Brody Holloway closes out SWO14 by looking at Jesus proclamation of the fulfillment of the Gospel has come in the book of Mark. The disciples came and saw the glory of the Gospel in Jesus, and he commanded them to go and tell of what they experienced. For the child of God, we have been given the exact same task: come and see, go and tell.
SWO is establishing several Gospel endeavors with the purpose of reaching people groups that don't have access to the Gospel. This year, we are partnering with believers in South Asia to provide funds and resources for the building of businesses. Eco-tourism and aquaculture (fish farms) will increase local employment opportunities and provide a platform for sharing the Gospel. Snowbird staff are headed to India this fall to meet with missionaries on the ground who will be connecting us with local land owners and believers in the area. The PROJECT: India launch team will consist specifically of Brody Holloway and Eric Potter. Assisting them with planning on location will be Howard Brown, owner of Carolina Mountain Trout farms and chairman of Snowbird's Board of Directors, and Tracy Nelson, wildlife biologist and pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Plans have been coming together very quickly for PROJECT: India. Over the past 12 months, SWO has already sent 4 teams to the area and the purpose of this September trip will be to scout out property to purchase or lease for tilapia and trout farms. Simultaneously, we are meeting with missionaries on the ground to help establish an ecotourism business that will both provide jobs for local people and put more believers on the ground to engage unreached people in remote villages with the story of redemption found in Jesus Christ.
Our end goal is not simply to feed the hungry or provide jobs. People in the areas of India that we are targeting are caught in the hold of Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. They need to hear the Truth. The mission of PROJECT: India is to reach the unreached, disciple believers, plant churches, and advance the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Partner with us and take the Gospel to South Asia.
PROJECT: India Contact: Eric Potter Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters email@example.com
"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Romans 10:14-17
I don’t know why, but “missions” is a subject that seems to make people nervous. It seems that whenever we start talking about reaching the unreached or seeing the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth, folks start squirming. For most American Christians, the thought of “having” to go to some other part of the world and minister to a people group of a different culture and language is scary. In fact, it stirs in most of us a tight-fisted attitude of rebellion.
There is, no doubt, a Jonah-type syndrome in the American church. The need is obvious, and the fields are white for harvest. And everyone seems to be looking for the first ship to Tarshish. There really are only a few laborers. I think that the very word “missions" still conjures up images of spear-chucking natives bent on killing and eating foreign human flesh. And that scares people. But we will be held responsible for what we do with the Great Commission.
Jesus gave us clear instructions before he left to have a seat at the right of God the father: We are to baptize people from EVERY language and nation. We are to teach them the commands of Christ and scripture. The American church needs desperately to realize that no other generation has had the resources that we have to reach the world.
Technology is amazing, and rather than using it simply to keep in touch with old high school teammates and ex-girlfriends, we should be seizing the opportunity it gives us to make a global impact. Through websites like www.joshuaproject.net, we can learn of needs of foreign people groups and pray and give to the work of the Gospel to reach those groups. If we are too weak-spirited to go, we should first repent of our attitude of self-preservation, and then learn how we might give to the work and support of those obedient to go and do what God has called us to do.
We can pray for these groups, pray for missionaries, and write letters of support to those who are serving in the field. We do this as a family, and many of you have taken part in our letter writing campaign at SWO Underground. There are so many opportunities to give our resources and to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are willing to forsake all for the sake of the Gospel. We ALL have a responsibility to close the gap on the 3 billion who have never heard.
This past year, we saw students from all over the United States raise more than $30,000 so that part of the Bible could be translated into the language of an unreached people group. Many of you participated in this, known at SWO as the Garia Project. I am excited to share with our readers that the project — Phase 1 — is complete. The Gospel of Mark has been successfully translated into the Garia language!
For the first time in history, this South Asian people have the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus, in their language! This is a good reminder that there are things we can do from right here at home. The fields really are white, and for the first time in history, we have the means necessary to begin the harvest. Pray about how you might give if you are not able or willing to go. SWO has opportunities for partnership in the global work of the Gospel. To find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I read some stats today, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around them. In December 2012, the world population was estimated to be 7.1 billion. That is enough people to hold hands and wrap around the planet a couple of dozen times. More than one-third of them have never heard the Gospel or even the name of Jesus.
There will be an estimated 55.3 million deaths this year, while the birth estimate is double that at 131.4 million. That means the population keeps exploding. I remember when we hit 5 billion when I was in high school, and everyone was freaking out.
The most accurate estimates from the U.N. report that in 1 A.D., the earth’s population was 300 million. It took 1,250 years to get to 400 million. Then we hit 500 million in the year 1500. The world population finally hit 1 billion in 1804, rose to 2 billion in 1927 and, in 1960, was at 3 billion.
Think about this: the world’s population has more than doubled in the last 50 years. In fact, we hit 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987, and 6 billion in 1999.
Numbers, numbers, numbers. What do they mean for us?
We have more resources than any generation or society in history to reach the world. There are 4 billion people in Asia alone! The current death rate means that every minute, 105 people die. That is almost 2 per second. But every time one dies, two are born.
Again, why so many numbers?
I have heard people “resolve” to do everything in 2013 — from losing weight to getting married. But as Christians, we need to literally become OBSESSED with reaching the nations. People are coming and going at a staggering rate, and we are “business as usual.”
“I’m gonna get to the gym more often.”
“I’m gonna eat fewer calories, or drink less coffee, or watch less TV…”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
“I am resolving to pray for and learn about specific people groups in the world who don’t know the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”?
So the plan Christ has to reach the world is not only doable, but IT WILL HAPPEN. The question is, will you and I be a part of it? Get off the stinkin’ church pew, get over commercial American Christianity and get obsessed with the Gospel. Let you heart break for the 7 billion! Let’s be a part of what Christ has promised He is going to do.
In the next post, we will look at some practical, hands-on ways we can take part in reaching that 7 billion.
For now, think about this:
The world is growing. The world is dying. Do you care?
(photos by 'India Wallpaper')
A lot of our readers have been asking about the trip to Central America that we just took with the SWO staff. Every year, we take our kids to Honduras to work in an orphanage that is home to 600 children. The kids range from newborn to 18 years, and our kids have learned a lot through these annual trips. In fact, I would say that Little and I have learned a lot through these trips.
I have the opportunity to speak a good bit on the subjects of marriage and family, parenting, biblical manhood, leadership, etc. I also have a lot of opportunities to speak at missions conferences. I often challenge parents to consider taking a family missions trip in the place of an annual vacation. We live in such a material-driven world. We live in such a material-driven CHURCH. If we can break away from the commercialism of America and serve others and teach our children to do the same, then God will honor it. He will grow our families. He will give our kids a vision and passion for the nations and for people who genuinely NEED Jesus. As a parent, giving our children these opportunities is very important. I could go on about this topic, because I am so passionate about it. But I want to make the challenge simple. I want the Lord to challenge you to consider exchanging a typical vacation for a life-changing trip with eternal implications.
I can tell you that when you serve together as a family, things change. Dynamics change. Futures change. When your week together is more about feeding hungry children than it is about feasting at a seafood buffet, things change. When you trade in beachfront lodging for a sleeping mat in a third world orphanage, things change. The first time you look into the eyes of your son or daughter as they look into the eyes of one who is fatherless, things change.
It isn’t that difficult, and we can help point you in the right directions. Opportunities abound. But you only get one chance to raise your children.