INTERNATIONAL SITUATION REPORTS
GOOD NEWS - God is Still at Work (Hunger)
from Ron Pearce
Over the last couple of months, I have been outlining for you the five main factors that characterize the current outpouring of the Holy Spirit, sparked in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Key leadership within the national church worldwide continues to sense that God is sending a message to His Church today regarding:
* Contentment * Humility * Compassion * Urgency
* Insatiable Hunger for God's Word
Today, I want to focus on the last point and explain why we are experiencing a global, unquenchable hunger for the Bible. (Note: If you missed the explanations of the first four elements, you can find them here: http://www.emintl.org/pages/good-news-god-still-work .)
We are at a point in world history when almost 8 billion people are simultaneously asking the same question:
Where can we find the Truth?
Never have we witnessed so many people spreading such diverse ideas on what they believe to be "truth". This dilemma is compounded by the instantaneous and global distribution of these conflicting viewpoints over the internet via mass and social media. The earth is littered with a distortion of reality—including exaggerations, twisting of or minimization of facts, irrational myths and outright lies. We are at the point where the prophecy in Daniel 8:12 is being fulfilled: “and truth was thrown to the ground.” For the lost souls of this world, it is causing widespread confusion and frustration. For some, it is escalating into anger and acts of violence as they lash out at the Judeo-Christian values that were once the bedrock of our society. A spiritual anarchy is beginning to grip the world and it appears that it is only going to get worse.
If not for a historic surge of hungry souls seeking God worldwide and an accompanying insatiable hunger for the Word of God, the deafening chaos in the world could drive a Christian believer to utter despondency. But God, speaking through His Word, comforts and reassures His people that when all looks bleak, mankind will search out His Word as a tell-tale sign of a massive turning to Himself. Read these verses and rejoice:
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11 NASB)
Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:2 NASB)
Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9 NASB)
For those who are sincere seekers of God and have ears to hear, the Holy Spirit removes the blinders of confusion and mistrust, and opens their minds to the answers found in God's Word. Thus, Jesus, who is the Word of God in flesh (John 1:1), says "I am the way, the truth and the life… (John 14:6). Finally, millions are awakening to the realization that:
The only One we can trust is God Himself, and the only Truth that is trustworthy is contained in the Bible.
This is why Empower is now inundated with requests for Bibles worldwide! We are living in a day when lost souls are seeking Truth, marginal Christians are seeking reassurance of God's continuing love, and believers are seeking comfort and hope. Spiritual eyes and ears are being opened like never before—and they are hungry for the things of God! This verse from 1 Peter 2:2 (NLT) is coming to life in a new way for millions of people:
“Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment…”
This is exactly what individuals in areas of revival or spiritual awakening are doing right now as I write this letter. They are crying out and craving answers to life’s questions—desperately wanting spiritual milk so as to find and grow into a full experience of salvation that their false religions have never provided. In other words, these people have been starving to death for Truth!
Proof of this came last year, when Empower launched "Operation Equip Israel - 2019" which was an overwhelming success. This project began to saturate Israel with much needed and requested copies of Scripture in nearly a dozen languages including Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English. National leadership confirmed that this was a historic moment for both Messianic and Arab congregations since many Christian ministries and pastors that could never before afford an ample supply of God's Word were gifted with as many as they needed. As the spiritual eyes and ears of seekers are opened, and the hunger for Truth grows, we continue to ensure that all people, from all backgrounds in the land of Israel, are fully equipped with the Word going forward.
Then, as we moved into 2020, COVID-19 came knocking at the world's door. This pandemic, which has already claimed more than half a million lives, has sent governments and billions of people into confusion and panic. But it has also spawned another, almost completely overlooked, consequence for Christians and unbelievers alike. Since January 2020, reports of spiritual hunger and church growth from national church movements have landed on my desk to a degree I could have only dreamed of before. A number of national Christian leaders have recently told me that from their perspective, the year 2020 will not be remembered as the year of disaster. In fact, one of them put it this way: “It is the year of unparalleled expansion of the Kingdom and a ravenous hunger for God's Word."
This is why I can state the following with confidence, as it pertains to dozens of countries, regions, people groups and church planting networks with which Empower partners and where millions are turning to Christ:
These are the best days for missions since Matthew 28:18-20.
Acting immediately, therefore, upon this historic and perhaps “end-time” opportunity, Empower is launching an all-out, concerted effort to print millions of Bibles, New Testaments, Children's Bibles, and scripture-based discipleship material to feed the spiritually hungry.
The project, entitled “20/20 Hearing,” will run from August 1, 2020 until May 31, 2021. The goal is clear and simple: Empower will seek to feed a “spiritual famine” by letting those people who have “ears to hear” (Revelation 3:13) hear “the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
Here is a small sampling of just a few areas around the world that have urgently requested Scriptures:
(Note: As the world grows increasingly antagonistic towards the Bible, security risks rise dramatically. We cannot, therefore, divulge complete details on projects, exact locations, methods of printing, and numbers of copies required.)
- Arab Middle East and North Africa – 100,000 adult and children's Bibles in Arabic for multiple restricted-access countries.
- Ethiopia – Due to massive numbers receiving Christ from various religious backgrounds, there is a desperate need for Bibles in the Oromo, Amharic, and Tigrinya languages. Empower is moving forward as soon as possible to print a combined total of at least 350,000 copies.
- Israel –
- Full Israeli Military Bible – a first in Israel’s history. A full Hebrew Bible with a camouflage cover designed for young Messianic soldiers.
- “The Feasts of Israel” – A large majority of Israel’s secular Jewish population does not understand the biblical or prophetic meaning of the Jewish feasts, although they look forward to and celebrate them annually. This small booklet, currently in development, will be used as an outreach tool nationwide and is designed to explain how all the feasts connect together and point to God’s full plan of salvation in Yeshua (Jesus). The first printings will be in Hebrew and English, the latter to reach Jews around the world who do not read Hebrew, and will also be available free of charge for all those in the Empower family who request one.
- Operation Equip Israel 2020 – for congregations, outreach ministries, Holocaust survivors, and recent immigrants, the need for Scripture continues as interest in Yeshua and the Gospel grows beyond expectations. Requests for copies of God’s Word in various forms continue to pour in like never before from all strata of Israeli society. As per Empower’s mandate, all these pieces of Scripture will be distributed at no cost to the recipients.
- The Balkans – Bibles and New Testaments are needed for believers and Truth-seekers in:
- Romani (gypsy) congregations throughout the Balkans – for evangelism and for believers who don’t yet have a Bible.
- Iran – Full Persian-language Bibles are necessary for sincere and hungry believers that are growing in number daily.
- Pakistan – In the extremely dangerous situation surrounding this country, New Testaments are sought for outreach and distribution to both new and underground believers.
- China – I cannot stress strongly enough the immediate need for Bibles in China for the burgeoning house church movement. Empower’s capacity to print Chinese Bibles is virtually limitless in-country. Smuggling is not required and would be more costly. Presently, Empower can print a full Bible for $2.25 per copy. Our goal is to print 150,000 before the end of May 2021.
- Cuba – As with China, smuggling is not required in this communist country. Food is scarce, and people must search for it, but they are also hungry for and searching desperately for Bibles, which Empower can provide.
- Laos and Vietnam – New Testaments and Bibles for new believers, children, and evangelistic outreach are greatly needed due to a rise in church planting following the COVID-19 outbreak. The combined need for both countries is 100,000 copies.
Millions of people are heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit, being born again and crying out for a copy of God’s Word. The days of famine for hearing the words of the Lord have clearly arrived! As I have stated in earlier correspondence, I realize that we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. But if you are able to help Empower supply millions of spiritually hungry souls with Bibles and New Testaments, it would be greatly appreciated.
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