Day 29: The Most Unreached

Do you know which continent has the most unreached people, where an estimated 80,000 people die each day without ever once hearing the Name of Christ?

Asia.

Much of Asia is in the 10/40 window.  What is the 10/40 window?

10-40 window

Courtesy of Gospel for Asia.

The 10/40 window is a “window” of the world where 97% of the world’s unreached live–meaning they have never heard or have little opportunity to hear about Christ.

That is overwhelming.  But this is even more shocking to me: only .05% of the resources of the Western church are being sent to this unreached area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I . . don’t even know where to go on from there.  A part of me wants to be dumbfounded, appalled, and then walk away.  The talk of trying to reach MILLIONS is in honesty sickening to me.  I think it’s why most of us, even as believers, turn away.

If we really gave ourselves the time to realize the horror of 80,000 people dying each day without knowing Jesus, we might never eat out again.  We might never go to another movie.  We might cancel our cable service.  We might wear the clothes we have for another year.  We might even become–missionaries!!

It’s terrifying to think about and so we don’t.

But do you know what is more terrifying to think about?  That millions of people live with a black curtain between them and Christ.

We know Christ tore the curtain separating humanity from God at the cross.  We must imitate in small ways Christ and work to tear down the curtain of ignorance that has cast darkness over most of Asia.

Gospel for Asia is a colossal curtain-tearing movement.  This ministry is as surprising as it is effective.  When you give money to their missions–like sponsoring a child in need or a national missionary . . or buying a goat or rabbits or water buffalo for an direly poor family . . or buying a bicycle or LCD projector for a missionary–100% of your donation goes on-field directly to the mission.  Not a penny is spent on administration.

Do you believe this?  I was very skeptical.  I wasn’t the only one.  Bestselling Christian author Francis Chan was skeptical of the mission, and sent key people from his church to go oversees and check it out.  You can see his testimony to their credibility at this link: http://www.gfa.org/about/endorsements/

He’s not the only one who supports Gospel for Asia.  So does Patrick Johnson of Operation Worldthe Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and the Independent Charities of America which certified them as “Best in America”, an award given to fewer than 2,000 of the approximate 1,000,000 charities in America.

But how is it possible to give 100% to the field?  I wondered that, and read up on it.  Click this link to read the explanation for yourself.

Through home office staff fundraising for their own salaries and benefits, and low overhead costs . . by trusting God to provide people to give to the home office . . they have been able to survive for OVER 30 YEARS!!  Only if you donate to the “Home Office” fund or “Home Team Staff” fund, or possibly, “Where Most Needed” (which is clearly stated on the site that you may be giving to the home office), does your money go toward administrative costs.

I have never heard of a large-scale ministry operating like this, ever.  I’m blown awayGospel for Asia has something really special going on through God right now, and I want to be in on it.

The variety of ways that you and I can give reflect the scale of the ministry.  This is a huge, huge, HUGE ministry and, as a believer, there is no excuse for us to not help if we have even $1 to our name (which can buy 200 tracts).  (BUT, even if you don’t have a dollar to your name, you can still help–keep reading to find out how.)

The question on Gospel for Asia’s site says it better than I can:

How much would you give to change someone’s eternal destiny?

  • Change your search engine to GoodSearch: this is Super cool and totally free.  Go to GoodSearch.com and for the box “Who do you GoodSearch for?” type in Gospel for Asia and Verify.  50% of the income generated will go to Gospel for Asia.
  • Sell stuff you don’t want anymore on eBay for Gospel for Asia.
  • Tools for Missionaries: Give a musical instrument ($5); funds to help an ‘untouchable’ child have a school uniform, books, tutoring, one nutritious meal a day, and a medical checkup ($50), a VBS (Vacation Bible School) scholarship ($5!), etc.
  • Major MinistriesGive a “Jesus well” for a community as a hub for sharing Christ with villagers ($1,000), a gift to the leprosy ministry, women’s literacy program, persecution relief fund, etc.
  • Empowering the PoorGive an adult tricycle for those who have lost their legs  ($100), an embroidery machine to generate income ($150), a scale ($10) which generates income beause most south Asians go to the market to pay someone to weigh them or their child, a tool kit ($75), etc.
  • From the Stable: Give a rooster and hen ($11), pair of rabbits ($11), a camel ($365), a pair of pigs ($64), etc.
  • Where Most Needed:Widows and Abandoned Children, Home Ministries, Red Light Outreach, etc.
  • Compassionate Services: Flood Relief, Slum Ministry, Blankets ($12), Outdoor Toilet ($160), etc.
  • Giving Bundles: Equipping Missionaries, Gifts of CompassionGreatest Need(This an out-of-the-box idea where you can buy a bundle of gifts to send over, and you can customize your bundle of gifts if you want.)  For example, you can send a bundle under Equipping Missionaries to go to Bible Colleges, Mobile Van Teams, Bicycles, Radio Programming, and Bibles for $195.
  • Christmas Catalog: You can give a milk-producing goat ($70), a BioSand water filter ($30), winter clothing for national missionaries ($40), or even a Barnyard Bundle (6 chickens, 2 goats, 1 lamb, 1 cow, 2 pigs) for $678.
  • Donate your airline miles
  • Non-cash giving: Using your farm, real estate, mutual funds, etc. to support the work in Asia (see Ways to Give tab, click, and select Non-cash giving)
  • Planned giving: Wills, bequests, annuities, trusts (see Ways to Give tab, click, and select Planned giving)

It’s easy to forget about people who live on the other side of the world from us.  But if we do let ourselves forget the, I think that one day when we stand before God and see a people looking back at us with empty eyes . . it will be easy for us to remember who they are.

And then he [Jesus] told them [the apostles], “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Jesus, quoted in Mark 16:15, NLT)

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Christmas gifts that can change the world

How many gifts have you gotten at Christmas that you’ve forgotten about?  If you could remember how many, I guess you wouldn’t have forgotten them!  But do you think you’ve gotten gifts that would fall into this category? 🙂

And how many gifts have you given that you knew would mean very little to them?

How many gifts have you received that have been a one-year trend or mass-merchandised that were on your giveaway list or in the trash pile by the next December?

When we take the time to find out what gifts make a friend’s heart sing (or locate their online wish list), we love on them.  Loving on people we know is a part of changing the world.

When we take the time to find out what gifts make a stranger’s heart sing, we love on them, too.  Loving on people we don’t know is another part of changing the world.

This Christmas, why not give gifts that play a melody for both those you know and those you don’t know–at the same time?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17, NIV)

Here are a few ideas if you want help getting started.

Note: Click on any of the pictures to be taken to the website where the gifts are available.

Make this a Compassionate Christmas

Pair a Christmas gift you would usually give with a gift from Compassion International’s Catalog.  Compassion has a track record for stewardship excellence.

Give a gift of food and medicine ($13).

Give a gift of food and medicine ($13).

Malaria killed an estimated 655 million people in 2010 (World Health Organization).  Most of those deaths were African children.

Malaria killed an estimated 655 million people in 2010 (World Health Organization). Most of those deaths were African children.  Give a durable malaria net for $18.

For $84, you can feed a mother and her baby for six months.  For $13 you can give medicine and food to a malnourished child.  You can request a free card in the mail or print one off electronically that celebrates the gift.  If you use the card as your Christmas card, you are not only cutting down on expense, but you also helping a boy or girl in another country receive the same help you would want someone to give your child if you didn’t have the money.

Match the Gift to the Receiver

Samaritan’s Purse Catalog has a variety of blessings that can personalize the gift you are giving.  For example, if you are giving the gift in honor of a friend who teaches, you could choose to donate so a child can read and write ($15).  If a friend loves fishing, why not stock a fish pond in their honor ($50)?

Stock a fish pond ($50) and help an impoverished community.

Stock a fish pond ($50) and help an impoverished community.

If you are giving a gift to someone you don’t know well, or if you weren’t planning on spending much money, you can give something meaningful instead of something that looks cheap and will soon be forgotten.  Giving a blanket ($6) or milk for a week ($4) will mean far more to a child in poverty than some accessory that sits on somebody’s desk until they throw it away.  🙂

Help a disabled child receive medical help.  Children with disabilities are especially at risk in countries of high poverty where they may not be receiving any healthcare services.

Help a disabled child receive medical aid. Children with disabilities are especially at risk in countries of high poverty where they may not be receiving any healthcare services.

Samaritan’s Purse will also send cards.  You can print off the gift catalog online and cut out a picture of the gift you’re giving, if you’re a crafty person.  If you want to be extra clever, you can get a friend something that matches the gift!  For example, if you’re giving your friend a stainless steel water bottle for their jogging career, you can pair it with a donation for clean water ($15 for a family).

Shop to Bless

Bracelet $38, Indonesia

This bracelet ($38) is made in Indonesia under the leadership of Dewi, a local artisan. Go Fish Clothes & Jewelry provides jobs for many men and women on the island of Madura.

Damali Necklace $24

This necklace ($24, Peru) is that much cooler because it was bought at fair-price to provide income for someone in a developing country.

At Go Fish Jewelry and Clothing, you can buy gifts that help people in poverty.  Most of the gifts in the shop have

Artsy, Peru ($18).

Artsy for a good cause. Peru ($18).

been made by people around the world who use their works of art as a ladder out of poverty.  Supporting a store like this one is a way to get a beautiful gift and help people break out of poverty.

 

Give a Gift to Help End Nightmares for Others

Keep a girl in school

Keep a girl in school for three months to help her stay out of the sex trade industry ($60).

Gift of Christmas

Help women who live on the streets of India find out about the Christ of Christmas.  Give a present of food, clothing, and hygiene products.  ($20)

Rahab’s Rope is one charity dedicated to helping girls and women caught in sex trafficking to escape.  Rahab’s Rope has gift cards where you can buy, for example a month of sewing classes ($30) for a vulnerable woman who wants out of the trafficking industry, or you can pay for a girl to attend school for three months ($60) to help keep her out of the sex trade industry.  If you have any friends who are passionate about women’s issues or the rights of women, this is the gift for them!

Organic green tea from Nepal (15)

Organic green tea from Nepal ($15)

Bracelet, Rahab's Rope, $18

Rahab’s Rope also has a shop.  Jewelry or a gift from this store will remind your friends and family that they are helping women trapped in poverty to start a new life for themselves.

Bracelet $49 Rahab's Rope

Rahab’s Rope gifts help women in India escape both extreme poverty and sex trafficking. Turquoise, copper, and crystal bracelet ($49).

Rice sack purse. Large ($28) or small ($22).

The S’s of Christmas Gifts

In your mind, take inventory of all the Christmas presents you’ve ever gotten.  How many can you remember?  Why do you think you can remember those?

Most of us probably only remember with joy the ones that were given from one or more of the three S’s: surprise, sentiment, significance.

  • Surprise is that gift you didn’t expect to see under the tree.  It says, “I gave you something better than you felt like you deserved; I loved you enough to keep the delight a secret until the right time!”
  • Sentiment is that gift just for you, that reaches you just where you are.  It says, “I know you, I know just who you are, and I love you.”
  • Significance is the gift that matters for longer than Christmas day.  The memory of the gift has a snowball of love effect–the blessing only gets bigger as time rolls along.  It says, “I see what you can be; I think about you more than you realize; I want your joy to outlast the moment of unwrapping.”

We have problems giving the 3 S’s.

December is so busy.

Are we not all guilty at times of grabbing something off a shelf as a check mark on our seemingly never-ending list of errands, or stockpiling an on-sale item for months to give away to people we don’t really know but feel obligated to buy for?

As I reflect, I think how odd it is that we do that, when, as gift receivers, we almost always know whether a gift was given with at least one of the three S’s . . or simply as a good deal, regifted nicety, or the first thing seen on an aisle somewhere.

S-gifts always require another S: sacrifice. 

Sacrifice of self: time, resources, and maybe even personal belongings.  But there’s more.

Sacrifice of protection: S-gifts are risky.

If someone doesn’t like the bargain buy, last minute shopping idea, or gift we passed along that we ourselves got last Christmas, we don’t care so much.

But if someone rejects an S-gift, we are being rejected.

The more S’s we pour into a gift, the more scary the gift-giving becomes.

The banners of surprise, sentiment, and significance can only be found on mountains.  And each mountain in this range is steeper than the one before it.  Each climb means more sacrifice–and more risk.

Every December, those of us who give gifts have a choice to make: we can give safe gifts or we can give S-gifts.  But we can’t give gifts that are both.

This Christmas we can package unmemorable things that say, Nice to know you, think nice thoughts about me . . or we can wrap up love to tuck under the Christmas tree that says, You matter to me.

We can give Christmas gifts that cost us pocket change–whatever money is left-over in our pocket, bank account, or on our charge card, and whatever time is still left in our budget . . or we can give Christmas gifts that change the world.  That is the real dilemma of December, and that is a big reason why many of us would rather go from November to January and skip the month altogether.

. . Long ago, God had a dilemma that wasn’t so different from ours.  God looked down from Heaven and saw billions and billions of people to give gifts to.  Only, it wasn’t like a social faux pas for God not to give us a gift.  It was the difference between where we spent eternity.

We think we’re being used when we have to give gifts to relatives we don’t like.  But if God chose to give us a gift, it would mean He would be giving to cranky, cruel, confused, even crucifying people.  If there was ever a time to be uninspired to give a gift, this was it.

God could have chosen to not give a gift at all, and nobody would have blamed Him, but that isn’t who God is.

So He could have reached into His pocket and thrown down a couple thousand sunny days, a handful of rainbows, a dozen shooting stars, a couple million puppies–whatever He wanted.  It would have been no big deal since He can create things with His very language.  If He wanted to be extra liked, He could have made extravagant gifts that we could have oohed and ahhed over that would have been no challenge to Him whatsoever.

He could have wrapped them all in a cosmic light show with a galactic card that said, Merry Christmas, Everyone!  He could have tossed it down from glorious Heaven to the blood-soaked war-torn ground of earth and let everybody fight out who got what.  He could have gone back to His big list of things to do and put a reminder in His phone to send us another package next December 25th.

But He didn’t.

God gave something that He didn’t create.  He gave something that He couldn’t replicate, something that He couldn’t get a refund on if we didn’t want it.

He gave His life.

It was the biggest risk of all.

God poured one Person of Himself into a vulnerable, mortal body.  As God the Father ruled Heaven and Earth, God the Son transformed from no-sinner-can-look-upon-His-righteousness-and-live God to ordinary-little-baby God.

It is the best 3 S’s gift ever.

Surprise–No one expected God to be the Judge of Sin and the Hero of Sinners!

Sentiment–God gave the best “just for us” gift.  He didn’t give a beautiful sunset, a couple million stars, or an extra forest on that first Christmas day.  His gift was to become like us so we could understand Him more. . and so He could die for our race.

Significant–Nothing lasts longer than eternity.  God’s gift wasn’t for a day or a year.  It is a gift that lasts forever.  And it isn’t limited in its use like an everlasting Gobstopper or never-ending supply of mittens.  It is the change of the human soul’s fate.

The sacrifice of the gift is unimaginable; the risk inconceivable.  God could not have humbled Himself more or opened Himself to greater risk than when He became one of us to talk to us face-to-face . . and to die for us as one of us (and by our hand).

And He gave knowing that most of us would turn Him down: shove His gift away, laugh at Him, look for other gifts.

But He gave anyway, because He wanted to serve us.

He gave the Gift as the best surprise, out of the most vulnerable sentiment, and of the greatest significance.  The Gift required the hugest sacrifice given from the deepest heart of service.

This is the Gift of Christ.  This is the Gift of Christmas.

I want to give presents this year that, in the smallest of ways, reflect that Gift.

Because of God’s tender mercy,

the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

and to guide us to the path of peace.”

(Luke 1:78-79, NLT)