From Communism to COVID-19, ISP Celebrates 30 Years
In 1990, as Communism crumbled in the former Soviet Union, the JESUS film was shown in Moscow for the first time. Afterward, a deputy minister of education asked Paul Eshleman to help him show the film in every school throughout Russia. Paul agreed and began to secure more than 65,000 copies of the film.
Because Communism had been the basis for teaching their students about morals and ethics, the deputy minister of education explained to Paul that they now needed a new foundation.
Afterward, when the leader asked if Paul had a curriculum to go along with the film, Paul said he could provide it. Then the official asked if Paul could also offer training for the teachers. Paul said, yes, he could arrange that, too.
That’s when Blair Cook and a small team immediately began writing a morals and ethics curriculum. By May of 1991, they were ready to launch a pilot program at the first International School Project Convocation.
30 Years and 30+ Countries Later
Today, 30 years later, God is still opening doors to reach teachers in more than 30 countries.
In 2020, educators around the world overcame obstacles as they continued to teach students and minister to their colleagues. ISP teachers provided tools and encouragement.
Zoom Meetings in Ukraine
Anna Polishchuk in Ukraine has a passion for sharing both teaching methods and the gospel with her colleagues. By working with ISP, she improved in her teaching methods, and more importantly, she grew spiritually.
“Once I was growing spiritually, I wanted [my colleagues] to know how to have a close relationship with Jesus and how to understand the Bible. I realized that I had a chance to change their worldview, which is much more important than just sharing methods of teaching.
As COVID-19 brought new challenges to teachers, Anna has embraced those challenges as opportunities.
She says, “Through the use of technology, we’ve been able to continue in discipleship.” Anna addresses parents’ concerns about the virus and ministers to students and their families. “With teachers under quarantine, we are learning how to center on moral education as we interact with parents and students online.”
Despite the setbacks brought on by the pandemic, Anna has had opportunities for meaningful ministry to students’ families.
ISP staff member Doug Kennedy regularly “chats” with teachers in Zimbabwe, discipling them through WhatsApp, a social media platform. As COVID-19 spreads fear around the world, these teachers are spreading the hope of Christ.
Here’s a sample from Doug’s virtual conversations.
Doug: Last week, we talked about reaching out to non-believing teachers to see how they were doing during the lockdown. How did that go for you?
Noreen S.: One said we were so hopeless . . . . I got an opportunity to introduce her to Christ and assure her that everything is possible with Christ.
Memory D.: Managed to reach out to an unbelieving teacher . . . . He started opening up, and now we can talk. Bit by bit, introducing him to Christ.
Yvonne B.: Yes, we [are] having Bible study via WhatsApp.
Summary of Impact
When the International School Project began 30 years ago, no one would have imagined the supernatural things that have happened.
At the beginning of 2020, no one suspected a pandemic would turn the world upside down.
But God has always gone before us, and He continues to open doors so we can share the gospel and build spiritual movements.
125,000+ teachers trained
2-3 million students impacted annually (estimated)
*Numbers are current as of 2019. The 2020 data will be provided in the forthcoming Annual Report.