the world in your own backyardChina, this
side of the Atlantic
The Peoples Republic of China boasts more than 400
people groups among its 1.3 billion inhabitants. But, many Chinese, and many of
them first generation, reside in North America. Nearly four percent of
Americans, or 10 million people, claim Asian descent. Asians account for 5
percent of New Yorks population, 11 percent of Californias, 42 percent of
Hawaiis, and ethnic Chinese alone account for 10 percent of the population of
So, what does this mean for followers of Christ trying to reach Asian and,
specifically Chinese, unbelievers who may live the next street over? Well, it
means interacting with a varied and widespread community consisting of people
hailing from a mostly communistic and atheistic society. Taoism and Buddhism,
focusing on transcendence rather than a higher power, are the staple religions
of China, with a small segment practicing Islam or some form of
Right now there are four main groups of Chinese people living in North
America: Chinese people hailing from mainland China, people from Hong Kong,
people from Taiwan and people of Chinese descent born in the United States or
Canada. They speak various dialects of Chinese, but the official language is
So whats the key to reaching this widespread, diverse and growing population
in North America?
Language. Finding community among people who dont speak
your language is difficult. This is why its important for on mission
Christians and churches to take action in helping the perhaps disoriented
newcomers in their area find a group of Christians who speak Mandarin,
Cantonese or some other Chinese dialect. So, how do you communicate with them
to accomplish this? Contact your local college or university, or perhaps the
local Chinese language church, and go through a translator.
Culture. Study the culture of the people group youre trying
to reach. Chinese culture is collectivist, writes Rajendra Pillai in
Reaching the World in Our Own Backyard. In other words, whether a
Chinese person accepts Christ depends a lot on how it will affect his or her
relationship with their family.
If youre serious about bridging the culture gap and reaching your Chinese
neighbors for Christ, its important to do a little independent research before
you set off down the street.
For more information on reaching the Chinese families in your community
contact Jaime Prieta, jprieta@ namb.net. To meet missionaries reaching Chinese
people groups, see pages 20-24 of this issue of On Mission.
international missionsHelping others give to
Trying to raise awareness among your
family and friends about international missions? This year you can give to the
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) and draw attention to the needs of
more than 5,500 Southern Baptist international missionaries. The International
Mission Board (IMB) is providing Christmas cards, which can be sent with an
inscription signifying that a donation has been made to LMCO in honor or memory
of loved ones. Inserts are also available to be used with personal greeting
For more information on how to help your church and community be more
involved with giving through LMCO, visit ime.imb.org. To learn more about what other IMB resources are
available to help you in your support of missions around the world, visit
call toll free 800-999-3113.
telephone evangelismFaith through
When she puts on her wireless headset, usually
Pat Zimmerman is making herself ready to answer questions about faith in Jesus.
Pat is a telephone encourager for the North American Mission Board.
Ive had all types of phone calls, Pat says, many times Ill have people call
for encouragement during a difficult time in their lives. Some are Christians
and some are people with whom I am able to share the gospel.
Pat logs on to the TE network several times throughout the week, and
occasionally even takes calls past midnight. So far she has logged 2,241 hours,
answering 2,407 calls leading to 117 salvation decisions.
I started this three years ago, and Ive been loving it ever since , says
Pat, a widow. I love telling people about my Jesus.
Carl Cuhl, a retired dentist in Kentucky, has a similar story. Carl logs on
several hours a week as well. During his time as a telephone encourager he has
been on the phone 1,495 hours, has taken 1,814 phone calls and has led 98
people to a relationship with Christ.
No matter how many times he takes calls, Carl is humbled by the power of the
Holy Spirit working in the telephone.
What Carl says doesnt make any difference, he says. What God says means
everything in the world.
Carl will often log on while praying through a list of people hes spoken
with on the phone. Sometimes his prayers are answered with the first phone
Ive had repeat callers, he says. And on more than one occasion Ive walked
them down the Roman Road.
The telephone encourager program is a good way for anyone who owns a phone
to be on mission and make a difference from the comfort of their own
To learn more about joining the ministry and journey of the telephone
encouragers, visit NAMBs Evangelism Response Center at www.erconline.net or email the
ERC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
mobilization/missionsChrist among other
In the wide-open spaces of Wyoming youll find ranch
after ranch built along high plains running to the horizon, snow-capped peaks
in August, pristine lakes and forests and some of the heaviest concentrations
of occult and cultist practitioners west of the Mississippi. In Casper, youll
discover stores selling crystals, pentagrams, spell books and other Wiccan
religious elements. In many parts of the state youll find large communities of
Mormons. Dispersed throughout are believers in New Age and Satanism.
Going to where weve been called is like entering another country, says
Richard Seedorf, a former Mormon and now NAMB Mission Service Corps missionary
establishing a Christian resource center to minister to people of other faiths
in Casper, Wyoming, and surrounding communities. The spirit of oppression is
everywhere around there.
If you and members of your church would like to start off the new year with
a commitment to reaching these western towns, partner with Lori and Richard as
they begin to reach out to the lost people of these communities. For more
information, contact NAMBs Interfaith Evangelism team at 770-410-6322 or email
Interfaith, email@example.com. To
contact Lori and Richard Seedorf email firstname.lastname@example.org.
evangelizationOn the Road Again
Dave Thomas was a gambling truck driver. He spent
weekends at the horsetracks in Kentucky. During the week he frequent-ed casinos
in Mississippi and played the Powerball lottery in Virginia. And for a gambler,
he said, his life was getting even better. He was about to lose his family and
gain some extra time to roll the dice.
I could spend the night in my truck, he says. Gamble all day Friday. Spend
Saturday at the racetracks. I would have had it made.
His daughter told him never to come back home, and his wife removed his name
from the checking account. Despite his best efforts to vest himself fully in
the gambling life, God was not going to let go of him. He shocked his wife when
he came home one day as she was leaving for church.
I told her I wanted to go, Dave says. Of course, I wasnt looking for a good
sermon. The night that started out as a scheme to take one of his wifes signed
checks ended with Gods plan to cash out Daves old life of lies for a new,
unusual life of evangelism.
I knelt and prayed If you can change me, then do it, Dave says. I knew I was
changed when I got up.
Dave hasnt gambled since. Now, instead of looking for a card game or a race
track, he uses his spare time and time on the road between truck loads to
search out people who are lost in the type of life he gave up two years
In addition to casual conversation with other truck drivers and anyone else
he meets, Dave makes regular visits to truck stops and rest areas where he
shares the gospel with travelers and restaurant workers. His primary ministry
is to people with addictions, especially gambling addictions. He speaks at
churches, on the radio and has even produced Tired of Losing? a gospel tract
directed toward gamblers.
Looking back I wish I had never gotten caught up in that life, Dave says. I
was a compulsive gambler and a compulsive liar. But now, through my experience,
I can give those people the hope of getting out of it and into the life of
If he didnt see his experience as a tool, Dave may never have shared Christ
with the woman he met at a Mississippi truck stop. He stopped there for the
clean restrooms and the good sweet tea, but was able to share his experience,
his testimony and God used him to change a life.
Dave is hard at work now printing a thousand more gamblers tracts, and the
truck drivers, who told him he would be gambling again in two weeks, are still
Summer mission opportunities
Meet Sarah Bradley. Three summers ago she signed up
for a summer as a North American Mission Board Sojourner, an opportunity for
high schoolers, in Houston, Texas. Three summers later and in college, shes a
NAMB Summer Missionary walking the streets of Hawaii, inviting strangers to a
vacation Bible school. Now in her third year at Union University majoring in
Social Work and looking toward a possible career in mission work after she
graduates, Sarah says her comfort zone has been expanded for a lifetime.
In Houston I was going to work in a Hispanic community, and I didnt speak a
word of Spanish, she says. I was very uncomfortable, and I guess thats what I
was looking for. I was really challenged there to find my comfort and strength
Just like Sarah, hundreds of high school students and college students are
taking advantage of these opportunities for young people who want to take the
next step with their on mission lifestyle.
Sojourners and Summer Missionaries work alongside local churches, campus
ministries or NAMB missionaries to assist them in evangelization and other
For those who want to penetrate the culture of the marketplace, NAMBs
Innovators program gives students the opportunity to take Christ to their
workplace while working with a mentor.
If you or someone you know is interested in a different kind of summer for
the year coming up, find more information at www.namb.net/answerthecall or call 800-462-8657 ext 6458.
Penetrating the cultureHelp your doctor be on
by terri pilcher
The doctors office is a great opportunity for on mission
Christians to encourage medical professionals to share their
Do you view your time at the doctors office as routine, monotonous,
frustrating or wasteful? Working as a physicians assistant in occupational
health, I examined as many as 50 patients a day, and I realized sometimes how
much encouragement doctors and other healthcare providers need to be open about
The next time you find yourself at the other end of the stethoscope, try
reaching out to the heart of the person listening to yours with some of these
Do you believe in prayer?Most doctors will respond
with a yes. They may cite scientific studies or their own personal experiences.
If the doctor seems interested in the topic, probe further and find out whether
he or she is a Christian.
Will you pray for me?Feel free to ask this question
if you know your doctor is a Christian. If he or she is not used to doing
anything spiritual in the office, then there may be hesitation. Even if they
refuse now, they may agree another time. Because of your boldness, God will
encourage the physician to include Him in the healing process.
Did you know that God helped me through this?There is
no better way for a patient to share Christ with a doctor than through a
testimony. You may also mention the support you received from your church
family. Offer to allow your doctor to share your testimony with other doctors
and patients. This may provide opportunities for you to speak with others
struggling with the same ailments.
May I pray for you?This question should be saved
until you develop a relationship with your doctor and know where he or she
stands spiritually. When you ask, expect surprise. As a PA, no patient ever
asked me this question. Although welcome, I would have stood in several seconds
of stunned silence before answering Of course!
May I leave Christian literature in your waiting
room?Only ask this question if you know your physician is a
Christian. Never leave Christian material without asking. If you leave
something your doctor does not approve of, it could hurt your relationship with
him or her. If the doctor takes you up on your offer, join with several church
families interested in sharing the cost. It often takes a steady supply to keep
up with the demand of patients. So, replenish regularly, and make sure you use
short materials in large type to provide quick, relaxed reading. If you plan to
include your churchs contact information on the literature, make sure your
physician approves this as well.
More Christian doctors will talk to their patients about God when they
realize that their patients want spiritual treatment as well as medical
prescriptions. By using these simple questions, you will encourage them to
provide a therapy that is more effective than pills or surgerythe love of
That the practice would help heal the brokenhearted
That your doctor would obey God
That the office would be a spiritually restful place, a place of truth and a
blessing to others
That the personnel would be attuned to the leading of the Spirit of God as
they give words of encouragement and hope
Terri Pilcher is a physicians assistant, professor and writer living in
Bel Air, Maryland.
inner-city Evangelism trainingInner-city Evangelism (ICE) teams
from NAMB visited Shreveport and New Orleans in April and May of this year, a
visit that led to nearly 300 decisions for Christ in less than a week. ICE is a
strategy that helps churches and Southern Baptist associations train and
involve Christians in reaching their communities for Christ. To learn more
about Inner-City Evangelism and how to get your church active in sharing the
gospel, visit www.namb.net/evangelism or email Victor Benavides at email@example.com.
Telling His story in a time of grief...on mission
funeralsThe death of a Christian loved one can provide a natural
opportunity for sharing your faith with unsaved family members and friends.
The prospects of eternity will be on the minds of many who attend the
funeral or who provide food and care to family members.
Your grief is real and appropriate. So is your comfort at knowing your loved
one has gone to heaven to be with the Lord. Sharing this reality with people
who observe your reactions at this vulnerable time will make a huge difference
in how they view the Christian walk.
Written communication often follows the death and funeralobituaries, letters
to out-of-town family and friends, thank-you notes to people who send flowers
or memorial gifts, Christmas letters summarizing the last year in your familys
life. These are times to honor your Christian loved one by telling about the
greatest decision he or she ever made. We will miss Tom every day but know he
is in heaven, because he trusted Christ as his Savior. For many
recipients, this may be their first and perhaps most powerful exposure to
the lasting comfort a Christian family experiences along with their grief.
Obituary. Pictures often draw peoples attention to
the memorial. You are free to write anything you wish. Jane left this life to
be with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ
Viewing. You may wish to create a board with pictures
of your loved one along with special Bible verses, songs of faith, meaningful
quotes. Most funeral homes will allow you to play music of your choice during
the viewing. You may wish to play their favorite hymns/praise choruses. Their
personal Bible could also be opened. The funeral home will print cards for
those visiting. You will be able to choose scripture that reflects your loved
ones faith. Although the funeral home will offer many choices, you are always
free to do something on your own that will honor their memory and faith.
At one funeral, the words to the song I Can Only Imagine rested on an easel
next to the casket.
Service. While many pastors offer a standard funeral
service, feel free to change things to reflect the individuals faith and
personality. If their testimony had been taped, the service would be a
wonderful time to share this audio or video tape. You may have to request that
the gospel be presented clearly during the eulogy. Be aware of follow-up
opportunities with friends or family who may not know the Lord.
Headstone. You may wish to include a Bible verse directing
those who drive through the cemetery toward Jesus. Many cemeteries will allow
you to leave gospel booklets in a small weather-proof box next to the burial
Thanks. When thanking people for flowers or memorial gifts,
you can add a sentence conveying the Hope of your loved ones life. Its
been such a peace for us that John knew 100% that he would be in heaven with
Jesus. Be intentional about the funeral you are planning and also in
considering how you may want your funeral to be. Its never too late to make
notes about what is important in this area of your life.
Acts 1:8 missions
Ends of the Earth can be at your fingertipsEver
spoken with someone from the Anuta or Arosi people groups of the Solomon
Islands, the Abenaki people of Canada or A Che people group of China? While the
names of these groups and their distinct cultures may not make the front page
news very often, they are still peoples in great need of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. A surprisingly large number of such populations are comprised of fewer
than 10 percent Christians, and many more, such as the A Che people, are well
below two percent. These staggering numbers should give any on mission
Christian pause as they consider their role in the Great Commission. An
Acts 1:8 lifestyle accepts the challenge of the Great Commission by taking the
gospel to your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. If youre
interested in learning more about the people groups who need your prayer and
possibly your presence as an ambassador for Christ, log on to www.peoplegroups.org and
discover important information about population, religion and language. To
learn even more about people groups, whos reaching them and how you and your
church can get involved with taking the gospel there, visit www.peopleteams.org or
MuslimsDuring childhood, Ergun Caner weighed the actions and
thoughts of each day before drifting off to sleep. In addition to heeding the
five daily calls to prayer, Ergun and his siblings would determine whether
their good deeds for the day outweighed the bad. A Muslim, he says, must do
good in the eyes of Allah 51 percent of the time. This is the salvation of
While Muslims believe in the man called Jesus Christ, they only see him as a
great prophet who performed miracles. They do not see him as the Son of God and
as the redemption for sin.
Instead, Muslims are haunted by the daily burden of their own salvation as
they bend under the wrath of their god whom they call Allah.
Ergun Caner has co-authored, with his brother Emir Caner, the recently
released books More than a Prophet and Voices Behind the
Veil. A former devout Muslim, Ergun offers insight on how to reach his
people with the gospel of Christ. In a recent interview with On
Mission magazine, Ergun gives on mission Christians the insider
information on reaching the diverse disciples of Mohammed.
Earn a hearing. The most important thing to realize and
remember when trying to reach Muslims is that they believe Christians dislike
them at best and have declared themselves enemies at worst. So, to gain the
opportunity to share the gospel with a Muslim you have to help them get past
the stereotypes by showing a true desire to be a friend. This may mean not
cranking out the plan of salvation in every conversation. Learn about them as a
person, take interest in their lives, and your personal relationship with
Christ will naturally interest them.
Dont back down. Visit the streets of a Middle Eastern city
and youll soon realize how important it is to stand up for what you say you
believe. Confrontation and conviction are not offensive to a Muslim, because
showing conviction means you actually believe what you are saying.
So, when you are in a conversation with a Muslim, stick to what you believe
is true but be sure to do it in a loving way that shows true concern for their
spiritual condition and not dislike for them as a person.
Focus on the gospeland the finished work of
Christ. In Islam, you live according to a scale of right and wrong.
This means your good has to outweigh your bad if you are to enter into
Paradise. Therefore, its important for the Muslim to realize that Jesus is more
than a great prophet. Muslims must understand that Jesus paid the sin debt for
all humanity, and there is no good work we can do to have eternal fellowship
with God. Through His blood shed on the cross, Christ became the final
sacrifice for all sinners.
For a Muslim, who believes that his own works will give him a chance at
salvation, this is extremely important.
Be persistent. It took me two years after hearing the
gospel to come to Christ, and the reason it only took two (the average for a
Muslim is seven), was because a Royal Ambassador from a local church in
Columbus, Ohio, would not stop inviting me and sharing the gospel with me.
penetrating the culture
The HOPELooking for a way to introduce the seeker in
your life to the God who made him? Even if your unsaved friend has never
cracked open the Bible, you can help him or her navigate the waters of our
faith and salvation by using a VCR or DVD player. From Creation to the Fall to
the Redemption of man, The HOPE resource takes seekers on a visual journey
through history revealing their need for a Savior. Through 36 biblical events
broken down into 12 chapters, viewers will learn about the origin of the Holy
Bible, the story of salvation and their own place in the history of Gods
relation-ship with mankind. To order this resource for you and your church,
visit www.namb.net/catalog or call 866-407-NAMB.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC