Called to Love

(the story of Martin Borgai)

by Maria Erokhina

Martin Borgai has a unique story. From a wonderful encounter with the Lord that led him to quit his prestigious job and reach the lost in the slums of India, to seeing the power of God move in miraculous ways, his life is a testimony of God’s unfailing love.

“Martin, Come For the Work”

Martin grew up in Karnataka, in southern India. He enjoyed a successful career in aircraft engineering, had financial stability and a good family. However, he lived with a feeling that there was more to life.

Martin knew about God, but he had never experienced the depth of His presence. One day, as he was praying and asking God to make Himself known to him, God’s glory filled the room. The radiance was so bright that Martin couldn’t see the Person, only His white garments. Martin fell at His feet.

Jesus put His hand on Martin’s head and said, “Martin, come for the work that I want to establish through you in your country.” Martin replied, “Yes, Lord.” Immediately after that encounter, Martin contacted a pastor and was baptized. When he came out of the water, he saw the glory of God. That was another confirmation of the Lord’s calling. Martin resigned from his job and dedicated his life to pursuing God’s purpose for him.

Members of New Covenant church feed the hungry and share with them the Bread of Life, Jesus.

Martin knew that he needed to receive good biblical training in order to be prepared for ministry. He applied to Christ For The Nations Institute and was granted a CFNI International Scholarship. His two years at CFNI made a big impact on him. “I was trained, taught the Word of God and molded to be the person I am today,” he says.

While at CFNI, Martin seized every opportunity to learn, meet new people and to serve. “Before CFNI, I had a white-collar job; at CFNI I felt honored to clean up the campus. Christ had left His throne and washed the feet of His disciples, and I wanted to serve like He served,” he recalls.

Martin graduated from CFNI in 2004. In March 2005 he started New Covenant Church in his hometown, Karnataka.

A Life of Miracles

Since then, the church has grown considerably. They live like a family, sharing meals, praying and ministering to people in their community. Martin, his wife Prema and their three children serve in the church together. Martin says, “Women leading a church are not common in India. I know that the same Spirit that lives in me is in my wife, as He abides in every child of God. When my wife speaks the Word of God, God speaks through her.”

Pastor Martin praying before a shared meal

New Covenant Church reaches out to villages and slums, prisons and hospitals, bringing food, education and the Gospel to the poor and suffering. The church’s prayer team meets every night to intercede for the needs of the people. During one such prayer meeting, the team received a phone call from a married couple that couldn’t have children. Martin went to their house to pray for them. He realized that there was an obstruction coming from an evil spirit, and when he rebuked it, it left their home. Soon the couple was expecting their firstborn.

One day, a lady asked the prayer team to pray for her healing because she was suffering from severe pain caused by a tumor on her ovary. The prayer team commanded the tumor to leave her body. The next day, the doctor confirmed that she was completely healed. Because of her testimony, many people have come to the Lord.

Miracles like this happen in Karnataka on a regular basis. Broken families get restored, people become healed of various diseases and even hopeless situations turn around. Martin declares, “Wherever we go and preach God’s Word, He shows up. When we stand in faith, God confirms His Word. When we speak the Word, we speak the power of God. And when we speak the power of God, it accomplishes the will of God. But it only happens when we stand on God’s Word 100 percent, without even 1 percent of doubt.”

Preaching Through Love

New Covenant church exists to tell every person about the Savior’s love.

“We preach the Gospel through love,” says Martin. “Sometimes it’s difficult to love people who hate and reject us, but no matter what happens, love remains our choice. Jesus didn’t come to build Christianity. He came to liberate people, bless them and show them the righteous way. We’ve been following His example.

Love, servanthood, the importance of reaching the lost and unity are the foundational pillars of our church family. I learned these principles at CFNI. CFNI equipped me and made me confident that nothing can separate me from God’s love. Everywhere I go, I share what I received there.”

 

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500 YEARS OF REVIVAL

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church, stating his objections to the corruption in the Catholic Church and how it embraced things like indulgences (buying salvation for loved ones). This one act changed the course of human history and began the Reformation.

At CFNI, we trace our spiritual lineage back to Martin Luther, and we recognize that the Church is where it is because of the courageous actions of this one man. This coming year, 2017, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of one of the most important events in Christian history. Yet, we know that it is important not to just celebrate this anniversary, but to help keep the revival fires burning both personally and as a ministry.

The Reformation that Martin Luther started was just the beginning of 500 years of awakenings and revivals. From the First Great Awakening to the Second Great Awakening, the Azusa Street Revival to the healing revivals, and then the Charismatic Renewal, there have been many moves of God, bringing people closer to Him and His purposes. We are now on the cusp of another Great Awakening, and CFNI is where it has been since it was founded… right in the middle of the revival fires.

Our founder, Gordon Lindsay, founded Christ For The Nations Institute to provide training for those being saved in the Jesus Movement. This revival had seen amazing numbers of unsaved people come to the saving knowledge of Christ, but discipleship and training was still an unmet need. From the beginning, CFNI provided a foundation of truth, Bible training and practical ministry experience, while stoking the fire of love and intimacy with the Holy Spirit through worship, prayer, and times of soaking and refreshing.

This legacy of revival fire continues to burn in the hearts and minds of staff, faculty and students, but while we all share a desire for revival, refreshing and an Awakening, we must move past desire and into action. Every year, we create a calendar to bless our partners, friends and supporters. This year, we created it as a call to action and encouragement for all of us to participate in what God is doing in this season. Each month we included different quote from a father in the faith to inspire you to do your part to bring the revival we all want to see blaze across this Earth.

January’s quote is naturally from Martin Luther. “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Our foundation must remain our faith in God. Without that, the supernatural, miracles, healings or even people raised from the dead will point to man, not God.

Once we have our eyes turned to God, Gordon Lindsay gives us his prescription for bringing revival. “Prayer, fasting and humiliation not only saved the wicked city of Nineveh, but it can send us the revival for which we have hoped and prayed.” What is our role? Prayer, fasting and self-denial. Another spiritual father, Charles Finney, declares perseverance in prayer is the key. “Prevailing prayer is that which secures an answer.” Dwight L. Moody agrees, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”

As we pray for revival (and for strength!) we must push past our own weaknesses. Billy Graham shares his secret for overcoming our own inability. “Don’t worry about what you can’t do; focus instead on what you can do . . . and then do it.” Reinhard Bonnke agrees, “Those who forever seek the will of God are overrun by those who do it.” So pray, yes. But don’t forget to do the things God has already said. CFNI Co-founder Freda Lindsay declares that revival depends on following one pattern of ministry. “You can turn your country upside down for God, if you follow the ministry of the Lord Jesus.” As we read the scriptures and find out what our Savior did, we will be able to move forward and do what He calls us to do.

This season requires a response. It is not enough to wish for change, we must be a part of the change we want. We, the Body of Christ, must fight against a lukewarm attitude, complacency and apathy. John Wesley speaks a very relevant word to us in this season. “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” What are we tolerating in our personal lives, our families, our churches and our communities?

At CFNI, we are committed to seeing revival break out in this season. We refuse to wait for someone else; we are the agents God will use to bring revival. Join us, and celebrate 500 years of revival by pushing in faith and prayer for the next Great Awakening, as we walk out the ministry of Jesus in our communities.

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It’s About His Plan

CFNI Fall 2016 Graduation

By Maria Erokhina

Graduation is always a bittersweet event at Christ For The Nations Institute. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see world-changers-in-training step out of the “Bible school bubble” – fully equipped to make a difference in the real world. On the other hand, it’s not easy to say goodbye as each one of them has become part of the CFNI family.

On Dec. 9, 2016, family and friends of 109 graduates gathered at the Institute Building in celebration of the Fall 2016 commencement. The ceremony started with an academic procession, followed by 27 international graduates carrying the flags of their homelands. The audience froze in awe as CFNI student Faith Schneider sang the national anthem. After that, Gabriel Allred and the CFNI student band led everyone in praise and worship, declaring the power of the name of Jesus.

Next, Dr. Dennis Lindsay, the Institute’s President, and Mrs. Ginger Lindsay, Vice Chair/Alumni Relations Director, greeted the graduating class and guests. Dr. Lindsay made special mention of the two elders that CFNI lost this semester. Dr. Carroll Thompson and Dr. Jack Hatcher, who were spiritual fathers to many, will be greatly missed. He encouraged the students and staff to keep supporting and praying for their families.

Dr. Lindsay also charged the graduates to protect what God has engraved on their hearts at CFNI: “When the Word of God gets into your heart, it takes a long time to grow. The devil purposes to steal it and set you in the opposite direction.”

Then, Dr. Lindsay introduced the commencement speaker, Dr. June Hunt, Founder and CSO of Hope For The Heart, a Christian counseling ministry offering biblical hope and practical help to people in more than 60 countries. A world-renowned author, singer and speaker, Hunt has made a great contribution in the field of Christian counseling.

“You’re on Earth by God’s divine plan,” Hunt started her message. She admitted that she hadn’t planned to accomplish any of the things she’s known for, but rather, she allowed God’s plan to come to pass in her life. She encouraged the graduates not to despair if they don’t know what step to take next. “Because you don’t know the future and God does, never doubt in the dark what He’s already shown you in the light,” she said.

Hunt also gave the graduates an invaluable piece of advice: “Don’t waste your wrong decisions; they can be powerful lessons. Learn from your pain and let it be a catalyst that will shape your heart.” She emphasized that life is a series of choices and outlined seven tests (Seven S’s) that every decision has to undergo.

The first criterion of successful decision-making is the Scriptural Test. Whenever we come to a fork in the road, we must ask ourselves, “Has God already spoken about it in His Word?” Hunt said that if we want to be part of God’s master plan, we need to allow Him to take full ownership of our lives. She pointed out that one of the biggest problems of humanity is that they act out the lyrics of a popular song by Frank Sinatra, “I Did It My Way.”

Secondly, our decisions have to pass the Secrecy Test. “Would it bother me if everyone knew it was my choice?” This question helps us walk in integrity, which is “being the same in the dark as we are in the light.”

The Serving Test implies a question, “What if everybody followed my example?” The Spirit Test allows us to see if we are “being people-pressured or Spirit-led.”

The fifth “S” was the Stumbling Test. Hunt emphasized that according to Romans 14:21, “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.” The Serenity Test means trusting the Holy Spirit to give us peace when we chose rightly.

Finally, the Supreme Test is asking ourselves, “Does this decision glorify God?” Talking about glorifying God in all that we do in 1 Cor. 10:31, Paul uses the word “doxa” that means to estimate or to reflect value. “You are to reflect the value of Who God is. It’s an extraordinary assignment,” said Hunt.

After that powerful exhortation, the graduates received their diplomas, shaking the hands of their program directors as they walked up on stage. A wave of excitement spread across the auditorium when Lawik Joundi, the Academic Dean, asked the graduates to turn their tassels to the left. From then on, they had officially joined the ranks of CFNI alumni.

“Glory to God,” said Dr. Hollar as he gave His closing benediction. He asked the Lord to use the new CFNI alumni in their homes, jobs, businesses, churches, foreign fields and the uttermost parts of the world.

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For Freedom He Was Set Free

By Mike and Lori Westlund

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At 8 years old, Raj’s mother was forced into temple prostitution by her own mother.

Raj Mugalkhod was born on the streets of the red light district in Kamathipura, Mumbai, India. His mother, only a teenager when he was born, was a seventh-generation temple prostitute. She had been given to the goddess Yellamma, so she would never be allowed to marry a mortal. Even though she maintained a relationship with her four sons’ father for short periods of time, Raj’s mother had to continue her life as a temple prostitute and struggled to care for her four boys, as well as her four orphaned nieces.

While his mother was doing the best she could, like many children born into severe poverty, Raj had to fend for himself from a very young age. He often had to resort to begging when he could find no work. Hunger was a fact of life, as were serious illnesses including hepatitis, malaria and typhoid fever. Just to survive, he joined a gang, engaging in criminal behavior. This bothered his sensitive conscience, which then led him to alcohol addiction, and the cycle of misery continued.

Raj grew up in a brothel, and in this unsafe environment he was sexually abused many times from the age of eight. He also saw others abused and trafficked, and this caused him to despair. At the age of 16, he had seen enough and attempted to escape his miserable existence by taking poison. For seven days, he lay in a coma with the doctors giving his mother little hope of his survival. She was not one to give up easily, and she contacted a Christian pastor, who fasted and prayed for Raj’s life.

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Raj’s mother holding him as a baby.

While lying in a coma, Raj remembers being pulled down toward Hell by demons, only to have Jesus appear. Jesus reached out His hand and pulled Raj out of Hell. After that near death experience, Raj was never the same. For the next 20 years, he invested his life in full-time Christian service, rescuing the victims of human trafficking in the district where he grew up. He rescued over 100 women and girls, often using his own money to purchase their freedom.

In April 2009, Raj married a beautiful Christian woman named Mansi, and shortly after they became pregnant. At the time, Raj was involved with the production of a groundbreaking documentary on human trafficking, The Cage. As was customary in India, Mansi returned to her parent’s home for the delivery. Unfortunately, Raj only got to see Mansi and their new son Mark for one day, and then he had to return to work on the project. He was soon notified that Mansi had complications and caught a train to be with her. Tragically, Mansi passed away early the next morning, only 15 days after bringing Mark into the world.

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As a child, Raj lived in brothels, sleeping under the beds of young girls while they were forced to have sex.

Raj struggled with survivor’s guilt; he was devastated and temporarily lost the use of his legs, probably due to severe shock and grief. He had to take a break from work to recover both physically and emotionally while his mother, who had become a Christian after seeing Raj’s deliverance, graciously stepped up to care for his new son. At this point Raj had no interest in remarrying, but he threw himself into the work of rescuing victims of trafficking. Since he had very little formal education, God gave him a desire to study and prepare for the high school equivalency test. Even though he had to teach himself, he miraculously passed. He attended South Asia Bible School for a year, which also couldn’t have happened without Divine assistance.

After faithfully serving with Teen Challenge for many years, God put a vision in Raj’s heart to further his education at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. CFNI gave Raj a Full-work Scholarship, enabling him to pursue this vision. The April before Raj embarked on this epic venture, he was advised by spiritual mentors, Samuel and Shalini Daniel, that he needed a wife for himself and a mother for Mark. Raj contacted Anita, his deceased wife’s sister, with a proposal of marriage. Anita had kept her faith secret because her parents were devout Hindus and blamed both Raj and his God for the death of their daughter. At the time, she had already been proposed to by a Google engineer who could offer her all the material things Raj could not. There was one very important thing he lacked: faith in Jesus Christ. After three days of praying and fasting, Anita accepted Raj’s proposal, and they were married one week later. Anita’s parents told her that she was no longer their daughter. She had to leave home with nothing but her faith in God and her new husband and son. (Anita is continuing to believe for her parents’ salvation and loves them dearly.)

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On the street of the red light district.

Seeing the call of God on his life, Raj’s friends rallied around his dream and gave him the money to travel to America to attend CFNI. The miracles of provision continued as soon as Raj and Anita arrived in America. When they arrived at the airport, they only had one dollar, and no one would let them use their cell phone or give them change for a dollar to call someone for a ride to CFNI. In desperation, Anita bowed her head and prayed to God for help. When she looked up, she saw a dark-skinned man walking up to her, and before she could ask him for change, he emptied out his wallet into her hands — $235! She looked down in amazement at all the money, and when she looked up, he was gone. To this day, the couple cannot explain this miracle, other than to say it was an angelic visitation. Anita and Raj kept the dollar bill they arrived with as a memorial of God’s faithfulness.

Raj and Anita have both paid a huge price to follow the path that God has set for their lives. Still, their heart burns to see the captives set free. They continue to see miracles as Raj finishes his second year of preparation at CFNI (after receiving another one year scholarship), gaining the training he needs to return and bring freedom to their home country of India.

 

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Don’t Stop Living

By Susan Bozarth

My husband, Randy, was the Vice President of Christ for the Nations. He travelled the world, and he loved what he did. So when things began to change and he became irritable or argumentative, I thought he just needed a break or a vacation. It wasn’t until he started to not recognize our close friends that I knew we had a problem. Today, and for quite awhile now, he’s been totally dependent on me, having been diagnosed with a form of dementia/Alzheimer’s.

I didn’t want to accept it; I still pray and believe for his healing. But as God has ministered to me, I have found a certain amount of contentment in my reality. As I walked through this, I began to blog. The word that kept coming to me was “I can’t stop living.” These blogs have been compiled into my book, Don’t Stop Living. Here is an excerpt from it.

FROM A MESS TO A MOVEMENT

It does not take too long, when you’re in conversation with anyone these days, before the “woe is me” and “life is tough right now” topic comes to the forefront of the conversation. I was driving the other day, pondering those various issues that we, as a society, are dealing with — terrorism, financial challenges, dysfunctional families, lukewarm Christians, dishonest politicians, on and on, until I finally just sighed and said to myself, “What a mess!” It was at that moment that I “heard” this statement, “Out of messes, movements are born!”

My mind raced, and suddenly, I was flooded with images from the 60s — the Vietnam War, unbridled drug use, burning the American flag, sit-ins and love-ins, rebellion, chaos in the streets and hopelessness… what a mess! But in the midst of that mess, the Jesus movement was born. I then reflected on other times and seasons of unrest, and yet again, movements were formed that impacted the world. I thought of the beginnings of the Church itself — the chaos of that time from pagan worship to religious leaders, who were more like white-washed sepulchers (tombs) than men of God. Yet, the Savior was born, the Church was birthed and a movement was released that would change the world.

I have to tell you, I was encouraged by the imagery. We can even take it to a more personal level… out of our personal “mess” God will birth something new… a movement, if you will. God’s like that, you know. He takes dead things and makes them alive. He takes broken things and mends them, and He takes our mess, and if we allow Him, He will turn it into a personal revival or movement.

Psalm 30:5 says, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” During these times of change, we need to stay focused and strong in His promises to us. Pray, “Oh, God, I give you the ‘mess’ of my life, and I trust You to birth a movement that will impact many.” In the end, God “is” going to get some glory out of the messes in our lives.

Susan Bozarth is an adjunct instructor at CFNI. Her years of ministry experience and life of faith in the face of difficult circumstances make her classes one of the highlights of CFNI. For more about the programs and majors available at CFNI, go to cfni.org.

To purchase Susan Bozarth’s encouraging book Don’t Stop Living, click here.

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