WILLS POINT, TEXAS – Gospel for Asia (GFA) has been a leader in ministering to “the least of these”—the millions of people living in abject poverty in Asia—for nearly 40 years. Dr. K.P. Yohannan’s, GFA founder, ground-breaking book Revolution in World Missions accurately foretold the need for a dramatic change of methodology for what was then commonly called the “missionary movement.”Following the publication of that book, countless faith-based organizations (FBO) concurred that the time for change had, indeed, come. The theory of the book was that the emergence of new countries, new policies and simple economics would make it difficult, if not impractical, for Western missionaries to continue to carry on their work in other countries. This was already understood by a growing number of Christian leaders, including George Verwer and John Haggai. The publication of Revolution in World Missions simply shared the need among churches, mission boards and denominations.
GFA is grateful for the way the Lord has called so many to the field who are following essentially the same pattern for transforming lives in Asia and other countries in the 10/40 window that have “the highest level of socioeconomic challenges and the least access to the Christian message and Christian resources on the planet.”
Although the field operations of each FBO may differ, most align with a pattern similar to GFA. For the most part, each FBO ministers in five ways.
1. Ministering to Individual Communities
Like taking a bite out of the proverbial elephant, we may not be able to meet the needs of an entire country’s population all at once. FBOs focus on assisting individual communities that need clean water, sanitation resources, vocational training and economic opportunities.
2. Train and Partner with Local Pastors
We live in an era when outsiders in many countries are viewed with suspicion. Many of these countries have been independent for fewer than 100 years. Previously, many suffered under the oppression of colonialism rendered by outsiders. Local pastors are usually accepted in their communities. They understand the language and culture. They eat the same food, wear the same clothes and have the same interests as the rest of the community.
3. Provide Compassionate Care
People in poverty suffer from disease, malnutrition, lack of healthcare and discrimination. GFA and other FBOs help communities understand how to practice better personal hygiene. FBOs organize medical clinics and provide materials and supplies that help keep people safe from vector-borne and other diseases. We minister to people with leprosy and help them and their families to correctly understand the disease.
When natural disasters strike, the poor often suffer the most. FBOs work tirelessly to provide life-sustaining aid and supplies. Following the recent devastating flooding in Kerala, GFA rushed to aid anyone who needed assistance. Dr. Yohannan was onsite and reported:
We will be with these flood survivors for the long haul. We will help as many as we can. We will help them clean their homes, rebuild their houses and provide them with income-generating gifts to restore their lost livelihoods. We will minister hope in the name of Jesus and share His love in word and in deed.
4. Sponsor Children
Have you ever wondered why there are so many agencies that sponsor children? According to UNICEF, there are more than 385 million children living in extreme poverty in South Asia alone. There are another 247 million living in extreme poverty in Africa. GFA and other FBOs develop projects to help educate, feed and clothe children as part of ministering to the local community. Child sponsorship “provides children with opportunities to pursue . . . their God-given skills . . . to help break the cycle of poverty.”
5. Partner with You
Ultimately, FBOs depend upon the Lord to supply the needs of each ministry. He does that as He moves believers to share in the ministry by providing two essential tools for empowerment: prayer and financial support. Each makes you a partner with us, enabling us to carry on with our four field objectives and to share the love of Christ as we become His hands and feet in communities where the needs are greatest.
God has called us to a sacred duty to share His love in a manner and method that demonstrates how much He loves them. We are so blessed to be able to do that.
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