To celebrate the Christmas season with you, my family and I want to convey to you our love and warmest holiday blessings.
In this letter my family will share updates and offer personal thanks to you, our extended family, during this special time of year. I’ll also share stories of viewers your gifts and prayers have encouraged this year and explain how you can continue to support our life-changing efforts to share Christ’s love with those who have yet to hear about the Savior whose birth we celebrate this Christmas.
From Darlene: I want to thank all of you who have written notes to us, prayed for us, and encouraged us this last year. You have been such an inspiration. John and I could not do this ministry without you. With fear and trepidation I traveled with John to India last September. We loved the people and I had the chance to form a lot of wonderful relationships with pastors’ wives in the week we were there. Now I stay in touch with them by email and know a little of what is happening in their lives.
As many of you know, I serve in several ways at the ministry. I travel with John, direct our staff members, coordinate our efforts with television stations and networks, handle accounting, and manage our studio. It was good to be in India when we negotiated and signed TV contracts that allow us to broadcast to a nation of 1.2 billion people. While we were in India, my mother’s health took a turn for the worse. God was merciful to us and we returned home just in time to be with her the last 3 days of her life. Though it was a very difficult time, we have the joy of knowing she is with Jesus today. May God bless you and all of your family during this Christmas season when we remember God sent his own Son into our world to save us from our sins.
From our daughter Michelle: I am so thankful to the Lord for the great year God has given us. So much has happened! This will be my 14th year working at the ministry. As I work alongside my parents, I have watched God open many new doors for us to present the gospel. I oversee the busy customer service department. We receive thousands of letters, phone calls, and messages each month, so I get the opportunity to speak to many of you and hear firsthand how God is using the ministry to encourage and teach you. Besides working at the ministry, I also enjoy teaching a singles class of women at my church, and once in a while I get the chance to travel with mom and dad.
A Word from John
This last year God has been speaking to me and I believe it will shape my life and the future of our ministry. The last few years I have been reminded of the verse: “For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The New Living Translation says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” I believe that is what is happening to me.
Five years ago, God gave me the desire to broadcast our programs in Europe. We pursued that desire, and God miraculously opened the door for us. He even went beyond that and opened up 150 other nations to us. We quickly learned people overseas have a hunger to hear the gospel, good biblical teaching, and how to defend their Christian faith.
Then God brought Morgan Jackson and Faith Comes by Hearing into our lives. He graciously gave us permission to put 844 language translations and audio recordings of the Bible on our John Ankerberg show app and our website JAshow.org. Now people who don’t have a Bible in their own language, or can’t afford one, can access one free or listen to it in their own language anywhere in the world.
Next, God gave me a desire to start translating our TV programs and materials into the languages of the people we were trying to reach. This eventually led to a trip to India to meet Christian station owners and pastors to see if we could broadcast on their stations in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil. We formed great friendships with them and are now broadcasting to 80% of the homes in India, and to 120 other nations.
Where do I believe God is leading us today? I think God wants us to create a video discipleship course that would train and disciple millions of new believers in India, China, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Here is why.
The Church in India and the Church in China are both growing by 4% a year. This means that within the next 10 to 15 years there could be 400 million new Christians in India and 400 million new Christians in China!
While in India, we learned that if a person gets saved on Sunday, that next Friday he goes out and shares his faith with others. He keeps on doing it week after week. But I wondered, “What are these new believers sharing with their friends?”
The majority of people in India have come out of idolatry and have worshiped one of over 3 million gods! Many of the new Christian converts have never seen a Bible and don’t even know where to find the Gospel of John. Pastors desperately need help in training these new believers in the basics of the Christian faith.
I would like to help with a video discipleship course that would consist of approximately 10 key topics. Each topic would contain 6 half-hour programs of teaching. If translated into the top 10 languages, it could reach about 80% of all global speakers. I think the discipleship topics should include:
- Jesus Christ: Who did He claim to be? What did He come to do? What does He offer sinners?
- God the Father: What is He like (His attributes)? What is the Trinity? How is the God of the Bible different from all other gods?
- The Holy Spirit: Who is He? How does the Holy Spirit work in our world?
- What Is the Gospel? How does sin separate people from God? How does a person enter into a relationship with the living God by faith, experience the forgiveness of sins, and live empowered by the Holy Spirit?
- Essentials for Living the Christian Life: How can we better walk with God through all circumstances?
- Heaven, Hell, the Afterlife: What does the Bible teach about life after death?
- The Great Commission: Jesus commanded all believers “to make disciples of all the nations and to teach them all that I have commanded you.”
- What Is the Church? What are its purposes? How does it operate?
- The Bible: How did we get the Bible? Why did God give us the Bible? How should we use it?
- Prophecy: The future return of Jesus and everlasting life for the believer.
I also envision putting this video course on the billions of smart phones, tablets, and computers people have and airing it on our worldwide television outlets.
This is all in the Lord’s hands. Right now, our job is to continue proclaiming the gospel and teaching believers how to defend the faith. This month we need to raise close to a million dollars. God just opened the door for us to begin broadcasting on another network called God TV that has a potential viewing audience of over 900 million people across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Philippines, and Australia.
Recently, 4 Christian families heard of the opportunities God has opened to us to broadcast in other nations and in other languages. They have to match every gift given to the ministry up to $425,000 between now and December 31. That means every gift you give this month will be matched to help us bring the gospel to people around the world.
Please take a moment and read the enclosed card. Ask God if He would have you help us present and defend the gospel to these precious people around the world.
In Christian love,