“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” -Isaiah 55:10-11
God gave me a very special gift last year. It came in the mail in late summer. It was a small booklet, maybe 40 pages long. It was a booklet that would change the lives of 400,000 people forever. And I could not read a single word of it.
At the end of 2010, my wife Stephanie was praying, and asking God in what particular ways He wanted us to follow Him in the coming year. She heard from Him, and believed that He was encouraging her (and I) to give away a greater percentage of our income that we normally do. She did not share with me what God had told her, but instead asked me to spend some time in prayer over this as well. God told me the exact same percentage. When I told Steph what I believed God was calling us to for 2011, her eyes filled with tears of joy.
As part of our giving, and as we prayed about how to steward this money well, I felt called to start investing in bible translation work. I have always had a great interest in language, and since becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, that interest was transformed into a desire to see God’s word translated for those who do not have it. I had heard of Wycliffe and the Seed company, and after time on the internet, as well as time in prayer, Stephanie and I decided to begin monthly financial and prayer support for a bible translation project in Mozambique for a people group of 400,000 who had never experienced God’s word in their own tongue.
Through the Seed company, we would get quarterly updates on how our project was doing. But then, one day in late summer, a package came in the mail. It was sent to us from the Seed company, and it was the first ever translation of the Gospel of Mark for this particular people group in Mozambique. It is impossible for me to convey to you the inexpressible joy that opening this package filled me with. Everyday for weeks afterward, the first thing that I would think about every morning, was this huge population of people, who would now get to read God’s word in their own language. It was one of the greatest encouragements to my faith I have ever received.
There is a massive need for missionaries to GO to the ends of the earth and share the gospel with people who have never heard It before. Clearly Jesus has called all of us, as His disciples to now “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). We believe that many at Redeemer are called to GO, and indeed we have people within our church family, who are preparing even now to GO, to some very far off and very dangerous places, because their hearts are breaking for those who have never heard the Gospel.
Not all of us are called to go to foreign lands, but we can all be a part of the work that these international missionaries are doing by sending them, by praying fervently for them, by encouraging them, and by supporting them financially in this work. This work comes at a great cost, and without the support of the church body, this work will not get done. Some of us are called to fulfill the great commission by quitting our jobs, boarding an airplane, and living among a people group in a distant land. And the rest of us are called to fulfill the great commission by sending them with our time, our prayers and our money.
We will be posting on the City periodic letters from members of Redeemer who have been involved in short term or long term international missions work, or who are preparing to GO. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support international missions, please contact one of the elders or deacons of Redeemer. If you are interested in supporting the Seed company, you can learn more at: www.theseedcompany.org/