As the International Training Institute (ITI) continues to extend quality training to global leaders, Network Beyond leadership attempts to discern the actual impact that ITI graduates have. Read on for updates on just a few of our ITI graduates.
Jimmy graduated from ITI several years ago. The graduation was memorable in that he and his wife, Gladys, were also commissioned as missionaries to China. This young Peruvian was home in Lima for a time before he returned to China. He spoke of the accomplishments and challenges in his work in an area where few know Jesus. He had grown from the earlier days when we first met him. He was connecting with people and advancing the Good News across vast cultural barriers. He spoke of the impact that ITI has had on this life. While in Peru, he has joined the team to teach ITI courses, both among pastors and with inmates in the federal prison. When he returns to China, he hopes to initiate vibrant ITI training.
Rose, an ITI graduate from Kenya, knew that the information she received in class needed to be shared and put into practice. She traveled toward the coast on the Indian Ocean to find five young men, very drunk relaxing under a coconut tree. Courageously, she approached the men to speak of a better, more fulfilling way of life available to them in Jesus. She discovered their deeper thirst for Jesus and real life greater than alcohol. Responding to Rose’s invitation, these men became followers of Christ and shared their new life with incredulous friends. Today, these and others meet for worship at “The Church Under the Coconut Tree.”
Ambrose loves South Sudan. It’s hot, crowded with many needs, a center of political conflict, and dangerous. While presently in the throes of drought and famine, it is also a place of spiritual hunger and thirst. This drives Ambrose. In providing practical assistance, he also arranges Discovery Bible Studies throughout the region—400 of these interactive groups or networks studying God’s Word and finding life. What also excites us is that 2,500 leaders are now part of the ITI. Each centers a network he or she influences. National lines are being crossed. Our teaching/intercessory teams find Kenyans in Egypt and Congo, Peruvians in Cuba and Columbia, North Americans in Europe. Multiplication continues.
Across the world, people are longing for a better life, an opportunity to support their families. The challenge is great, with high unemployment and small amounts of available capital. Network Beyond desires to address this challenge. Working with our partners, empowerment groups are springing up. With proper training, groups of women regularly meet to develop business plans and encourage one another. We provide seed funds and loans to begin businesses that provide income for their families. Repaid loans are then used by other group members. Hope ripples through the group members. They pray for one another and study God’s Word together. Some come to follow Jesus. They all are empowered.
Miguel awakened a question of curiosity to our ITI team. While attending an ITI outside of Bogota, Columbia, with some 140 other pastors and church planters, our ITI Director formed a friendship with Miguel. This leader had been a pastor for years, even serving as a missionary to Indonesia. He was a focused learner as he participated in class. We asked, "With all your experience in ministry, why did you come to this ITI?" Miguel was enthusiastic. The class interaction, focus on practicality of relationally-focused ministry, and worship were amazing. The ITI looks at life transformation over building more impressive buildings. Miguel then added, "There is nothing like this in all of Columbia!"
Several years ago, a ministry team went to a city in the highlands of Peru. They found Huanuco, Peru, a beautiful city. Sadly, they also observed suffering from years of terrorist activity--churches were burned, leaders tortured, drug production destroyed many, and demonic activity was evident. As the people cried out to God in desperation, God answered. A large team worked with area churches, witnessing the incredible. Many people came to faith in Jesus along with the formation of new churches where none had before existed. As the years passed, Peruvian ITI graduates longed to return to train these leaders and friends. In February 2017, 115 leaders crowded in a local church to become better leaders and continue the work.
Ruth is a courageous young Kenyan woman. She was passionate about the ITI, graduated, and then pondered what next steps God had for her. She was impressed to serve in predominately Muslim communities. Traveling through a north Kenyan community, she found a family deeply involved in witchcraft. A woman in that family was very sick; the family was concerned. Ruth asked if she could pray. “If you think your God can heal me, okay,” was the woman’s response. Ruth prayed, brought needed food and encouragement … then it happened. God healed the woman quite dramatically. The family and community requested, “Ruth, come teach us!” Many turned to embrace Jesus. Muslim people helped her in serving Jesus. Additional communities asked Ruth to explain what happened. Who was this Jesus who could care for them in such powerful ways?
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