Editorial

Joining Hands

By

Millions of Asians have not been reached for Christ. Missionaries have done a remarkable job in planting the seed of the gospel, but the greatest evangelization took place in China, Vietnam and Laos under communism, in the absence of missionaries. We must ask, Who are the most effective missionaries among Asians? What is the role of missions agencies and churches outside of Asia?

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting our sister churches in Asia. While talking with national pastors and believers, I sensed that God is working to change lives by the waves, and what He has accomplished defi es explanation.

Believers explained how they came to know Christ through listening to gospel radio programs in their indigenous languages and the testimonies of lay witnesses who cast out demons and healed the sick in the mighty Name of Jesus. Most of the witnesses had only a rudimentary education and no biblical training. They read the Word of God and believed. They were simple folks. Yet, they traveled from village to village, fervently proclaiming the gospel to their own people and other tribal groups.

I also met with our Alliance missionaries. Unlike our Anglo-American team members, who are noticeable from a distance, our Asian team members can blend in with the local population. Hence, they are able to do more evangelism in the field.

In 1997, our Hmong District Conference called for the establishment of Overseas Tribal Services, a nonprofi t organization that provides humanitarian and relief work to the Hmong and other tribal groups in Asia. Since then, we have sent teams from our churches in the United States to China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. We work directly with government officials, local leaders and parents in order to train leaders, build hostels and schools, give scholarships, establish fish farms and provide library resources. Through these demonstrations of Christ’s love, we have seen hundreds come to faith in Jesus.

The Vietnamese District is accomplishing similar things and achieving signifi cant results. Our Chinese churches are partnering with churches in Asia to advance the gospel.

The C&MA has entered a new phase in world missions—globalization of missions. The Alliance exists to complete the Great Commission of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19–20). How? First, Jesus required the apostles to make disciples who would inevitably make more disciples. Through the disciplemaking process, the gospel will spread to the ends of the earth. Second, our Lord told His followers to be His witnesses “‘in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:8).

Making disciples and being witnesses are synonymous. The apostle Paul understood the Great Commission as “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16). Peter was called to preach to the Jews (Gal. 2:7). Paul came to faith as a Jew but was called to preach to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, he preached first to the Jews, and when the gospel was rejected by them, he went to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46).

A. B. Simpson understood the Great Commission well, but he did not go overseas. He trained and sent others who were called. For more than a century, our C&MA missionaries have trained disciples all over the world. Hundreds of overseas disciples are ready to be sent.

Our success overseas necessitates rethinking and restructuring. What should the wealthy North American churches do with their resources now that the indigenous churches have grown and received the same Great Commission? Do we leave them on their own and move to another mission fi eld or join hands with them so that we can send more workers?

Jesus asked the disciples to pray for more workers (Luke 10:2). Now that we have them, do we tell them to fi nd their own tools? Do we tell them to get their own transportation to the harvest or do we bring them along as we go? James had insight about this, and he taught us to provide for the less fortunate (James 2:14–17).

Globalization of missions means different things to different people. To me, it means joining hands in order to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Consider what it means to you and how you can be part of completing the Lord’s work.

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