It has been over 50 years since the first missionaries stepped on the shores of some countries of the Asia Pacific Region. In the last 5 decades, and in recent years, I've had the opportunity of witnessing the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of many of the countries in the Region. Our generation today reaps the hard work of our pioneers. This reminds me of the book of Ezra. It began with God's call to a building programme. The work of restoration began with building the spiritual temple. Zerubbabel and Jeshua translated the call into action.
- The vision - The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus King of Persia (Ezra 1:1b).
CEF in the Asia Pacific Region has received a vision to build little temples. It all began in 1937 when Mr. Overholtzer, influenced by D.L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon, heeded God's call and translated this vision into action. The early slogan was "Capture the children for Christ".
- The vital plan - King Cyrus received an action plan from God: to communicate to the people throughout the kingdom the need to build the temple.
CEF in the AP region is also called to communicate to the people of God. King Cyrus was to share the need verbally and in writing. Letters went out through all the kingdom. Messengers went out by horse to every village and neighbourhood and proclaimed the message verbally.
Let's not forget the warning given us in Judges 2:10 "... another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel".
- Is CEF in your country sharing the need of reaching the lost children as is given to us in Matthew 18:14 ... through newsletters, prayer letters, personal letters?
- Do you verbally speak to pastors, church leaders, small groups, of the urgency?
The vibrant message - King Cyrus told the people what he was going to do and asked the people to help him by going and giving (v. 2-4) The king had two needs: workers and finances.
CEF in your country must tell the people of God what He has called you to do. Urge them to give of their time or finances in support of those who go. The option to serve the Lord is clearly spelt out to us by Ezra. If we are not going then we must be giving and vice versa (Ezra 1:3-6).
The valuable response - The ones whose spirit God had moved offered to go and help and to give (v. 5).
As we now step into the new millennium, the need is no less the same - our children need the LORD!
May you and I be faithful in our response.
It has been over 50 years since the first missionaries stepped on the shores of some countries of the Asia Pacific Region. In the last 5 decades, and in recent years, I've had the opportunity of witnessing the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of many of the countries in the Region. Our generation today reaps the hard work of our pioneers. This reminds me of the book of Ezra.
It began with God's call to a building programme. The work of restoration began with building the spiritual temple. Zerubbabel and Jeshua translated the call into action. Today, the world is talking about globalization. In its most simplistic sense, it is a world without borders. When God commands you and me (the millennium believers) to 'Go!' what comes to mind?
Missiologists in their study of the recent trend in missions suggested that we need to wake up to the reality of the 'generational differences' between traditional missionaries and those today in our borderless world. Tone Sine ( 1991) distinguishes three major groups:
- Has the Lord stirred up my spirit about the Unreached Peoples Group - Children?
- Has He called me to 'Go and Build'?
- Am I the answer to my own prayers that 'he who has the vision gets the job?'
You may ask what this has to do with me. Well, in some ways, it does tell a little of your response to God's call, making a commitment to that call and determining the length of your stay in service. My prayers for you fellow co-workers is that you are motivated by God:
- Boosters (born 1927-1945)
Brought up in a world experiencing the Great Depression and World War II. They are dedicated, go anywhere and do anything. Their philosophy is 'No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God' (Luke 9:62). Most of these servants heed the call and are called home while on the field.
- Boomers (born 1946-1964)
Born into material prosperity as a result of the hard work of their parents. They are pragmatic and idealistic, hold themselves responsible for their own lives and choices and respect the rights of others to do the same. Their philosophy is 'try it out' (short term) before becoming committed to it.
- Busters (born 1965-1983)
Born into a world under threat from nuclear weapons and a diminishing ozone layer. Many are products of fragmented families, victims of sexual abuse and other forms of violence. They are pragmatic, tolerant of diversity, and is a disillusioned generation. Their philosophy is: 'If it works out I will stay'.
As recorded in Ezra 3:8, I trust you are translating your call into action - reaching boys and girls for Jesus Christ.
- To go and build what He has stirred your spirit to do.
- To assist those who are out there reaching the lost children.
Rev. Tan Cheng Huat
Asia Pacific Regional Director
Apr-Jun 2002 Family News of the Asia Pacific Region