I praise God for the privilege of laboring for His Name’s sake at HeartCry, and I look forward to the good works He has prepared in this new year. Before I describe my hopes for the ministry in Asia in 2013, I will briefly highlight what the Lord has done in the few months I have been with HeartCry in 2012.
In August my wife, Christina, and I moved from Minneapolis to Radford to work with HeartCry and the ministry in Asia. I was able to take a three-week trip to Asia with Matt Glass and a few others to meet our missionaries and conduct three pastors’ conferences in India and Nepal. During that time, I was able to become more acquainted with HeartCry’s work in Asia and the ministries of our missionaries. Shortly after that trip, we were privileged to begin supporting four new missionaries working in North India.
Plans for 2013
Asia is home to the seven countries with the most unreached people groups in the world—India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, and Laos. This can be a staggering thought when considering how we might make a greater impact with the gospel in this part of the world. Before I describe my plans and prayers for 2013, I want to remind us of the attitude we should have when making future plans, as found in James 4:13-16:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ —yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (NASB)
With that being said, we have been given a Great Commission from Christ that is worthy of our fullest effort. The commission to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) is certainly worth our earnest prayers and courageous plans. Now is not a time to shrink back in cowardice or laziness, but to press on in bold faith with the task of taking the gospel to all the nations. Let us be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [our] labor is not in vain” (I Corinthians 15:58, ESV).
This mindset must be balanced with the modesty and humility of knowing that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1, ESV). We must abide in Christ, conduct our ministries in obedience to the Word of God, and be wary of becoming pragmatic, for Jesus said, “Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, ESV).
In planning for the new year, the burden I feel the Lord placing on my heart is twofold: (1) that HeartCry might make a broader impact in Asia with the gospel by spreading our work to more countries and more areas within existing countries; and (2) that HeartCry might make a deeper impact in the places where we are already working by providing more effective and more frequent training for our missionaries.
Of the seven countries with the highest number of unreached people groups, HeartCry is currently working in four of them (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Indonesia), but there are three more we have yet to engage (Pakistan, China, and Laos). I feel the Lord particularly burdening my heart for the nation of China. With its world-leading population of over 1.3 billion, and with the work God has begun with 6.1% of the population professing to be evangelical, China is a great harvest field for the gospel to go forth and souls to be saved. HeartCry has some contacts in China with which we have been working, and I feel that the Lord has been setting things in place for us to begin a significant work in that nation.
Pakistan is also a country of great spiritual need. 96% of the population is Muslim, and only 0.6% is evangelical. It would be a privilege to begin partnering with Pakistani missionaries, if the Lord so leads.
In addition to moving into new countries, my desire is to make a greater impact in our existing countries by working with missionaries in areas we have yet to touch. For example, we are currently partnering with missionaries in only seven of India’s twenty-eight states, and we have yet to work with anyone in the central or western regions of the country. May the Lord open more doors and grant us the faith to follow Him into more unreached areas among the people of Asia!
One of the most important goals of HeartCry is to train indigenous missionaries for the work of the ministry. We realize that pastors in the East typically do not have a strong Christian heritage to stand on like we do in the West. The Reformed, Puritan, and early Evangelical influences that are of such great benefit to Western believers are foreign to most Asian Christians. Our desire is to grow in the effectiveness of our training and thus equip men to better evangelize and disciple their fields of ministry.
The first way I hope to accomplish this is by providing regular training conferences throughout the year for the missionaries we support. At these multi-day conferences, we can teach on the areas of greatest importance or need (e.g. the gospel, systematic theology, marriage and family, etc.) and help to strengthen their understanding and preaching of Christ and His Word. We can also video record these training sessions so that they can be viewed repeatedly, and more people can benefit who are not able to attend the conferences.
This leads me to the second way I want to provide better training—by creating an online repository of HeartCry’s sermons in various languages of Asia. Our conference messages are preached with the aid of an interpreter, and therefore, the result over time is a collection of training videos of some of the most important teachings for church leaders—all in the native tongue of these Asian pastors (Hindi, Telugu, Nepali, Chinese, etc.). I desire to put together an online site where anyone can access and watch such messages organized by topic and language. I would appreciate your prayers that God might enable this to happen and that it might become a blessing to many Hindi-, Telugu-, and Nepali-speaking pastors and laymen.
Finally, I see the great need and effectiveness of providing theologically sound literature to the non-English-speaking world. The English language has a vast supply of good theology and devotional books that other languages are without. We are currently having Paul Washer’s workbook, The Truth About Man, translated into Nepali, and we would appreciate your prayers that we might collaborate to have more books translated into the main languages of our missionaries.
Please pray for the work in Asia in 2013. If the Lord wills, I look forward to fruitful labor for the gospel among the unreached of Asia.