Well, a lot has happened this year, and that’s an understatement.
The way world events have been unfolding, it sure feels like this planet of ours, soaring at 490,000 miles per hour through space, may have begun to move even faster toward the final events of history as foretold in Bible prophecy. We find ourselves living in both troubling and exciting times.
We at Light Bearers have always been urgent to reach as many people as possible as fast as possible with the gospel of Christ, and we know you are too. But considering the state of our world, we can’t help but take our urgency up a few notches. The COVID-19 pandemic moved us into a lot of thought and prayer and strategic planning, from which emerged a determination to make some crucial moves for greater ministry effectiveness and expansion. We’re excited to share these moves with you, because, to a large degree, you are responsible for this expansion.
Because of you, we’ve made moves in our publishing work that will allow us to put more gospel literature into the mission field for less money per piece and at a higher quality.
We’ve made moves in our discipleship work, onboarding over a thousand new students to ARISE Online.
And we’ve made a significant move geographically, relocating from Oregon to Tennessee. The handwriting had been on the wall for a while, but the fact finally became unavoidable—we had simply outgrown our facilities in Oregon. We were fired up about our ministry goals, but we realized that we needed to be more strategically located if we wanted to accomplish them.
Speaking of making moves, my family and I (David) have moved back to the USA after seven years in Australia. My time down under was full of amazing ministry experiences, but I’m happy to be back now and full of enthusiasm for my role as a co-director and gospel preacher for Light Bearers.
Both of us are very glad, as well, that we have partners in ministry like you, who share our urgency to proclaim the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and thus hasten the return of Jesus. We cannot thank you enough for your support. As you read the following year-end report, you will see that, with you on our team, Light Bearers is eagerly making moves to vindicate the stunningly beautiful character of God.
On behalf of the entire Light Bearers team,
Ty Gibson & David Asscherick
As we move forward to achieve higher levels of efficiency, we have found it necessary to free up Ty and David from all administrative and logistical responsibilities so they can devote all their time, talent, and energy to preaching, teaching, and writing. By doing some internal reorganization among our existing team, we’ve been able to do this without adding any additional staff.
Don Otis has worked with Light Bearers for over 20 years as our board chairman and as part of our day-to-day administrative operations. We have now moved Don into the position of CEO (chief executive officer), a position he is immensely qualified for due to his previous experience as the founder and CEO of Heritage Foods. Prior to that position, he was the head of the natural foods division of Kellogg Company.
Amber Beldin has worked with Light Bearers for more than ten years in financial and data management roles. Amber is now COO (chief operations officer) of Light Bearers. She will head up all of our internal organizational processes and our external logistics for the various public events we run.
Yamil Rosario has been with Light Bearers for more than ten years, wearing many hats. He’s played a leading role in all of our media development, the ARISE discipleship school, and in Storyline Church. We have now fine-tuned his role and put a title on all he does: Executive Director of Ministry.
As partners in the work of Light Bearers, please hold these leaders up in prayer.
Well, we had to put ol’ Bessie to rest. It was hard but necessary. Our web press served us well for more than 20 years, cranking out hundreds of millions of gospel publications. But the company that made the press has closed down, making it almost impossible to get parts and service. And the fact is, the publishing industry has changed so much that we are now able to print our materials closer to the geographic locations to which we ship our containers, and at a higher quality for less money. It simply made no financial sense to keep printing our literature in the USA and sending our containers on that long 30- to 45-day voyage across the ocean for $8,000 to $12,000 a pop.
Going this new route, we are now able to print not only tracts and Bible studies but also Bibles and books as well. For example, this year we were able to print and ship over 100,000 Bibles to people in developing countries, many of whom have never held a Bible in their hands before. We also printed 60,000 copies of Ty’s book The Sonship of Christ and shipped them to Riverside Farm Institute, our sister ministry in Zambia.
Making this move in our publishing work has also allowed us to start printing our Truth Link Bible studies for the mission field, which we could not do on our old press. This is an exciting development, because people are extremely responsive to the Truth Link Bible studies. Typically, it takes up to nine months for the Bible workers at Riverside Farm to distribute a container load of the Bible studies we’ve sent in the past, but the container of Truth Link we sent was gone in half the time. Why? Sheer enthusiasm, that’s why! The Truth Link study guides combine sound doctrinal truth with beautiful insights to God’s love, which gives them a unique power to reach through the mind into the heart for life transformation.
One of the highlights this year regarding publishing came in the form of a trial that gave way to increased blessing. We sent a container to Ecuador, but the government authorities took the container “captive,” insisting we pay additional money by a specified date or the contents of the container would be destroyed. A haggling and negotiation process ensued. So you can imagine how happy we were to receive an email from Pastor Manuel Melo, secretary for the North Ecuador Conference, with these words: “By the grace of God we are getting close to the ‘liberation’ of the container.” A few days later, the precious gospel cargo was released from customs. We were worried about the material being held hostage, but in God’s providence, because of the delay, the material arrived just in time to be utilized in over 350 evangelistic campaigns launching in North Ecuador!
Roughly half of the world’s population is on social media. In the United States, the average person spends two hours and three minutes every day on some social platform. The rise in technological advancements isn’t limited to westernized countries though. Many developing countries, such as Ghana, India, and Malawi, have doubled their number of internet users in recent years. If we are going to take the gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people, we need to go to where people are, and where they are is online.
In light of these facts, we are excited to share that the Lord has provided for us, debt-free, a beautiful 17-acre piece of property just minutes from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. On this property, we will build a media production center and studio from where we will film all kinds of new programs—and existing ones, like Table Talk—that powerfully communicate the truth of the Bible in the light of God’s love. We will be able to stream live preaching events, film new classes for ARISE Online, and flood social media platforms with powerful gospel content by God’s grace.
We are currently in the process of drawing up plans for the building with the architect and intend to break ground in the spring. We will keep you posted as we progress. Your support for this large capital project is greatly appreciated.
Day after day, testimony after testimony, transformed life after transformed life, we are seeing the powerful effect of ARISE Online. What is the key? We take our students on a journey through all the key themes and truths of the Bible in a curriculum we call The Story. As we move through Scripture as one narrative, we discover the faithful love of God and the glorious good news of the gospel—over and over and over again from numerous biblical angles. The effect is a powerful combination of intellectual clarity and emotional attraction. Pastors and church leaders around the world are urging their members to become ARISE Online students. This year we onboarded 1,035 new students from all over the world, adding to the thousands that signed up earlier in the pandemic, when we offered 60 days of free access.
When we have completed the new Light Bearers office and media center, we plan to expand the ARISE Online program. We plan to film new classes to add to the curriculum, as well as update already existing classes.
In addition to welcoming our new ARISE Online students this year, in October, we held an ARISE Intensive in Chattanooga, an in-person weekend event. We had 140 attendees, representing 21 different states and one province. This group was engaged and firing on all cylinders as Ty and David taught a condensed version of The Story. And, in a world where young people are leaving the church in droves, we were especially excited to see 55 of the attendees were under 35.
Here’s what students are saying:
“Before I understood The Story, the Bible was kind of intimidating, but now it’s exciting.” – Josiah M.
“I want to share that this news is better than we thought, better than we Christians have made it seem. Because of ARISE, I now deeply desire to share, not to condemn but to help in the alluring process of lightly shifting people to a closer (and more accurate) understanding of God and His character.” – Rochelle J.
“ARISE Online is a total game changer for me. The biblical narrative has come alive like never before and I see Jesus from cover to cover in vivid color. True discipleship.” – Matt M.
Do you want to understand the Bible as a whole?
Do you want to fall deeply in love with Jesus because of His great love for you?
Do you want to learn how to more effectively share your faith?
Then consider signing up for ARISE Online or joining us for one of our ARISE Intensives—or both.
As mentioned above, in order to bring the gospel to where people are, we need to flood the internet with powerful gospel content. One of the ways we’re doing this is through our online church platform, Storyline Church. Storyline’s purpose is embedded in its name. We study the Bible as one big story—the story of the God who, madly in love with humanity, makes an epic journey to rescue us. Storyline aims to clear away false and ugly ideas about God for both the believer and the seeker.
Ty and David recently finished a new eight-part series on the book of Galatians, titled Grasping Galatians. All eight messages are now online for your viewing at the Storyline Church website (storyline.church), Storyline’s YouTube channel, or the Storyline Church app. You can check them out and let us know what you think, as well as browse previous messages and series.
We’d like to invite you to join us online for the Storyline message every Saturday at 11AM (PT)/2PM (ET). You can tune in at the Storyline Church YouTube channel, the Storyline Facebook page, or our website: live.storyline.church.