July - Why Go?
Just the other day a friend of mine emailed me with a question that I hear all the time while we travel and speak with college students. If I were to make a Top-Ten list of most frequently asked questions this question would definitely make the list:
"Why would you go to China (or the 10/40 Window) when there are lost people here… and why don’t you go to some other part of the world?"
There are several ways to address this question – and no doubt many opinions. So lets talk through a few points that can help address this popular issue. No doubt if you have broached the subject with your hesitant parents or raised support for a mission trip to the 10/40 Window you have probably been asked (or asked yourself) this same question. Why shouldn’t we be content to stay right here in our own native country and focus on outreaching to those around us? And beyond that, why can’t we contain our mission efforts to Mexico or other countries “close” by?
Lets look first at what God has to say in Isaiah 49:6:
"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
This is one of my favorite verses because it answers this question clearly. The tribes of Jacob and those of Israel, like the area where we live and our nation as a whole, are not enough to bring God the glory he deserves. He wants the whole earth – all peoples to know him and bring him glory. Therefore, we must be willing to let him use us to be a voice to the Gentiles, or the unreached people groups and nations around the world, so that they too may hear of His salvation and ultimately bring God the glory he deserves.
Paul also addresses this issue in Romans 15:20:
“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation.”
We are blessed to live in a country that has this foundation that Paul mentions – we have a Christian heritage. If someone here in the U.S. (and many other countries) desires to learn about Christ, there are several sure-fire ways they can find someone to answer their questions and even share the gospel with them – not to mention get them a bible in their language – and whatever translation they might prefer! However, that is not the case in the 10/40 Window. Lets take Paul’s challenge – lets follow his example. If there are still those that do know of Christ – who have never heard his name or what he has done for them - why not focus our attention, efforts and money on those people.
As we strive to answer this question, I think we also need to look at the statistics that help the reality of the 10/40 Window come into a clearer focus in our minds and hearts. Today there are about 453,000 missionaries from all denominations of Christendom on the field. However, only 6-7% work among unreached peoples – most work among reached areas of the world. Below you will see a list of percentages of missionaries to cultural blocs. The bottom line is that Christians are not sending enough missionaries to unreached areas – this fact alone should spur us on to help increase these numbers and bring the gospel to the ends of the earth as quickly as possible.
Check out our website for more stats on the 10/40 Window and the status of the world. http://thetravelingteam.org/?q=node/186
As I reminded my friend, lets not forget those that are working here at home and in reached areas of the world. The reason that our nation is a Christian nation and these other areas have been reached with the Gospel is because great men and women have come before us and shared their faith in Christ. They have boarded ships heading to the other side of their known world to take the gospel, they have given their lives to further the gospel and see it routed in the lives of their people and other peoples around the world. Lets celebrate what they have done for these reached people groups by continuing to further the gospel to the ends of the earth!
Distribution of Protestant Missionaries among cultural blocks
74% Among Nominal Christians
3% Among Buddhists
8% Among Tribal Peoples
2% Among Hindus
6% Among Muslims
2% Among Chinese Folk Religions
4% Among Non-Religious/Atheists
1% Among Jewish Peoples
By: Kate Dempsey