Meet The Founder
KP Yohannan has been travelling the globe for the past 40 years, challenging and calling the world-wide church to discipleship. His call to living a passionate, radical lifestyle for Jesus has left its impact on nearly every continent. The message Yohannan brings is a fresh perspective to the church that, like many churches and generations before it, have started to forget what’s truly important.
Yohannan is the founder of GFA World, our Christian mission organization deeply committed to seeing communities transformed through the love of Christ as actioned out by indigenous missionaries all over the world. He’s also the metropolitan bishop of Believers Church, an indigenous church in South Asia.
Born in South India in 1950, Yohannan is the youngest of six sons. His mother dedicated each of her children to the Lord and longed to see one of them commit their lives to ministry of some kind. She secretly fasted each Friday for three-and-a-half years, praying, “Oh God, let just one of my boys preach!”. Even as she prayed, her children were growing up and moving into secular work. Finally, only the youngest, little “Yohannachan,” was left. Seeing how shy and insecure he was, his mother thought that there wasn’t a big chance of him becoming a preacher.
Gospel for Asia is not a movement but a phenomenon. GFA has become one of the most significant mission organizations of this century. I praise God for the great love and commitment of KP and Gisela Yohannan for the people of Asia. Millions have received the Word of God because of them and the ministry of Gospel for Asia.
—George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization and world missions advocate
“K.P. has been a mentor to me for years. The way that he speaks to God and about Him is different from anyone else I know. His words and actions have led to me loving Jesus more consistently and deeply. He is the first to admit shortcomings in his life, but he continues to be an example to me. For this, I am eternally grateful.”
Francis Chan, pastor and author of “Crazy Love”
However, after Yohannan finished his schooling, he met a visiting mission team who told him stories about North India and his heart was immediately gripped. His mother’s faithful prayers were answered as her youngest son decided to join the mission movement and travel to faraway North India to help bring the Good News to the many villages that had never heard of Jesus. While preparing to join this radical mission team from Europe, the timid 16-year-old was challenged by a call to revolutionary discipleship from missionary statesman George Verwer. That night, Yohannan couldn’t sleep. What if God asked him to preach publicly in the streets? What if he was stoned or beaten?
Suddenly, God’s presence filled the room he was in, and he knew he was not alone. “Lord God,” he prayed in surrender, “I’ll give myself to speak for You— help me to know that You’re with me.”
The next morning, he woke with a supernatural love and burden for the people all around him. The Lord gave him courage that he never had before to speak to crowds, and he continued to preach for the next seven years in North India. As a field evangelist and regional coordinator, he was responsible for the members of his teams and the planning of each day. His future wife, Gisela, was also serving with the mission movement at the same time, and he knew in the brief times they spent in each other’s company, that he had found someone who shared the same vision and calling.
In 1971, Yohannan was invited to spend a month in Singapore at a new institute founded by John Haggai. Here, he was challenged by Haggai to do something significant with his life for God’s glory. His time at the institute had produced a restlessness that eventually led him to leave India in search of God’s ultimate will in his life. In 1974, he came to the United States, where he received his theological training at Criswell College. After his first term, he and the young woman who had inspired him with her heart for missions, Gisela, were married.
As a theology student, Yohannan was ordained and began pastoring a local church in Dallas, where he served for four years. God blessed with pastoral ministry mightily, but Yohannan couldn’t forget the burden God had given him for those who had never heard the name of Jesus.
Remembering the Millions in Asia
As God reminded Yohannan of the millions in Asia still waiting to learn of His love for them, he resigned his pastorate, and he and Gisela began taking steps to start an organisation to support national missionaries, which eventually became known as GFA World (founded on July 3, 1979). They began meeting together each Tuesday night with a small, faithful group of believers to pray over world maps. The Lord soon guided them to start a programme so people could regularly support the work of national missionaries by laying aside one dollar a day. The Lord opened many doors to share this opportunity with churches and individuals and the ministry began to grow.
Today, GFA World comes alongside thousands of indigenous missionaries and workers and supports them through prayer and assistance as they bring hope and care to the those who have never experienced God’s love in South Asia. GFA is engaged in a huge number of life-changing projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers, widows, orphans, providing clean water by funding wells, supporting medical missions, and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through GFA’s Child Sponsorship Programme, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational cycle of poverty and hopelessness.
GFA founded by Dr K.P. Yohannan
GFA doubles its number of supporters
GFA opens its first international administrative office
Dr K.P. Yohannan publishes his first book
GFA begins supporting film ministry on the field
GFA-supported workers begin installing Jesus Wells
GFA’s Child Sponsorship programme begins
GFA-supported workers begin distributing income-generating gifts
Dr K.P. Yohannan releases first book about children in crisis in Asia
GFA-supported Compassion team responds to devastating natural disasters
A Ministry of Discipleship
One of Yohannan’s deep desires is to see a new generation see the Lord’s heart for the hopeless and to give themselves wholly to His work. GFA’s School of Discipleship is a one-year program for young adults – through this life-changing year at GFA’s headquarters in East Texas, many young people have deepened their relationship with Jesus and grown in their desire to live in a radical way for God. Many of them are now serving the Lord full-time in different capacities around the world!
Yohannan’s radio program, Spiritual Journey, ministers hope and practical help to the people of South Asia and reaches more than 1 billion people in 110 languages. His message can also be heard and seen daily by viewers in 100 nations on AYTV. He served on the executive committee of World by Radio from 2004–2012 and as a board member with the National Religious Broadcasters Association (NRB) from 2013–2015.
Yohannan has written more than 200 books, with hundreds published in Asia and over 10 published in the United States. With more than 3.9 million copies in print, Yohannan’s landmark book, Revolution in World Missions, is an international bestseller that has literally changed the course of mission history in our generation. Yohannan’s other titles include The Road to Reality; Come, Let’s Reach the World; Living in the Light of Eternity; Reflecting His Image; Against the Wind; Touching Godliness through Submission; Destined to Soar; No Longer a Slumdog; Dance Not for Time and Little Things that Make a Big Difference.
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Read about the incredible journey of GFA World, from the humble beginnings through a small village boy, through miraculous divine interventions, courageous sacrifices, and unexpected blessings. Read how Lord can use the life of one unassuming ordinary person to make a difference for eternity.