Sunday, August 11, 2013

5 Billion People

Today at church we had missionary speakers, the Troutmans. Former missionaries to Mozambique who have been in the States for a number of years, they are just about to return to the field, to Angola this time, another Portuguese speaking nation. They made an excellent presentation of the missions need in Africa and in those two countries especially.

It turns out that I should have known this couple. Their most recent assignment was as Hispanic pastors at my son-in-law's church in Oklahoma City. I was talking with the man after church and he finally said, "You don't recognize me, do you?" It was true, I didn't. Of course, he would normally have been preparing for Hispanic church when I visit in the main ROC church. I'm sure my wife knew them.

Rev. Troutman gave one statistic that was sobering. It is estimated that of the 7 billion people in the world, probably 5 billion have never had contact with the Christian message. That's astounding. I would have thought the reach of the message would have been much broader than that. From this statistic he eloquently, along with his wife, expressed the need to continue our missionary work.

In life group afterwards we talked about how the United States can best contribute to the effort to complete missions work. We noted that fully half the Christian missionaries in the world come from non-Western countries. Europe, the USA, and Canada sent a number of missionaries disproportionate to their population, but clearly no where near as dominantly as we did even twenty or thirty years ago.

The two things America has going for it is wealth and training. If you want to reach an Angolan with the gospel, who is better to do it: an American or another Angolan? We would expect the Angolan to have better results than an American. But with our vast resources and knowledge, an American should be able to provide discipleship, pastoral training, Bible translation, etc. as a valuable part of the effort to expand Christianity.

It was a good service and a good Life Group. A nice start to the week. Onward into the several quests I have going.


Gary said...

Of course. Any missionary who isn't training indigenous pastors isn't doing the right job. Look at Paul's model with the early asia minor churches -- raising up locals and moving on.

vero said...

Missions Sunday is always so exciting.

David A. Todd said...

True, Gary. The older missionary model, however (say from the 1800s or early 1900s) often had missionaries in places where no indigenous pastors stepped forward, and the missionaries had to be the main evangelists for a time. That may even have been the design rather than the default at one time.