June 2006 is a very special month for us. We celebrate our 25th year of mission service! During these years it has been a wonderful time of serving and living among our Santal friends and colleagues in Bangladesh, living in a mud house, cooking over a mud stove, eating wildcat, rat and intestine stew, braving bats, shrews, cobras and kraits in our home, facing demonstrators and robbers on the road, living under martial law, fleeing charging water buffalos and honking geese, and even having an elephant relieve himself on our front porch. It has been a time of taking rabies shots, surviving food poisoning, pneumonia, electrocution, and a lethal dose of medication.
Our reward has been seeing lives changed as the result of a Christian hospital birthed, church leaders trained, and Christian literature, hymnal and theological books published; watching adults read for the first time, preach for the first time and pray for the first time; and growing in grace and learning mercy by being its recipient many times. We praise God for his great faithfulness in our lives!
Then we came to The JESUS Film Project® and Campus Crusade for Christ. What a privilege to be a part of bringing the Gospel to millions of people throughout Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, East Timor, and the Philippines. It has been fun to visit our brothers and sisters-in-Christ as they take the JESUS film to their own people. Since we joined in 1997, more than 4.5 billion more viewers have either viewed or listened to the JESUS film! To God be the Glory!
We regularly hear reports from partnering organizations on how the JESUS film has impacted their work. Just one mission’s teams have reported 38,811,868 evangelistic contacts1 from January 1998 through May 9, 2006. Of these contacts, 6,678,344 have indicated decisions for Christ and there have been 2,117,157 initial discipleship follow-ups. There have been 8,826 new mission churches started and 14,230 new pastors are in training.
One of their teams in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported: “Here they gain their livelihood from hunting and farming. This is an area where at least 380 people live in dire poverty. During the course of the showings, we were surprised to see 12 old soldiers from the group of rebels come forward to ask for forgiveness. Right there they handed over their fetishes2. This happened during the crucifixion of Jesus. The village chief, a pygmy, was among the viewers and gave the church a piece of property where we can build a church, and a chicken and cassava to provide food for the JESUS Film choir of 12 people. We had a celebration service on Sunday with 222 people present.” Pray for these soldiers and the community as they are guided by Christ to change their futures.
The Da Vinci Code has been the talk of the town recently. Campus Crusade for Christ has produced a stunning 20-page mini-magazine which examines the issues raised by The Da Vinci Code book and movie in an engaging way that points people to the truth. This magazine will be a natural conversation starter before, during and after the movie. We are including a copy of this magazine to you as our gift so that you can seize this unprecedented opportunity to answer the challenging questions raised by The Da Vinci Code about the deity of Christ and his Word. It is our hope that it may help you in opening up positive, compelling and welcoming dialogues about the real and relevant Christ.
Many many people have made our ministry possible these last twenty-five years; praying for us, encouraging us, and supporting us financially. You are all special to us and we want you to know that you have made a significant impact on millions of people, not the least, our family. We would never have ventured out with our mustard-seed faith without knowing God’s support team was behind us, holding the rope. Thank you.
Prayer & Family Update
+Mary has been taken off the high-risk list. Her blood clot has vanished and she and the baby are doing well. They have moved to Napoleon, Ohio, where Joe is beginning his internship.
+Esther continues working and attending summer school at Azusa Pacific University. She is living at home for the summer.
+Ruth will visit for five days when her friend, Christy, gets married. She is spending the summer working and attending summer sessions at Northwestern College in St. Paul. Pray for her knees. She has just been diagnosed with trochlear dysplasia.
+John is finishing up his junior year and plans to do his senior year with Biola’s STAR Torrey Academy on-line.