of us who have experienced salvation. Since Christ came into our lives the course of our eternity is changed. This HOPE was given to us. A chance to have more, life, a future, a HOPE! As a son of a father whose family came from Poland without knowing a lick of English, or knowing anyone, and with almost nothing in their pockets, all in the HOPE that their children and children’s children will have a better life, I understand this HOPE.

I have seen thousands of people across the world scratching out a miserable life for themselves and children without HOPE. I have seen parents give away or sell their children, people with empty eyes and hungry stomachs, people with no means to change their world wondering if there could be something more. HOPE is a powerful feeling. Changing lives in these difficult situations must include tangible ways to change lives as well as providing the eternal HOPE of the gospel.

Your support of Cathy and I compel us to develop ways to bring this change and HOPE to wanting eyes. THANK YOU!

Pressed up against the Nepal border is the Indian state of Bihar with 80 plus million people. Ancient Bihar was a center of power, learning and culture however today’s Bihar lags well behind the other Indian states in human and economic development. The challenge of development in Bihar is enormous according to a recent World Bank report. This is largely due to persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance. More than 40% of the population lives under the poverty level.

“Imagine working to start churches in a culture (mostly Islamic), where most of the population lives on less than $1.00 per day, and there are few Christian churches to display any refection of God’s love and concern… so how do you do it? Where do you start?”

Starting churches here means helping people with economic issues, addressing health care realities and educational challenges as well as telling stories about the love of Jesus Christ and disciple those who believe. Working alongside national leaders and nationally led ministries is a must in order to multiply the harvest force and leave a lasting witness. Here is a recent report of those with whom we work… remember we are talking about a region of 80 million people.

This past February our group trained church planters in this region by discussing topics like: The worldview of Muslims, misunderstandings about Christianity, factors which bring Muslim people to Christ, Islam’s view towards sin, culture of fear about the Muslim community, and other topics.

These churches planters told us that when they began talking to people using the Quran, Muslims give more attention to the discussion and are positive in listening. They like to hear the stories with the names mentioned in Quran like Story of Abraham, Moses, Ishmael, Noah etc. this helps build bridges to share our experience with Jesus. Today because of you people in Islamic areas of India are being healed and discovering the true God of the Bible. They are receiving HOPE both here on earth and eternal.

Three quick testimonies are:

1. Trainees shared that they have altogether identified 51 seekers including 30 women. Their faith in Jesus is progressing as they are engaging more in dialogue about Jesus in the Quran and they are experiencing answered prayers.

2. They shared that 11 people have decided to follow Christ including 4 women.

3. Trainees shared that they have changed the way they were thinking of reaching Muslim people. Now, they are not expecting people to come to their church worship services but rather they must go out to the people.

In order to further establish a source of income for Indian believers, churches, and nationally led organizations myself and our United World Mission team is starting “trust banks” in this region. This effort will lead to less dependence on foreign contributions which permits for a greater self-sustaining, self governing, and self propagating church planting effort.

Please pray that these efforts will create the desired outcome… healthy self sustaining churches, leaders that have the capacity to further church planting in new regions and believers that can change their families and future by development of successful business creating HOPE for their children and their eternities.

This is your investment. This is your joy.

Mark Szymanski

Please consider joining our financial support team. You can send contributions to: United World Mission, PO Box 602002, Charlotte NC 28260-2002 and write ACCT# 11013 in the memo line. Further info about on-line giving and other programs see UWM. We are in need of another $1850 per month in regular support to continue our work in the many nations where we are building national workers. THANKS!

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