December 23, 2014

Ten Ways Your Gifts Changed the World in 2014

By Brittany Tedesco

Pop quiz. Which of the following clichés can be found in the Bible?

  1. “God helps those who help themselves.”
  2. “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
  3. “This too shall pass.”
  4. “Tis more blessed to give than to receive.”

The phrase might be overused, but D is the right answer. Not only is it found in the Bible, it was said by none other than Jesus Christ.

And who better to teach us about giving than the One who gave everything for us? Think about what He gave.

He gave up His majesty to enter the world through a human birth canal, and into an animal pen.

He gave up His radiant beauty in favor of an average–dare I suggest homely–appearance (Isaiah 53:2). That´s not the way we like to think about Jesus, is it? At least not in the movies we make about Him.

He gave up His comfort in favor of primitive earthly conditions. He could have at least come to earth at a time in history after the invention of modern-day comforts like electricity. He lived His adult life as a homeless person.

He gave up admiration in favor of betrayal, rejection, humiliation, being misunderstood and wrongly accused, being mocked. In favor of loss and sorrow. In favor of temptation at a vulnerable time. In favor of intense physical suffering, mental anguish, and emotional pain during a horrific death.

He gave and gave and gave. But just look at what His giving produced. Redemption. Reconciliation. Hope. Life. He forever changed the world.

And when you accept Jesus´ invitation to participate with Him in the act of giving, you can forever change the world too. Because you equipped native missionaries around the globe with the resources they needed this year, hope, life, reconciliation, and redemption was produced in the lives of those who heard and accepted the good news of Jesus Christ.

Here is a sampling of how your gifts forever changed the world in 2014:

1. Indigenous ministries started working among seven new unreached people groups in South Asia: Meena (Rajasthan), Rai (Nepal), Sinhalese (Sri Lanka), Kotwalia (Gujarat), Rajbansi, Koch (Bangladesh), Mazahabi, Sikh (Punjab); and Christian Aid now sponsors a ministry leader from the Chauhan people.

2. In China, a relief ministry is helping two migrant refugee communities in the mountain villages of Yunnan Province, totaling 173 families (1,384 people) of Lishu ethnic origin, with food, water, shelter, basic hygiene, medical attention, and classroom facilities for children´s education.

3. In Ukraine, missionaries broke into teams to visit 17,920 villages so far this year to hand out more than 120,000 New Testaments and pray for thousands of people to receive salvation. They´ve started 75 new churches.

4. In the Middle East, Christian Aid sent $1 million to help local Iraqi ministries provide for Internally Displaced People, as well as for Syrian refugees. Doors have opened for the gospel through provisional help, and tent churches are popping up among the refugees.

5. In Africa, Christian Aid is assisting 41 groups in 25 countries continent-wide, reaching more than 100 people groups. Together they have planted more than 100 churches this year, with an average attendance of around 40 people.

6. A training center in China has teachers and students from seven minority ethnic groups, and they´ve successfully completed translating the Bible into four ethnic languages. They are now working on translating Bible reference books and hymns into the Miao, Lahu and Wa languages.

7. In Honduras, 2,171 people received the Lord Jesus during evangelistic outreaches in the villages, and 1,434 new believers were baptized. Christian Aid helped build 12 meeting halls. In the Bible institute, 695 students received training and 60 plan to serve as missionaries.

8. In India, a new church in Gujarat among the Kotwali people group began with only six people in the first meeting; now 42 people come regularly for worship. After monsoon rains, which destroyed the simple worship structure, Christian Aid raised funds for a permanent building for this new church.

9. Christian Aid started supporting two new ministries that work with college students. One in Shandong, China, which works with hundreds of students from urban universities, and one in Mongolia, which also focuses on reaching college students of Mongolian ethnic origin.

10. In Russia, where more than 160 ethnicities are represented, missionaries distributed over 220,000 New Testaments.