IT BEGINS WITH “ONE” International Missions


by Gord

Cross-cultural missions must be engaged by those who have already received the truth. A global worker disciples one lost, inquiring soul until the revelation of God brings light, and they find faith. It always begins with “one.”

One of the most often quoted yet least obeyed passages in Scripture is found in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV), where our Lord commanded His followers to “… go [into all the world] and make disciples of all nations.” We are commanded to leave our own place of comfort and move out to reveal Christ in places where He is not known and worshipped—not a single region is exempted. “Nations” refers to peoples and language groups that live anywhere and everywhere.

To see a nation changed, we must see a community changed—and that begins with one life, one family. As we press in to the 21st century, we are turning our missional attention to the thousands of unreached people groups that still have no witness of Christ. They are not only lost in the sense of being unsaved, but they are also completely in the dark in terms of opportunities to hear about Jesus. These are peoples whom the Apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 2:12 (NIV) as “having no hope, and without God in the world.”

Cross-cultural missions must be engaged by those who have already received the truth. A global worker disciples one lost, inquiring soul until the revelation of God brings light, and they find faith. It always begins with “one.”

Omar1 has been a faithful student at our centre attending English classes over the past four years. At first he described himself as a “hard-core” Muslim dedicated to spreading Islam. “Anyone who tries to stop it will face a violent response,” he would say. Greg, a global worker, has spent a great deal of time with Omar and others discussing theology and faith, and recently we began to see a small change in Omar. Of all these young men, he has most closely watched Greg’s life and shown particular interest, asking many questions. Omar has not yet committed to faith but often asks us to pray for him and his family, knowing that we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that what the Holy Spirit has begun in Omar will not die, and that he will ultimately trust Christ and be a great influence on the other young men.

Terence and Tracy needed to hire employees for their business startup in Central Asia. The Lord led them to Safihan, who came with experience, but with family sickness and troubles as well. Terence found many opportunities to apply God’s Word and prayer to Safihan’s worries as they worked together. One day during a routine conversation, Safihan declared that he could no longer consider himself a Muslim; he was considering Jesus. His approach to life began to change, and his confidence in God’s attention grew. Recently, in the midst of political upheaval in the region, Terence was feeling uncertain about the future and was telling Safihan how he felt. Safihan said, “This business was started by God and belongs to God. We must pray and believe that whatever happens, it will be OK.” Faith is growing in his heart as he learns to rely on the Father.

Jason serves God in the Middle East. Through casual involvement in his neighbourhood, he met Hadi, and they began connecting over coffee. Conversation quickly moved to spiritual things. Jason shared his faith and life openly with Hadi, often ending their meetings in prayer for his friend’s family and needs. During a festival in which Muslims reflect on the story of Abraham offering his son as a sacrifice, Jason helped Hadi understand how Jesus became our sacrifice, laying down His life to pay the price for our sins and make us right with God. Hadi chose to trust Jesus, and deeper discipleship began. As Hadi’s faith grew, so did his desire to see his family and community find the truth. Since that time, Hadi has helped disciple more than 10 other Muslim men who meet with him close to his shop. These men saw the change in his life and asked him to teach them what he was learning from the Bible. His family have remarked that he is a completely new person. One of his sisters has decided she wants to know God like he does. Hadi has prayed with her, and she is very close to following Jesus.

As a diligent Muslim teenager, Mo used to call his friends to Muslim prayers and the observance of Ramadan every year. But when he heard a Canadian businessman share about Jesus at a friend’s house, he was intrigued. Something spoke to him deeply. Over several months, the businessman taught Mo to read God’s Word and how to pray. One day while praying alone, Mo experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by a strange language. He was baptized in water within a year and became a passionate witness. Mo encountered trouble at school for sharing his faith, but he was resolute, baptizing schoolmates who also confessed Christ. Some months after completing school, Mo met Fasha. Fasha had recently come to faith, and after some time Mo asked her to marry him, then baptized her in a rain barrel with other believers present. In the days leading up to their marriage, Fasha’s brother confessed Christ, as did Mo’s sister. So on their actual wedding day, Mo joyfully conducted baptisms in the ocean with many Muslims observing. Mo evangelizes, teaches, disciples and baptizes those who choose to follow Christ—at least 70 so far.

Xi came to faith through the discipling of global workers who recognized the ministry calling on his life, which he is now living out. As the leader of an unregistered church, Xi must exercise wisdom and caution. He must find creative ways to gather believers and see them disciple like he was. They meet in a darkened industrial building. Anyone who goes for the first time uses their mobile phone to navigate the steps to a room seating 300. Nineteen small groups meet elsewhere for prayer and ministry. New congregations begin when students from a local college relocate to find employment. Xi trains them to start a fellowship in their new home. Today, there are 13 congregations in five cities. Xi uses a popular social media app to daily lead 80 disciples in morning prayer.

The believers described in all but one of these stories are part of people groups that are still considered unreached, where not even one per cent follow Jesus, and there are no global workers present to share Christ. As you contemplate these encouraging stories, please obey the words of Matthew 9:38 and ask the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers. Then commit to your part in seeing Christ’s kingdom come through them.

Gord is the director of development for RAN Network.

  1. All names have been changed for security reasons.

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