Editorial

Beating the Giants

By

There’s no substitute. You can read newsletters, see photos and hear testimonies from the mission field, but there’s nothing like being there. Overseas missions trips, whether you stay days or months, open your eyes and heart to a world in need of hope. You have an opportunity to make a difference.

When Betty and I traveled to West Africa in February, our senses were flooded with unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. We stepped out of the airplane into a world far from home and rubbed shoulders with people who are dearly loved by God but have never heard His Name. Most importantly, we saw The Alliance making an eternal impact in Africa.

When Christians are called overseas, whether as missionaries, creative-access country workers or on short-term missions trips, they are answering God’s call. They are being counted among those who are willing to come together to tackle the world’s biggest problems.

Pastor and author Rick Warren has identified “global giants” that plague the nations: illiteracy, disease, poverty, spiritual lostness and egocentric leadership. The nations and leaders of the world may hold little hope of solving these problems, but they are no match for Christ and His Church.

Illiteracy impacts three-quarters of the population of some African nations. Many intelligent and hardworking nationals never have the opportunity to attend school. In many cases, inadequate facilities and a student-teacher ratio of 100 to 1 make education available for only the privileged. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, The Alliance provides educational opportunities for the next generation through Bible schools, camps for children, literacy classes and more.

Cholera, hepatitis, malaria, meningitis and yellow fever are a few of the deadly diseases pervasive in Africa. It’s hard to grasp the fact that one million African children die every year after being bitten by mosquitoes carrying malaria. Today, 70 percent of HIV/AIDS victims live in Africa, but in the not-to-distant future, Asia will claim the majority of cases. Through hospitals, medical and dental clinics and short-term medical teams, the C&MA is caring for the sick and dying.

Life-threatening poverty touches the lives of millions of Africans. Many are subsistence farmers who cultivate small plots of land. They grow just enough for themselves and their families to survive. When drought or pests destroy the crops, whole villages go hungry. The young and aged are especially vulnerable to death from starvation. In Africa and in other needy regions of the world, The Alliance teaches marketable skills, offers English classes, provides freshwater wells and helps with the development of cottage industries to alleviate poverty.

With obstacles such as illiteracy, disease and poverty to contend with, is it any wonder that the spiritual lives of people in impoverished nations are running on empty? The beggars on the streets need hope as much as they need food, shelter and medical care. How can they contemplate the condition of their souls with empty bellies? For people in countries that are closed to Christian workers, the Name of Jesus is seldom heard. The Alliance is committed to sending workers and planting churches in places where the odds are stacked against us.

Historically, underdeveloped nations have been led by ruthless leaders who rule with an iron hand, grasping power and wealth away from their countrymen. Their self-serving leadership is shortsighted and focuses on worldly gain, not eternity. They need the Lord as much as the neglected people they seek to control. Training servant leaders for the national churches is a priority for the C&MA.

A wealth of possibilities opens to us as we realize that from our storehouse of earthly and spiritual gifts, we serve Him by serving others. Only Jesus and His Church can stand against the problems that plague the world. Yet He has chosen to bring His message of healing and provision, compassion, meaning and abundant living to a hurting world through us.

One person, one missionary tour and one short-term missions trip at a time, the Alliance family is facing the giants and claiming the victory for Jesus. As we surrender ourselves to His call, we receive more than we hoped or imagined as we battle the giants in His Name. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

Gary M. Benedict
U.S. C&MA President

Past Alliance Life Issues

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