(June 28, 2020) Dr George Forbes, former director of Australia AoG (ACC) World Missions, shares…
I’ve always been an observer of missionaries and their activities, and of what happens in nations where missionaries serve – and of churches and individuals’ reaction (or the lack of it) to missionary needs, especially of prayer backup and financial support.
With the coming of the expanding computer age assisting our programs, correspondence and training of new missionaries, I would observe all this too, availing myself and staff of the IT world benefits. And over the past several years since my ‘retirement’ I’ve become an observer of the new generation of missionaries.
Working at Communicating
Missionaries have long shared the love of God… it’s the basis of their ministry! Since my retirement I observed a new generation of committed missionaries, prepared by credible mission schools training, boldly following in the footsteps of honoured predecessors who had set the pace over centuries of missionary enterprise.
And as long as I was able I would work with my generation in my church and community, praying for the younger generation and cheering them on. I strongly believed – and still do – that some of this generation will make their mark for God in the fulfilling of the Great Commission among all nations.
Communicating God’s Love Today
We’re in a time of unprecedented pandemic tragedy worldwide… in the midst of all that’s going wrong and thousands of people needing help, the 1983 song People Need the Lord is so relevant today.
The Great Commission of Matthew 28 is as relevant today as it was when Christ first presented it to those first disciples and adhered to by early church!
People needed God back then and today people everywhere still need Jesus Christ. The word of God is relevant in every generation, in every situation. People need to turn to God and his love (or if they’ve strayed return to God) and repent, finding…
- Purpose in life
- A dream, a vision, and
- A relationship with Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
Loving one’s neighbour is a priority with our loving God –Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39-40 and Romans 13:10 (not forgetting John 3:16-17; John 15:13).
Missionaries have always reached out to people – new neighbours they’ve met in whichever nation where they’ve been called to by God – with the gospel message of salvation found in Jesus Christ. I am praying that despite social distancing somehow missionary activities will still reach the unsaved – and this includes ‘reaching out activities’ as good neighbours here at home.
Every Christian is called by God to serve, to communicate God’s love and message of salvation…I would draw attention to the very important matter of the ‘call’ of God. The Bible word translated from the original Greek as ‘called’ means ‘invited’, ‘appointed’, ‘selected’, or ‘favoured.’
These are words that should be fully considered by every person dedicating themselves to the fulfilling of the call of God in their lives and to the Great Commission both at home and overseas. I do praise God that many have responded to God’s calling to be missionaries overseas… and for Christians at home reaching out locally.
Current Pressing Needs
While I would encourage all Christians to reach out as good neighbours wherever we are, I draw attention to current, pressing needs of overseas missionaries…
- Decline of interest
There has been a noticeable decline of interest in overseas missionaries, their activities and needs.
- Lack of financial support
One great need is in the area of ongoing financial support, both for missionaries themselves and for mission’s headquarters at home!
- Urgent pressing need
Several missionaries need to return home – some urgently from China – but current travel restrictions forbid this.
I urge Christians at home to pray for our brave missionaries: they are acting on our behalf in dedicating their lives to serve overseas, go where we couldn’t or wouldn’t… we mustn’t forget this new generation of missionaries ‘out there’ nor the long established experienced missionaries who are still determined to spread the good news!
My observing today? I long to observe Christians and churches supporting our missionaries as never before!
Praise God for the advantages of computerisation and today’s advantageous communication systems … but let’s not neglect praying for our missionaries!
We may be having needs at home but do think of our ambassadors far from home and imagine their needs, especially those with children who are feeling forgotten, missing friends back home.
Let’s continue communicating God’s love in every thoughtful, caring way we can as good neighbours – not only at home but in honouring missions in far off lands!
Dr George Forbes has been internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson. With his wealth of missionary knowledge and unique ability to communicate the global picture, although ‘retired’ he still has a heart for the lost of the nations. (Editorial note: Do keep praying for Dr Forbes as he trusts the Lord for physical victory in his recuperation from medical treatment).