Jesus Changes Everything

December 18th, 2014

Bringing Light to Dark Places

A year-end message from Pastor Arjuna

December’s moving so fast. Here we are just a few days before Christmas. With all the season’s busyness, it can be so easy to forget that light and love and hope have come near in the person of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Such good news!

Just a few nights ago I shared the story of Jesus’ birth with hundreds of rural villagers, many of whom had never heard Jesus’ name spoken in their native tongue. What an extraordinary privilege to see God at work, reconciling people to Himself.

Bringing light to dark places is more than a clever slogan, it’s our passion. It’s why we exist: to bring the light of the gospel to those trapped in spiritual darkness.

As you have opportunity, please pray for India, and for us. Your prayers are powerful and effective and make a tremendous difference.

More than anything else, India needs Jesus, and it’s my hope that as we continue to proclaim Him thousands upon thousands of lives will be transformed, made new by the power of the gospel.

As always, year-end donations to our ministry are greatly appreciated. No matter the dollar amount, your support changes lives and helps sustain our mission.

From all of us at Vision Nationals, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.


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Bringing Light to Dark Places

December 11th, 2014

Bringing Light to Dark Places

Bringing light to dark places… think about what those five words mean in a country like India, a place where there’s more human need and more unreached people groups than any other nation on earth.

I was there just a few weeks ago and was deeply moved by what I saw. Through the ministry of Vision Nationals, God’s love and faithfulness are being experienced in places previously untouched by the Gospel. Pastors and church planters are being trained in record numbers. Impoverished children are being cared for and educated. Widows and the elderly are being looked after.

I am so thankful to be a part of this organization, this movement God is using to transform lives.

As Christmas approaches, I hope that you’ll support our ministry with a one-time gift of $25, because now more than ever, we have work to do.

Today there remain millions of Indians who have never heard the simple refrain that so many of us take for granted: Jesus loves you. I invite you to partner with us as we carry that hope-filled message to those who so desperately need to hear it.

We have to do more, and with God’s help and yours, we will.

Your support changes lives. Make a donation today and help us continue bringing light to dark places in the year ahead.


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How We Care for Kids

December 10th, 2014

How We Care for Kids

2014 has been a challenging year for our ministry as we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our children’s home. Concerned about the well-being of children in institutional settings — a concern we share, by the way — the Indian government mandated that completely separate dormitories be built for boys and girls. Both genders could no longer live in the same building, under the same roof, even if they live on different floors, which was the arrangement we had at Master’s Home for Children.

In order to comply with the new law we needed three things that were in short supply: money, time, and space to build. Obviously, there’s a significant cost associated with building two new dormitories ($150,000 minimum), and the time allotted to begin and finish a construction project of that magnitude just wasn’t enough. On top of that, our current campus is maxed out. In order to build more buildings, we need more land. So we made the painful decision to send the majority of our kids back to their extended families. It wasn’t easy. There were lots of tears shed. But we had no other choice.

As difficult as all of this has been — and at times it’s been excruciating — our response has not been one of resignation. We are still caring for kids. And your sponsorship dollars are still making a tremendous difference. Some of the children’s names and faces may be different, but we are as committed as we have ever been to transforming the lives of children. Here’s how:

  1. In June we opened a new children’s home in Srikakulam District — 19 kids are being loved and cared for in a safe, familial environment.
  2. In September we entered into a formal partnership with Lalitha Children’s Home, an orphanage that was on the brink of closure due to insufficient funding. Fifty-seven orphans call Lalitha home, and now that things have stabilized financially they are not at risk of being displaced.
  3. In addition, we are actively supporting at-risk children in Visakhapatnam, each of whom struggles under the burden of material poverty.
  4. And we continue to support many of the children who became family to us the minute they walked through the doors of Master’s Home.

It’s your generosity that makes all of this possible. A few months ago, we could have never imagined that the temporary closure of our children’s home would result in more kids being helped, but that is exactly what has happened.

Finally, you may be wondering if Master’s Home for Children will reopen. It most certainly will. As we prepare, by faith, for our next season of ministry in India, we are thinking and praying a lot about what it means for us to impact future generations, and the establishment of a new children’s home is our first priority. We’re still working out all the details, including what this new home will look like, but we believe that over the coming decades it will change the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of children.

We are genuinely excited about what lies ahead. By God’s grace, the next iteration of Master’s Home will be better than the first, and our sponsorship program, which is fueled by your faithful support, will continue to be a lifeline for the vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children we are called to love and care for.

Thank you for partnering with us in this life-changing work.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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Joey and Yisel Zorina: Reaching Tokyo

December 2nd, 2014

Joey and Yisel Zorina: Reaching Tokyo_3

On what has become known as Giving Tuesday here in the United States, we want to give you an opportunity to get to know the newest members of the Vision Nationals’ family, Joey and Yisel Zorina. As part of our Ten Thousand Churches initiative, Joey and Yisel are in the early stages of planting a church in Tokyo, Japan. We are thrilled to have them on board, and we can’t commend them to you highly enough. It is an honor for us to feature an abridgement of their story, written by Joey, here on our website. It is our hope that you’ll begin praying and giving so that Joey and Yisel can establish a vibrant, Gospel-centered church in Tokyo.

*****

Hello, my name is Joey Zorinsanga. You can call me Joey Zorina as some friends do. I’m originally from Aizawl, Mizoram, a 95% Christian state in Northeast India. I was raised in a Christian home, but I did not know Jesus and walked away from the church as a teenager. I was heavily influenced by western music, and so I spent a good part of my life as a guitar player, studio musician, and a music magazine correspondent. I ran away from home several times, and ended up doing a lot of things that got me into a lot of mess. I was in search for significance and meaning in life, without really finding satisfaction in anything that I undertook.

Conversion.

Life became meaningless and emptier as time went by, but in God’s time I came to know the deep love of Christ in a time of great despair and confusion in my life. It was during this time that I found just enough strength to go to a small intensive Bible training school in Assam state (India), after which my life took an entirely new direction. The Bible school director there accepted me just as I was and I came away changed, having experienced the new birth and the discipleship that followed. I know not everyone experiences dramatic changes at the time of conversion, but like many I did by God’s abundant grace, and I immediately began to lose taste for the worldliness that had so engulfed my life. To this day I am rejoicing in the glorious Gospel of God’s saving grace!

Call.

After joining a prayer and fasting group that met every Friday in my town, I had an impression in my heart to get more training. I had initially thought of going to the U.S for my theological training, until I heard about another school in Tokyo via my cousin. So, in God’s providence, I came on a full-scholarship to Japan in 2004 to study at Tokyo Christian University where I completed my degree in Asian Christian Theological Studies (2008). While studying there, I also had the opportunity to intern at several churches as part of the training. After learning that the Japanese are the 2nd largest unreached people group, it reinforced what I felt to be God’s call to make disciples among the Japanese.

Life and Ministry in Tokyo.

Shortly after serving in Tokyo and Chiba as an intern staff member, I moved to Nagoya city and met my wife and got married there at an English speaking church (2010), before moving back to the Kanto area (Tokyo) in Kawasaki city (2011). My wife, Yisel, is originally from Uruguay, South America. She did her studies in Canada to be an elementary school teacher, and even though she didn’t want to be a missionary, or get married to a pastor or a missionary, it became clear to her after she came to Japan to work at a Christian school. And her call to be a pastor’s wife was confirmed after we met. Sometimes I think God has a sense of humor, and we have a saying, “Never say No to God!” Yisel has taught kindergarten for the last 8 years in Japan, and she loves to help host the group that meets every weekend at our apartment. We began meeting in January 2014 and are overjoyed to share that God has given us a healthy group of non-Christians who are growing in their understanding of the Gospel. We will have our first Baptism in December prior to our first Christmas service.

Apart from this, we also have a team of volunteers for The Bridge Live, an outreach event to Jazz musicians, their friends and families, which is held once every three months. I also get to teach English to foreign language Japanese students at a college part-time, while writing for Living Life Devotionals published monthly in English, Korean, Chinese, Thai and Japanese.

Cultural Challenges, Hopes, and Prayer Requests.

Japan is often called “The Missionary Graveyard” because of the hardness of the soil. Many missionaries become greatly discouraged over time due to the costs and standards of living, lack of support, difficult language, and the time it takes for Japanese to come to Christ — though all missionaries believe that it’s the Holy Spirit’s role to change people’s hearts. Less than 1% of the total population are Christians, while some say it may have risen to 6%.

Japanese are one of the most polite, wonderful and hard-working people on earth, who eventually become very loyal friends. But like in many other cultures, Japanese are also deeply nationalistic, and Christianity is still perceived as a western religion. After the triple disaster (Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Radiation) on March 11, 2011, there’s been an openness to the Gospel as more Christians around the world began to focus their prayers for Japan. Even in our own ministry, we can attest to this openness more than ever.

  • Please pray for the group that meets at our home, and our outreaches, as we lay the foundations for a church plant.
  • Pray that churches would come alongside us, send us co-laborers and partner with us.
  • Please pray for us as we seek to build a healthy team.
  • Pray that we will be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and be responsive.
  • Pray for an increasing openness for the Gospel among the Japanese.

Feel free to write to us — a note letting us know that you’re praying for us is a huge encouragement. You can also connect with us on Facebook and learn more about what we’re doing in Tokyo by visiting our website. If you would like to receive email updates please sign up for our monthly newsletters and forward it to others you think might be interested. Thank you so much.


If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the Zorina’s work in Tokyo, you can do so via our online giving page. When prompted, simply choose “Zorina Support” from the drop-down menu.

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With Grateful Hearts…

November 26th, 2014

With Grateful Hearts

In Philippians 4:6 Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

This way of worry-free reliance on God, which may sound like a far-fetched ideal at first, is cultivated as we pray. God can do things we can’t. Jesus insisted that “…with God all things are possible,” and prayer is the place where we learn to embrace that truth wholeheartedly, without reservation.

Yet even as we follow Paul’s admonition to “pray about everything,” we also need to “thank [God] for all he has done.” Prayer and thanksgiving are two sides of the same coin. Both are necessary. Both invite us to commune with a loving, all-powerful God. And both infuse us with the wisdom and strength we need to deal with the complexities of life and faithfully live out our callings.

As a faith-based ministry, we really do believe that prayer is the primary means by which we accomplish our mission. It undergirds everything we do. But giving thanks to God is just as crucial, so this month we want to turn to God with grateful hearts and thank Him for what He’s doing all around us. His grace is evident everywhere we look.

THIS MONTH, WE THANK GOD FOR…

Protecting us during Cyclone Hudhud and providing for our needs in the aftermath of the storm. Things could have been so much worse, yet somehow all we sustained was property damage. Though some of it was severe and is still in the process of being repaired, rebuilt, or replaced, we want for nothing. God has graciously supplied all of our needs and allowed us to meet the needs of so many others. May we never forget that God cares and keeps His promises.

Allowing us to provide Pastors Marsel and Pradeep with the money they need to build new homes. These men and their families have been experiencing intense persecution as they serve Jesus in the state of Odisha, and when Hudhud came barreling through their villages last month they lost their homes. Thanks to the generosity of our partners and friends in the U.S., Marsel and Pradeep are now in the process of rebuilding. May we be ever mindful of Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Healing Pastor Dhanu Nayak. Dhanu, who like Marsel and Pradeep serves Jesus in the state of Odisha, was rendered blind by a curse, or what is known locally as “black magic.” Area pastors convened at his home, fasting and praying for Dhanu and asking God to restore his sight. We just got word that Dhanu received a “great healing.” He can see. May faith rise in our hearts as we remember that we serve a miracle-working God.

The opportunity to train indigenous leaders. Through Master’s College of Theology, week-long conferences, and regional training events, we are able to equip hundreds of men and women for ministry every year. God has graciously sustained this aspect of our work for more than two decades — we’re continually amazed by His faithfulness. May we never lose the sense of awe we feel when God, in His mercy, acts on our behalf.

Empowering us to care for at-risk children. Though we’ve been involved in transforming the lives of children for almost 20 years, we know that our work is far from over, that God has more for us to do, and we are genuinely excited about what lies ahead. The “God of orphans” has not been silent. In fact, in recent months He has been inviting us to expand our ministry to India’s vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children. May we continue to be responsive to His voice.

Placing us in a country where there is more human need and more unreached people groups than any other nation on earth. To be able to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in India is an extraordinary privilege, and we are so humbled that God has called us to serve Him in this context. May He be pleased to continue building His church through us. And please keep our pastors in your prayers as they share the Christmas story with rural villagers during the month of December. Many will hear the Good News of Jesus for the very first time.

A church planting ministry that continues to grow. New churches are forming in the state of Odisha, and every month our pastors, along with their families, are venturing out in faith to bring the Good News of Jesus to those who so desperately need to hear it. May thousands hear and respond to the Gospel as a result of their obedience.

Bringing Gouri safely back to Visakhapatnam. After suffering burns on her body while working in the Middle East, Gouri was brought to the hospital and left for dead. There was no one to look after her and no one to pay her medical bills. Completely destitute, she was able to contact some Christians in her hometown, and they paid for her to be transported back to Vizag, where she’s now recovering. May the Great Physician restore Gouri in mind, body, and spirit, and may the kindness of her brothers and sisters in Vizag remind her that she is a precious daughter of God.

The money to build new churches. Right now there are three church buildings currently under construction, with plans to break ground on two more in the next few days. And on December 5, we’re dedicating Pastor Devaraju’s new building. We thank God for providing the financial resources needed to build these new facilities. Apart from Him, none of this would be possible. May each new building we erect become a place where people can encounter the risen Christ.

The wisdom and strength to carry out our mission. As we continue to plant churches, train nationals, and care for the orphans and widows in our midst we are so grateful for God’s empowering presence in our lives. May we never forget that apart from Him we can do nothing.

We are so grateful for your support of our ministry, especially in the wake of Cyclone Hudhud. We couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you for your kindness, your encouragement, and your generosity. We are humbled and thankful that you have chosen to partner with us.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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Master’s School Reopens

November 7th, 2014

masters school reopens

Cyclone Hudhud left Master’s School’s classrooms in total disrepair, which meant that our students and teachers had to meet in makeshift classrooms inside our dormitory and administration building for the last few weeks. After a lot of hard work to remove debris and replace the entire roof, we reopened our classrooms on Monday.

While there’s still more work to be done, including having new ceiling fans installed in each room, students and teachers were eager to get back into their classrooms and resume a normal routine. We’ve made remarkable progress since the storm, and as you can tell from the the picture above, our students are happy to be back where they belong.

Your generous donations to the Cyclone Relief Fund have made our recovery efforts possible — thank you!


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November Prayer Points

October 31st, 2014

nov_prayer_points

As we deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud — a powerful storm that swept through our city nearly three weeks ago — we have been consoled and empowered by this simple prayer found in Isaiah 33:2: “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”

As you have opportunity, would you ask God to strengthen us in every conceivable way? We know that He is not reluctant to do so. In fact, Isaiah reminds us that “…the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” Join us in laying hold of God’s grace and compassion, especially on behalf of our city. There are still so many who are suffering.

THIS MONTH, PLEASE PRAY FOR…

All those affected by Cyclone Hudhud. Thousands are still without electricity, access to potable water, and other basic necessities. Throughout the month of November, we plan to do as much as we can to help those in need. (If you’d like to make a donation, a Cyclone Relief Fund has been established.)

Pastors Marsel and Pradeep. Over the last several months, these men and their families have experienced intense persecution as they serve Jesus in the state of Odisha. Now they’ve lost their homes. Hudhud barreled through their villages and swept everything away. Using money that’s been given to the Cyclone Relief Fund, we are now in the process of helping them rebuild.

Master’s School. Our classrooms were nearly destroyed by Hudhud’s high winds and heavy rains. After assessing the damage, we went to work, removing all the debris from the classroom floors, replacing the entire roof, and fortifying the walls that sustained structural damage. Two days ago the school reopened. There’s more work to be done, but we are grateful for the progress we’ve made so far.

Our pastors. So many were impacted by the cyclone; their stories are still coming in. For those who sustained property damage, whether to their homes or church buildings, we’ve been able to offer financial assistance so that they can rebuild.

Master’s Fellowship. Unfortunately, Master’s Fellowship’s new building, which was dedicated in late August, suffered extensive interior damage. Hudhud’s high winds blew the the glass out of the windows and caused large sections of the ceiling, as well as most of the lighting, in the new auditorium to come crashing down. The church’s leaders have asked us to pray that “all be restored.”

The unreached people groups of India. What we know based on research compiled by Operation World is that “the world’s least-evangelized peoples are concentrated in India. Of 159 people groups of over 1 million people, 133 are unreached.” Pray that God would continue to use our ministry to bring the good news of Jesus to those who so desperately need to hear it.

Our church planting ministry. Last month we started new churches in the state of Odisha. Continue to pray for the safety and well-being of our pastors and their families as they venture out in faith. And pray that many will hear and respond to the Gospel as a result of their obedience.

Current building projects. There are four church buildings currently under construction, with plans to start building two more next month. We thank God for his provision for each one of these projects. Please pray for those who are overseeing construction of these new facilities.

Wisdom and strength. As we deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud and continue to plant churches, train nationals, and care for the orphans and widows in our midst we need God’s wisdom and power to rest on us.

We are so grateful for your prayers. We take great comfort in knowing that there are hundreds of you seeking God on our behalf. Thank you.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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