December 08, 2015

Light Is Expanding and His Return Is Near

Post by Brittany Tedesco

The radio tower in Peru that supporters of Christian Aid Mission provided to a native ministry

"Here in my town there are many sorcerers, but now your radio station is shining the light of Christ in the middle of darkness. Thank you very much."

This was one of the messages received by an indigenous ministry in Peru that was able to start a radio broadcast thanks to Christian Aid Mission supporters who provided the tower, office, and all the equipment necessary.

Light is broadcast on the airwaves 15 hours a day in the form of Christian music and evangelistic messages preached by native missionaries who take turns filling time slots. Light breaks into dark communities and darkened hearts—into faraway, remote places where those missionaries admit they wouldn't be able to physically go.

Light is an interesting thing. It carries energy, interacts with matter, and expands and radiates in all directions. Thanks to this Wired article on the basics of light, I was reminded that we don't actually see the objects and people around us—what we're seeing is the light reflecting off of them and entering our eyes. Without light, we'd perceive everything as black.

A few weeks ago, my pastor made a good point about light. He asked us to suppose we were in a dark room and someone turned on a light. When this happens, he said, you don't have to try and find the light. It finds you.

"Thank you for sharing the Word of God with me. Now I know I need Him, so I am receiving Jesus as my Savior."

"Through your radio messages my family and I receive Jesus. Before, my family life was a disaster, and I used to receive physical abuse. I was also losing my eyesight. Now the Lord is restoring my family, marriage, and He healed my eye. With Christ we are living in harmony."

The messages continue to pour in from people all over Peru who've heard the gospel because of the radio broadcast.

"Salvation has arrived for me and family!" said Jose, a 45-year-old man who traveled to the radio station. He wept, asking the missionaries to pray for him. Afterward, he told them he would share the good news of Jesus Christ with his wife and children.

Can you remember where you were when Jesus found you? When Light found you?

Maybe you already knew about Jesus but were resisting Him—hiding from Him.

One more fun fact about light: it can bend around corners.

Julio, 28, had an unruly temper and nearly lost his job after hitting and badly injuring a coworker. Depressed over the situation, he turned on the radio and flipped through the stations, stopping on the Christian broadcast right as the gospel message was being shared. After traveling to the station, he prayed with the missionaries and received Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. He started meeting with a local Bible study group. "Now with the Lord's help, I have peace and my bad behavior, bad temper, and bouts of rage are gone," he said.

Slavik Radchuk preaches the gospel over the airwaves

In 1991, Ukrainian evangelist, Slavik Radchuk, started the first Christian radio and TV company in the entire former Soviet Union. Today, 1,000 towers transmit his radio program to an area comprising 100 million people in the former U.S.S.R. His TV programs reach over 135 nations, well beyond Central Asia. Light has shone and lodged into hearts that we don't even know about.

One of the ministries Christian Aid Mission supports in the Middle East has produced audio materials that are played on radio stations, downloaded from websites, distributed on CDs or on chips for smart phones, or downloaded on mp3 players. These audio materials include commentaries of the whole Bible, evangelistic messages, or simply books of the Bible being read—all in Arabic.

A Muslim who is curious about Christ may not want to risk the danger of being seen talking with a Christian for an extended period of time. He may have questions but not want to get caught with a Christian book or the Bible. These audio materials reach him where he is. The ministry reports that, every month, thousands of these materials are downloaded or distributed.

The vast numbers of people turning to Christ throughout the Middle East and Asia today—tens of thousands per day—are one of the reasons I think Christ's return is right around the corner.

Now, it's true that even some of Jesus' original followers thought His return was right around the corner, but it wasn't.

Audio Bibles have been highly effective among certain African people groups

The era in which we're living is unique from other eras, however, precisely because of the modern technology—radio, television, satellite, the Internet—that is facilitating the spread of Light like never before. God is gathering up His own in larger and larger numbers.

A Nigerian ministry leader we support reported that, in four years, he has reached 40,000 people through audio Bibles—people who heard Scripture for the very first time in their entire lives.

According to United Bible Societies, digital distribution of Scriptures was three times higher in 2014 than in 2010.

A Christian Aid Mission-supported ministry in Kenya is effectively using the Jesus film to share the gospel with mass numbers of people. After showing it in 32 public schools and 16 villages, a total of 782 people gave their lives to Christ.

While some people point to what seems like an increase in natural disasters as an indicator of the end times, we at Christian Aid Mission look to the number of people receiving the gospel.

2011 earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan

I'll never forget the Christmas of 2004 when an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed over 200,000 people. I'd just started working for Christian Aid Mission and could barely believe the news. Nothing like that had ever happened before. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

That event appeared to be the beginning of many more massive earthquakes and natural disasters. It seems to me that these events are occurring way more frequently than before.

My hunch may or may not be correct. Search the Internet and you'll find varying viewpoints.

According to this article from the Costa Rica News, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes are happening more frequently. The article compares the 108.5 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater per year between 1980 and 1989 to the 160.9 per year between 2000 and 2009.

However, according to this Daily Beast article from last year, there is "no significant pattern" of earthquake activity. There have been times when the world has experienced clusters of earthquakes and times when the earthquakes were spaced farther apart. Since 1900, "over 14,000 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater" happen every year. The reason we hear about some of them but not others, the article asserts, is because of the area in which they strike.

The most promising indicator of Christ's swift return isn't natural disasters—it's the shrinking number of people groups without a witness for Him. Missions statisticians estimate the number of completely unreached (or "unengaged") people groups with over 10,000 in population to be somewhere in the low 500s. That's a huge reduction from even a few years ago.

We cry "Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus!" by equipping hundreds of indigenous ministries with the technology they need to shine His Light into the darkness.

Follow the Light as it radiates and expands in all directions through the world, and I think you'll agree, His return is very near.