Never Shrink Back

(the story of Keir Tayler)

by Maria Erokhina

Keir Tayler is modern-day apostle who exemplifies absolute commitment to the cause of Christ and calls others to a greater courage in the Gospel.

Here is his story.

Acts 9 Experience

Keir was born and raised in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He qualified in Medical and Veterinary Technology (Histopathology and Bacteriology) and dedicated 14 years of his life to serving in the military, as a part of a Special Forces unit.

During one significant offensive operation, when their group of 70 fought against 5,000 terrorists, Keir was wounded in both legs. In agony, he cried out loud, “God if you want my life, You can have it.” The Lord answered his prayer with an Acts 9 experience—suddenly, Keir was surrounded by bright light and Jesus appeared to him, just as He appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. God’s presence became more real to him than his pain and the terror of what he’d seen, and his bleeding stopped.

Keir (bottom row, second from right) and his fellow soldiers of a Special Forces unit

Since then, Keir’s greatest desire was to know Jesus Who came to his rescue on that battlefield. Later, someone asked him, “You cried out to God, offering to give Him your life, but He didn’t take it from you, He gave it back to you. So what are you going to do with it?” Keir’s answer was simple, “I will serve Him for the rest of my life, doing whatever He asks me.” Today, Keir has been serving the Lord for 38 years.

The Taylers Come To CFNI

In 1980, after the war in Zimbabwe was over, Keir, his wife Callie and their two small children relocated to Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., where they enrolled in Christ For The Nations Institute. Talking about his CFNI experience, Keir says, “For the first six months at CFNI, I cried every day. The worship, led by Mike Massa and Dutch Sheets, was phenomenal. For two years, I worshipped together with 1,400 students every morning, and the presence of God during those moments washed away the torment, the pain, the aguish and the memories of the war. I had a tremendous hunger for the Word of God; I took every course where His Word was taught. And the love that was there was just incredible.”

The Keirs graduated from CFNI in 1982. During their time in America, they had an opportunity to minister in many churches and were ordained by the Beverly Hills Church. Then they went back to Africa to fulfill the call of God on their lives.

Where The Streets Have No Name

Upon returning to their homeland, Keir became the children’s pastor in a local church. Later, he started taking mission trips to South Africa, Mozambique and other places. This ministry started to increase rapidly, and soon embraced other churches and ministries. That led Keir to found Hand In Hand International.  When talking about the mission of this ministry, Keir says, “My hand is in Jesus’ hand, and your hand is in mine. He trains us to raise up others. Is not about one person, but we’re a family, a church doing the Lord’s work together.” Hand In Hand International has reached 40 different nations, equipping churches and conducting over 100 open-air Gospel crusades.

This photo was taken during an open-air crusade in Mozambique

The skills that Keir had obtained while he served in the Special Forces were a perfect fit for the kind of evangelism his teams are doing. They often go to places “where the streets have no names,” and pioneer churches in areas where no one wants to go. Sometimes they have to walk for three days to get to those places, but it’s so worth it in the end. “We’ve seen amazing miracles and healings, and a countless number of churches have been planted,” Keir says, adding, “I don’t want to stop until I see the revival. CFN’s co-founder Freda Lindsay prophesized over me, saying, ‘You’ll be sent to awaken churches.’ I’ve held on to that commission, and I live to see people awaken to who God really is, to see His Kingdom manifest, to see barriers and limitations removed and signs, wonders and miracles break forth. That’s why we bring revival to the local Church—so that the Church can take it into the world.”

Longing For Revival

Keir and Callie Tayler

This passion fuels Keir to go forward. He says, “Jesus is the best encourager and friend. You can go through anything when you know that He’s close to you, that He approves and loves you. There’s nothing better in this whole world than to be a son and a daughter of the King, completing the mission He’s given you.”

Keir encourages people to press on toward the mark—to fulfill the calling and mandate of God. He says, “Never shrink back from it; give yourself to this cause completely. We’re living in the greatest times. Paul the Apostle is seriously jealous as he is looking at us—and this is just the start! I strongly believe that the best is yet to come. Keep pushing forward!”

Keir and Callie have been married for over 40 years, serving the Lord with their three children and nine grandchildren. To learn more about their ministry, visit keirtayler.com.

If you would like to connect with Keir and Callie, email them at keir@handinhand.co.za

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CFNI Live Recording 42: Melody of Love

On February 10, hundreds of CFNI students, alumni, staff and Campus Days guests gathered in the Institute Building to be a part of the 42nd annual live worship recording. Our live recordings are always a highly anticipated event at Christ For The Nations, as worship is one of the foundational pillars of our ministry.

The dream of CFN’s founders, Gordon and Freda Lindsay, was to reach every tribe and nation with the message and power of the Gospel. One of the ways this vision has come to pass is through the worship music that comes out of Christ For The Nations. Over the years, songs from CFN have been translated in many different languages and have been sung all around the globe, touching thousands of lives.

Worship songs have a unique ability to capture the atmosphere of God’s presence and recreate it in homes, churches, cities and even countries. Phil King, one of the worship leaders featured on the album, gave voice to this: “This live recording was an extension of what we experience every day in chapel. The whole reason we hit ‘record’ was to capture it and send it out.”

Our 42nd live album, Melody of Love, is focused on two major themes: Songs like, There Is No One Like You, Melody of Love, There Is No Striving, Take Us In, and Incredible Love, talk about our passionate pursuit of God and knowing the depths of His love for us. The second part of the album features songs such as Every Tribe-Every Nation, I Give It All, Burn Spirit of God, and Let The Nations Rise, which encourage us to share this love with the world and to lift the name of Jesus in every nation.

What makes this live recording truly special is that most of the songs were written by CFNI students and alumni. Phil King, Jordan Stewart, Maddy Hunt, Kiplin Batchelor and others, in cooperation with a featured guest, Leeland Mooring, brought this project to life. Every song is a part of their lives and has a special story behind it. “We wanted to give songwriting back to the students,” said Robert Quintana, CFNI’s Creative Director.

Those gathered in the CFNI Institute Building the night of the recording experienced the powerful and gentle touch of God. One of the attendees, CFNI alumna, Celeste Ramirez, said, “CFNI does it again, making history and creating a beautiful sound of worship! One of the best albums yet! CFNI is a unique place where God’s presence is experienced daily in such a beautiful and humble way. This place holds so many memories and life-changing moments for me in times of worship … The Presence last night was just incredible!”

We pray that this recording will help you hear the Melody Of Love coming from the Father’s heart.

Mark your calendar for the album release on May 5!

Preorder Melody of Love today at cfnmusic.com/42.

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BIBLE SMUGGLER + RADICAL FOLLOWER OF JESUS

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

When we think of a “minister of the Gospel,” we typically think of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. It’s unlikely we would think of the word smuggler, let alone a Bible smuggler. However, for CFNI alumnus Patrick Klein that is a large part of his calling, and he is anointed for it. For over 20 years, Patrick Klein has helped deliver over 1 million Bibles around the world through some of the tightest security on earth.

But why would a young man, full of vitality and promise, choose such a dangerous career path? Why would he reject his comfortable American life and even risk his life to bring Bibles into closed and dangerous countries? Patrick Klein describes his motivation this way: “When you see pain and suffering up close and personal, how can you walk away from it? How can I live a supposedly normal life, the American dream, knowing girls are being sold into sex trafficking, pastors need Bibles desperately, and there are children living in the sewers? If I really had the Spirit of God in me, things that break God’s heart are going to break my heart.”

By following his heart, Patrick Klein’s clandestine ministry activities have led him to rescue sex trafficking victims over the years in countries most people are afraid to even visit (the names of the specific countries are withheld because of the danger to Patrick and his contacts). For Patrick, darkness is a quest for light, and need is a call to action. He does not shy away from danger when the souls of people are at stake.

Patrick’s passion for the lost and hurting was sparked while on a CFNI summer mission trip. He was a CFNI student, and it was his first time intentionally breaking international law. Patrick had heard about the need in one Asian country for Bibles (there was only one Bible for every 300 Christians in this unfriendly-to-the-Gospel nation), and he and his team were going to do something to help meet that need. Patrick had Bibles hidden in his checked and carry-on luggage, plus the ones he had hidden on his body under his clothes. He didn’t realize it, but his career as a Bible smuggler was about to begin.

81-year-old man receiving a Bible for the first time after decades of praying for one.

Walking through customs, trying not to appear nervous, Patrick experienced almost immediate failure. Customs officials found the Bibles in his carry-on and checked bags, but they didn’t find the ones hidden on his body. They confiscated the discovered Bibles, but cleared Patrick to enter the country. Officially a Bible smuggler, Patrick now had to repack and hide these precious Bibles again. In a rough bathroom with a “squatty potty” (just a hole in the floor), Patrick struggled to keep his bag off the wet floor and his passport from falling into the hole as he transferred the Bibles from his body to the bag. It was an extremely humid 90 degrees, and sweat dripped off his body. His only thought was, “Lord, this is what I am created to do! I love this!”

Years later, Patrick regularly smuggles Bibles into that same country and others, trusting God to bring more and more Bibles through hostile borders. On one occasion, he and his team successfully stayed below the radar of customs inspection while carrying 2 duffel bags, each with 70 pounds of Bibles, through the airport. Ten people with 140 pounds of Bibles each somehow walked right past the customs inspectors.

They weren’t even stopped and questioned. Patrick’s team was invisible! He has seen God’s protection and intervention in similar ways for over two decades. “You know, I hear some people say, ‘I just want to win one person to Jesus in my life.’  Not me, I want to win millions, tens of millions. I want to do all I can to bring Him much glory in this earth.

Tribal believer holding a Bible in her own language.

Patrick doesn’t think this is all that spectacular. He just hears a call for help and moves to answer it. “We do some dangerous stuff in our ministry, but people put their lives on the line for the Gospel all the time. Why are we, as American Christians, exempt from that?”

Patrick tells a story of one of his regular visits to an orphanage in an Asian country that houses children of sex trafficking victims. One little boy contracted HIV from his mother, who has died of AIDS. “When he came up to me, my first thought was, ‘Oh, be careful, he’s got HIV.’ And I thought, ‘Wait a minute, Jesus wasn’t afraid of the lepers, so I don’t need to be afraid of HIV.’  So I scooped him up and spent time with him. I visit as often as I can; I’m like a father figure to him. My faith has got to be bigger than any disease.

Whether he is smuggling Bibles or rescuing women from sex trafficking, Patrick isn’t afraid to wrestle with the moral implications of this radical Christianity. One American pastor refused to have Patrick in his church because Bible smuggling breaks the law. This pastor said, “If God wants the people in closed countries to have a Bible, He will change their governments.” Patrick shares, “I thought, that’s easy for you to say when your office is full of Bibles and study materials. What about the Hebrew midwives who kept the Hebrew baby boys alive when Pharaoh decreed they be killed in Egypt? Or Corrie ten Boom who hid Jews in her house against the laws enacted by the Nazi government during World War II? We’re called to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, the weak and defenseless. I believe if Jesus were walking the Earth today, He’d be rescuing girls out of sex trafficking. If He had to turn over a few tables and brothels, then He might just do it.”

For Patrick Klein, Bible smuggling is an act of worship, obedience to his calling. Patrick lives by a simple creed: “My life is not mine; I was bought with a price, the cross. I can’t just do whatever I want to do. I belong to Jesus now, and my question is, ‘What do You want me to do Jesus?’” Not everyone can or should smuggle Bibles or rescue sex trafficking victims, and Patrick is not advocating breaking international law. But everyone has a role to play in the Kingdom. It may be traditional, unconventional or perhaps even radical, but whatever it is, it’s time to answer that call.

Patrick Klein ministering to children in Southeast Asia.

See Patrick Klein’s video here

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When Christ is Your Life

(the story of Randy Weiss)

By Maria Erokhina

Randy Weiss, Ph.D., is a Jewish believer in Christ who has over 40 years of experience in ministry, missions and media outreach. A Bible smuggler, a songwriter and Gospel artist, a college professor and a TV show host, his life has been nothing short of wonderful.

An Encounter on the Honeymoon

Randy playing in a local rock band

Before he became known for his academic achievements and television ministry, Randy was a rock and roll musician who dealt drugs and dreamed of fame. In January 1973, he eloped with an Italian girl, leaving on a combination of honeymoon and record promotion tour. On their way to Phoenix, Arizona, Randy saw a tent out in the desert. “Christ Is The Answer” was written on a big sign next to it. Randy thought to himself, “How odd! What is the question?”

In Phoenix, Randy read a book The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey that he had previously bought at a bookstore without realizing it was a Christian book. As he was reading that “all have sinned” and “the wages of sin is death,” he felt convicted. The weight of sin lay so heavily on him that he started desperately looking for something that could ease that burden. The book reveled to him the truth about the Messiah, and a miracle happened. He accepted Jesus into His life and was “set free, cleansed and made His.”

Then Randy remembered the tent he’d seen on the way. He went back there with his new wife and a friend. In the tent, there were many hippies who called themselves “Jesus People.” They were playing contemporary music, and a preacher brought the message of Salvation, followed by an altar call. At that service, Randy was given his first Bible.

 Jesus is Lord

Randy and Adrienne on their wedding day

Since that day, Randy has been preaching about the Messiah. The news of his conversion devastated his traditional Jewish family, and it took year before they started communicating with him. But he knew that the price he had to pay to follow Christ could not compare with the joy he had found.

He also started writing Christian music and got connected with a ministry that produced Christian materials for distribution to underground churches behind the Iron Curtain. Randy and his family personally smuggled these materials. He says, “Often, we didn’t have a plan when we went there. There were many situations where it was impossible to move without the Lord’s protection and intervention.”

Randy had the opportunity to share his songs with the Body of Christ in those places. One of them, “Jesus Is Lord,” was translated into many languages as it soon became a favorite among the Christian brothers and sisters in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Greece and other countries. It was even sung at the very first Christian gathering in Communist Bulgaria that gathered about 5,000 people.

Loving The Lord

Having been a bi-vocational minister for many years, Randy thought it was time for him to leave public ministry. “I just wanted to minister to the Lord,” he says. “I couldn’t explain it to people, but I just wanted to spend time with God, telling Him that I loved Him and getting to know Him better.” At that time, God told him to go to Christ For The Nations Institute. Obeying Him, Randy moved his family from Indiana to Texas in 1992. What he thought would be one year in Dallas ended up being 25 fruitful years. Five of his children attended CFNI, and Randy became a proud grandfather of 13 “Texan” grandchildren.

Adrienne on top of their VW bug, 1973

In Dallas, Randy not only graduated from CFNI, but he stepped on the path of education that led to him earning three undergraduate degrees, two master’s degrees and two doctorate degrees. He says, “I wasn’t interested in degrees, but I wanted to learn some disciplines and find answers to my questions.” These academic pursuits were beneficial for Randy, opening many doors for sharing the truth of the Gospel.

Break Into My Life!

When Randy graduated from CFNI, he woke up to the reality of being in a “Christian bubble.” “Everybody I knew was either a pastor or a missionary. That had never been my life before – I had always been around unsaved people. I was convicted. I realized that it was not enough to minister to the Lord only; I knew I had to tell people about God. I was desperate and started looking for opportunities to do that.”

One morning he prayed: “Break into my life. Do anything You want.” That prayer was answered in an unexpected way. The same day, he received a fax message from an old friend who ran the international ministries of Dr. Lester Sumrall. He told Randy that the ministry wanted to buy some of his video equipment and offered to have him host a TV show.

“The news left me crying like a baby,” he says. That was not something he had on his radar, but he accepted the offer. Since 1994, his shows Cross Talk, Today With God and Wize Flix (children’s program) are broadcast in many different languages around the world and reach people who wouldn’t have access to the Gospel otherwise. Randy and his son also built Christian TV stations all over the USA, airing different kinds of Christian TV programs to people from all walks of life.

The Bottom Line

“God wants you to trust Him. God will equip and use every individual who is willing to say YES to Him,” Randy says, adding, “Christianity isn’t a profession. Don’t have a limited view that the only way you can serve God is in the role of a pastor, teacher or evangelist. There are many incredible opportunities to say yes to God. When Christ is your life, it’s glorious.”

To learn more about the ministry of Dr. Randy Weiss, visit www.ibntelevision.com and www.crosstalk.org.

To connect with Dr. Weiss, email him at randy@crosstalk.org.

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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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Miracle In The Slums

By Maria Erokhina

Northern Tanzania. Arusha city is located at the foot of Mount Meru. Its outskirts are occupied by some of the poorest people in the world. Their houses are built out of mud and cow dung mixed with ashes. There is no sewage system, and a sickening stench hangs in the air. During the rainy season, the place becomes a swamp. The area is full of witch doctors, and many suffer from demonic oppression.

Amid this appalling devastation, Pastor Naiman Shemhilu and Mbauda Pentecostal Church bring the Good News to the unprivileged and hopeless. The church began with only five people, but when they started doing Gospel outreaches in the marketplace, the power of God manifested in mighty ways – people were getting saved, delivered and healed.

As the ministry continued to grow, the church members decided to buy a small piece of land in the middle of the slums to build a place of worship. They managed to raise enough money to build the foundation and walls. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough to complete the building and were earnestly praying for help.

Their prayers were answered through the Native Church Program at Christ For The Nations. The day the church building was dedicated turned into a joyful celebration for the whole village. Even unbelievers came to witness that great miracle. The pastor heard some of them say, “If these poor people were able to complete the church, then God is real.”

Since then, the number of the church members has considerably increased. Many Muslims have given their lives to the Lord. The building is not only used for services on Sundays, but also as a nursery school that provides meals to poor and orphaned children and teaches them skills and the Word of God on a daily basis.

The story of Mbauda Pentecostal Church is a powerful testimony that God cares for His children and can make the impossible possible. This miracle happened because of the support of friends and partners like you, who donated to CFNI’s Native Church Program. Your support of this ministry will help many people around the world experience the love and goodness of God.

Be the answer to somebody’s earnest prayers by giving to the Native Church Fund today: cfn.org/give.

For more information about the Native Church program, go to cfn.org/church-roofs.

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The Center of Our Affection

By Zuzanna Low

Poverty was all I knew growing up in the Communist Yugoslavia. I was the youngest of 10 children, and I would often hear stories of how different life was before the new government confiscated our family estate. It was difficult for me to imagine; dirt floors, an outhouse and hand-me-down clothes from a church charity were my norm.

We attended church as a family, but I never really heard the Gospel of salvation. I was about 13 years old when, on the way to school, I encountered a Presence. It was gentle and kind, it made me feel safe. I knew that it had to be God. I started talking to Him, and I felt as if He talked back to me.

At that time, I did not fully understand what had happened, but I felt that God had marked me for influence and that I had a destiny. I continued talking to God, and when I heard the plan of salvation for the first time at the age of 18, I was very eager to accept Him and begin a personal relationship with Christ. I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and my life was substantially changed. He became the center of my affection.

At the age of 21, I married Jerry, a missionary from Dallas, Texas. When I met him, I noticed that he was different than other young believers I knew. He had a profound peace regardless of what he was facing, and he was crazy about Jesus. Jerry met the Lord while in prison as a result of a lifestyle of drugs. In prison, Jerry read Tortured For Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, which set his life on a course of destiny to the Balkans (Southeastern Europe). Upon being released from prison, Jerry attended CFNI in 1977-1979. Jerry often talks of his “carpet times” in the presence of God at CFNI that brought much deliverance and cleansing, setting him on a solid foundation.

Zuzanna sharing about the needs of her mission field, the Balkans

After serving in a local church for several years, Jerry answered the Lord’s call to the Balkans. Together, we served local churches in Yugoslavia until the political climate began to change and war was in the air. At that time, we had a 9-month-old son and were expecting our second baby. Our church in Dallas asked us to return to the States for a season.

In the USA, I experienced a significant culture shock. Our church was very supportive, and that helped me integrate into a new environment. In the following years, God did much work in me, setting me free and giving me a new identity in Him. I found a job in a department store in order to help provide for the family. I loved my job and wanted to represent God well, so I always gave more than what was expected as an employee. My boss saw leadership skills in me, and soon I was promoted to department manager. I remember feeling like I was on top of the world.

Around the same time, I had a powerful encounter with God at a conference. I heard a clear voice speak Acts 7:34 to me: “I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.” I needed no interpretation – I knew that my “Egypt” was the Balkans. I knew the time was coming when God would send us back to the Balkans.

Prayer at the Upper Room Zagreb House of Prayer which the Lows host in their home

At the time, my career was my main emphasis. I attended every leadership class my company would allow and learned everything I could. However, due to a lack of a healthy work-life balance, I became burned out and empty. I realized that I had placed my career as my first focus, taking God’s place as the center of my affection. I knew that I needed to “pause my life” to make a very necessary adjustment.

With Jerry’s support, I left my job, and we moved with our three children to the campus of Christ For The Nations Institute where I became a student. I attended CFNI for three years and completed the School of Pastoral Ministry. That was a great financial sacrifice, but I look at my years at CFNI as some of the best years of my life.

While at CFNI, God confirmed my call to the Balkans over and over again, but I also felt that the time had not yet come. I returned to the business world with a renewed focus on Jesus, a healthier identity and full of renewed energy. In 2013, 25 years after we moved to the USA, God made it clear to us that it was His perfect time for us to return to the Balkans. Our children were now grown – our youngest daughter was preparing to enter college. We made all the necessary steps for a smooth transition to the mission field while leaving our children in America. Don’t be fooled, as this was not as easy as it sounds; leaving our children and our grandbaby behind was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

Our first six months overseas were very hard. A week after we arrived to Zagreb, I lost my precious mother. Jerry, a healthy man, became very ill the day we landed – he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure – and fought for his life amid the social bureaucratic healthcare system of Croatia. He was released from the hospital with little hope for any quality of life.

“God, where are you?” I prayed. Those were very dark days for me. I left my children, my career, my secure life…my mother passed away, and now we were fighting for Jerry’s life. I never doubted our call; it was undeniable, regardless of circumstances. Many friends stood with us, choosing to believe in the goodness of the Lord rather than the report of the doctors. God answered, miraculously restoring Jerry’s health six months later.

IST Group adopted this Romanian village and regularly serves its children

In 2015, we founded a ministry based in Zagreb, Croatia called Intentional Strategies for Transformation, or the IST Group. IST Group exists to pioneer and resource redemptive transformation in Southeastern Europe. Our mission is to help the underutilized and disciple leaders, but our main priority is to make a resting place for the Lord, because we believe that only His presence can transform everything. With this focus, we founded a house of prayer, Upper Room Zagreb.

This is our story. Jerry and I have a strong burden to continue to minister the love of Jesus to the poverty-stricken people of the Balkans and to put an end to the spiritual poverty.

If you feel that you are not on the right track in life, ask yourself if God is still the center of your affection. It is never too late to make a course correction. Though it usually requires hard decisions, without these decisions you will simply not be able to fulfill your destiny.

To learn more about Intentional Strategies for Transformation, visit istgroup.org.

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Permission To Dream

(the story of Lazarus Razaily)

by Maria Erokhina

This is the story of a man who decided to choose the important over the convenient and the calling of God over the plans of people.

Big Dreams, Big Challenges

Lazarus was born into an orthodox Hindu family that was deeply involved in witchcraft and suffered grinding poverty. At a certain point, his father became very ill and was dying. A Christian neighbor told his wife about Jesus the Healer and prayed for her husband. At that time, Lazarus’ parents didn’t know anything about Christianity, but they agreed to receive the Lord in hopes that it would make the father well. A miracle happened indeed – his health was restored.

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The joy of sharing food and Jesus with the people of Nepal

After their salvation, the life of the family started to improve. Nevertheless, severe need compelled the parents to send their children to the orphanage. Fortunately, it was a Christian orphanage, where the children heard about Jesus on a daily basis.

From a very young age Lazarus wanted to become a musician. He had many other dreams, too, but the economic situation in the country and other challenges were steadily choking those dreams to death. Despair was growing in his heart.

In 2001, Lazarus got connected with a group of people who were passionate about the Lord and found the place where he belonged. He testifies that his real experience of salvation happened at that time. Although the circumstances around him didn’t change, hope started to rise in his heart.

A Step of Faith Leads to Breakthrough

Lazarus was serving with a ministry that provided food for homeless children on the dirty street of Kathmandu when he found two boys who “were different from the others.” Lazarus and his brother adopted these children while they themselves struggled financially. “Right after these kids came home, God abundantly blessed us; His favor opened many doors. Our life was changed after that,” says Lazarus. Now these boys have become young men who study at university.

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Lazarus, Sajana and their daughters, Avani and Subani

In 2008, Lazarus married Sajana and they began to overcome life’s challenges together. His ministry was growing quickly. He was invited to lead worship in many different places and served in the leadership of several churches. Still, he felt that there was more to life. He always wanted to become a worship pastor and start a worship school that would equip worship leaders. He was surfing the internet, looking for a school where he could get trained for that vision, and came across Christ For The Nations Institute. He applied to CFNI and was granted an international scholarship that enabled him to attend.

A Year of Change

At CFNI, God blew on the cooling ambers of Lazarus’ dreams. He felt that God gave him the permission to dream big. God also told him, “If I am with you, it doesn’t matter where you are – in the USA, Canada or Nepal – I will take care of you.”

During his one year at the school, Lazarus found direction for his life. Among many other wonderful things that happened, he received a prophetic word that he would be a church planter in Nepal.

In Dallas, he got connected and served with a Nepali Church that offered Lazarus the opportunity to become a pastor and promised to help bring his family to the USA.

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Ministry outreach to a Nepali village

“The dream of every person in Nepal is move to America and break free from devastating poverty and endless hopelessness,” admits Lazarus. Although staying in America (and leading a church!) was a great opportunity, he knew that God wanted him to go back to his homeland. He had to make a difficult decision.

“I knew that I was coming back to a life of struggle. I had nothing, I was going empty-handed. I had to start from scratch with no support,” he says. In the midst of the storm brewing inside of Lazarus’ mind, God assured him, “Trust Me and I’ll show you the next step. I will open doors for you.”

He decided to follow the Lord’s call, taking the road of hardship rather than convenience.

A New Start

When Lazarus came back to Nepal, he found three families that were in a critical condition. The children had lost their fathers and their mothers were struggling to make the ends meet. Lazarus used the money that the Nepali American church gave him and sent all nine children to school. This act of kindness gave each of them a start in life.

The joy that Lazarus shared with these families was his own, too. He even prayed, “If this is what You want me to do in life, I’ll be the happiest person.” When people heard about what he’d done, they started sending their support, and now they are collectively providing for 35 unprivileged children.

Despite the delight of seeing these children taking steps toward a good future, some of Lazarus’ expectations blew up in his face. The church in Kathmandu that he had served with before coming to CFNI refused to receive him back as a leader. His desperate attempts to be heard by the church leadership and serve under their authority were not successful. It was a challenging time for him.

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Alleviating the suffering of the 2015 earthquake victims

At that time, Lazarus opened his journal and found the prophetic word he had received at CFNI: “You will be a church planter in Nepal.” He got encouraged. “This is why my church is not allowing me to serve with them! I am supposed to plant new churches!” he thought. He went to tell his pastor about this vision. In spite of the perplexity of the situation, the pastor prayed over him and released him with a blessing.

Lazarus’ family, including his parents, supported him. They began to meet on a daily basis, praying, fasting, studying the Bible and seeking the Lord. “From the very beginning, our vision has been to be a church that is worshipping, Spirit-filled and grounded in the Word,” says Lazarus. After six months, God started adding new people to their congregation, Levites Church, and many were saved, healed and delivered.

In March 2014, Levites Church moved from Lazarus’ house to a bigger building. They also planted a daughter church in the neighboring town of Makwanpur and played an active role in alleviating the suffering of the 2015 earthquake victims.

Igniting the Heart of Worship

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Bringing God’s presence to the uttermost parts of the world

For two years, Lazarus diligently served the people God entrusted him with. He wanted to be a faithful steward of that most valuable treasure, but the dream of igniting the heart of worship in Nepal was still burning in his heart. In 2016, God said to him, “You’ve been faithful with what I’ve entrusted you, now I want to respect your desire. Do what you have in your heart.”

From then on, Lazarus’ worship and music ministry launched quickly. God started sending him musicians, musical instruments and other necessary equipment. Now his team of 15 dedicated people travels to different parts of Nepal and India, leading worship and teaching about worship. Lately, God has been opening some amazing opportunities for them to serve and glorify Him.

It’s About Him

“My life is given to me by God to praise Him, and all that I am doing is not about me, but about Him. It’s His business, and He is more concerned about it than I am,” says Lazarus. “God’s love is what keeps me moving forward. I get my inspiration, motivation, energy, anointing and resources from Him alone. Challenges will always be there, but we have to be more focused on God rather than the problems.”

Levites Ministry’s motto is simply “Nepal needs Jesus.”

Because of people with dedicated hearts like Lazarus, Nepal has hope. If would like to connect with Levites Ministry and be part of what God is doing in this part of the world, email Lazarus at lazrusraj@yahoo.com.

 

 

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CHRIST FOR THE NATIONS COLOMBIA

Transforming the Next Generation One By One

By Maria Erokhina

The purpose of CFNI Colombia is to raise, equip and send out Christian leaders to transform the world.

The school began seven years ago and has expanded to a two-year program (including the Evening and Weekend classes) accredited by the Colombian government. As of now, the school has graduated over 400 students from 18 nations who have planted churches, established foundations, recorded worship albums and started Christian TV programs. These graduates serve as missionaries and use their careers in the marketplace for the glory of God.

Reaching the Youth for Christ

This is how it all began…

Twenty-five years ago Jerry and Barbara Manderfield decided to leave their home and ministry in Iowa to serve young people in Colombia.

“It was a crazy decision for a family with four small children,” Jerry admits. At the time, Colombia was notorious for being the drug and kidnapping capital of the world. The Manderfields lived through a lot of “interesting” experiences, including being robbed at gunpoint and witnessing murders on the streets. But that didn’t stop them – they continued to follow the call of God.

They started a youth ministry in the city of Medellin, which over time has grown to over a thousand young people. The Manderfields didn’t limit their focus to working with only one church – they aimed to serve and unite other churches in the city as well. Working with the local government, they hosted leadership training conferences and citywide evangelistic events, ranging from 3,000 to 25,000 people.

familyDuring the first 15 years of the Manderfields’ ministry in Colombia, three of their children – Joel, Bryce and Cara – studied at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. Jerry recalls, “When our oldest son – a good preacher’s kid and church leader – came back from CFNI, we saw a drastic change in him. He told us, ‘I really fell in love with the Holy Spirit. I think…I got saved. This is so real to me now.’ Our children’s experience at CFNI has changed our family and our church. The young people in our congregation became hungry to encounter God in the same way our children had. Barbara and I began to dream of offering such an opportunity to our youth.”

Jerry traveled to Dallas to visit CFNI. “I remember sitting at the back of the Institute Building with tears in my eyes asking God to establish a Bible school in Colombia. Then I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, ‘Will you help me do that?’” Jerry didn’t think he was qualified to do it – he never even attended a Bible school. Still, the call of God in his heart was louder than the voice of doubt and fear.

After many prayers and dialogue with CFNI’s Association of Bible Schools, the Manderfields received further confirmation that the Lord was moving them to take on this challenge. Christ For The Nations Colombia officially opened its doors in July 2009.

The Best Investment

The most important part of the students’ sojourn at CFNI Colombia is learning to hear the voice of God and developing an intimate, personal relationship with Him. Character formation and personal restoration is also an important focus. Practical ministry is another foundational pillar of the school. Jerry and Barbara believe that it is necessary not only to teach theology but to put it in practice. The students of CFNI Colombia share the Gospel in the streets, pray for the sick, distribute food and teach skills to women who have been rescued from the sex industry. The leadership of the school also encourages the students to get involved with local ministries and churches.

12507134_788209501283810_8737033543497577597_nCFNI Colombia believes in investing in young people. This is why they are so passionate about equipping these world-changers with the tools necessary for doing effective ministry – both inside the church and in the marketplace. These men and women are being mightily used by God to transform their generation.

One CFNI Colombia student, Vanessa Rodriguez Niño, shares, “Every day at CFNI Colombia is a unique experience. I have enjoyed the wonderful times of worship, intercession and prayer. I am being equipped with a solid knowledge of the Word of God and also challenged to implement what I’ve learned by showing God’s love and serving others. I’ve had the opportunity to serve at the Institute and various foundations, ministries and missions impacting our society and our nation with the light of Jesus.”

Moving Forward

The need for solid Bible training in South America is great. CFNI Colombia is one of the few schools offering this kind of experience to young people. For seven years the school has been renting the facilities that they are using for classrooms and student housing. As the number of students is increasing with every semester (which is a great thing), they are dramatically running out of space. This year the leadership of CFNI Colombia decided to take a step of faith and purchase their own property.

pano1Fortunately, God led them to find a school that has been abandoned for several years. With some modifications, it will become a wonderful campus with dormitories, a cafeteria, offices and classrooms.

We are confident that God, who began a good work at CFNI Colombia, will carry it on to completion and the school will continue to transform the next generation.

To connect with Jerry and Barbara and be part of their building project, go to donations.cpncolombia.com.

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God’s Hands And Feet

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

CFNI students fulfilled the Great Commission this summer as they went out preaching, teaching, feeding the hungry, loving orphans, hosting children’s camps and ministering healing (physical, spiritual and emotional).

One testimony from the United Kingdom team, Awaken UK, was of a disabled man who could hardly walk without running out of breath. He basically lived in his living room, as he couldn’t climb his stairs due to his pain level. After prayer by one CFNI mission team member, he could walk without difficulty, without pain and without his constant walking stick! God healed him through one student’s obedience.

journeyPowerful testimonies came from our Asia teams. During part of one trip, they traveled into the bush and found a people group who had been waiting for three years to hear the Gospel. Only six of them had ever heard the name of Jesus before meeting this team, but all of them were saved due to the students’ ministry! The team’s leader, Connie McKenzie, shared, “We met the people in a cave, and God gave many team members words of knowledge that led to people being healed.”

Another testimony from these Asia trips was of a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit in one of the schools where they ministered in Thailand. The students had never heard the Gospel before the CFNI team visited. When the gospel was shared, the presence of the Lord filled the room, causing almost everyone in the room to simultaneously weep and ask for prayer. They saw hundreds come to the Lord that day.

In another part of the world, South Africa, CFNI student Leah Hinkle shared the impact of her mission trip—these trips didn’t just change the people the students met, but the students were changed as well. “As a prospective student in the Global Missions major, this trip really opened my eyes to what my future holds: living boldly and maybe a little uncomfortably, adapting and thriving in a country — not my own — and loving people deeply, exactly where they are.”

mexicoThe Mexico trip’s team leader, Karen Padilla, shared an awe-inspiring experience of being God’s hands and feet. “Our team was evangelizing on the streets in Bahia de Los Angeles. They heard a voice that seemed to come from really far away. As they got near, they realized it was an elderly lady who was completely alone in her house. When they opened her door, she declared, ‘The Lord heard my prayers! I have been alone for two days, and this morning I asked the Lord to send His angels.’ She was 76 years old and was completely paralyzed. She had not eaten anything for two days, and it was very hot in her house. Immediately, some students from the team got her food and water. The rest of the team stayed, talked and prayed with her. We presented the gospel to her; she repented and accepted Christ as her Savior. Then we prayed for healing and the pain in her legs disappeared!”

holywoodCFNI had a team that remained in America for their mission trip. Shannon Johnson, CFNI’s Dean of Women, took her group to minister on the streets of Hollywood. Her most memorable testimony was of a drug dealer that the group encountered three times in two different locations. “At the final encounter, both the young man and his girlfriend gave their lives to Christ, handed over all of their drugs and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues! Over the weeks we were there, we prayed the prayer of salvation with 69 people, saw 67 healing miracles, had 15 people pray to receive the Holy Spirit, and we prayed for over 965 people!”

These testimonies are just a handful of the powerful and life-changing experiences of the teams all across the
world. We continue to send out students, staff, faculty and alumni Into All The World!

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