By Terri Clark
World Missions Assistant Director
I recently checked off the very top “must do” item on my bucket list—Visit Israel. What an amazing journey through the land I’ve read about in the Bible for over forty years! Familiar names and places came to life.
Before actually traveling through the Holy Land, I imagined Israel to be so much bigger. In fact, I was taken back by how short the distance was from place to place, where the stories I’d read about took place. Well, something in particular struck me as we drove along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Traveling along the water’s edge, our guide, (a Messianic Jew), explained that we were on the Gentile side of the lake. I had no idea there is a Jewish side and a Gentile side of the lake. Pointing across the lake, we could see the Jewish side, where Jesus did a lot of His ministry. “For instance,” our guide explained, “we are driving right now where the demons came out of the demoniac into the swine. These are the steep embankments where the pigs ran down into the lake and drowned.” He said they knew this was the place, because of the nearby tombs the demoniac came out of, they don’t raise unclean animals like pigs in the Jewish communities, and these were the only cliffs that go into the Sea—across the lake from the Jewish side. You can read the story in Mark 5 and Matthew 8.
What does this have to do with “missions” and this WMF “missions letter”? Well, I have to ask why Jesus crossed over to “the Gentile side” of the lake. I believe Jesus saw this as a training opportunity for the disciples, knowing he would be sending them to preach the Gospel and make disciples in all the nations. The Gospel of Mark tells us that the man who was delivered of the legion of demons went back to “his people” and shared the good news in the Decapolis, a region of 10 roman cities. Mark tells how these “Gentile” people were amazed at the work of Jesus.
Jesus is still asking us, (His disciples), to get into our boats and cross over to the other side of the lake and share the good news of the Gospel, heal and deliver people from Satan’s hold in Jesus’ Name. Yes, there will always be plenty of ministry for us to do at home, but I believe God is still asking us to push out from our comfortable communities and cross over to the other side of the lake. We are, after all, World Ministry Fellowship—a fellowship of ministries in the world.
There are roughly 200 nations in the world, and our fellowship has full time and short-term missionaries serving on nearly every continent. Today, the distance between nations grows smaller and smaller every day. We just need to get into the boat with Jesus and cross over. Many of our WMF missionaries would love for you to consider joining them in their work. Opportunities to preach the Gospel or be Jesus’s hands and feet in the nations are always open. But, even if you are unable to travel across the lake yourself, you can still get into the boat and “cross over” by supporting WMF Missions. Our missionaries around the world need your prayers, financial support and encouragement. Contact WMF for opportunities to get into the boat and impact the world for good in Jesus’ Name.
Jesus gave some very explicit instruction when he said “GO!”. Each of the eleven disciples needed to learn about evangelism in order to do it in a manner that pleases the Lord. Coming from different backgrounds and having different temperaments, one only can imagine why with Jesus as their teacher, the Gospels would have on record some of the surprising statements made by them: e.g., Jesus was God-in-the-flesh, and once declared that ‘he that has seen me has seen the Father’; but Philip still said “Show us the Father.” You wonder what exactly he assumed Jesus had been doing up to that time. Indeed each disciple gives witness to the fact that imperfect men were perfected incompletely even though they had been tutored by Jesus. Pastors, it seems there is hope for us after all. Be encouraged. Shepherds inspire personal evangelism through their own individual testimony. Although a few fail to pay attention, people will observe the change made in you by God and often follow the example set before them.
Galilee was an area containing diverse ethnic groups: ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’ as it was then known. There, Jesus appointed a place wherein he could meet with his disciples after his resurrection. All attended but one, Judas who was now dead. On that mountain in Galilee they worshipped him, and heard Jesus say that ‘all power had been given to him in heaven and in earth’. Such a thought is a comfort when one is considering the command to go and teach the Gospel amid the nations of the world. The sphere of Jesus’ authority knows no bounds. Different languages, customs and cultures require varying approaches: only one Gospel is needed however. The command ‘to go’ is of importance. Despite the difficulties involved, God’s Gospel cannot be proclaimed unless learned people, who acquired knowledge of the Kingdom of God beforehand, surrender themselves to embark on their journey in faith.
There are roughly 200 nations in the world. Jesus doesn’t ask his followers to go alone. He promises to be with them unto the farthest outposts round the globe. I offer this account of Ann as an example. She was a woman who spent 50 years on the India/Nepal border. The King of Nepal’s daughter had been ill. All the gods of the area were of no value. God touched the girl through the faith of Ann, the missionary, and made her whole. Afterwards, one day this same missionary drove her jeep into a nearby village. Suddenly a lady appeared who came running alongside her vehicle yelling ‘the light has come, the light has come’.
Well, months prior, this local resident had been a dedicated follower of Hinduism. But when her husband died, a witchdoctor told her that she should go to the top of a close by mountain and throw her two children into the river to appease the gods. Obviously they were angry at the family. In despair, she climbed the hill and just as she was to dispose of her children, a ball of fire appeared in the sky. Out of that fire was heard a voice saying ‘Go down the mountain and wait. The light will come!’. Weeks later, when the missionary came driving down the road, the lady said she saw the same light (earlier viewed atop the mountain), now on top of the jeep. Thus she began to rejoice and shout, saying ‘the light is come’. She came to saving faith and inevitably went down into the waters of the river, not for death but for baptism.
WMF minister, you are the answer to someone’s problem, both here in the States and abroad; but you will not know it until you get there. So get going! And preach and baptize just as Jesus said to do it: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Baptism should evidence a real change of heart in someone, and it confirms the mighty covenant of God which exists between the Godhead and the redeemed, signifying a life of sin cleansed of sin by God. Untold millions have converted and later faced hardships and persecutions because of Christian baptism. These adversities should not hinder believers. In John 4:1, even Jesus baptized his disciples or they were baptizing others in the river.
This initiation seems to have been preparatory to their ministerial outreaches. God’s expectation is high in heaven; yet the demand placed upon Christians on earth is great. The Good News should be told to everyone and in all places. Crossing borders and traveling to and fro requires funds and other resources. Missionaries who sacrifice so much are obliged to believe God for greater things still in the eternal world to come; but each person is not prohibited from enjoying here the comforts which may accompany him or her as they go. Whether one is standing under a bamboo tree, in a mud hut, cinder-block house or in a dwelling place with a thatched roof, if God is there to help someone proclaim the Gospel, then that patch of earth becomes ‘holy ground’. So get on with the business of evangelism and preach it sister!
The month of April had a 5th Sunday. Please remember WMF missions in your giving.
MALAWI 2018 REPORT
Dear WMF Members …
It is always a joy to read occasionally of what the Lord is doing around the world. From time to time a spotlight needs to be thrown on some of these folks. One of our newest WMF ministers is in southeastern Africa, in Malawi. He now is busy holding evangelistic campaigns and hosting WMF meetings. The harvest he is reaping brings a smile to the faces of those who are involved and to those who hear of it. George Gift is his name. Let us keep him in prayer as he labors in the Lord’s Vineyard. His own testimony of coming to know the Lord is as follows [I have edited it for clarity]:
“I gave my life to Christ in the year 1998, it all started when I was at school where we met some young preachers who eventually started ministering to us the word of God. I was deeply touched and convicted, but I could not give my life to Jesus so fast. After some days I again met another preacher who under God's power spoke of Jesus and His resurrection. I was convinced and my heart was plucked. However I didn't respond then to the gospel either.
Nevertheless something started happening to me at night: while sleeping I lost all the peace that I had and I was greatly troubled. This time I felt that I should give my life to Jesus no matter what, and on the following morning I awakened early, and instead of seeking for a pastor to help, I went to a mountain where I heard that people go to pray.
Without anyone's guidance I just followed the path to the mountain. It was the first time I had been there. I didn't know the area, but within this mountain area there was a field. Therefore I went inside there and started crying to God for forgiveness of my sins.
I had been to this place for almost a week and I wasn't taking any food. One day certain pastors came here to pray and saw me in field. They called me to follow them. They asked me about my spiritual life and I told them my position. They then helped me to receive Christ. Thereafter I joined a Church and was baptized by immersion.
It didn't take a long time, but while in prayer and fasting some of senior leaders prayed for me again and I immediately was baptized with the Holy Spirit and spoke in new tongues!”
George Gift is quite active: reports on the Youth Seminars he conducts and of the power of God in manifestation is heartwarming and refreshing. There are signs and wonders. He holds open-air revival meetings, and through his fellowships is busy arming the next generation of believers for the spiritual battles to come.
May the Lord continue to provide WMF with younger ministers whose passion affects all those around them.
With All Due Respect,
Brother Darrell Sutton
Director of International Missions for WMF
In conversation with our brother Matthew, I asked him to provide a letter of his extensive work in India which requires assistance at this time. This letter is longer than usual, but the historical element is necessary for understanding how native people conceive their ‘origins’ in the faith there in India. It remains to be said that your contributions will be greatly appreciated! Brother Darrell
Dear WMF members,
I have prepared this letter both to communicate a new concern we are facing, and too hopefully to bring a greater understanding of our missions work in South Asia.
I graduated from Dallas Baptist University, and Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary. Upon my graduation, I was approached by Indian Christian Ministry groups in the U.S.A., Canada and Great Britain. They were looking for a pastor, but my passion has never been to be a pastor in the West, but to raise up grassroots pastors, teachers, and evangelists in the East. My multi-lingual and multicultural position is vital to communicating and raising up people in South Asia— districts in which some list the people as unreachable to the Gospel.
Hindus and Moslems Accept Christ Too
The Easter and Christmas season offer the greatest opportunity to reach the people of Asia. We have used this opportunity very effectively; when you see Hindu and Moslem children and their parents attending our Christmas Child Gala, and Operation Child Asia events scurrying about hoping to be picked to play the part of Mary or Joseph or a shepherd in the Christmas nativity play. During that time they learn by heart many scriptures. Yes, you begin to realize the walls to the gospel are often not the indigenous people but a cultural communication clash with western style evangelism. We have seen hundreds of Moslems and Hindus accept Christ. Many are trained to be pastors who start church after church— in places we are told the church is not welcome.
Indic Region: Understanding its Past
The Bharat, the modern day South Asia or Indian sub continent has the largest Vedic & Semitic people groups in the world, and it is the hardest mission field with the largest non-Christian population in the world. There is a long time relationship between Vedic (idol or Polytheistic Worshipers) and Semitic (Monotheistic Worshipers). Among some groups in India it is believed that Abram the Aramaean came out from the Vedic faith and established the Semitic faith, and he had been known as Abram the Hebrew. Furthermore it is believed that he continued to maintain the relationship to the East, but did not compromise the faith.
In 1000 BCE, King David, and after him King Solomon had a very strong relationship with that region. During that time, for political and business reasons, large numbers of Israelites migrated to Bharat (modern day South Asia or the greater India). Since then the migration has continued to Indian sub continent. After King Solomon, in 930 BCE the Kingdom of Israel split into two nations, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. In approximately 700 BCE, the King of Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom (Kingdom of Israel), and captured the capital city of Samaria, in the territory of Ephraim son of Joseph. As the result the Kingdom of Israel scattered to the East.
Around 600 BCE the Babylonians attacked the Southern Kingdom (Kingdom of Judah). During 470 BCE King Xerxes become the ruler of that region, and he reigned from Ethiopia to India (Esther 1:1) in the 1st century BCE Kingdom of Judah lost her independence to the Roman Empire. Then the Southern Kingdom (Kingdom of Judah) scattered to the west. However, many Israelites travel to the east, South Asia including the apostle Thomas. Apparently, the Apostle Thomas took the message of the Messiah to the Children of Israelites in India; including my ancestors who would become followers of the Christ JESUS.
Israel and India
The present government of India holds a strong anti Christian sentiment, and you may have heard of the recent persecutions. However, the relations between Israel and India are much stronger than ever before. I think it is like King Solomon’s and King Xerxes’ time. In January, 2018 Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel visited Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India signed many agreements. Then Netanyahu asked Modi to read the Bible and Modi agreed it. I believe it is a great opportunity for us to establish a much greater relationship with the people of India to introduce God of Israel and the eternal love of Christ by using the comparison and contrast platform of Vedic faith and Semitic faith without compromising like father Abraham did.
An Effective Missions Platform
In the past forty-four years of ministry God has used me to build this platform among the descendants of the Vedic and Semitic people groups. We established a Leprosy Mission in 15 Leper Colonies through our Compassion Ministry of Christ. We started Village Fellowships in over 350 villages through our Church Planting Ministry of Christ, and established 3 Bible Training Centers through the Evangelism Ministry of Christ. The experience as a board member and as a missionary I have received under the leadership of Dr. Charles Rogers of World Ministry Fellowship is unexplainable. I was able to gain some very special knowledge through my research in “the Biblical Patriarchs Antediluvian and Postdiluvian” To God be the glory!
Now a New Concern
Most importantly, a new burden is upon us. We lost the lease one of our Bible Training Centers. It is very difficult to find a convenient location for Christian activities in that area. We have been told to vacate the property within the next five months. We have a small plot (44’x30') available to build on. The plot will accommodate a three story structure and it will cost $15,000.00 to build. That structure will provide plenty of room for the Bible Center to move in. These Bible Centers is where we teach ministry students how to start grassroots fellowships in the interior villages and to preach God of Israel and the love of Christ.
Our present concern has implications for tomorrow. $15,000.00 is needed and will complete the Bible Training Center structure and roof. Each floor is $5,000. Later we will concern ourselves with electricity, water, cemented floors and furnishings. Until then, classes can begin and it will be a wonderful Bible Center under our control. It’s possible someone may want to know more about completing the electricity or water, etc., that’s great. However, our greatest concern is having walls and a roof by June to keep us dry before the monsoon season starts. Please pray, shutting down this Bible Training Center would be a great loss for all of us and the Great Commission in that area. We need it to preach the God of Israel in that area. If the Holy Spirit leads you to help us, please know that anything you can do is much appreciated.
Bags of cement, rebar, water and sand are the simple ingredients for both houses of evil and for a house of blessing. In answering the mandate of Christ “to make disciples” we believe this Bible Training Center is our best long-term solution. Our students deserve our best to continue.
Pray With Us!
Lord, help us build YOUR house to take YOUR Gospel into this dry and thirsty land ready to hear and believe.
Workers Together in Christ,
Mathew C Kuruvilla
WMF Missions Board
A common occurrence in the Acts of the Apostles involves Paul’s co-workers. Upon his return from traveling and spreading the good news, he had the habit of assembling believers in one location and reporting on what God had done for them recently on the mission field. They always had something to say because they were busy sowing God’s word in harvest fields abroad. Dangers lurked everywhere. Undoubtedly their journeys were plagued with difficulties (see II Cor. 11); but their testimonies, when told to others, brought smiles to the faces of those who heard them.
A testimony is a survival motif. It is an account that endures whether someone passes a ‘test’ in life circumstances or through deadly events. Paul charged Timothy to “be faithful unto death”. If believers are alive, then they should be yet trusting God. Oh what a joy it is to serve alongside men and women who love the Lord, whose reliance upon him is exemplary.
The January missions’ board meeting was fruitful. Testimonies of God’s faithfulness abounds. The accounts made us all smile. During the July convocation there will be a panel discussion: WMF attendees will hear of God’s mighty outstretched arm, as it has been used in these last days to reach down from heaven into the earth-realm in order to perform His mighty deeds. God is good!
We hope to see you there