Gospel For Asia (GFA)

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Logo of Gospel for Asia.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) is a Christian NGO founded by K.P._Yohannan in 1978, which focuses on helping the poor in India and a dozen other Asian countries through the use of national workers. The organization, once based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex suburb of Carrollton, Texas is now located in Wills Point, TX. GFA's primary objective is to support indigenous mission workers to show God's love as they "serve the 'least of these' in Asia".[1]

GFA is presently working in numerous countries, including India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Laos and Thailand.[2]

History

In 1981, current president Dr. KP Yohannan formed a branch of Gospel for Asia in his native Kerala, with an Indian headquarters being set up in Tiruvalla in 1983. GFA directly administers bible colleges, whose graduates receive financial support to found new congregations. Increasing donations made GFA "one of the most financially powerful mission undertakings in India in the 1980s."[3] GFA directly supports more than 50 Bible colleges in various countries.[3][4]

In 1993, GFA began founding its own network of churches in Asia,[5] which is the Believers Church which uses a Episcopal Polity form of governance.[6]

Scholar Michael Bergunder considers it to have been "One of the most influential new foundations in the second half of the twentieth century".[7]

40-Year Anniversary Timeline[8]

1979 - Gospel for Asia officially starts.

1982 - Gospel for Asia publishes its first SEND! magazine (now GFA World.

1984 - Gospel for Asia Canada Office Opens. Eventually to follow are Australia, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

1986 - GFA-supported radio records its first program. Throughout the years, the programs have been broadcast in 110 languages! Revolution in World Missions, Dr. K.P. Yohannan’s first book, is published.

1988 - Gospel for Asia helps send out 100 mobile film teams.

1994 - printing its own literature begins.

1998 - slum ministry in four cities begins.

2000 – Gospel for Asia installs Jesus Wells in communities.

2004 - Bridge of Hope Program, a child sponsorship program, begins. Today, more than 70,000 children are enrolled in Bridge of Hope centers across Asia. Young people come to Texas for the inaugural year of GFA’s U.S.-based discipleship program Road to Reality (now called School of Discipleship).

2005 - Women’s Fellowships are initiated in churches led by GFA-supported pastors. During 2017, these fellowships taught nearly 60,000 illiterate women to read and write, and it provided vocational training to more than 10,500 women needing jobs.

2006 - First Renewing Your Passion Conference

2007 - Leprosy Ministry Begins; GFA Prints First Christmas Catalog

2009 - Dr. K.P. releases his book No Longer a Slumdog, highlighting the suffering of children in Asia and the hope many are discovering through GFA’s Bridge of Hope Program. Brother Manja is Released. In 2000, Brother Manja, a GFA-supported worker, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being falsely accused of murder.

2010 - GFA-supported Compassion Services teams hand out thousands of emergency food packets to victims of natural disasters in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.

2011 - GFA helps open widow-care centers for abandoned widows.

2014 - GFA releases a feature length documentary called “Veil of Tears,” which shares about the plight of women in Asia and what God is doing for them through GFA-supported women’s ministry. GFA moves to Wills Point, Texas, USA.

2015 - Gospel for Asia responds to Nepal Earthquake

2017 - GFA-supported workers organize 1,245 medical camps.

2018 - Mission Support Team Launched

Programs

The goal of Gospel for Asia focuses on the formation of missionaries native to the nation the missionary is serving, with special emphasis on Asia. The organization has defined its primary mission field as being those people that live in the 10/40 Window, a rectangular region extending from west Africa to east Asia and between 10 and 40 degrees north longitude. By concentrating on this region GFA ministers to a dense population of largely poor communities that have had limited or no exposure to the Christian faith.[9]

Although Gospel for Asia accepts trainers for Bible translation, the ministry discourages direct missions of Western culture|Western countries. Yohannan considers that the sending of Western missionaries to areas that are inaccessible to foreign missionaries can result in a waste of resources. He also believes that the imposition of western culture and neo-colonialism should be avoided. In order to increase efficiency and achieve its goals, GFA has become a repository for donations and financial support of Asian missionaries by non-Asian cultures. GFA administers these resources to the various programs listed below within its organization.[10][11][12]

National missionaries

A family portrait of national missionary family in Asia.

GFA's main focus is to train and equip national missionaries. Yohannan has stated that he does not limit "national missionaries" to formal nation-states, instead focusing on differences in culture and language to define nationalities. This approach might result in several specialized missionary groups within a single nation-state, from large cities and regions down to small tribes and villages. It says that they have over 16,000 missionaries and church planters in over 10 Asian nations[13][14][15] In 2016, GFA-supported workers serve in 865 slums throughout Asia. [16]

Church buildings, bibles and gospel literature

Gospel for Asia raises funds for the building of simple Christian worship centers in small villages to educate new disciples as well as provide a visible meeting place for Christians. However, they have built several large cathedral type buildings in major cities. Examples are St. Thomas Believers Church Cathedral in Thiruvalla[17] and another in upscale neighborhood Hauz Khas[18]. They claim approximately 16 churches or mission stations are created every day. Similarly, GFA states they distribute native-language bibles and evangelical Christian literature to the region in order to strengthen churches and promote proclamation of the Christian faith.[15]

Radio and television broadcasts

Radio and Television Broadcasts. An Athmeeya Yathra radio listener holding his radio.

Radio in Asia is a broadcast that is especially designed to reach Asian communities. Yohannan brags that Athmeeya Yathra (Spiritual Journey) radio programs "reach more than a billion people and are translated into 110 languages. He claims that his Road to Reality is aired on more than 900 radio stations across North America, Europe and Australia.[19] Athmeeya Yathra was recently expanded to include a television station and print media.[20]

Bible colleges

Gospel for Asia has over 56 bible colleges serving a whole range of cultures and dialects with the purpose of training native missionaries within their own dialects and cultures so that they will be effective ministers. [21] The program includes three years of instruction, including field instruction and experience. They claim that over 9000 native missionaries have been trained through these institutions.

Bridge of Hope

Bridge of Hope is a child sponsorship program for poor families in underserved communities, especially Caste|lower-caste families and Dalits. Child sponsorship provides education, three daily meals, and access to medical care. The program also presents the Christian faith to the child as well as to the child’s family. Religious conversion is not required for participation; rather, the service increases exposure to the family and community.[22][23] In 2016, there were 82,000 children enrolled in Bridge of Hope throughout Asia.[16]

Jesus Wells

This is a Jesus Well in a remote village in Asia. It’s the only well within easy walking distance to this village. People use the water for drinking, bathing, watering crops and livestock, … They hand pump the water into buckets and haul it away pretty much all day long.

GFA digs wells in communities where water is scarce during parts or most of the year. These wells are built for long-term use near churches, bible colleges or Bridge of Hope centers, and each well is maintained by a local pastor. These wells provide free, clean water to individuals regardless of caste, class, social designation or religion.[24][25] In its 2016 Special Report, GFA reports 6,822 Jesus Wells drilled in communities needing clean water. [16]

Believers' Church Hospitals and Schools

BC owns and operates a variety of hospitals, colleges and public and residential schools. Most of these are for profit enterprises. The list of what is currently operating includes some hospitals and clinics, some colleges, 9 schools located within small towns of southern Rajasthan, and at least four public schools.


Endorsements[26]

"Gospel for Asia is not a movement but a phenomenon. GFA has become one of the most significant mission organizations of this century. "I praise God for the great love and commitment of K.P. and Gisela Yohannan for the people of Asia. Millions have received the Word of God because of them and the ministry of Gospel for Asia."

George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization and world missions advocate.

"I am grateful for the training that Gospel for Asia has given to many evangelists who are effectively reaping the ripe harvest fields of Sri Lanka."

Ajith Fernando, teaching director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka

"[On my trip], I learned that the far reaching effect of GFA's work in South Asia is beyond what I imagined. … I really saw God's hands and feet in the GFA missionaries. I learned that this is an extremely well-run ministry to God's glory. … You can see God's blessing on the ministry with much fruit of labor and finances to enable the work on the ground.

Barbara Dowling, sales manager at 93.7 Faith FM, Ontario, Canada

"For half my life I have known and worked closely with Dr. K.P. Yohannan … that's over four decades. From its early days up until the present I have witnessed firsthand the incredible growth of the Believers Eastern Church throughout Asia. It is an amazing testimony to the life-changing power of the Gospel and also to K.P.'s remarkable leadership skills. I have seen his understanding of the Christian faith expand in ever so many positive ways. More recently, I have watched him respond humbly to the criticisms of those who for whatever reasons have attacked him. His preaching still stirs my soul. I believe 100% in his integrity and am honored to serve as one of GFA's Board of Directors.

Dr. David R. Mains, Chapel of the Air radio broadcaster and founder of the 50-Day Spiritual Adventure

"Dr. K.P. Yohannan is a missionary statesman, a pastor to pastors, a mission leader to mission leaders, and a father to the fatherless. At Christian Men's Network, we look for deserving men around the world to highlight as role models for our Global Fatherhood Initiative. My introduction to Dr. Yohannan was reading Against the Wind, Finishing Well in a World of Compromise, which stirred me deeply. In a unanimous decision, the CMN board presented Dr. Yohannan with the first annual Reggie White Fatherhood Award, to honor his demonstration for over 40 years of what it means to be a father by providing leadership to compassionate workers of faith and hope to the defeated."

Rev. Paul Louis Cole, D.Th., president of Christian Men's Network

"Years ago I came across Gospel for Asia and quickly realized they were the only large-scale international ministry I knew of that operated like the First Century Church. They were humble, devout, pious, going to the poorest of the poor, willing to suffer life-threatening persecution, and doing works like those recorded in the Book of Acts -- preaching the Word with signs and wonders following (deliverance from demonic oppression, healings, miracles, raising from the dead), making disciples and then sending those out. Because of this, I felt the Lord told me to offer my services for free, which they lovingly accepted. Still walking with GFA today because the heart of this ministry and its work haven’t changed. They are still doing the works of Jesus among the least of these, to the glory of God and fulfillment of His Kingdom." —Palmer Holt, President, InChrist Communications "I have been associated with this ministry for eight to 10 years in different ways. Their Canadian leadership has been at our church, and I have distributed hundreds of books among our church congregation. "I am deeply moved by the heart and passion of this ministry's personnel, from K.P. Yohannan to the Canadian office leadership. My wife and I have been sponsoring a national missionary for a good number of years because we believe in its principles. This ministry will inform, challenge and stir your people concerning the vast needs in worldwide missions."

Pastor Everett Flight, Ontario, Canada

"I traveled to South Asia and discovered Gospel for Asia has been uniquely raised up 'for such a time as this.' Only God's sovereign power could explain how 'earthen vessels' make such a dramatic difference. ... The faces of shining students receiving love reflect the dynamic difference the Holy Spirit makes. An elderly man was jumping for joy because of the dignity restored to him in empowering him to provide for himself. A single mother enabled to support her family was teaching 15 other women a trade. Clean water in Jesus' name is a marvel! I could go on and on to speak of the amazing Bible schools and the remarkable changes occurring. Suffice it to say, spending time with Brother K.P. personally reiterated to me that it is all so simple: God loves Asia, and He demonstrates it every day through GFA."

Rev. Jeff Lutes, president and founder of International Harvesters for Christ, Canada

"We became aware of Gospel for Asia about 10 years ago when some in our fellowship read K.P. Yohannan's book Revolution in World Missions and were impacted by its message. Now this book is standard reading for our missions committee and anyone interested in overseas work. Yohannan continues to challenge existing paradigms of ministry and leads us to enlarge our worldview, which includes supporting national missionaries."

Shawna Rogers, assistant pastor of River Valley Wesleyan Church


References

  1. http://www.gfa.org/about/who-we-are/
  2. http://www.gfa.org/regions/
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bergunder, Michael (2008). The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-2734-9. 
  4. Philip, Shaju. An archbishop’s spiritual factory. The Indian Express. Retrieved on 30 January 2012.
  5. (2005) Asian and Pentecostal: The Charismatic face of Christianity in Asia. Regnum Books International. ISBN 1-870345-43-6. 
  6. In Service to God. believerschurch.com.
  7. Bergunder, Michael (2008), The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, page 53
  8. Gospel for Asia Celebrates Its 40th Year of God’s Faithfulness![https://www.gfa.org/40-years/ “Gospel for Asia Celebrates Its 40th Year of God’s Faithfulness!”] Retrieved 14 Feb 2019.
  9. Gospel for Asia official website.“Gospel for Asia: What We Do.” Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  10. Stout, Ken. “Fostering Sustainability and Minimizing Dependency in Mission Finances.” Reformed Theological Seminary Masters Thesis, October 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  11. Bergunder, Michael (2008), "The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century", Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, page 54-55
  12. Klaus Fiedler (1994), The Story of Faith Missions, page 404 (26)
  13. Houston, Rickey. “Loving Your Neighbor: A Guide to Developing and Sustaining Community Service Projects.” Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary Doctor of Ministry Thesis, March 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  14. Jaffarian, Michael. “The Statistical State of the North American Protestant Missions Movement, from the Missions Handbook, 20th Edition.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Vol.32, No. 1. January 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Wooding, Dan. “K.P. Yohannan’s Long Road To Helping India’s ‘Broken People’.” ASSIST News Service. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Gospel for Asia 2016 Special Report. [1] Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  17. https://www.youtube.com/user/StThomasBCC
  18. https://www.ixigo.com/believers-church-new-delhi-india-ne-1353795
  19. New Release Today, A Division of NRT Media Inc. “K.P. Yohannan Author Profile and Bibliography.” 1 September 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  20. Athmeeya Yathra Official Website. “Athmeeya Yathra TV: About. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  21. Cooper, Bill. “Gospel for Asia President, K.P. Yohannan.” ChristiNet Christian News Service. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  22. Gospel for Asia official website. “Gospel for Asia: Bridge of Hope.” Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  23. The Christian Post: Crossmap. “Anti-Christian Death Threats Force Closure of Bridge of Hope Center for Children in India.” Crossmap.com. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  24. Wooding, Dan. “Jesus Wells bring ‘living water’ to thousands in India and South Asia.” ASSIST News Service. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  25. Christian Today. “5000 Jesus Wells Bringing Clean Water Across India and South Asia.” christiantoday.com. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  26. What Christian Leaders & Media Are Saying About Gospel for Asia “What Christian Leaders & Media Are Saying About GFA” Retrieved 14 Feb 2019.

Bibliography

  • Brodeur, Michael; Liebscher, Banning. (2013). Revival Culture: Prepare for the Next Great Awakening. Chapter 4. Gospel Light Publications. ISBN 9780830765478
  • Yohannan, K.P. (2004). Revolution in World Missions. Gospel for Asia Books. Carrollton, Texas. ISBN 9781595890016

External links