God’s Word Creates New Life in Barren Lands


Dear Partners,

What could be more barren and lifeless than a forgotten prison in a foreign land? Nothing.

What possibly could cause life to spring up in that spiritual desert? Only one thing: the Word of God!

Listen to Isaiah 55’s description of the life-giving nature of the God’s Word:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.   Isaiah 55:10-11

Like the nourishing effects of rain upon the earth, God’s Word accomplishes His purposes. Isaiah goes on to describe the transformative effects of the Word:

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.   12-13

This response is truly remarkable, especially when you remember Genesis 3 and the punishment God gave to humankind after sin entered the world: work would be painful and toilsome with the land bringing forth thorns and thistles.

According to Isaiah 55, God’s Word reverses the curse found in Genesis 3 by bringing a cypress tree instead of a thorn and a myrtle instead of brier, creating new life in a barren land. This is the response we are witnessing as God’s Word goes forth in the lives and ministries of those we train in the Philippines.

Take a woman named Cely, a woman suffering with stage four breast cancer, for example. She has been so changed by her pastor’s preaching that she said, “I’m going to sponsor your training on another island.” Her pain and discomfort from cancer didn’t stop her from taking a two-hour plane trip to join her pastor for training. And you might think that her unbelieving husband would oppose her investment of time and money, but his words to his wife say otherwise: “If the gospel can change you like this, than I need to entrust my money to people like them!”

Or listen to what God is doing through His Word in a Filipino prison after a handful of TNTers (Training National Trainers) began training hardened criminals with our materials. Three of these men who received training have been released from prison, and here is what they are up to:

  • One is being discipled and trained by a pastor for future ministry
  • Another is already planning on taking TNT into another prison
  • Jonathan, the third, has just taken on a pastorate with a church called New Life Churchhow appropriate!

We are seeing the truth of Isaiah 55 right before our very eyes!

God’s Word is not coming back void—God is turning thorns into cypress trees and bringing new life.

Praise God for His life-giving Word!

Your prayers and financial partnership are helping God’s Word water thirsty souls like Cely, Jonathan, and countless others in the Philippines and around the world.

From myself and everyone at LRI:

Thank you!

craig1Craig Parro



PS: Our work in the Philippines is flourishing, but our funding is not. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet found the partners that we had hoped for. We’re praying that the Lord might nudge you to meet this urgent need as we walk towards eliminating a current deficit!

PPS: Also join us in prayer for the salvation of Cely’s husband who has noticed his wife’s transformation. God is still bringing about new life!

When you donate, please choose “Other” under designation and enter “PHID 3/16” in the comments field.


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Craig Parro

Since joining Leadership Resources International in 1989, Craig directed its international ministry, and as of January 2010, he now serves as President. A graduate of TEDS (M.A., Mission), Craig is a stimulating teacher and has equipped and encouraged pastors and churches throughout the U.S., Latin America and Asia. Craig also serves on the Board of Directors of TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition), an association of pastoral training organizations focused on accelerating pastoral training worldwide. Craig has authored articles appearing in several magazines. His first book, Unlikely Warriors, was published in 1992. He is also co-author of Finishing Well in Life and Ministry: God’s Protection from Burnout.