2023 November Newsletter
Greetings from The Keystone Project and All Our Disciples in the Nations!
“FOR BEHOLD, I CREATE NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH; AND THE FORMER THINGS WILL NOT BE REMEMBERED OR COME TO MIND. BUT BE GLAD AND REJOICE FOREVER IN WHAT I CREATE; FOR BEHOLD, I CREATE JERUSALEM FOR REJOICING AND HER PEOPLE FOR GLADNESS.” (ISAIAH 65:17-19)
As we again enter the season of holidays, we mark that another year is passing, and we are increasingly aware of the nearness of the consummation of all things. In the Bible, this is pictured for us in the destruction of the current heaven and earth, and the creation of new heavens and a new earth. Our eternal destination or state is described for us in Revelation 21 and 22 as being a city, the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is not of earthly origin or nature. It is totally different from this current realm. It comes from God Himself and is not at all the work of men. It is helpful for us to make a distinction between the current heaven and the New Jerusalem. The current heaven is not our eternal abode, the New Jerusalem will be.
So, what do we know of the New Jerusalem? Let us think of this city as being a description of what it looks like when God has His way with all things.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
The New Jerusalem has no tears, no sorrow, no death, no pain, no temple, no sacrifices, no sun, no moon, no darkness, no sin, no abomination, and no memory of the things which once were. It is a state of perfection in which all things have become new! Some of us fear that when we stand before God, He will rehearse all our evil deeds. However, the Bible says, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:10-12) Therefore, if your name is found written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 20:11-15), your sins have been dealt with at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and remembered no more. This is the good news of the gospel. Repent of your sins, believe in the gospel, and trust Christ alone for your salvation, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved, we are the New Jerusalem! “‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’” (Matthew 5:14-16)
In Jesus’ name!
- Please continue to pray for our disciples around the world, especially those living and working in dangerous areas of persecution. Recently, we were in a country where there is much violent opposition to the gospel and heard many stories from our disciples of the things they have suffered.
- Pray for students who are applying to attend our training events, asking the Lord to send those whom He has chosen and prepared to attend.
- Pray also for favor as they apply for US visas.
- Pray for the financial success and growth of The Keystone Project and our hotel, The Rushmore Express Inn & Family Suites. Please know that the hotel generates only 30% of the total revenue we need to do the work of the ministry, so we need your financial support.
- Pray for our new fundraising effort calling upon our supporters to sponsor an international student to attend our training programs. The cost to train one student is $1200 per year ($100 per month). Your gift will enable us to continue to provide our training at no cost to the students. You can find the details about this on our website (www.keystoneproject.org). Any amount given towards the training will help us continue the work of the Lord.
- Pray for our staff, who work so hard and have sacrificed so much to serve the Lord through the mission God has given to us.
- Thank you for praying for our mission trip to Peru and Ecuador from November 1-15. You can read about the great things happening there in David Saldivar’s report.
- Pray also for our mission trip to Ghana in January.
As always, we deeply appreciate your prayers and support for these events, thanking the Lord for all of you and praying for His blessings in all that you do for His glory! For God’s Glory,
In Jesus’ name!
For God’s Glory,
President of The Keystone Project
A Month of Transformational Training
This fall, we had the exciting opportunity and privilege to host 72 students at our month-long International Leaders Training over October 2-27, 2023. This diverse group of pastors and leaders (composed of 45 male students and 27 female) came from the following 16 countries: USA (including Guam), India, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia. Thanks to our French interpreter and other bilingual volunteers and coaches, we were able to provide translation at this training for 16 French-speaking students from Côte d’Ivoire and Togo. At the end of the training, 16 students decided to be baptized, in order to publicly demonstrate the rededication of their lives to fulfilling the Great Commission; it was a joyous celebration as we baptized these students and graduated the entire class, commissioning them to go back and make disciples who make disciples in their nations.
By the end of the training, many students had expressed the transformational impact that the training had on their lives and ministries over the course of the month. For several of these pastors, they had recently retired or were preparing to retire, and their attendance at the training came at a pivotal point in their life as they considered what God wanted them to do next. For many others who were still in ministry, they encountered a radically different approach, one that is not limited by the confines of church buildings, programs, structures, or resources. As one leader from Ghana reflected on what she learned in the training, she realized that they had been primarily focused on mass evangelism through expensive productions and programs. “But after coming here and learning about discipleship,” she states, “it has given me another view and understanding. It is not a matter of just evangelizing and filling your church; it is a matter of making disciples and making disciples and making disciples…. And we cannot do that on our own; we need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.”
Some of our October 2023 students and coaches at Crazy Horse Monument.
Many others were deeply impacted as well by this concept of generational discipleship and the potential of multiplying disciples, rather than just adding converts. This paradigm shift has also transformed how they read the Bible. Rather than reading it with a consumeristic agenda, they now read it with a missional focus and awareness, and they see God’s prophetic and redemptive purposes that are already revealed throughout Scripture. Many students were also impacted by learning how to walk in the Spirit on the mission field, how to discover their spiritual gifts, and how to operate effectively in their gifts for the Kingdom. Throughout the whole training, it was evident that God’s hand was at work in each of the students, in the relationships that they built with each other and with their coaches, and in the experience they gained on the mission right here in the Rapid City area. Not only was this training a blessing to our students, but it was also a tremendous blessing to our team of staff, volunteers, and coaches who walked side-by-side with them all four weeks. As one of our local coaches expressed, “It is such a privilege for us to come alongside Richard and really try to drive these truths home for [the students] so that they can implement these changes in their countries and in their communities.”
As we reflect on this past training, we are certainly thankful to the Lord for His gracious provision and for the wonderful group of students we had in October. We are also looking forward to our next season of training events coming up in the new year, beginning with a two-week training over February 19 – March 1, 2024. This training is especially designed for a group of Spanish-speaking pastors and leaders, called the Building Bridges Network; it is also open to both English- and/or Spanish-speaking participants from the US and around the world. In addition, we have a one-week training scheduled for March 11 – 15, 2024, which will be tailored for Native American and US participants, and we also have our full month-long International Leaders Training (with French and Spanish translation) over April 1 – 26, 2024. If you are interested in attending one of these training events or a later one, you can fill out the “Training Application Form” on our website. We hope you will prayerfully consider joining us for this transformational experience and equipping yourself for the work of the Great Commission.
Training Event Coordinator
Peru and Ecuador
Dear Supporters and Friends,
Greetings from Houston, Texas! With great joy and an overwhelming sense of awe, I share the report of our recent missions trip to the great nations of Peru and Ecuador. Truly, the Holy Spirit was moving as we set out with a vision to train, engage, and expand our network in South America. This network has been developed and maintained for many years by leaders like Toby Lazo, Victor Vila, Charo Chirinos, and Jaime Rios, to name a few. Our goal is always to glorify God among the nations by equipping and empowering local leaders to fulfill the Great Commission.
Surrounded by South America’s diverse and breathtaking landscapes, The Keystone Project team had the privilege of training hundreds of eager and committed leaders. Our journey began in Peru. We found a great hunger in Pastors and leaders gathered in Chimbote and Chiclayo. Still, we also saw the need to revive the church with the passion to reach the nations and to see God’s glory touching those territories as many places remain in darkness and under extreme spiritual oppression.
Our trip carried on to Ecuador, a land of such biodiversity. In both Peru and Ecuador, we had the opportunity to connect with students of our online academy. We had previously sowed seeds of missional understanding and purpose through our online training. Meeting them in person, we heard firsthand their stories of mobilization to missional work, an affirmation that our training is bearing fruit across the nations.
Our mission objectives were met and surpassed far beyond our expectations. The testimony to this success was echoed in the reports of local leaders whose lives have been radically transformed by the gospel of the kingdom and who now carry the torch of missionary work and Spirit-led ministries.
In the Amazon jungle of Ecuador among the Shuar’s people.
Perhaps the most unforgettable leg of our trip was our time ministering in the breathtaking Amazon jungle of Ecuador among the Shuars people. Touched by their hospitality and openness, we were honored to share the message of making disciples who make disciples with them.
The interactions with the Shuars and other indigenous peoples underscored the critical need and our unwavering commitment to continue the mobilization of missionaries to the unreached people groups of South America. In partnership with crucial ministry friends in the field, we look forward to continuing to train hundreds of leaders and building new bridges of collaboration to expand the Gospel in this region.
Our hearts are full and challenged. To Him alone, we attribute the fruit of this mission. Our ministry remains committed to declaring His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3).
With appreciation for your support and prayers,
ABOUT THE KEYSTONE PROJECT
The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.