It is right to start our year with updates of God's redemptive activity around the world. As I write today, 12 December 2008, I start my memo by relating some of what I've heard and seen in the last week from my office at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois, USA).
Last week, we watched the birthing of a new Anglican Province in the U.S. that was nurtured by Anglican Bishops in South America and Africa. The focus of this new movement is to be missional—to reach lost people for Jesus throughout the U.S.
Today, I heard of three Christian college football players preparing to compete for the national title in the U.S., who spent last night leading high school athletes to Jesus.
Through Alpha leaders, I learned of a Chinese woman (PhD student studying in the U.S.) who agreed to attend an Alpha course. An atheist, she nevertheless attended each week. After each meeting, she called her mother in China and told her what she had heard about Christianity. The woman continued in unbelief and was shocked that when she called her mother after week five of the course that her mother had become a Christ follower. The atheist daughter simply reporting the gospel story to her mother was used by God to save her mother! Now, both mother and daughter follow Jesus.
In meetings with young scholars from Tanzania and Rwanda, I heard evidence of God's movements throughout sub-Sahara Africa.
A colleague just returning from India gave me reports of “people group” movements toward Christ. The under-caste people (over 500,000,000) are seeing some of their caste leaders finding Christ and traveling the nation to preach the gospel to fellow under-caste peoples.
It is a breathtaking time to simply listen and watch God's movements, much less participate in them. Has there ever been a better time to serve Jesus Christ? I think not.
In this issue, I have read of new ways to think of missions, especially in the vast diaspora of refugees and service-level workers throughout the world. Not recorded in mission journals, these peoples (many of whom are believers in Christ) not only work for foreign employers, but evangelize them as God provides. I also read of the proliferation of evangelistic prayer movements taking different forms and shapes in the last two decades. I am praying for readers, this afternoon—that you will be inspired, informed, instructed in best practices, and more interconnected with God's mission movements all over the world. I pray that we will be quickened to action because we give these minutes to learn.
Will you consider praying for one other reader somewhere in the world to be quickened to action like yourself? Nearly ten thousand people from over one hundred nations will read all or part of this issue. “Father God, give my brothers and sisters who read this issue the mind, the heart, and the passion of our Lord Christ.” Amen.