Gospel for Asia
A few years ago I read a copy of Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia. In describing his ministry to the poor, the following comment stood out to me:
As I traveled, viewing the effects of pagan religions on India, I realized that the masses of India are starving because they are slaves to sin. The battle against hunger and poverty is really a spiritual battle, not a physical or social one as secularists would have us believe.
The only weapon that will ever effectively win the war against disease, hunger, injustice and poverty in Asia is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To look into the sad eyes of a hungry child or see the wasted life of a drug addict is to see only the evidence of Satan's hold on this world. All bad things are his handiwork. He is the ultimate enemy of mankind, and he will do everything within his considerable power to kill and destroy human beings. Fighting this powerful enemy with physical weapons is like fighting an armored tank with stones.© 2007, Gospel for Asia. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
The author also makes a very good case about the failure of Christian humanism when it is separated from a proper spiritual balance. We cannot content ourselves with simply trying to change people's circumstances — we need to change their hearts.
All of this made me start to rethink the priority of my giving. Previously, I had been supporting various Christian humanitarian ministries, but after reading this book I began to shift my focus to those groups that are more actively involved in spreading the Gospel.
The other thing that resonated with me was K.P. Yohannan's discussion of the effectiveness of native missionaries over foreign missionaries, being better equipped to reach those from their own or closely-related cultural groups.
Gospel for Asia offers many opportunities for involvement, including sponsoring native missionaries, outreach to Dalits ("untouchables"), women's ministry, sponsoring needy children through the Bridge of Hope program, slum ministry, and much more. For more information, please visit www.gfa.org.
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Wycliffe Bible Translators is an organization dedicated to bringing God's word to all people in their own language. In America, we have access to so many different translations of the Bible, in so many formats. Yet many people groups around the world are still without a single verse of scripture in their heart language. Time and time again I've heard accounts of how, though a person has heard the Gospel in a secondary language, when they hear it for the first time in their native language, it's like brand new door opening in their heart. Wycliffe's ministries include Bible translation, literacy projects, ethnomusicology, and community development. For more information, please visit www.wycliffe.org.
Faith Comes By Hearing
For most Christians in America, our primary access to God's word comes through reading the Bible. But for many cultures around the world, the problem with this approach goes beyond overcoming high rates of illiteracy. For these cultures, their whole society is structured around a lifestyle of oral communication. For such groups, merely providing a translation of the Bible in their language is often insufficient in and of itself to bring true understanding of God's word to the people. Faith Comes By Hearing produces the world’s largest catalog of audio bibles, and offers effective programs to help bring God's word to oral communities. For more information, please visit www.faithcomesbyhearing.com.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to helping children, families, and their communities live better lives, by fighting hunger, poverty, and disease. They have many opportunities for giving, including child sponsorship and an extensive gift catalog. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.
We recently also started supporting Cross International, a Christian relief organization that has many projects worldwide. Cross International teams up with local churches that have ministries dedicated to serving the poor, and distributes aid through their existing programs.
Cross International is also committed to sharing the Word of God wherever they go. As they stated in a recent article,
Whether we are feeding orphans at the School of the Good Sower, caring for the handicapped at World Harvest Children's Home, or helping "restavek" children get some time away from the rigors of virtual slavery, we always make sure that the gospel is preached, because that is what changes lives. A meal will sustain a child for a day, and the sturdiest rebuilt house will eventually weather away, but the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus is what sustains us forever.Cross International, A Time for Mourning and Fasting