Many Christians who grew up in the church remember stories of missionaries sent to the far reaches of the earth to spread the good news of their faith. Some missionaries spent a lifetime preaching to communities few had even heard of in their pre-Internet era. With the last few generations of missionaries, however, preaching the Gospel has been combined with medical work, disaster relief and other humanitarian efforts. Orphanages, family housing and hospitals grew from such mission work.
Since 1998, for example, Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers have helped more than 25,000 families impacted by U.S. natural disasters — hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and ice storms — by quickly providing emergency supplies, repairing, cleaning and rebuilding homes. On the international scene, Samaritan’s Purse specializes in meeting critical needs for victims of war, disaster, and famine in the world’s most troubled regions, often working through local churches and ministry partners. Recent efforts include distributing emergency relief supplies to Japan tsunami victims, providing medical care, shelter, food and water for Haiti earthquake victims, and supplying food aid in response to massive flooding in North Korea.
What if your heart and your faith still want to teach biblical truths to others around the world, however, in places where humanitarian assistance is not needed? Can the call to the teaching mission field draw a young couple and their children to foreign lands? Can the call to share a faith lead a young woman to leave her family? Rebecca, a missionary serving in Asia with Seven Nine, knows the answer. “My heart beats for global mission movements to erupt out of every Christian community with strategic access to unreached people,” writes Rebecca.
Seven Nine members are mobilized to find their role in the Great Commission, taking the Word of God to all nations and people. Rather than focus on a short-term need or a denominational project (both of which can be a blessing in their own way), these mission workers strive to grow the global church by living among and witnessing to Christians in a largely unreached area who can then witness to the unengaged people not touched by the Gospel story. Theirs is a call to teach and lead.
In her work in Asia, Rebecca reaches out to two groups of people: women near her own age who can strengthen their own faith and reach out to their peers with encouragement and women near her own age who have not been exposed to the power of Christian scripture. In a recent trip back to her home in Tennessee, Rebecca shared with her home church the joys of her work in the mission field.
“I signed up for a two-year stay in my mission area, but I think I might try to stay a third year. I love the girls I work with and study with,” she said. She reminded listeners that one-fourth of the world’s population remains unreached by the Gospel. Only one percent of Christian giving in the United States goes toward supporting efforts to reach the unevangelized areas of the world.
The Seven Nine name comes from Revelation 7:9 and a glimpse of the future when all peoples of the earth stand and worship together before God. But the future starts here and now for the Seven Nine team members. They hope to be part of the plan that brings that snapshot of the future into reality. Seven Nine members know and follow Jesus and are guided to those who don’t. Seven Nine currently makes Bible studies and resources available in six languages as the group reaches out to the global church.
Rebecca sees God’s heart for the world. “God used this to stir my heart and lead me to join Seven Nine. As a ‘gobilizer’ with Seven Nine, I have the opportunity to go to Asia, meet with believers, and teach them all that I have learned about God and His plan for the nations. I get to use my passion for going to motivate others to go,” she says.
She goes without judgment of those she will be near in her surroundings. Her goal is not to disrespect anyone in her surroundings or claim to be a better person than those whom she resides near in the mission field. She aims to give people a glimpse of her faith and offer them the option to hold on to the hope she has found in her own faith. Through relationships and teaching moments, she engages, equips and connects with a global church depicted in the very Scriptures she takes with her.
Note: The name of the missionary has been changed to protect her privacy on the mission field.