Impact that Echoes Eternally: A GFA World Journey
Embedded within the tapestry of personal journeys and unwavering dedication, lies a profound narrative that speaks of God’s call for His children to serve selflessly, so that millions may encounter the transformative message of Jesus’ love. Learn of the essence of God’s call through the weaving together of stories of unexpected turns, deep humility, and unyielding commitment to the cause of Christ. As lives are intricately intertwined with the mission of GFA World (Gospel for Asia), the urgency to reach souls with the message of God’s love becomes evident, transcending personal ambitions and comfort. Through shared experiences and lessons learned, this story lays bare the profound truth that obedience, sacrifice, and a heart surrendered to God’s call can make an indelible impact, bringing light to a world shrouded in darkness.
Compliments of Gospel for Asia (GFA World).
© 2023 Gospel for Asia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Impact that Echoes Eternally: A GFA World Journey
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Taun, GFA World Staff
Let me tell you a little bit about how God brought us here and then we can kind of see the importance of what I think because at the beginning of all this. I’ve been here some 24 years and there was a time I had retired from the military both my wife and I and we were looking for a place to serve. And I was in Bible College and I felt I was gonna plan a church. As a matter of fact, there was plans for me to go to Petoskey, Michigan and plan a church. I was in Bible college at the time, and I happened to have read K.P. Yohannan’s book, “Revolutionary World Missions” and “Road to Reality.” I had been sponsoring a missionary since about 1994. When you’re at Gospel for Asia, you support the ministry, you get a receipt, and in that receipt, you get what’s called a piggyback, right? It’s a piggy, so it talks about something within the ministry, offers an opportunity for somebody to be a part of the ministry, even do something like the MAP (Ministry Apprenticeship) program. And I got this really cheesy brochure, I mean, something we would never produce today, that was just kind of bluish and sparkly and had a big question mark on it, and it said, “Is your dreams and goals and ambitions “worth a million souls?” And I went, “Hmm, okay.” So when you support the ministry, there’s a place where you can ask for prayer requests always It’s the way it’s always been since we started. And so I wrote down there, “I may be interested in coming on staff and joining your work, but I doubt it, but maybe. So kind of pray for me, but I doubt it, but maybe.” You know, that’s kind of how I worded it.
And about six months later, there was a pastor’s conference going on at Calvary Chapel Bible College, it was a senior pastor’s conference, and K.P. Yohannan was there, as far as a couple of his office staff at the time. And they called me up on my old big cell phone, you know, said, “Hey, we got your prayer request, and we’d like to talk to you about joining the ministry.” So I said, “Okay, you walk out 100 yards, go to your left. I’m the guy with the leather coat and combat boots, and long hair, and a beard sitting next to a black truck.” ‘Cause I decided when I got out of the military, I wasn’t gonna cut my hair anymore. So I met with the gentleman and he said, “Well, you know, we screen the whole family. We know if you have kids, we just look at the family and see if God is calling you to this work.” I said, “Well, send me a couple applications.” So he left, and I was in the radio studio at the time, a radio station on campus, and I look out the window and he’s coming back with K.P. Yohannan. And if you’ve ever read anything that he’s written, and I just kind of read, not “Revolutionary World Missions,” but “Road to Reality,” super challenging book. I mean, I was reading it just as a sideline. I was in the Persian Gulf, right? It was right after the war. And I was sitting in my rack on the ship, and I was reading this thing, and I was weeping. Because God said, “You’re hollow and plastic and shallow, and I want to use you for my Kingdom, but you got to learn how to submit.” And I’m like, “Oh my goodness.” So I had read that, you know, and it stuck in my brain.
I saw KP coming forward, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s K.P. Yohannan. He’s going to know I’m a sinner.” You know, if you ever met him, he just has that look. You know him, he just has that look. And so he came in and the first thing he did is he started looking at the radio equipment. He goes, “Oh my goodness, what I could do with this overseas. You know, the lives that we could reach with the Gospel.” I thought, “This guy’s really committed.” And we talked a little bit and I told him, you know, my heart, I believe my calling was to pastor a church. He said, “Well,” he says, “You know, that’s one of the greatest callings in the world.” He says, “If you’re called to do that, you should go do that. But just as a reminder that there’s one pastor in America for every 250 people. So you can affect 250 people, or you can affect the lives of millions for eternity. What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” He prayed for me and left. And after that, through that process, I’m going, “my church probably would have been 25. So 25 million doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
So my wife and I, we prayed, came out here, drove from Southern California to Dallas, I spent a week out here with my two kids. We were homeschooling at the time and met the staff. And one of the first things I learned about Gospel for Asia, and if someone comes here, that has never changed, is we have a passion for souls, regardless of what background we have. I mean, whether you’re pre-trib, post-trib, up-trib, down-trib, doesn’t matter, trib, crossing, no crossing. We have one passion, and that’s to reach the lost at any cost. That’s never changed in the 24, 25 years now almost that I’ve been here. So we came out, talked to them. Now there were some issues. One of the things I love about K.P. Yohannan has always been he loves people enough to tell you the truth. Something that you don’t always find in the church today. And so we talked a little bit and then we left. And through this process, my wife really felt called. And I’m like, “Mm, you know, I’m gonna pastor a church. I’m really important.” And about through that process of some six weeks later…
And oh I encourage anybody who has the opportunity, who is thinking about coming on staff, either short term, or long term at Gospel for Asia, to watch the video, “Christ’s Call, Follow My Footsteps.” It’s a message that K.P. Yohannan did back in the 90s. So he looks very different, but the challenge in that video is amazing. And some of the things he said just really challenged me to consider committing my life to reaching the loss. And one of the things he said that still sticks with me today is, you know, we take, and he’s talking about us as a church, he says, “we take obedience and we call it legalism and bondage and so we don’t have to do it.” And he says, “if we’re obedient to the call of Christ, he’s gonna use us to change the world.”
And so we came out and we raised our support in six weeks. I just, as a backup, I watched that video 55 times. And I’m like, “I don’t know, we should go to Gospel for Asia.” My wife’s like, God’s telling us and you’re just not hearing. So 56th time, God says, “just get on the roller coaster and hang on, see how I use your life. And that was, you know, a long while ago now. But, so we came on staff, raised our support in six weeks, Came on staff, drove out here from Southern California. And about 10 years later maybe, into it, ’cause I, you know, Gospel For Asia found me in a radio station. They automatically said, “Okay, go do radio.” You know, okay, whatever, you know. And one of the things that we always wanna remind folks is, you come here as a missionary to serve the Lord. Whatever my background was, my background obviously was radio, but when I first walked in the door, they handed me a 10 key, a big calculator, and said, “This is yours,” and I went, “What is it, and how do I even turn it on?” So I did things that I’d never done before. And the calling is, my background was radio, but I’m not a radio guy who serves at Gospel for Asia. I’m a missionary with Gospel for Asia that happens to do radio. If they want to put me on a lawnmower tomorrow, I’ll go cut grass. I’ll only do it once ’cause they’re gonna look at me and go, “Okay, you’re done, you’re fired. (laughing) “Go do something else.” Okay.
So we came on staff and about 10 years, so I was working in radio, both international radio and domestic radio. And one of the efforts we had up until just recently was broadcasting the hope of Jesus Christ in some 113 languages. It’s all shortwave, none of it is in English. It was K.P. Yohannan’s message in his initial language, his Indian language, Malayalam, and then that was then translated into a bunch of other languages. And at that time, up until that time, we were seeing two million responses a year for a radio broadcast, two million responses. And through our Bible colleges and our churches overseas, We responded to every single one of those responses. And he came up to me and he said, “Remember when I said you can change the lives of millions for eternity?” I said, “Yeah, I’m surprised you remember that.” He goes, “Well, you are.” And I went, “I don’t have a whole lot to do with this. I just kind of coordinate stuff.” He says, “It’s your program.” He goes, “No, I don’t have anything to do with this. It’s not my program.”
And so through that, we realized I had a part to play and God invited me. And that’s the key, always, is God invites you, say, “You wanna change the world for eternity? Come join me in this work. This is what’s going on over here. Come join us.” And so it’s amazing to see the impact that we can have. And obviously there’s a tremendous need. We talk about numbers, and we always throw numbers out there, but it’s important to realize that still 80,000 people today are gonna die and go to hell. That means every time your heart beats, my heart beats, someone dies and goes to hell forever. There’s no second chance. And that should, if we think about it and ask the Lord, God, if it’s really true that 80,000 people are gonna plunge into hell for eternity, forever suffering, eternally suffering, crying out, looking for salvation, looking for hope, and there’s none, how should I live my life? And there’s an opportunity that people have to join us at Gospel for Asia, GFA World, to change the world. If we can reach (even) one person.
I remember I was in India for my first time. I’ve been there about, whatever, eight times. And there was an elderly woman in the field, all by herself, and she’d never heard of Jesus Christ. Never heard of Jesus Christ. What’s her future?
I remember reading a story when I was in the middle of doing some of the other stuff that I did, press relations, media relations, things like that, right around the time when the Afghanistan conflict started. And a story came across my desk from the New York Times, and it was a reporter that was following a couple from Afghanistan heading towards a refugee camp on the border. They had two kids, and she was pregnant. And this reporter had hooked up with them, you know how Afghanistan is, it’s very mountainous, it’s very treacherous terrain. And they were walking for some two days and they were so tired that they left their two kids on the path because they couldn’t carry them anymore and they kept going. And what’s the future of those kids? If they don’t know Christ, this is the best their life is. And Jesus Christ changes that. And I don’t know if the reporter was able to pick up the kids. All I know is these parents just left them. And it happens all the time. Because they don’t have the hope of Jesus Christ. They were not believers in Christ. Their future is hell for eternity. That’s the best their life is. And with that reality, we have an opportunity to make a difference. And we’re not gonna talk about numbers. We know that we’re making a difference, that fellowships are being started, churches are being planted, there’s persecution, there’s all kinds of people that are attacking us for so many different things. But the bottom line is, We’re going to stand before Christ.
And I remember once K.P. Yohannan was speaking to a bunch of these Senior Vice Presidents of all these big radio companies and all that. And it was at a radio convention one year and he stood up in front of all these people and I was kind of dressed except I had a tie on. And he said, “You know, I hate this. All you people care about is money.” The room got really silent. And I’ve been around long enough to know, here it comes. But he said it so lovingly. He said, “There’s going to come a time where there’s going to be no microphone, no radio, no boss, no CEO, no spouse. It’s just going to be you standing before Christ. And He’s going to say, ‘What did you do with what I gave you?’ You were born in the richest country on the planet. You’ve had every opportunity in the world to serve me. What did you do?” And that should be something that we all consider.
Now I’m getting older, and I think there’s gonna come, that time is probably closer for me. And I’ve been around for, again, you know, 24 plus years, And I can tell you it’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. Hebrews chapter five says, “Jesus learned obedience through suffering.” And are we called to suffer? I think so, but in a good way.
I’ll tell you one other story. We were here on staff for not too many years, and it was actually the night, I can’t remember what year it was, maybe 2001, where a tornado had hit this area. Don’t be afraid, they’re fine. But it hit this area, we were coming back from a prayer meeting, and we had a head-on collision. Some guy was passing somebody else on a farm road, and he didn’t see us until we came over the rise. I had two kids in the back, my daughter was seven, my son was three. And he hit my fender and threw our car into the cow pasture, and he kind of went down into the ditch. And my kids were fine. You know, I mean, my daughter was screaming, “Dad, I’m hurt,” and of course I’m really worried. And my wife’s like, “Let’s go pray for this guy.” ‘Cause my wife’s more spiritual than I am. I didn’t wanna go pray for him, I wanna go out and strangle him, ’cause he hurt my kids. I mean, they were okay, but, and in that process, I borrowed a phone, at that time, I didn’t even have a cell phone. I borrowed a cell phone off a fireman, local fireman would show up, and I called, I’ll say, I called John Beard, GFA, and he says, “Okay, this is what you’re gonna do. “I’m gonna come out,” you know, ’cause my wife, when my wife went down to pray for this guy, she twisted her ankle, so they took her to the emergency room. An interesting story, this guy that hit us, his wife was a nurse working in the emergency room. And she was yelling at him, screaming at him when he’s lying there on the table. They had little babies in the car, what’s wrong with you? And the cop took his license actually. John Beard showed up in his van, took me and my kids to one of the other staff members house. I left my kids there and went to the hospital, the ER. There were two other staff members already there waiting. I said, “We can’t see your wife without your permission.” So I went to the back, and she was okay. She was kind of laughing at this wife screaming at this guy. And our car was totaled, I was saying. So I walk out of the ER with my wife. She’s got the $6,000 crutches that the ER gives you. And one of the staff members handed me his car keys and said, “You take my car. I’m gonna stick around and share Christ with the guy that hit you.” I’m like, “Man, this is family.”
You know, I went to the ER a couple months ago, and I’m sitting there thinking, you know, I’m one of these guys that doesn’t like people visiting me when I’m in the hospital. And my wife says, “Bishop Danny’s on his way.” And I’m like, “Okay, cool.” Now I was released and he was just getting there. I said, “Well, how do you get in? Because you’re supposed to be…” He goes, “They know me because I’m here all the time.” He’s in his cassock and all that, so they recognize who he is. But here’s the vice president of the ministry coming to visit me at the ER, and it was not early. It was late at night. And he does it whenever it happens. And we all do that. And that’s, again, it’s family. So why should someone come and be challenged to walk in their faith? They’re going to be challenged in humility, but in a good way, because they’re going to meet Christ. And I tell you what, every single time that I thought leadership here or somebody I worked with or somebody’s opinion was wrong, I found out later, no, I was wrong. And it’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of millions of people.
And I’ll end with this, I guess, because I got a ton of stories. There’s going to, I don’t know when, when Christ is coming back, but I know this, it may be a hundred years from now, maybe a hundred minutes from now, but either way, we’re all going to stand before the Lord at some time and I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And someone is gonna tap you on the shoulder if you serve here, if you support the ministry, if you pray for the lost world. But if someone was to come here and serve and make that difference, whether it’s a month or six months or six years or 60 years, in the end someone’s gonna tap you on the shoulder in heaven and say, “thank you because of you, because of your sacrifice, because of your prayers, because of your giving, because of your changed life, of all the millions of things that you could have done as an American or as a Westerner. You did this. And because of that someone came to my village and told me about Him.” And let’s toss our crowns before the Lord because it’s all about Him and He is all the glory.