Chances Are, You Don’t Care

Original post at davidjoannes.com

 

toothy
Photo by Jacob Smith

I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to be honest: the odds are, mathematically, stacked against you.

THE 10/40 WINDOW

  • The 10/40 Window is home to 6,921 unreached people groups. (Joshua Project)
  • 2.82 billion people live in the 10/40 Window.
  • 82% of the world’s poorest of the poor live in the 10/40 Window. (SGWM)
  • Nearly 40% of the world’s population live on less than $1.40 per day in the 10/40 Window.
  • Although 2.8 billion of these people live within the 10/40 Window, only 2.4% of all missionaries work among them.

MONEY AND MISSIONS

  • Annual Income of All Church Members: $30.5 trillion.
  • Given to any Christian causes: $545 billion (1.8% of our income) That’s also how much we spend in America on Christmas.
  • Given to Missions: $31 billion, (0.1%). That’s only 5.7% of the money given to Christian causes of any kind. That’s also how much we spend in America on dieting programs.
  • Money that goes toward the reached world: $26,970,000,000 (that means 87% of the money given to “missions” goes to areas with “reached” status or access to the gospel already).
  • Money that goes toward unreached peoples: $310 million (that’s only 1% of what is given to “missions”). That’s also how much Americans in 2011 spent on Halloween costumes (for their pets).
  • The $310 million (going toward unreached people groups) is only .001% of the $30.5 trillion Income of Christians. For every $100,000 that Christians make, they give $1 to the unreached. (The Traveling Team, Money and Missions)

Excitement and empathy are not enough. Compassion must be put into motion.
It’s empathy with wheels. It’s care with commitment.
Like 1040 Hub says, “It’s where passion and action meet.”

One of my Facebook friends just commented on my status the other day. “I love to see all the neat stuff you’re doing over there on the weird side of the planet!”

I Liked that comment.

It struck me.
I got it.
It was a little more clear to me.

“Your experiences determine what you see,” Craig Groeschel says, and so I write about my weird side of the planet.

Tiger named himself in English. His Chinese name will go unmentioned for security reasons. The first time met him was at The Hub, the Within Reach Global student center where we are reaching out to college kids in the Southwest part of the country.

“There’s no way I will ever become a Christian,” he told me. “I am a communist party member. I can’t believe in God.”

“That’s totally up to you,” I replied.

I’ve found that the best way to share the gospel is to let people make their own decisions instead of force feeding them Jesus on a spoon, or in Tiger’s case, chopsticks. I knew God had his radar on him anyway, and it was only a matter of time before he embraced the life of Christ. “Poor guy! He can’t escape the power of the gospel even if he tried!” I thought to myself.

But Tiger kept coming to The Hub, engaging in relevant conversations about life, God and culture. He was there every Thursday, tricking himself into thinking that he could run from reality of a powerfully good God.

3 weeks after I met him, I asked, “So Tiger, do you believe in God yet?”

“I don’t believe in God, but I trust him.” he told me. “I don’t think he exists, but I feel him,” he continued in self defeating rhetoric. “I am not a Christian, but sometimes I pray to God.”

“I think you’re closer to becoming a Christian than you realize,” I told him with a roguish smile.

A few more weeks passed. Tiger began to realize God’s radar was zoning in on him. We began to see him transforming. “Yep, only a matter of time,” I thought.

After 10 months of sharing life with him, Tiger told us he wanted to become a Christian.

After The Hub English Corner, we found a quiet place in the back room, and prayed together. The atheist’s journey would end that night. A new young man was formed on the 22nd floor of our student center.

Soon after, he began telling his friends about God. He would lead discussions about how Jesus transformed his life. Chinese students listened amazed and confused at his life change.

A few weeks later, we baptized him in a lake at the foot of a thousand year old city.

An atheist turned evangelist. You’ve read stories of that before in Acts, and the 29th chapter is still being penned.

Barry, from the Yi tribe, had a similar story.

Lorna was talking to a group of 11 girls under the shadow of an ancient pagoda as the sunset turned pink and orange on the far horizon of a town 3 hours west of The Hub student center. The girls listened intently, but Barry kept interrupting her.

“I don’t believe in God! Let’s change the subject.” After 20 minutes of his constant interruptions, Lorna finally got fed up. “Why don’t you just shut up and listen!” she said boldly.

The lights clicked on.
A spiritual moment.
Something broke.

Barry gave his life to Christ that night, and couldn’t explain what happened, except that “I feel God’s presence right now,” he said.

Within a month he had led 21 of his friends to the Lord!

These are the stories of the 10/40 Window, where religion is suppressed, or worse, illegal.

But the forward progression of God’s life transforming movement can’t be bottled.

Brother Fu, who got saved after being set free from writhing on his dusty village floor in demon possession, agrees.

And Brother Li, who drunk punched our Within Reach Global local missionary after he shared the gospel in his village. He got saved 10 months later, attended Bible school and literacy training, and is now a missionary to his own people group.

  • All missionaries in the world (Catholic, Protestant, etc.)    419,500 foreign missionaries
  • All missionaries in the reached world    316,500 foreign missionaries (75.4%)
  • All missionaries in the unevangelized world    103,000 foreign missionaries (24.6%)
  • All missionaries in the unreached world    10,200 foreign missionaries (2.4%)
  • Full time Christian workers in the world    5.5 million workers
  • All Christian workers in the reached world    4.19 million local workers (75.9%)
  • All Christian workers in the unevangelized world    1.3 million local workers (23.7%)
  • All Christian workers in the unreached world    20,500 local workers (0.37%)
  • The ratio of unreached people group workers to total unreached world is: 1 missionary for every 278,431 people
  • There are 95,000 Evangelical Christians for every one unreached people group. (The Traveling Team, Missionaries and Workers)

in yao village
Photo by Jacob Smith

I have circuited most of Southwest China. I have eaten dog and cat and other, shall we say, “unique” delicacies. Not necessarily because I love the pungent taste of puppy and kitten so much. Not because a bowlfull of live grub worms is particularly delectable either. It’s because when you spend the night in the poorest of the poor tribal village, and they serve you the best they’ve got, it’s hard to turn down a meal and make your impoverished host lose face.

“Eat whatever is set before you.” I remember Jesus’s command, pull up my sleeves, and dig in.

They have never heard the name of Jesus. I know because when I ask, they question if “Jesus” is a brand of soap, or a medicine they’ve never heard of.

The reality of their status as an unreached people group gets under my skin. Or should I say, it really pisses me off. It makes me jealous.

“Why should anyone hear the gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”
~C.T. studd

I have traveled to too many unreached people groups to number. And after all these experiences, it is clear to me that God is still jealous for them to have a witness of the gospel.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world, as a testimony to every nation, and then the end will come.”
~Matthew 24:14

Hasn’t God put a stipulation upon himself, that until every tribe, people, and linguistic ethnic group has had the opportunity to hear the message of salvation, he cannot return?

I think yes.

And so, I pray that the things that break the heart of God would in the very least, prick mine as well.

I am a statistic just like you. But I pray that the things revolving around our personal experience will not distract us from God’s overall plan of redemption, namely, that every people group on earth has the chance to hear about him.

I mean, seriously, in the 21st century, and 2 billion people have never heard of Jesus? That’s just not fair.

In 1976, there were an estimated 17,000 unreached people groups. As of 2012, there were only estimated 6,921 unreached peoples. The statistics are changing because Christians are beginning to see the bigger picture. (Joshua Project)

I know of only one way of changing the mathematical chance that I don’t care: it’s simply to care.

Care with commitment. For some that means with your wallet. For others it means with your hands and feet.

“In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been––villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world.”
~Robert Moffat, 1795-1883, missionary to Africa, father in law of David Livingstone

Put wheels on your empathy.
Be a voice for the voiceless.

The 10/40 Window will not be home to unreached people groups forever, because we’re going to get up and do something about it.

Get involved with reaching unreached people groups at 1040 Hub.

bong and shoed

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