Thoughts on the Way Home

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Book I Want my Friends to Read


I recently read Revolution in World Missions, by K.P. Yohannan. Please hear me out. It was very good. If you have ever had a desire to be a missionary or to support missionaries in some way (which I hope you do), this book would be well worth reading. For those of you familiar with HeartCry, K.P.'s ministry is similar in many ways. The biggest similarity is his advocating indigenous missionaries.

The book for me was good in at least three ways. One, it opened my eyes to more of what the Lord is doing in the 10/40 window. Two, it's message continues to convict me of my lack of sharing material resources that God has blessed me with just by nature of the fact that I was born in the US. I don't want to be an ungrateful and materialistic hog! Three, it has really made me rethink mission endeavors even more than the rethinking I did when I was in college.

And, ok, due to my love and appreciation for Paul Washer, I have got to share this bit of insider info. Hopefully, you hearing about it will want to make you read the book as much as it made me want to read it. One of the biggest reasons why I read the book was because I have a friend that works for Gospel for Asia (K.P.'s ministry) who also knows Paul. He said when he talked to Paul in person asking him if he had read the book or knew of K.P. Yohannan, Paul said that this book was actually sent to him when he was a missionary in Peru. He said he received the book in a package with no return address and reading it was what made him decide to start HeartCry! If you get the book don't be fooled by it's attractive professional cover. It was originally printed in 1986. Needless to say, the link to HeartCry brought it close to home for me and I knew I had to read the book. It has in fact turned out to be very stirring for me.

My friends please read the book. If you want I'll get you a copy. Just let me know.

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These are what seemed to be his main points, of which, by the way he has won me over:

  • Westerners are materialistic and outside of the will of God. Christians need to be purposeful and thoughtful not to adopt the mindset of the culture around them. By and large, Christians in the west are not doing a good job in this area.
"In 1998, personal expenditures in the United States averaged $19,049 per person, of which $1,276 (6.7 percent) went for food, leaving a comfortable $17,773 for other expenses. In India, the average person had only $276 to spend, of which $134 (48.4 percent) went for food, leaving a scant $142 for other needs for the entire year.

"To my horror, the food and "fellowship" frequently cost more than the money they had just given to missions."

"American families routinely eat enough meat at one meal to feed an Asian family for a week."

"Throughout Scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance: sharing."

"If all of your concern is about your own life, your job, your clothes, your children's good clothes, healthy bodies, a good education, a good job and marriage, then your concerns are no different from someone who is lost in Bhutan, Myanmar or India."

"I believe most Asian Christians give a far greater portion of their income to missions than do Westerners."
  • Indigenous missionaries by and large do a better job of evangelizing their countries than western missionaries.
"There was a time when Western missionaries needed to go into these countries in which the Gospel was not preached. But now a new era has begun, and it is important that we officially acknowledge this. God has raised up indigenous leaders who are more capable than outsiders to finish the job."

"Today it is outrageously extravagant to send North American missionaries overseas unless there are compelling reasons to do so. From a strictly financial standpoint, sending American missionaries overseas is one of the most questionable investments we can make."

"It is hard for some to hear me reinterpret the stories told by Western missionaries of hardship and fruitless ministry as indicators of outdated and inappropriate methods."
  • Social "gospel" efforts that don't make preaching the gospel primary are in fact not gospel efforts.
"I met poor, often minimally educated, native brothers involved in Gospel work in pioneer areas. They had nothing material to offer the people to whom they preached -- no agricultural training and no medical relief or school program. But hundreds of souls were saved..."

"To look into the sad eyes of a hungry child or see the wasted life of a drug addict is to see the evidence of Satan's hold on this world. He is the ultimate enemy of mankind, and he will do everything within his considerable power to kill and destroy people. But to try to fight this terrible enemy with only physical weapons is like fighting tanks with stones."
  • The indigenous missionaries to the 10/40 window are very poor and often going without food and witnessing materials. Therefore affluent western Christians should support them.
"Why can't we at least earmark 10% of our Christian giving for the cause of world evangelism?"

"There are, of course, many other ways to get involved. Some cannot give more financially, but they can invest time in prayer and help recruit more sponsors. And a few are called to go overseas to become more directly involved."
  • There were also many many eye opening statistics about the sheer number of people who die every day in the 10/40 window without ever having heard the name of Jesus. These countries have way more people than the US and way less gospel witness.
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If any of this seems unbalanced, please just read the book. I didn't pick any quotes on the balanced side of things, and there are some important ones believe me.