Ten years ago Kathy and I celebrated our anniversary in the beautiful seaside city of Mazatlán, Mexico. We had no idea what a life-changing experience it would be. We met a young Mexican man, Jesus Antonio Samano Garay.
Antonio was a member of the very dangerous Sinaloa drug cartel. When we met him, we did not know it, but he was carrying a gun! He was also still involved in using and selling drugs, but he was very open to the Gospel and committed his life to Christ.
Now ten years later, Antonio is known as Pastor Antonio! That’s right. He is a pastor of a church in Mazatlán. Kathy and I visited him and his family recently. We attended church on Sunday where I shared the story, “The Prodigal Son and His Prodigal Father.” Later that night, Antonio preached it himself!
On the Sunday we were in Mazatlán, before I preached my sermon, Pastor Antonio shared a story with the children. After the sermon, he led the entire church in the Lord’s Supper. Think of it – a former gun-carrying, drug cartel member now speaking gently to children about Jesus and leading the congregation in remembering the sacrifice of our Lord!
Only God could do such a work of grace!
It is a work he does in all of us and a work he wishes to do in multitudes more. We rejoice in the privilege to share the Gospel around the world and with those next to us – in our neighborhood, at work, on vacation – wherever and whenever!
We are also delighted to announce that the Spanish version of The Renewal of All Things is now online. Please click here, then scroll to images and place your cursor over them and select Spanish. Please tell your Spanish speaking friends to watch. In addition, for those churches with outreach to Spanish speakers, this video is a great resource to introduce them to Christ as they hear the story unfold with dramatic video and music. We will also soon have the follow up booklet for download to be used for personal reflection or small group study in Spanish.
Please keep us in your prayers and in your giving to continue spreading the Gospel around the world! If you would like to contribute to WGS, click here. Thanks so much in working with us to advance the Gospel. – Jonathan & Kathy Williams
When we heard the news, saw the pictures, and imagined what it was like we were all sickened. The news channels covered it and depending on the channel you watched commentators either railed against the President for doing nothing or commended him for his restraint in the face of barbarism.
But another story has emerged from this terrible act. One mother lost two sons in this incident and has spoken out. Another of her sons, Beshir, has gone on television and spoken of losing his two brothers when he called in to the television show which was speaking of this atrocity. Here is a summary of what was said:
Beshier: “I did not lose one brother … I lost two. Bishoy who was 25 and Samuel was was 23. I am proud of them. They are a pride to Christianity. They make me walk with my head high.”
Host: “Great is your faith.”
Beshier: “ISIS gave us more than we asked when they did not edit out the part where my brothers and others declared their faith and called out to Jesus Christ. I thank ISIS. ISIS helped us strengthen our faith. Yes … believe me! This only helps us endure such crises because the Bible tells us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.”
Host: How did your mother respond? What would she do if she saw one of these killers on the street?
Beshier: “I did talk to my mother about this. I can tell you that she came to this resolution in her heart. She said, ‘If I were to see one of these killers on the street, I would invite him home and ask God to open his eyes!'”
Beshir then prayed on air and asked God to open the eyes of the ISIS killers that they might turn from the lies they have believed to the truth. Everyone in the studio was deeply moved by this story and by the fact that it was being heard by tens of thousands all over the Muslim world. Phone calls poured in from people of various religions or no religion who saw this. The atrocities of ISIS, the faith of Christians, and the witness of
Christians reaching out in acts of kindness and faithful Gospel witness are causing them to turn to Jesus!
We rejoice in the faith of our martyred brothers. We rejoice in the faith of a grieving, but strong, brother and mother. We rejoice in the faithful witness of God’s people who continue to reach out in these lands through acts of kindness and faithful Gospel witness!
Soon, the Arabic translation of The Renewal of All Things will be available in Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish and other languages where it is difficult to follow Jesus. Please join us in prayer for God to use this video as people hear the true story of the true God and Lord of the world.
Watch the 16-minute video here. Scroll down below the trailer to watch in six languages.
Those are the words that came to a Turkish Christian evangelist who has been proclaiming Christ to the 77 million people of Turkey on her television show. She was an infidel, an apostate from Islam, and horror of horrors – a woman! He posted a picture of himself in an email to her in full battle gear with a machine gun in each arm. He was serious. He finished his harrowing email with the words, “If it takes me to my last breath, I will find you and kill you.”
The woman was filled with fear but she took it to the Lord in prayer and finding his peace wrote back to him! She shared her testimony, spoke of the love of God and finished with these words, “If it takes me to my last breath, I will find you and share the unconditional love of God with you.”
Two weeks later he wrote her again, “You don’t understand. I am a dangerous man. But you speak of a God of love. I do not believe he could love me. I am a murderer. I am a rapist. I have committed many crimes. God could not love me.”
She wrote him back, “God’s unconditional love is matched by his unconditional forgiveness. No matter what you have done, he will forgive you if you turn to Jesus Christ.”
Again, silence for two weeks. Then he wrote back, “I want you to call me and tell me more about this God of love.”
She arranged a secure place and a secure line to contact him. When she reached him he said, “I am ready. I want to have Jesus Christ in my life and he went down on his knees and became a new follower of Jesus ready to spread love instead of hate.”
Story #2 – What limits do we place on the power of the Gospel and the reach of God’s grace?
A 16-year Muslim girl was kidnapped, taken to a forest, stripped, tied to a tree and raped. But the father found out about it, got his gun and went to the forest. He found the man and his daughter, put the gun to the man’s head and said, “Either you agree to marry my daughter or I will kill you both.” It would be death for the rapist and a Muslim honor killing for a woman who had been defiled. The man agreed to the marriage to save their lives, but it was horrific for the girl – she had to be married to the man who had molested her. For 25 years they stayed married and even had two children but life was a nightmare for her to be married to this man and she was contemplating suicide.
One night she was watching TV and came across the Turkish evangelist who was speaking that night on suicide. The evangelist closed with these words, “Tonight someone is watching who is contemplating suicide. I urge you, do not do this but give your life to Christ and find his healing in your life” and that night the troubled Muslim woman found peace in Jesus. Her life was changed and two years later she led her rapist/husband to Christ. He is now a new man and together they have a Bible study in their home and share God’s amazing healing power to bring people out of unimaginable darkness into the light of his grace and love.
What limits do we place on the power of the Gospel and the reach of God’s grace?
These are two of the mighty stories we have heard this week at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. We are networking with people to share with them about our video, Gospel presentation “The Renewal of All Things” and our book The Women Jesus Loved. Pray that we could help spread this joyful message to the world. Join us in prayer and in giving for this great effort to get out this great news! Donate here.
When people hear the stories of Jesus in their emotional depth they are often much more open to the life-changing truth contained in those stories. This is why I created Stories of the Master and tell his stories throughout the world. One of my favorites is from Luke 7 where the woman wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Over a century ago, a great commentator said, “This story is to be wept over as much as studied and explained.” I agree.
This Saturday, December 13, from 1-3pm I will be at Viva Bookstore at the Viva Galleria at 8407 Broadway in San Antonio. In addition to a book signing for The Women Jesus Loved, I will give a talk on Jesus and Women, and will give a dramatic presentation of the story, “The Woman Who Wept at His Feet.”
You will see many kinds of books on many kinds of “spirituality” at Viva Bookstore. We are glad to introduce the truth of Jesus and be a witness for him as I share the story of “The Woman Who Wept at His Feet,” and give a brief talk on Jesus’ revolutionary love for women. Please join us!
If you live in the San Antonio area, please join me and bring your friends. If you cannot make it, please pray that God would use this time to spread his word.
Thank you for your prayers!
Chapter One of The Women Jesus Loved – “The Woman Who Wept at His Feet,” is now available for order for only $5. This small booklet tells the story of a woman burdened by sin and set free by Jesus’ love. It provides a great taste of the entire book and is an excellent way to introduce your friends to all the stories of Jesus.
My friend Scott Freeman has written and illustrated an award winning book called Naomi’s Gift. Call me sentimental, but every time I read it, I get choked up. You will be touched also when you read it for yourself, and so I am very happy to recommend Naomi’s Gift to you this Christmas.
Scott and Mollie Freeman are graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute. They have raised five children and live in Loveland, CO. They love Christ and use their God-given talents to expand the kingdom of God. Like Narmin Backus who we talked about in a recent blog and who is reaching her Azeri people with art, dance, song, and storytelling, Scott and Mollie use their grace-given talents to visualize the beauty of our King and his kingdom.
Scott and Mollie have branched into creating beautifully illustrated children’s books that help you reinforce a biblical worldview in your children. Reading great stories to your small children is one of the best ways to instill a biblical worldview in their hearts and minds. Big Picture Publishing is committed to help you normalize and reinforce spiritual truths and realities revealed in the Bible.
Please go to their website to learn more about this great ministry.
People with great talent such as Scott and Mollie, who love the Lord, and who can articulate their kingdom of God faith are rare in this world. Scott and Mollie are a treasure in God’s great family. Please pray for them. Visit their website and learn more about their ministry. Tell others about them and purchase their children’s books for your children and grandchildren. It is a privilege to be associated with them in God’s great kingdom plan for the world.
Would you like to hear Naomi’s Gift? Saturday,December 6, you can call 712.432.7146 and listen on your phone or go to WGSradio.com to hear this wonderful story for the whole family.
Do you know where Azerbaijan is? It sounds like an exotic, faraway place and it is for us in the West but God has been working mightily in this land in many ways.
First Programs for Azerbaijan
In recent weeks I have had the privilege of becoming acquainted with Global Heart Ministries which focuses on outreach to Central Asia. They have just finished taping 13 television shows for Azerbaijan featuring Narmin Backus and her art, singing, and dancing. These programs are the first Christian programming for the people of this great nation and we rejoice with them!
I invite you to watch this 3-minute promo spot for their television shows. This spot is provided with English translation.
Getting to Know Narmin
I have had the privilege of getting to know Narmin. She loves the Lord with all her heart and wants to reach her people with the Gospel. Narmin teaches art at a Christian school in Houston and is fluent in English, Azerbaijani, and Russian. She is reading The Women Jesus Loved and has been deeply touched by it. She also loves the video The Renewal of All Things and has started translating it for her people to hear the Gospel.
Please pray for Narmin’s ministry to her people and pray that her translation work for WGS will result in multitudes hearing the Gospel and coming to Christ.
Word of God, Speak!
Your prayer and financial partnership enable us to provide resources for people like Narmin and countries like Azerbaijan. Thank you for your help! To donate to WGS, please click here to help spread the Gospel in Azerbaijan and other countries.