Imagine a country with (officially) zero churches and zero Christian citizens. The country’s laws permit the employment of foreign Christians, but don’t allow those foreign Christians to practice their faith openly. Citizens of the country can hear the gospel via satellite tv and the internet but have no access to what is absolutely essential in most people’s conversion – the opportunity to talk over questions with another person. The only way that can happen is if a non-citizen comes, overcomes the obstacles, and starts talking about peace with God through Jesus.
Several years ago, Jim and Shannon were appointed by World Outreach to go and make disciples of Jesus in such a country. As Jim completed his professional credentials in order to qualify for job openings, he and Shannon began World Outreach’s TAG internship in Detroit. There they met people who were immigrants from their target country. They soon became close friends – so close that when Jim accepted a job offer in their country, those neighbors made sure their relatives back home gave them the warmest of welcomes on arrival.
Over the next several years, Shannon developed deep friendships with the women of this extended family. She talked with them about Jesus, and shared stories about him from the Bible. Last Christmas, Shannon told the women that she had a special gift for each of them – the most valuable thing in her possession – and gave a (smuggled) Bible to each woman of the family, so that they could read the stories themselves. As the women read about this Immanuel revealed in the Bible, they sensed God speaking to them. And, earlier this year, the first of this group took the brave step of putting her faith in Christ. Soon, she was joined by another – two sisters in Christ, captured by His love for them!
Jim and Shannon’s neighbors are like millions of others around the world whose only hope to have their deepest questions answered is that some outsider will come to them. That outsider could be a Filipino Christian housekeeper, a Chinese Christian construction worker, or an EPC engineer/businessman/English teacher. It could be you.
Why not devote 2019 to putting yourself in a posture to hear God’s answer to the question, “What do you want me to do about people without access to the gospel?” Here are a few ways to start: watch this short video about the task that still remains; take the Perspectives course to understand God’s mission, how the global Church has responded, and what the greatest needs in world evangelization are today; or join the TAG internship, like Jim and Shannon, to take part in Kingdom living among those that don’t yet know the love of Christ. Make 2019 the year you find your part in declaring God’s glory among people walking in darkness!