What do you do when dying people ask for help?
Have you ever been in that situation?
As a missionary bush pilot, I was involved in many medical evacuations where if our aviation team did not act the outcome was almost certain. If we did act, we could not ensure that all would be well, but we could be sure that we had done our best to save a life.
Medical evacuations and death were a part of our work. Many lives were saved, but not all.
More times than I care to remember I was given the task of loading a lifeless body, surrounded by wailing relatives, into the aircraft to be taken home to a remote village airstrip where more wailing relatives waited to receive the body for burial. The sobs, screams, and wailing of dozens of relatives ripped at my heart as I strove to focus on remembering all of the details required for safe flight.
In many of those situations, the people had no hope. No one had yet shared the message of the glorious gospel of Christ in a language they could understand. All I could do is serve them and pray for the day when a messenger could deliver hope.
Some had asked for a missionary but there were no messengers to send.
Now, years later, many of the language groups of people I served have thriving churches of Christians in places where there were none.
As a result, neighboring language groups have seen radically good changes occur where the Church has been planted. The neighbors want to know the message that brought about those changes. Some have been requesting a missionary for many years.
A great barrier to them hearing the Gospel is their own completely different language. There are no Christians who speak their language. Even if there were, none of the Bible verses are written in their language.
The missionaries who might tell them will have to learn their language, decipher their culture, and translate at least some of the Bible before they can even begin to accurately communicate the message about eternal life through Jesus Christ. Since they know nothing about God or how sin and death came into the world, those things will have to be taught from God’s word, starting at the beginning, before they will be able to understand how the perfect God clothed imperfect people with the perfect righteousness of Christ through faith.
People of more than one hundred language groups have asked for a missionary.
Teams of churches and their missionaries associated with Ethnos360 have been working very hard and are evangelizing them at an amazing rate of about four language groups per year.
As commendable and exciting as that is, especially considering the extreme difficulties and challenges involved, is that acceptable?
There are no missionaries for most. No “sent ones”. No Christians have yet been sent to tell them.
To me, one of the exciting things about the church planting work completed in the past is that language groups of people who knew almost nothing of Christ twenty years ago are now taking on responsibility to plant thriving churches among the language groups of people nearby.
A major obstacle for these churches is that the Bible does not exist in that other language. Nor do they have the skills to translate the Bible.
How can believers fulfill the commission – to teach others to observe all that Christ commanded us – when what Christ commanded is not available in that language? What are they going to teach? How can these tribal churches share God’s word in the other language? Without the Bible, they can’t. Believers need God’s word in their hands to teach it.
How can believers grow to maturity when God’s written word does not exist in a language they understand? The people need God’s written word in a language they can read for themselves. The object of their faith must be Christ and His written word.
One solution is to find educated Christians who can be trained to translate the Bible and send them to learn the unwritten language, translate the Bible, and help tribal churches to teach everything that Christ commanded. This is a very reasonable thing that could be accomplished by Christians in the western world, especially the USA.
2 Timothy 2:2 establishes a pattern that the things that we have learned should be passed on to faithful men who will teach others.
Romans 10 tells us that faith comes by hearing the word of God which is spoken by messengers who are sent.
Here is the call. Who will answer it?
By a very conservative estimate, there are at least 140,000 Christians for every one of the 2500 languages that have not yet heard about Jesus.
Is it hard for us believers to hear the call for help?
Has not God not already given the call?
Are not the dying already asking?
God has given our generation amazing tools to hear cries from the ends of the earth and to accomplish His task through the willing-hearted.
Will you pray with us that God will open ears and hearts to hear and respond to the cry of the perishing?
Will you pray with us that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers?
As we seek to engage Christians about sending messengers would you pray for us?
Please pray for:
- Wisdom from the Lord to know where to go and what to say so that people are moved by His Spirit and His Word toward planting thriving churches of Christians where there are none.
- Open doors to go engage people who are likely to respond as well as the physical and financial resources to accomplish engagement.
- Partners who understand the importance of mobilization in the big picture of establishing thriving churches in every language and will fully engage alongside us to send laborers to bring in the harvest.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5