In Isaiah 26:8, God’s children promised to walk in the ways of the Lord’s laws and wait for him. Why? Because like today’s Believers, they told Him, “your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Yet, as they promised to sing praises to their Lord, they admitted that, “We have not brought salvation to the earth… to people of the world” (18). I may be taking this phrase out-of –context, but these words always leave me challenged!
As I prepared to write this week’s update and read the promotional materials for the 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO), I thought of these words recorded in Isaiah. WHY? BECAUSE this year’s theme is "Totally His … heart, hands, voice” (Matthew 22:36-39); BECAUSE there are still not just people, but entire people groups in our world who do not know our Father’s name and his renown!
How many people and people groups are we talking about? The International Mission Board’s answer is: “Out of the world’s 11,000-plus people groups, nearly 7,000 are considered yet unreached; they include more than half the world’s population. More than 3,000 unreached people groups are unengaged, having no church-planting strategy at all.” (What are the global needs?)
Jack and I work in the Sub-Saharan African Peoples affinity, so I then queried the number of unreached people and people groups in our work area. Fast Facts about Sub-Saharan Africa shares the answer: “2,826 people groups; 1,850 are unreached; around 862 million total population… in around 65 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.”
Explore Priority Groups of Sub-Saharan Africa shares another heartbreaking number: 573 of the 1,850 unreached peoples in Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes 28,752,550 people, are not even ENGAGED or actively being reached by Believers sharing our Father’s Good News!
Reading all of these facts, made the explanation offered in Frequently Asked Questions about this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering theme even more urgent! We must be "Totally His … heart, hands, voice.” We must live Matthew 22:16-19 and be “Totally committed to God, first to love Him, then love others. No less than all of our heart, soul and mind is what’s required of us as believers in Christ. All believers, all of the church, all Southern Baptists — totally His.” (Jack suggested that I add this note: totally His – ALL THE TIME!)
Yes, Jack and I are a bit passionate about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. WHY? BECAUSE without the gifts given to the LMCO and the Cooperative https://www.facebook.com/LMCO.SSAPeoplesProgram, as well as the awareness of the need for new short and long-term personnel and the nudges to prayer that comes during the LMCO promotion, we could not do what we know God has called us to do!
My intended short note has yet again turned into a long epistle, but Jack and I have been given the gift of serving our Father in His harvest field. There are discouraging and painful moments, but the joy of knowing that people and people groups are being reached and responding to our Father’s love and salvation is… well, unless, you are ready to read a book-long explanation, I need to stop writing and hope I’ve already shared enough for you to hear our hearts!
Yates-IMB-Kenya&SSAP BLOG – http://bertandjackyates.<wbr></wbr>blogspot.com
Daily Nudges to Action (Praying, Giving & Serving) for Sub-Saharan African Peoples are found at https://www.facebook.com/<wbr></wbr>pages/Sub-Saharan-African-<wbr></wbr>Peoples/100173880060607 and at SSAP Nudges to Action – Praying, Serving and Giving.
Non-FB members can also view the SSAPeoples and KBTC pages and catch a glimpse of what God is up to in our part of the world and how you can join His work!