In July 2018 we will be observing our 40th anniversary of full-time ministry for the gospel of the kingdom of God. Forty years ago in July 1978 we left the United States as missionaries to Indonesia trusting in the Lord—without the benefit of financial support from any church, apart from any Missions Agency, without any invitation from anyone in Indonesia, and without being formally “sent” by any organization or church—only by the Lord Himself. Although I had known the Lord for only two years, I was determined to obey the Lord’s command in Matthew 28:19 to “GO.”
BUT GOD made us fruitful. Over nearly nine years in primitive unreached regions of Indonesian Borneo, we preached the gospel to those who had never heard—accompanied by the evidence of powerful miraculous healings as proof that Jesus is the only way to the Father—and made disciples of those who believed. (Click here to read or download our book Dancing on the Edge of the Earth relating our amazing missionary adventure.)
Today, forty years later, by God’s wonderful grace we are still physically “fresh and green” (Psalm 92:14). We have served as missionaries, as church planters and pastors, and as evangelists. And since 2000 the Lord has been extremely gracious to take us to 45 countries around the world training His disciples to preach the gospel as Jesus commanded His disciples in verse 9 of Luke 10: “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you.’ ” Some of these disciples have gone on to reap great harvests for the kingdom of God. We estimate that the total number of souls who have come into the kingdom of God through the workers we have trained around the world actually runs into the millions. (And the best is yet to come!)
For about the past eleven years we have been active in India, and it has been especially fruitful. In 2015 we began to keep track of the numbers accepting Christ in the evangelistic events in India conducted by workers trained by us. Just in India alone, approximately 54,000 have accepted Christ during the past 2-3 years in these Elijah Challenge events financed by us.
As we approach our 40th year of ministry, our thoughts are turning back to Indonesia where we first started out four decades ago. The Lord has been gracious to open the way for us to train His workers in this fourth most populous nation on earth (261 million people as of 2016) with more Muslims than any other country.
We are praying that the “seed” we planted in Indonesia decades ago will now produce much, much fruit for the gospel as we train His workers there next month. One Indonesian servant of God we trained 15 years ago whom we will call “Mark” has already led well over 4,000 Muslims from a highly gospel-resistant tribe to Jesus Christ. Among the three Elijah Challenge Training Events we will be conducting next month, one opportunity involves training 100 Muslim-background believers from that very same gospel-resistant tribe. Our prayer is to raise up an army of fruitful harvest workers just like Mark.
The Elijah Challenge of course will continue to focus on the advance of the gospel in predominantly Hindu India. Now we want to add predominantly Muslim Indonesia as a secondary focus. As God loves Hindus, he also loves Muslims!
Brethren, please pray that our three Elijah Challenge Training Events next month in Indonesia will be our most fruitful events yet for the advance of the kingdom of God on earth.
Subsequent July 2018 reportsSSub.
Training Event in Bali: Little Hindu boy in Indonesia walks by himself for the first time in his life