The 2023 Harvest Nets Already Being Let Down

John on the Sea of Galilee

From the desk of the CEO, John Cook: As we’ve entered into 2023, we are celebrating quite a lot, beginning with the fact that this year marks our 20th anniversary as Indigenous Ministries International. This is amazing and I’m so thankful to the Lord for the outreach and scope of ministry that he has given to us in reaching people for Christ through the years! Praise God! I am thankful for you, our Indigenous Ministries prayer and financial partners who have faithfully blessed this ministry!

As we are stepping into our 21st year of ministry, I have a sense of expectation and excitement to see what God is going to do through us together as a team – you and me. As I shared with you in the closing of last year, it has been quite a year of accomplishment, but also of challenges. In October I shared with you our Year End Greatest Need Fund goal of $150,000 to complete 2022 well and prepare for this year, and so many of you responded and came to our support with your generosity. I am so grateful to you and humbled at your love for the Lord.

In Luke 5:3-11 the Lord Jesus finished teaching the people from a boat when he turned to Peter and told him to cast out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch. Two things I see in Peter’s response. First, he said, “We have been fishing all night and have caught nothing;” his next words were “But because you say…” The Lord gave the opportunity for Peter to work and to trust. He still gives us the same challenge.

Peter did as the Lord directed and returned with not one, but two boats so full of fish that they were in danger of sinking. Now that’s a catch, and we can identify! Around Indigenous Ministries, there were moments last year when some of us wondered if our boat would sink due to so many responding to the gospel, so many asking for discipleship, other challenges rising from ministering in difficult-access areas, and then…thousands of children asking to be let into our Child Sponsorship Program. That’s why I asked for your help.

The Lord is no man’s debtor. He told Peter to let down his nets – and he specifically qualified his next words – “for a catch.” This is what I am looking for, a catch. I want to do as the disciples later did, fish for souls and catch them in Jesus name! Souls of refugee children, families, young and old, and new churches – a harvest in difficult-access areas.

I have found that when we are a conduit for the Lord’s funds to impact the Lord’s ministry, he sends his blessings and backfills what we have invested into the Kingdom. I pray that you will be amazed at the Lord’s re-supply in your life as you trust him. Those who venture with the Lord will see a harvest, and it is our teamwork that God uses to accomplish much! I am grateful for so many of you who have responded and continue faithfully each month as we pull in the nets with the harvest.

Can I share with you some of the 2022 harvest? Today dozens of children and their families who were not part of our lives last year now know the love of Christ. Two brand new outreaches in Egypt are thriving, two more in Iraq, each in very challenging areas, and a new ministry center in N. Iraq that did not exist a year ago are in full swing! Look for a blue star to identify them as you read.

As you have partnered, the nets are full and we are already seeing blessings. Because of the care of the Child Sponsorship teams, we have seen many families find the peace of Christ in 2022. Just last month a Sudanese family of five trusted Jesus as Savior. This family has known the ravages of war and persecution and now they have joy and hope in Christ and they know they are loved.

Moving into 2023 – what are some harvest nets we are letting down in faith? We have 300 more children waiting for their sponsors this year. Would you pray with me for their sponsors? Why are we focusing on this? Because sponsorship works! The children receive better access to education, better health, knowledge of the Bible, a caring, well trained team, nutritious food, an overall improved quality of life and access to discipleship, leadership and vocational training.

Next, our brand new Ministry Center in N. Iraq which we secured in November is coming online this month to accommodate our Child Sponsorship Program ministry expansion. There is a lot of commotion going on at the center including various repairs, and the furnishing of the center with chairs, tables, heaters, desks, whiteboards, sewing machines, and musical instruments. We’re also installing full coverage window coverings, a CCTV, TVs, and a security system. I’ll share more on soon.

Another major net we have already let down into the deep waters is the launch of our new Middle East Theological College in N. Iraq in October 2022. It is the only accredited Bible College in Iraq, a country with a major need for sound biblical training. Just think, you’ve helped us establish a Bible college in Iraq training nationals.

There’s so much more I could share with you, as I continue to ask for your partnership and teamwork with your prayers and financial gifts. On page three we’re featuring eight beautiful young boys and girls waiting their sponsors – would you pray about taking one or two on as their prayerful sponsor? Oh, what a difference you will make in their lives!