As Turkey's Death Toll Continues to Climb, Global Catalytic Ministries Provides Relief While Making Disciples in Earthquake Aftermath
NAMPA, Idaho, Feb. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM), a leader in the Afghanistan crisis and who make disciples in the darkest places and beyond, is seeking to raise $5 million to help organize disciple makers in Turkey and provide aid to the people affected by the recent earthquakes. Tens of thousands of people have already been reported dead, with some experts expecting the death toll to possibly rise to over one hundred thousand. Even more have been severely injured with thousands trapped beneath the rubble. In the middle of this tragedy, God has not abandoned the people of Turkey.
Rampant civil unrest is providing ample opportunities for GCM to spread the Gospel and necessary provisions through the underground church.
NAMPA, Idaho, Dec. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- As Iran continues to battle civil unrest, Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM), a leader in disciple-making across the Middle East, is raising $2 million in essential funds to supply underground church leaders with resources to minister to the Iranian people. Even as many Iranians feel hopeless, the underground church is seeing a rapid growth in disciples, including a large number of youths.
Global Catalytic Ministries is a movement and nonprofit organization that works to help Muslims across the globe by cultivating faith in Jesus Christ. One area of emphasis for Global Catalytic Ministries is the importance of strong, God-ordained marriages that provide companionship and foster faith.
As Dr. Greg Smalley of Focus on the Family describes it, Chapter Two of Malachi explains that God makes marriages, not us, and that He inhabits even the tiniest aspects of the marriage. This creates a powerful force, as two people unite and share spirituality, intimacy, perspectives, and purpose.
Unfortunately, making a covenant under God and living under the same roof does not necessarily make a strong marriage. Some people living together for many years still relate like roommates, rather than two people who have committed to the same life path. Others who have forged strong and successful marriages can provide guidance and support to those who might feel lost or merely like roommates. Eventually, the couple that is counseled will learn to heal and grow strong, and can repay this support by mentoring others.
Global Catalytic Ministries is an organization with a purpose of transforming Muslims across the world through the power of Jesus Christ. A March 2023 Global Catalytic Ministries blog article explores the story of Purim and how it points toward a movement of Persian Christians at the vanguard of peace.
Celebrated each March just before Ramadan appears in the Muslim calendar, Purim celebrates the anniversary of a heroic act by Esther. Secretly Jewish, she was chosen by King Ahasuerus to be his new queen. The primary advisor of Ahasuerus, Hamaan was in support of a decree that would have resulted in the death of Jewish people across the kingdom. But Esther risked her life by revealing her Jewish faith and became the advocate of the Jewish people. King Ahasuerus ultimately relented and spared her people. This story of her brave act of free will, amidst persecution, is one that still resonates today.
As explained in the article, the story is particularly relevant to today’s situation in contemporary Iran, where Jews and Christians are targeted for persecution. Just as in Biblical times, people are dying for propounding the Christian faith. Much of this violent behavior is learned and socially defined, as even Iranian schoolchildren are programmed to seek the destruction of Israel.
Through a burgeoning underground church movement, those who follow Christ are finding that such teachings are misguided and incorrect. Just as God disguised Esther’s identity so that she could perform a heroic act from a position of power, God works to protect church leaders’ identities in Iran so that the underground church can grow and flourish.
Global Catalytic Ministries is a nondenominational organization that seeks to transform Muslims through real encounters with Jesus. Focused on an urgent cause, Global Catalytic Ministries is active in countries such as Afghanistan, which is now ranked first in the world in terms of danger for practicing Christians, surpassing North Korea.
This intimate focus on troubled nations reflects the organization’s status as an underground church. This is distinct from those ministries that send people of faith to provide aid and practical relief and bring back stories to the Western world of an underground church. They provide a welcome and needed service, but they have a different mission.
The underground church’s disciple makers are actually from persecuted regions and minister to others from persecuted regions. Their emphasis is on sharing Jesus’ love in even the most trying of circumstances, where professing belief can get one killed. This constant living in fear of persecution can also be a strength.
When disciples are made in the “hardest nations,” they go on to organically grow the faith and transform others. Instead of simply visiting on mission trips and taking photos, believers stay in the nations they serve, building lives and raising families there. At the same time, the underground church becomes their home as they stand strong through a shared devotion to the truth of Jesus.
When we contemplate mothers, our usual notion revolves around those who fulfill the role in a tangible manner. We envision women who give birth, wholeheartedly devoting themselves to their children, making sacrifices, and nurturing them through the years until they reach adulthood. Undoubtedly, this perception holds true. Without those who wholeheartedly embrace the physical responsibilities of motherhood, where would we find ourselves? In the realm of faith, we encounter examples like Eve, Mary, and Elizabeth, who selflessly devoted themselves to the wondrous act of bringing life into the world—life that possesses the potential to reshape the course of human history. Imagine if Mary had declined the sacrifice of motherhood or if our own mothers had chosen otherwise. The consequences would be profound.
Nevertheless, motherhood extends beyond a specific group of women; it lies at the core of femininity itself and represents an essential need in the world. While women certainly bring forth children through childbirth, they also give birth in countless other ways as they embrace their distinctive role as nurturers. They give birth to ideas, enterprises, connections, homes, ministries, and communities, to name but a few.
Being a woman means infusing life into every room, every occupation, and every relationship she encounters. Consider the story of Queen Esther from the Bible. Although she may not have borne physical children as far as we know, she breathed life into the entire kingdom of Israel through her bravery and selflessness. In doing so, did she not exemplify the heart of a mother, willingly sacrificing herself for the sake of those who relied on her?
Mothers exhibit a remarkable quality of unwavering protectiveness, often likened to that of a mother bear. When women embrace their unique calling as mothers, the world is profoundly enriched. They fearlessly place themselves in harm's way for the sake of the weak, the vulnerable, and anyone who requires their feminine strength. The book of Judges provides a striking example of this maternal devotion through the story of Deborah. She emerges not as a judge, soldier, ruler, or mere leader, but as a mother to Israel.
She consciously chooses to define herself through the lens of motherhood, fueled by an intense love that resides within a mother's heart. This extraordinary love enables her to discern the desperate needs surrounding her and wholeheartedly embrace them, refusing to remain silent. Imagine a world without such mothers—the Mother Teresas of our time—who wholeheartedly perceive a need and consistently respond with love. The impact they have, repeatedly extending compassion, is immeasurable.
As we celebrate Mother's Day, we extend our heartfelt recognition to mothers everywhere—those who nurture life in both physical and spiritual realms. The global church earnestly calls upon women to rise as mothers, to perceive the desperate needs of a wounded world and embrace that pain as their own. In every nation, we yearn for mothers to emerge in their maternal roles, breathing life into desolate places, fostering the growth of both physical and spiritual well-being in their own children and the children of a world lost and fractured. To all mothers, we honor you, we rely on you, and we hold deep affection for you. Happy Mother's Day from Global Catalytic Ministries and the church worldwide.
One of the mission statements at Global Catalytic Ministries emphasizes thriving in persecution, rather than just surviving it. Regardless of our circumstances, whether we are well-fed or hungry, rich or poor, facing persecution or living in freedom, in the East or West, we can be content in Jesus and make disciples. This way of living is not only possible for every Christian but also critical.
The Western church tends to pity and feel grateful for their persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide. They feel sorry for those who are suffering but are grateful that they themselves are not experiencing the same hardship. Interestingly, the persecuted church feels the same way about the church in the West.
It is natural for people to avoid pain, but the Bible teaches us that we are meant to thrive in persecution, not just survive it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake blessed, for they will inherit the kingdom of Heaven. He encourages persecuted believers to rejoice in their suffering because they will receive a great reward in Heaven. It is puzzling that so many Christians invest an excessive amount of effort in setting up a safe, comfortable life with minimal trials. This is not possible for a true Christian, and it is not Biblical. Instead, we are instructed to count it as joy when we face various trials. The book of James explains that we will receive earthly and eternal rewards for our suffering, including perseverance leading to maturity.
Observing the persecuted church provides evidence of the Biblical truth of thriving in persecution. The areas where the church faces the most severe backlash also tend to see the most growth. This is not coincidental but rather a Kingdom exchange, where we exchange our weakness for His strength. The persecuted church understands that in their suffering, they are becoming more like Jesus on Earth and earning a share of His eternal reward in Heaven. For the Christian, there is no greater joy than this.
It is essential to understand that we should not pursue persecution for its sake. Instead, we are to pursue Jesus with wild, brave, wholehearted abandon. When we embrace the Biblical understanding of persecution, we can pursue Jesus without hindrance or fear. By accepting that Christians will suffer and embracing the truth that suffering makes us blessed on Earth and in Heaven, we can follow God's calling on our lives. As a result, we can impact the world like the early church, with a faith that changes work places, cities, nations, and even generations. It is time for the global church to redefine its understanding of persecution, freeing ourselves to lay down our lives and serve Jesus no matter the cost.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
Giving our bodies as a living sacrifice is a biblical mandate, but it can be ambiguous for many Christians in the Western world. The true meaning of surrendering our flesh and blood bodies as a sacrifice and withholding nothing, not even ourselves, is often misunderstood and disregarded by the non-persecuted church. As a result, this instruction is frequently overlooked and forgotten.
To the underground church, the verse from Romans is not merely a passing reference but the very bedrock upon which they construct their response to the suffering they endure. Christians residing in countries where they face severe persecution often experience physical and emotional abuse, rape, mutilation, torture, and even death. However, those who adhere to the principles of Romans 12 expect nothing less. To present one's body as a living sacrifice means surrendering control over one's fate. It is to find beauty in relinquishing the physical body for the sake of Christ, irrespective of the outcome. To be a living sacrifice implies placing oneself fully at God's disposal, being available and willing to comply with whatever God commands. In other words, the verse urges us to "present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship," emphasizing the importance of offering our physical selves to God as an act of worship.
In the Bible, we witness numerous instances of this verse being manifested through members of the early, persecuted church. Among these, the most significant example is that of Paul. Throughout the New Testament, he exemplified presenting his body as a living sacrifice, rendering him invulnerable. Despite being beaten, he glorified Christ. While imprisoned, he wrote letters that shook the world. And even when threatened with death, he rejoiced in the knowledge that he would soon be with Jesus. His body was simply a vessel for glorifying God and a sacrifice on the altar, akin to wood being kindled and smoke rising, producing a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The underground church has discovered his secret and is using it to become just as invincible.
It's noteworthy that the underground church, which endures the most intense persecution, is also witnessing the most rapid growth globally. When one recognizes that the worst that can happen to them is no more than what they've pledged to give, they have nothing to lose.
The underground church has learned to accept Romans 12 at face value and, by doing so, has attained a freedom that is only attainable through complete surrender.
It is imperative for the universal church to understand this same principle. If we choose to surrender ourselves now, we can be prepared when persecution strikes. We can learn to yield ourselves intimately, like Mary of Bethany, who broke the jar of perfume at Jesus' feet, indicating that she was willing to give everything to Him. We can also offer the same fragrant aroma of a living sacrifice even in the absence of persecution if we are willing to surrender our bodies, plans, finances, possessions, and entire beings to Christ's sake.
This is why, at Global Catalytic Ministries, one of our vision statements is, "We offer our bodies as living sacrifices, loving Him so much that nothing else matters. He is worth it all."
The acts of charity, kindness, and service performed by Christians, like those of other religions, are numerous and varied. A significant example of these acts is volunteering at local churches, food banks, and homeless shelters. Many Christians also donate money and resources to assist those who are in need, both in their local community and globally.
One of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is that all people are created equal and should be treated with dignity and respect in the eyes of God. This belief inspires many Christians to become involved in social justice initiatives, advocating for the rights of marginalized groups and working to tackle issues such as poverty, discrimination, and human trafficking.
Another significant aspect of Christian service is mission work, which involves traveling to other countries to share the gospel and help those in need. Missionaries may provide medical aid, construct homes and schools, and assist in disaster relief efforts.
Christians also support acts of charity through organizations like World Vision and Compassion International, which focus on alleviating global poverty and providing aid to children in need. Many Christians also sponsor children through these organizations, offering them essential resources such as food, education, and healthcare.
In addition, Christians serve their communities by offering counseling and support to those who are facing difficulties. Pastors, chaplains, and lay volunteers provide emotional and spiritual support to individuals and families who are going through tough times.
In conclusion, the acts of kindness and service performed by Christians demonstrate their strong commitment to their faith and their desire to make a positive impact in the world. Through volunteering, donating, or serving in mission work, Christians are dedicated to spreading love, compassion, and hope to those who are in need.