With guest John Duroe, regional director for Bangladesh. Hosted by Ole Olesen. (28:30)
Imagine you’re a mission strategist in charge of a worldwide evangelism budget. What must you know to make efficient and wise choices?
That’s the challenge posed in the new Gospel Outreach “Adopt a Bible worker” brochure, which has just been released.
The world population recently topped 7.5 billion. More than 4 billion have had at least some exposure to the gospel, leaving an estimated 3.16 billion who haven’t been reached, according to the Joshua Project.
Of the 3.16 billion unreached, 3.06 billion live in an area that many mission strategists call the 10/40 Window. That’s nearly all of the unreached–97 percent!
The 10/40 Window is a rectangular region found between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude. It includes North Africa, the Middle East, India, China, the Philippines and scores of neighboring countries.
It’s home to Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. There’s a large nonreligious block too.
Compared with other areas in the world, little is being done to reach the 10/40 Window, and yet it holds the key to fulfilling the Great Commission. It’s the last great frontier for evangelism before Jesus returns.
“No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”
As missions advocate Oswald J. Smith has said, “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”
Since 1993, Gospel Outreach has focused on telling the story of Jesus in the 10/40 Window. One of the most effective ways to do this is by sponsoring indigenous Bible workers who have a desire to share their love for the Lord among their own people. They already understand the culture, language, religion and social environment of the people living around them. And they can be sponsored through the Gospel Outreach Adopt-a-Worker program for $150 per month per worker, on average.
Although poverty is widespread and unemployment remains high, India now ranks as the ninth largest industrial economy in the world. Very diverse in terms of language, religion (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim), and cultural traditions, the people of India (only 2.3 percent of whom are Christian) comprise one-sixth of the world’s population.
The Gospel Outreach (GO) region we oversee covers a large area of East Central India–all of Odisha State and two Adventist conferences in Andhra Pradesh. More than 90 million people live in these two states with only 197,090 Adventists. GO sponsors 147 Bible workers in this region.
During our recent visit to India, we adopted the motto “Reaching the Unreached for Jesus,” focusing on “Witnessing to the Lost and Training the Saved.” We met with the Adventist leadership first, so they understood and supported the new outreach method we would be sharing.
Our GO workers arrived from distant villages to study how they might become more effective in ministry. We began by covering 10 points of discipleship to affirm each worker had an experience they could develop into a personal testimony. We then focused on three areas: What was your life like before you met Jesus? What brought you to Jesus? and What is life like now that you know Him? Workers reacted with enthusiasm as we presented the power of witnessing through sharing personal testimonies.
After hearing exciting testimonies from our GO workers, we concluded by stressing the importance of follow-up through teaching Bible stories and establishing home churches. Before leaving, we met with each GO worker independently and heard firsthand the blessings and challenges they face in serving God.
We are truly grateful for your prayers and sacrificial support of Gospel Outreach and the Adopt-a-Worker program.
“Oh, please come and see me,” begged Raju Spurgeon, one of our Gospel Outreach Bible workers who lives in a village near the Indian city of Tuni. In 2003, prior to joining Gospel Outreach, we helped build 10 churches in Tuni and normally visited there on our annual mission trip to India. For months, Raju had been struggling with church and family issues and now pleaded for us to visit his village. On this visit, however, after reviewing our tight schedule, we just had to tell Raju, “No, we are so sorry, but our schedule won’t accommodate a visit to your village.”
Trains are seldom if ever on time in India. This evening would be no exception! Arriving nearly two and a half hours late in Hyderabad, we estimated that we now had six hours to sleep before arriving at our destination in Rajahmundry. Paul, our local companion, would surely awaken us in plenty of time. However, it was not to be. At 5:30 a.m. we awoke, startled by the realization that we had missed our stop!
Wade Brooks (former Gospel Outreach vice president who accompanied us) and Bonnie quickly disembarked and stood on the platform. While scrambling to exit, Del and Paul suddenly realized we had a major problem. Unable to put all 13 pieces of luggage under our seats, the conductor had locked three pieces in a storage compartment between the cars. While we searched frantically for the conductor with the key needed to retrieve our bags, the train was starting to roll again.
We (Del and Paul) had no choice but to do something drastic. Clearly posted on the wall of each car in Telegu and English was a sign that read: “Pull Chain Only in Emergency. Penalty Administered Without Due Cause.” Regardless, we felt we had no choice but to pull the chain! Suddenly, police and security guards came rushing with rifles, furiously demanding, “Who pulled the chain?” Poor Paul, facing charges of negligence, was overcome with fear.
Suddenly, police and security guards came rushing with rifles, furiously demanding, “Who pulled the chain?” Poor Paul, facing charges of negligence, was overcome with fear.
Eventually, to Bonnie and Wade’s dismay, the train began to move down the tracks again with our luggage still locked onboard and no conductor in sight. Dumbfounded, Del and Paul waved goodbye to Bonnie and Wade as the train departed, attempting to stay on schedule. Policemen had boarded the train and continued to interrogate Paul and Del all the way to the next station, stating, “We will be imposing a heavy fine.” After the sleeping conductor was finally tracked down and awakened, Del and Paul recovered the three bags and later backtracked to rejoin Bonnie and Wade. Thankfully, Paul has yet to receive notice of any penalty.
Almost immediately, Bonnie and Wade realized how God’s providence and timing had overruled our blunder. The station where they had gotten off was in fact Tuni, the city near GO worker Raju Spurgeon’s village. What’s more, Raju answered a phone call and within minutes was on hand to assist two baffled and disoriented travelers striving to communicate with officials who spoke little English. Providentially, Raju was able to join us for the rest of our trip. He stayed with us in our hotel and received the counsel he so desperately needed.
Time after time we have witnessed God’s providential care as we face the many challenges in India. What an awesome God we serve!
India—I used to be a devout Hindu. I trusted 330 million gods and believed in Karma—the view that every activity in life had inescapable consequences that would determine my future destiny when I would be reincarnated. I smoked and could not resist alcohol.
One day I became very sick. My wife and family were frightened when they witnessed me vomiting nearly two liters of blood. In distress, they sent for my uncle, who came to visit me. This made me angry. “Why did you come to me?” I shouted. “I don’t want to hear anything about your Jesus!” I scolded him and told him to go back home.
But instead of leaving, he began to tell me in a loving way that Jesus was my Creator God. “If you would only trust Him,” he said, “Jesus can heal you of sickness and help you in your weakness.” Later, when the sickness did not leave me, I decided to reach out to Jesus. I prayed, “If You will heal me, I promise that I will serve You till my last dying breath.”
Just when I decided to surrender my bad habits to Jesus, my uncle knocked at my door again. He prayed for me. Suddenly as he was praying, a light came into my mind and I sensed a wonderful peace. I immediately threw all the Hindu gods in my home into the trash and destroyed anything that related to my old sinful ways.
I was delighted when an evangelist came to hold meetings in a village near mine. Our family attended every meeting. I will never forget the day my whole family was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That was 14 years ago. Today, I work with Gospel Outreach in North Rayalaseema section in Andhra Pradesh. I have decided to use my testimony to reach out to others who need to hear about Jesus.
Watch the testimony here.
I was riding my bicycle home one day from the town of Kotpad in East Central India. The path home took me through a dense jungle area. As I approached the jungle, two young men sprang out from behind the trees, demanding, “Give us your money.” Knowing I had only 10 rupees in my bag, I handed it over to them. They checked my bag and found nothing else except my Bible. Since they didn’t find any more money, they forced me to give them my wristwatch. Then, confiscating my bicycle, they rode off in the opposite direction.
Later, as I was walking toward home, I heard someone calling from behind. When I turned around, I saw the same two young men who had robbed me earlier. I was scared to confront them, thinking they might intend to harm me. I started to run.
One of the young men riding my bicycle finally caught up with me. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “We have come to return what we stole from you.” He handed me my wrist watch and returned my bicycle. Then they proceeded to give me 1,000 rupees of their own money. Amazed, I could hardly believe what had just happened. Certainly God had intervened and changed the hearts of these two young men. God graciously spared me from any harm and gave me back my only form of transportation, allowing me to continue my ministry.
Another time, I visited a nearby village to spend some time with relatives. In the evening, I saw people excitedly gathering in a house. My curiosity was aroused, so I went to see what all the excitement was about. A Hindu priest had come to chase the devil out of a young girl. He chanted his mantras; but the more he chanted, the more the girl exhibited supernatural forces, giving her amazing physical power. The priest could not control the girl and soon declared he was helpless and could do nothing for her.
I watched for an hour as the spectacle continued. Finally, I felt it was time for me to intervene in the proceedings. I asked the girl’s parents whether I could be of some help. They laughed at me and asked, “If the priest can’t help, what can you possibly do?”
“Don’t be afraid. We have come to return what we stole from you.”
I responded to their challenge, saying, “With God’s help, it is possible to give relief to your daughter.” They replied, “Go ahead, and try your luck.”
I stood in silent prayer, asking, “God, please allow this incident to be a witness to everyone so they will believe in You.” I asked for a glass of water and then began to pray aloud. While I was praying, the girl started yelling and became increasingly restless. She challenged me, saying, “You can do nothing about my situation.” I continued praying. When I finally said “Amen,” I took some of the water and sprinkled it on the girl’s head.
Speaking through the girl’s voice, a demon said, “I am leaving her, but I will come back soon.”
I gave the girl the remaining water to drink. Her appearance returned to normal, and she began speaking in her usual voice. The onlookers expressed surprise that the demon had left the girl. They asked, “How did you get the demon to leave her?” I told them about the powerful God I serve. Some of them have asked me to tell them more about this God, and I promised to visit them in their homes and give them Bible studies.
Please pray for me and my family as we continue to serve God in this area.
COLLEGE PLACE, Wash.—Brent Scully has been named president of Gospel Outreach, a Great Commission organization headquartered in College Place, Wash.
“I’m excited to be part of the team,” Scully says. “Jesus is coming soon. Now is the time to be praying, seeking Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and let Him use us to the fullest extent in reaching others with the gospel message.”
Scully, a Walla Walla businessman, has served for the past two years as executive director for Good Samaritan Ministries, a Walla Walla nonprofit agency that provides counseling for underprivileged families. He serves as an elder at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church in College Place, where he has been active with youth ministry for many years. He and his family have also traveled to India on mission trips.
Jon Dybdahl, the previous president of Gospel Outreach, resigned in April for health reasons.
“I plan to continue involvement with training and strategy,” Dybdahl says.
“Jon’s background and focus on mission, education and training has been a huge blessing to Gospel Outreach, along with his work in expanding the volunteer office staff. We appreciate his service and dedication,” says Larry Dodds, board chairman. “And we extend our thanks to Brent for accepting this position and for his desire to follow God’s leading in directing our work. We welcome him, his wife, Heather, and their three daughters to the Gospel Outreach family.”
Gospel Outreach is one of few ministries to focus on the 10/40 Window of the world. This area is so named because it’s located between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude. It stretches eastward from North Africa to include the Middle East, India, China and the Philippines, as well as scores of neighboring countries.
Of the world’s unreached 3.1 billion people, 97 percent live in the 10/40 Window, according to the Joshua Project. This makes the 10/40 Window the most important area of the world in fulfilling the Great Commission.
As Paul wrote in Romans 15:20, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known.”
Ghana—My family were animists. Since my father was a fetish priest, he taught me how to communicate with the dead and how to evoke or call on the spirits. Jehovah’s Witness people came to our village and told us that God will destroy this world. I left Togo and went to Ghana. I thought, “God is not coming to destroy Ghana, just Togo.”
One day I heard a woman teaching. She said that one day God would destroy the entire world. I was shocked to think that this was going to happen here in Ghana too! When this woman went to church, I followed her and later became an Adventist Christian. I have now been a GO worker for 19 years.
India—In a village where I serve as a GO worker, the rainy season should start in June. However, one year no rain came. The farmers had already sown their seeds and were waiting for the rain. Days passed, but the rain did not come. The farmers gathered together and asked me to pray for rain. Other church members accompanied me to the fields where we prayed and fasted for a whole day and night.
The Lord heard our prayers and sent torrents of rain that very night. We praise God and thank Him for the miracle of rain.
For 25 years, Gospel Outreach has been guided by one goal—to share the good news of the gospel with unreached people in the 10/40 Window. The apostle Paul’s words in Romans 15:20 are prominently displayed as a reminder to everyone who enters our headquarters office in College Place: “I make it my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ is not known.”
As a result, the majority of our efforts focus on the Hindu, Chinese, Buddhist, Muslim and animistic worlds. Combined, these groups represent more than half of the world’s 7-plus billion people. Most of the workers that Gospel Outreach currently supports live in places where less than 5 percent of the population has ever had a chance to know Jesus.
Reaching the unreached effectively is challenging! One of the chief reasons is that people from these various religions have no background in Christianity. They do not share a common belief in Scripture or faith in the God of the Bible. In addition, more than 50 percent of the population in these same areas are oral/aural learners. Even if they are literate, they don’t learn by reading. Where do we begin?
Recently, Jon Dybdahl, Beverly Thompson, Kip Ault and I began an exciting project—developing a series of Bible lessons designed to lay a biblical foundation on which to build faith in God for people with no background in Christianity and no knowledge of the Bible. These lessons will be accessible to oral/aural learners, including those who are not literate.
As people who have grown up with the Bible, we who are lifelong Christians can easily forget how much this foundational knowledge of God has affected our lives. Our view of God, our identity, our destiny, our concepts of integrity—much of our world view—have all been molded by the Bible. Since childhood, we have heard the stories of biblical heroes—Noah, Sarah, Moses, Ruth, David, Elisha, Jonah, Daniel, Esther, Mary, Peter, Paul, and dozens more. We came to know God through His dealings with these biblical characters—both good and bad. Through their stories, we encountered God’s power and His goodness, His patience and His justice. Without even realizing it, we came to know God through hearing His story. Through these stories, we first encountered Jesus—a baby, a boy, a son, a man, a savior, a king.
These new Gospel Outreach lessons include 50 chronological Bible stories—25 from the Old Testament and 25 from the New Testament. Realizing how important a strong biblical foundation is for every believer, we have chosen stories that reveal God’s character and Jesus’ ministry.
In addition to building a firm foundation for their faith, new believers (especially those from the world religions) need to experience Jesus personally. We have, therefore, included stories that deal with important life issues.
- Stories to lead people to a taste-and-see experience with God.
- Stories to lead people to healing from spirit possession, illness, addictions, etc.
- Stories to show how to have a strong spiritual life through prayer, study of Scripture, forgiveness, etc.
- Stories to lead people to make a decision to accept Jesus.
- Stories to teach Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, leading to a decision for baptism.
- Follow-up stories on relevant topics for ongoing nurture of new believers from non-Christian backgrounds.
Completing this course will take time—many months. Our goal is that these lessons will enable Gospel Outreach workers to focus on the entire discipleship process from first contact to baptism and beyond.
Please pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit this August as we begin training leaders and Gospel Outreach workers in India to use these new lessons.
We are introducing the new storytelling Bible curriculum in India this summer. Won’t you ask God how you can help to sponsor supplies, travel expenses, and instructional materials for training GO workers and leaders? Your generous gifts will be greatly appreciated.