Thursday, April 17, 2014

The story starts like this:

The young boy was deposited at one of the free, one-day medical clinics we regularly host with one of our ministry partners in Africa. I say he was “deposited” because he had been wheeled in by an unidentified person who parked him in the sun and wandered off. He remained there for hours, unmoving and alone, until one of the nurses wheeled him over to see the doctor.
 

His name was Ananias, and he suffered from numerous maladies. A translator tried to tell our doctor what was wrong. It turned out that translator was Jacob, Ananias’ father. Jacob said his son had a case of “heaven.” 

Annanias was treated at a medical clinic like this one,
where Reach Beyond medical teams serve.

Obviously, something wasn’t translating correctly, but soon it became clear what the problem was as Jacob sounded it out, syllable by syllable: “ep-i-lep-sy.” Ananias was regularly convulsed by seizures, said Jacob, who explained that they called this “heaven because we believe that spirits from above bring diseases. The children with ‘heaven’ look up as the convulsion begins.”

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Today is World Water Day


Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-borne illness, often from something as simple as diarrhea.  We have the luxury of clean water coming out of the tap, but in many developing countries they do not.  Entire communities drink contaminated water and it destroys their health and lives.

Today is a day when organizations that provide solutions are coming together to create awareness of this solvable problem.  Yesterday, I did an interview on a group of stations in Alabama, as Reach Beyond is very active in clean water projects.

You can listen to the recording of the interview at this link.

Just a couple weeks ago, a staff team was in a small African country called Lesotho, training community leaders about how to implement safe sanitation in their villages.  Afterwards, one of the women came up to one of our missionaries and said that she had been taught by the chiefs that if water was moving, it was safe.  She said she had never realized that people bathing in the river, animals wading through, people washing clothes, etc., made the water unsafe.  Now she has the knowledge to change her village.  She was ecstatic to go back and teach her people. 

We use this platform to introduce people to the Living Water, Jesus.  In one Muslim village, at the dedication of a clean water well we had installed, our team told the story of Jesus as the Living Water.  They said the people would continue to thirst, even with this well, but they would never thirst spiritually with Jesus, the Living Water.  That day, four men came forward and received the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to the interview and then pray for efforts to bring clean water and the Living Water to those in physical and spiritual need.  Below are folks from a village we are helping in remote Ecuador, and we hope to finish the project in May, which will bring clean water to every home.




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Celebrating 100th Station Plant



It feels good to settle down at home after quite a bit of travel, but now Noonie and I have that coughing cold flu.  I'm wrapping up my experience with it, but Noonie is just on the front end.  Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Our time in California was fast but sweet.  Some said that they were thankful we brought the rain.  The truth is that we would have brought snow, so we couldn't take credit for the rain.  Check out this picture from normally calm Avila Beach.  This day on March 1 marked the biggest waves there in 31 years, over 20 feet high.


Just before the California trip, I had the privilege of being part of the team that oversaw the grand opening of our new name, Reach Beyond.  We did this at the NRB Christian Media Conference in Nashville. 

But during that time, God was doing a major work thousands and thousands of miles away, much more notable than our grand opening.  The Lord used planted the 100th radio station in our Asia-Pacific Region.  This one was planted in Thailand, where .5% of the population is Christian.  Our team in that region works closely with quality partners there who own and run the stations once they are built.

"Our radio partners conservatively estimate that more than 10,000 people come to Christ each year through the radio station plants," said Ty Stakes, our director for the Asia-Pacific region. "This means more than 100,000 people have come to Christ in just the last decade. We have adopted aggressive plans to expedite the number of radio stations across the region, which will hopefully result in hundreds of thousands more coming to know Jesus."

Celebrate with us and please pray for thousands more to come to Christ this year.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

California Rainshine Greets Us

After a long winter in Colorado, we were excited to come back to California to experience the warmth and sun at the Grace Church missions conference.  Hey, it hadn't rained here in a year, so we were certain we'd see a lot of sun. 


Well, it was raining when we arrived Wednesday, and we are in the middle of the third storm since we arrived.  Who knew?  We're not complaining.  They need the rain here, and it still feels warm to us.  And how can you beat the view?

 
Things started Wednesday night with a great gathering at church with a focus on reaching the Muslim world with the love of Jesus.  Several missionaries were there, roleplaying Muslims as we broke into small groups.  Jon was Eman, from Libya, who had discovered the love of Jesus while in college in
the U.K.  The story of this young man was real, and Jon did his best to help bring his life to the people in the group.  It was an eye-opener for many, who admitted they knew nothing or little of the Muslim faith and how to reach them for Jesus.

We've had some great times of fellowship with great friends and updating them on the ministry of Reach Beyond.  Sharing with a Growth Group from church the other night was a highlight, again opening up the Muslim world and updating the folks on what God is doing the the Reach Beyond arena as it pertains to Muslim ministry.  Some verbalized their desire to begin reaching beyond to the Muslims in the local area, especially college students who are in this country for a few years.


And a real treat has been to have Tommy, Olivia, Aria and Roman here for the weekend.  We started the night last night at our favorite frozen yogurt place of all time... Bali's.


Monday, February 17, 2014

A Dream Becomes Reality -- Hospital Radio Station: The Voice and Hands of Jesus. Together.

Joe and Becky Harvey are missionaries in the Congo, where they run a hospital that partners with Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global).

Last summer, we had the chance to host Dr. Joe at our home, and it was a fascinating experience.  His wife, Becky, was in New York at the time with family, not too far from where I grew up.  Noonie was back in Pennsylvania for a few days. 

Of course, two guys would never dream of trying to make dinner, so we went out -- for steak!  As Joe told his Congo hospital stories over dinner, I was amazed.  God is using Joe and Becky in amazing ways.

Then he told me something totally unrelated to medical work.  He told me about the radio station project that was close to completion, after several years of work.  Not that Dr. Joe had extra time on his hands, but he saw radio working hand-in-hand with the hospital in reaching people in his region for Christ.  Our Reach Beyond engineering team had been working with Joe to see the station birthed.


Well, here's the big news in a story just released on the Reach Beyond website...

After almost eight years of prayer and planning, a radio station was birthed on the grounds of the former communist youth camp last month. Dr. Joe and his staff have added one more tool for their physical and spiritual care of the thousands of patients who pass through their remote hospital each year.

The station’s name is Radio Sango Kitoko (Beautiful News Radio). It is technically a community radio station and will be used to reach the surrounding villages with music, public service announcements and the good news of salvation through Christ in local languages spoken locally. 


In the future, volunteers will produce radio programs on topics such as preventing diseases (HIV/AIDS and malaria) and accidents—especially car crashes. Since the station is powered by the hospital generator, which is only allowed to run during surgical procedures, hours are limited for the station.

Please pray for Joe and Becky as they minister the voice and hands of Jesus in the Congo.




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A New Identity

HCJB Global is now...

Today is an exciting day. For the past year, I have been part of a team that has taken on one of the biggest projects I've ever been involved in. It's right up there with starting K-LORD and K-LIFE years ago. And just as exhilarating! After over eight decades of operating as HCJB, our ministry has changed its name. (Perhaps you, as well as others, have had a hard time remembering the letters ... in the right order).



In 1931 Clarence Jones, Reuben Larson and others started station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador. Today, their pioneering spirit and vision lives on as we continue to share the gospel through media and healthcare initiatives where the name of Jesus has not been heard or there is limited access to the gospel. We have simply outgrown the name HCJB with our work expanding to five regions of the world.


HCJB Global (now Reach Beyond) has planted 30
local FM radio stations in Thailand, a country that
is just .5% Christian.  The ministry has grown from a
single station in Quito to one which works on the ground
in unreached countries around the world.

I’m thrilled to tell you that, effective today, HCJB Global is now Reach Beyond. In our continuing efforts to equip indigenous partners who care for the spiritual and physical needs of people who have never met Christ, our new tagline is “The Voice and Hands of Jesus. Together.”

While the "voice" of Jesus is our radio and media ministry,
the "hands" of Jesus is expressed in our healthcare work.  This
picture was taken in a clinic in Malawi, where one of our
doctors is serving with the love of Jesus.

Through your faithful support you help Noonie and me reach beyond our comfort zones and perceived limitations to take the gospel to the unreached. With your partnership with us, it allows me to help our co-laborers in this ministry to reach beyond into the hardest places in the world to proclaim Jesus Christ and demonstrate His love.

The name Reach Beyond has special meaning to me (Jon), because it was over three years ago that God got a hold of my heart and burdened me to reach beyond my comfort zone and join the ministry team at HCJB Global -- now Reach Beyond! I think God has a sense of humor.

Be sure to visit our new website at www.reachbeyond.org to learn more about the fresh presentation of the vision that Clarence Jones and so many others established in years past. And please be sure to pray that God will continue to multiply our efforts so that His name is declared and glorified among the nations!

Noonie and I look forward to reporting back to you the continuing miracle stories of God's work to take the gospel to the unreached. The ministry is not changing. The way we express it in our name certainly has.

My hope is that Reach Beyond becomes more than a name for you, but that it inspires you to reach beyond for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Noonie's Mom Goes to be With the Lord

Yesterday, Noonie received a text and a call from her sister in Philadelphia that her mom had taken a sudden turn in her health and was in a serious situation.  Within a few hours, she had passed from this life to the next and into the presence of Jesus.  We are still numb over this, and Noonie left this morning to be with her sisters in Philadelphia.  I will be going back there tomorrow.

Tommy, Olivia and their kids bring joy to Grandma
in a visit in the fall.

Noonie had remarked to me a couple days ago how she had talked with her mom on the phone and "it was the best conversation I have had with her in so long.  She sounded great!"  Noonie's mom had been getting over a long bout with the respiratory flu and had not sounded good for a while.  Noonie felt that this last conversation with her was God's gift.  A wonderful memory.

Travis enjoys a conversation with Grandma during the fall visit.
Eleanor Stoltz was a wonderful woman with a strong faith in the Lord.  She had turned 90 last summer, and we had gathered for a special birthday celebration.  In the fall, her health started to fail quickly, and most of the family was able to come see her, which caused her to rally and make great improvements.  We have some excellent memories of these past several months and those memories bring smiles to our faces.

Please pray for Noonie and her three sisters especially as they work through all the arrangements that come with times like this.  Thank you.