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Good News

The concept of ethno linguistic people groups or “nations” was introduced by Ralph Winter in 1974. HIs insights brought a focus on reaching individual people groups, not just countries, with the Gospel. Despite many initiatives to “finish” the Great Commission task, about 2,000 distinct people groups and millions of villages still have little or no Christian witness!

At the same time, there is growing pressure and “competition” from Muslim “missionaries” seeking to garner new converts to Islam. Radical Islam is establishing cells of jihadists whose mission is to disrupt and create fear. Jihadist Training Camps, such as one in Sudan, train up to 2,000 young Muslim men who will be sent back to their countries to recruit and radicalize other youth. We are in a race to reach people. There are windows of opportunity to penetrate the spiritual darkness, but they require strong and coordinated collaborative action.

Research helps. Efforts to research the spiritual condition of people groups have raised awareness among mission agencies and evangelism groups.

It is difficult for us in the west to truly comprehend the global need for the Gospel. As I share basic information about unreached peoples, surprise is expressed that everyone hasn’t already been reached, let alone even had access to the Good News. Creating awareness is critical. Awaken to the World, a program developed by Bethany missionary, Jeff Korum, has stirred the church in Ghana, West Africa concerning the global mission challenge. Awareness leads to a call to respond. Effective training of workers must accompany focused sending of missionaries.

In 1995, a collaborative mission initiative, GlobeServe, brought together the collective resources and efforts of mission and church leaders from several countries. We recognized that the hidden and unreached peoples challenge cannot be solved alone.

Bethany International, along with Bethany International University (BIU), founded by a Bethany missionary in Singapore in 1989, spearheaded a global effort to train workers for cross cultural ministry by multiplying mission training schools placed in proximity to targeted people groups. IN the past 22 years, 202 of these schools have been launched. BIU has discipled and prepared leaders from many African and Asian countries that have gone back to their country of origin and launched pioneer mission training schools focused on reaching into the unreached regions and peoples. We have come along side of national mission initiatives to encourage their vision and efforts.

During the past 25 years, tremendous progress has been made in preparing and sending workers. But, we are not done, and Jesus has not yet returned! So we keep praying, planning and working.

GHANA

 

  • Population: 28.21 million
  • Official Language: English (though there are 8 other languages sponsored by the government)
  • Life Expectancy Average: 61.45 years
  • Capital City: Accra

Unreached tribes in the Northern part of Ghana have not yet been radicalized even though those in neighboring Nigeria have become militantly anti-Christian. Bethany Gateways’ missionary, Sam Dunya, began to dig wells and serve the needs in villages throughout Northern Ghana. Today, Sam has found an open door of ministry among a number of these tribes and has planted more than 200 churches in these and other Muslim villages in the past several years.

Each time Sam receives permission from village chiefs to start a church in an unreached area (an amazing God thing), he asks the chief to give him two men who are healthy and intelligent so he can train them for two years and send them back as a blessing to their village. In this way, Sam has embarked on a training program for hundreds of young Muslim men who then come to Christ and are prepared to help extend the Kingdom of God in these formerly resistant areas.

Sam has a goal to train upwards of 2,000 men in a multiplication-oriented training program that will provide leaders for many more churches in this region of Northern Ghana.

ETHIOPIA

 

  • Population: 102.4 million
  • Official Language: Amharic
  • Life Expectancy Average: 64.58 years
  • Capital City: Addis Ababa

Early Ethiopian missionaries working among Muslim tribes were often heavily persecuted and some suffered martyrdom. Much of the problem was that even though these missionaries had great zeal, they did not have the training they needed to minister across cultural and religious boundaries. It’s been more than 10 years since Bethany helped the Kale Heywet Church of Ethiopia to develop an effective missionary training program. The incredible results of this program have been a large number of Muslim people coming to Christ. However, it became obvious that even training many missionaries would never get the job done.

A program was started to train these Muslim background believers in Jesus to be able to reach their own tribes, and then to extend the Gospel to other unreached Muslim tribes a well. So far, about 200 of these missionaries have been trained and deployed, resulting in 27,000 Muslim people coming to Christ in just the last 6 years alone!

This year, a new program will train and equip 3,000 more workers in a highly multiplicative program designed to strengthen existing churches that have already been planted in majority Muslim areas as well as to plant hundreds of new churches.

NEPAL

 

  • Population: 28.98 million
  • Official Language: Nepali
  • Life Expectancy Average: 69.97 years
  • Capital City: Kathmandu

Nepal has more than 400 unreached people groups. Many of these are in remote mountainous areas requiring extensive trekking to even be able to find and identify them! Other unreached people groups are amalgamated right into majority Nepalese villages and are easier to find and engage.

The recent anti-conversion laws passed in Nepal harken back to a much darker day when Christians were placed into prison for sharing the Gospel. A number of Christians have now been charged under this new law. However, all is not lost, as many believers continue to take the risk of sharing the Gospel in this challenging environment.

Bethany partners are working with local Nepali leaders to conduct training for pioneer ministry among these many unreached people groups. This is happening, not only in the principal city of Kathmandu, but in far-flung areas, such as Western Nepal, where the unreached are much more remote and difficult to engage.

Some of these enterprising training programs have thousands of Nepali believers enrolled in them. They are learning how to live an share their faith, even in the difficult political environment that exists in Nepal today.

 

This article is from the Fall 2017 Issue of coMission Magazine.

Bethany International Around The World

We are working in 92 countries around the world through missionaries, BGU alumni, missionary training schools, and partners.

A Report on Bethany International`s Ministries and Impact

The mission statement of Bethany International is to “take the church to where it is not and help others do the same.” This report shares very encouraging and inspiring reports about what the Lord has done through Bethany and its many partners worldwide.

BETHANY GLOBAL UNIVERSITY  In February 2016 the university was accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

  • In February 2016 the university was accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
  • August 2016 enrollment is up to 233 students of which 118 freshmen represent the largest class size in BGU’s history.
  • Students understand the mission of Bethany International to take the church to where it’s not.

Elizabeth Greenough, a student, states, “Coming to Bethany was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have grown in my walk with the Lord, have learned more about myself, the Bible, and just how much God loves us. Chapel is amazing. The staff cares deeply not only about our academics, but also our spiritual and physical well-being. Bethany is life changing.”

Bethany Gateways (International Mission)

  • Missionaries fielded: 90
  • Number of countries where Bethany Gateways Missionaries and BGU Alumni serve: 39 • New missionary canidates in process: 34
  • BGU Sophomores preparing for Global Internship: 75

Bethany missionaries Sam & Jonhild Dunya began serving in a small village in Southern Ghana over 20 years ago, with the hopes of planting a church. They not only planted a church in that village, but have seen nearly 150 churches planted over the years. As their vision and concern turns towards unreached regions, we are working with them to see Ghana transition into a Gateway Access Platform, as they train and launch Ghanaian church planters into the unreached tribes in the surrounding region.

Publish4All

  • Publish4All has pioneered a high-quality, low-cost print-on-demand system that can be installed and operated anywhere in the world to enable the printing of affordable content at the local level.
  • 95 Publish4All Systems have been deployed to 58 countries.

Tim Kelly directs a highly successful Publish4All print center in Nairobi with a Kenyan staff of five. Tim’s vision is to see Kenyans with missionary hearts, training other Africans in print-on-demand technology, in order to reach every corner of the African continent with the Gospel message, in print.

CMS-Africa operates a Publish4All system. They state, “We no longer need to keep inventory—saving on space and costs of storage, we can keep revising each book as we get feedback from the field. We can customize each of our publications for the customers.  The quality of the product is excellent.”

 International Partners

  • • Bethany and its international partners work in more than 1,012 people groups in 92 countries around the globe, 269 of which are unreached people groups. • 300 missionary training schools in 29 countries are preparing nationals to take the Gospel to those who never have heard (shown in the photo are students from one of the schools)
  • • Launched Engage500 mission goal to engage an additional 231 unreached people groups, for a total of 500 (Engage500).  Partners have targeted 53 unreached people groups they plan to engage
  • . • In 2015 Bethany and its international partners planted about a thousand churches and discipled about 25,000 people.  Bethany has helped the Kale Heywet Church in Ethiopia develop effective cross-cultural missionary training.  Seven schools are now preparing missionaries.

In the last five years more than 24,000 Muslims have become believers and are on track to see 25,000 people brought to faith in Christ in the next five years.  Also, 30 missionaries are serving outside of the country.

Reaching Beyond Our Culture the Value of an Intercultural Education for All

A few years ago while attending a conference in South Korea, I was asked to preach in a local church. This, of course, required a translator since my Korean is less than fluent! Afterward, I was introduced to the elders of the church, who thanked me for the message and then very formally presented me with an honorarium. I informally said thank you and pocketed the gift. A deafening silence followed. Later I discovered that my casual response was culturally completely inappropriate. I had heard of “high” and “low” context cultures (formal events treated with a high degree of respect for the moment versus informal, relaxed unceremonious demeanor), but I failed to discern on this important occasion that my informality was perceived as disrespect which, in the end, undermined my earlier message.

My experience is one example of the need to learn and apply cross-cultural education. Most of us have a much more deeply-rooted ethnocentric (our own culture is central and obviously most appropriate), culturally bound, and often unrecognized outlook than we would prefer to admit.

In many contexts our increasingly global world requires knowledge and appreciation of other cultures. Whether simply in daily interaction with neighbors or our interactions during work or ministry, we need to understand why people behave and react the way they do. Many of us too quickly misjudge a person of a different culture because we do not understand what is behind actions and reactions. To be effective communicators in this international world, we must be able to detect cultural differences. This requires not political correctness, but cultural sensitivity and respect.

Here at Bethany Global University we provide an online accredited and affordable Master’s degree program in Intercultural Education. Some of our graduates have found that with this accredited degree they qualify for jobs teaching overseas in International Schools and mission and NGO settings. Christian schools in the USA have also been pleased to accept our graduates for teaching positions. Secular schools in some states may require an additional teaching certificate, but have expressed appreciation for the cultural awareness our graduates bring, particularly in schools with students from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

A recent graduate, Liz Stubbs, said, “Completing a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Education at Bethany Global University has revolutionized my approach to teaching, and the classes about the Kingdom of God changed my worldview, affecting my attitudes and behaviors in daily life. As a working adult, the online classes were well paced and easily managed; and it gave me an opportunity to be ‘in class’ with people all over the world, which enriched my educational experience even more.”

What Does it Mean to Take the Church to Where it’s Not? The Future of Bethany International

The original vision to “train, send, and support 100 missionaries” captured the heart of Bethany’s founding generation. It was fulfilled in 1975. In 2010, Bethany embraced the mission to “take the church to where it is not…and help others do the same.”

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD WILL COVER THE EARTH AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA.” Habakkuk 2:14

One of the saddest stories in the Bible is when the Israelites refused to enter Canaan because of fear. In Numbers 14:21, God passed judgment, “Truly, as I live, and all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs…shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers.” God’s heart was (and is) to reveal his glory through his people.

 An Audacious Mission Goal: Engage 500

In 1974, Ralph Winter introduced the concept of reaching every “ethne” or people group with the Gospel—16,000 people groups. In recent years this has focused on “finishing the task” of sending workers to the remaining people groups with no known workers.

In 2015, Bethany embraced the Engage500 mission goal of systematically engaging 231 new unreached people groups along with the 269 people groups with whom we currently work. This is research driven. Unreached people groups are identified, adopted, and plans are implemented to evangelize, establish gatherings of believers (the church), and disciple them to be Great Commission Christians. Pursuing our mission and this goal is shaping Bethany for decades to come.

Building a Global Mission Force

The first strategy is to train and send thousands of Kingdom workers worldwide to impact the least reached people groups for Christ.

Bethany Global University students do missions while they train for missions in places such as Kenya, France, Indonesia, Thailand, China, and other countries being opened up. They encounter God, gain frontline missions experience, along with academic intercultural knowledge (and an accredited degree), and serve to reach unreached peoples.

In addition, our dream is that God’s people everywhere in the world have access to mission training relative to their culture. A global network of 300 mission training schools in many countries effectively equips and sends cross-cultural missionaries. From these schools more than 10,000 workers have been fielded, helping mission fields become mission forces!

Thousands of churches among unreached people groups have been planted in 67 countries. Just this past week I learned that 70 MBBs (Muslim Background Believers) completed their mission training in Ethiopia. And, that in the last two months 870 Muslims came to Christ. These MBB students have taken responsibility to serve the Lord in Muslim dominated areas of Ethiopia.

Bethany’s missionaries facilitate leadership development; support the distribution of Scripture, evangelism, and discipleship resources; empower those with whom they work; and promote partnership. The western missionary’s role is similar to that of Barnabas in the book of Acts—he gave from his resources, advocated the Apostle Paul to the leaders in Jerusalem, led out with Paul on the first missionary journey, recognized Paul’s leadership, and then invested in another young leader, John Mark. He was catalytic in promoting new leaders.

Building Gateway Platforms for Access

We are developing 15-20 Gateway Access Platforms (GAP sites) to serve as strategically placed regional “basecamps” for launching workers from many nations to many nations. Most unengaged peoples cannot be reached by a westerner. But we can (and must) help. These GAP sites build shared vision, recognize diverse gifting, and encourage collaborative action. They are incubators for accelerating training leaders and cross-cultural workers.

Gateway Access Platforms become ongoing support and supply depots for workers. We bring mission training, 24/7 intercessory prayer, and ongoing spiritual encouragement. As individuals, churches and organizations are awakened to the need, see what God is doing, and hear his call, we help them thrive.

 Building Partnerships and Collaboration

Bethany is already known to effectively partner worldwide. We seek to accelerate the spread of the gospel to the entire world. We identify specific challenges and opportunities that warrant collaborative efforts, and address root causes rather than just symptoms. Workers deployed by Bethany bring great value to international partners and facilitate collaboration in strategic regions.

We are developing new business initiatives that foster sustainable enterprise, and have direct kingdom impact. Publish4All is one example as ministry partners in 57 countries are now printing their own books through the print on demand equipment developed and supported by Bethany. These partnerships take hard work and a willingness to “lose our lives” for the sake of the Gospel.

Finally, we love and work with the church and the church knows it. The extended Bethany family provides encouragement, God-sized vision and motivation, serving and empowering the church globally and locally. The church is mobilized to strategically reach where the church is not. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Growing the Missions Workforce the Future Impact of Bethany Global University

Beginning last fall, Bethany Global University began to experience some significant growth in the student body. Our school enrollment has tripled in the last two years. Looking forward to the spring when seniors return from internship and new January students start, we could have a total on-campus student body of 250! We believe that this growth positions Bethany for even greater things in the future as we pursue our mission to take the church to where it is not.

This growth means change, not just for BGU but for all of the Bethany. On campus, of course, there are many logistical changes: arranging dorm space, changing the flow of the cafeteria line, adding new personnel, working out office space, and many others. It means doubling up of classes to keep student/teacher ratios manageable, with some students taking class in the mornings and others in the afternoons. This impacts every portion of Bethany as now some students participate in their practical training in the morning.

Beyond all of those kinds of changes, we believe that this increase positions Bethany for even greater things in the future as we continue to pursue our vision to take the Church to where it is not. Higher enrollment and greater retention means that more students than ever will participate in the Global Internship portion of the BA program starting in 2017. Global Internship directly fulfills the vision of Bethany by placing students strategically in Gateway Access Platforms—centers of key access to the least reached peoples of the world.

The Gateway Access strategy has now become the focal strategy of our mission, so much so that our sending agency, Bethany International Ministries, has now become Bethany Gateways. The concept is simple: establish core centers we call Gateways in proximity to the least reached peoples of the world; work in partnership with other ministries; and bring the Church to where it is not, through evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. All of this serves Bethany’s larger vision we call Engage500—together with our global partnerships to engage at least 231 unreached people groups in addition to the 269 people groups we are already working among, totaling at least 500 people groups by the year 2020.

Students as Global Interns serve directly as missionaries of Bethany, alongside long-term missionaries and global partners, to fulfill the unique vision of each Gateway and the larger vision of Engage 500. Because they enter their junior year and Global Internship as Bethany Gateways missionaries, they are able to retain their status as missionaries after graduation from the university. Currently there are 16 recent graduates in process to return to the field: a number that we expect to grow significantly as the larger classes form larger teams at more Gateway sites. Bethany Gateways is currently establishing new Gateway sites to welcome the growth. In the fall of 2017 we will add another country in Asia and the Caucasus region to the list.

Passing the Torch in India:How Two Generations Partnered for the Sake of the Unreached

My parents met Joe and Barb Finsaas, Bethany missionaries in North India and Nepal, when they were studying at a seminary in the city of Bareilly, where Joe served as visiting faculty. My father had a great evangelistic zeal and Joe realized it. They started traveling together to many cities of North India preaching the gospel, especially cities on the Nepal-India border. In 1965, my father joined an indigenous missionary society and on his first assignment he was sent to Nepal.

One night my father was arrested by the Nepali police for preaching the gospel and was sent to prison. However, for his release God had already sent Dr. Joe to the city of Kathmandu. When he learned about the arrest of my father, through his close friendship with the king, he got my father released from the prison and immediately sent him to India. This all happened before I was born.

Though in my childhood I never meet Joe and Barb Finsaas, my father always told me about his time with them as one of his memorable life stories. These stories deeply impacted me to make the most important decision of my life either to serve the Lord instead of the world.

After finishing my schooling in 1987, I joined Operation Mobilization’s ship ministry. Then, from 1991 to 1998 I ministered in Central Uttar Pradesh, going into towns and villages preaching the gospel. In 1998, I attended a missionoriented Bible school called SAIACS in Bangalore and graduated in 2000.

In 2005, following the Lord’s call, my wife Sara and I started Nicodemus, an organization dedicated to reaching the most unreached Urdu speaking Muslim people groups in 25 cities of North India where there is hardly any Christian presence. Today Nicodemus seeks to share the love of Jesus through educational and medical projects, business as missions, holistic child development and survival programs, skill development and income generation projects, training and leadership development, and women empowerment.

Closing the Generational Loop

In 2014, Sushil attended a mission’s conference in Minneapolis and visited Barb Finsaas at Bethany. After more than 45 years, the Tyagi family reconnected with Barb Finsaas, the wife of his father’s friend and ministry partner, and opened up a new generation of ministry relationships.

The Convergence of the Prayer and Missions Movement

It Started with a Prayer Meeting

Just before Jesus returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, he told his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Later in the upper room, 120 men and women were filled with the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Out of that small prayer meeting, God created missionaries that have made Jesus the most famous name on the planet.

Through prayer, Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians learned that the secret of loving the souls of men was found in loving the Savior of men. Their 24/7 prayer meetings influenced John and Charles Wesley, as well as prompted William Carey’s efforts to reach India. There have been many pockets of prayer movements throughout church history, but I believe that in this day the Holy Spirit is raising up prayer and worship on a global scale where incense is ascending to the Throne at a magnitude and frequency that has never been seen before.

In many places all over the earth, the Lord is placing desires and plans for 24/7 prayer into the hearts of leaders, and they are weaving it into the fabric of their ministries. This has resulted in 24/7 houses of prayer, and prayer mountains being established on every continent.

There is much work ahead of us no doubt, but as we look upon the problems that we are facing in proclaiming Jesus to the harvest field, we must remember his remedy. He saw the problem himself with his own human eyes as he looked upon the multitudes that were like sheep without a shepherd—but he also knew the solution, and told the disciples how to fix it.

“Pray”

A missionary is born when an intercessor asks the Lord of the harvest to send a laborer. If you are a missionary, it is because someone asked the Lord to make you one—likely someone you don’t even know. If you are a missionary, you are the answer to someone’s prayer.

It’s all about knowing Jesus and making him known. Only by encountering the deep love and knowledge of Jesus through prayer are we empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the work of missions. When we get our heads around God’s character, missions refrain from being a technique and become an instinct.

And the fruit of our labors? As we take the church to where it’s not, Jesus begins to hear his name sung in a language that he has never heard before in heaven. The fruit is more love for Jesus. More people groups and more cultures that are set free to love and enjoy him forever.

The Holy Spirit is now awakening the hearts of young men and women all over the earth, and he is creating expectation. Expectation is necessary for Jesus to return. He is coming back for a bride that has made herself ready, and expectation is a part of the preparation.

Worship is what is ultimate. Missions will cease, but we will be praying to and worshiping our Savior forever. Let us make it our goal to partner with the Holy Spirit in prayer as he works to cover the earth with the glory of God.

You can change the world no matter where you are. Join Bethany International in praying for the least reached people groups of the world for 30 days. Get started by requesting a free prayer map and daily reminders at BethanyInternational.org/Prayer .

We can Do More Together: Collaborating to Finish the Task of World Missions

Surely, we can do more together than we can do on our own. As we met with Sam Dunya, a Bethany missionary on Bethany campus last fall, it was clear God was overlapping our lives to do something more than we could imagine again… something God has been doing in Sam’s life in Ghana for 19 years now.

Sam, who grew up in Ghana, West Africa, shared with me his first experience of traveling with his father into a village with no church, who worshipped idols and offered sacrifices to false gods. He recalled his burden to share Christ, and his father interrupting him to say, “One day when you are older, you can return.” And, he did

After completing his undergraduate degree at Bethany Global University in 1997, and meeting and marrying his wonderful wife, Jonhild, they returned to Ghana with Bethany, and the church planting began. For years they led initiatives planting 34 churches in the south. However, after visiting the northern region, which is predominantly Muslim, and seeking God for an open door, they got one.

Sam recounts his encounter with a Muslim businessman in Northern Ghana two years ago. They were buying materials to build a church–nails, metal sheets for roofing, etc. In Sam’s words, “The businessman was shocked, surprised; he asked me ‘Guys, this is $3000 of materials! What are you going to use all this for?’ I replied, ‘We are going to build a church in the town of Katekrachi in northern Volta.’ The businessman stayed quiet for around five minute, then he said, ‘Can I make a contribution?’ He gave us $10, and said he wanted to be a part of it. ‘Would you come to my village to start a church for us?’” From here the news spread, and they have been building ever since. Last year alone their team planted over 100 churches. Today they have more than 50 invitations from Muslim chiefs to come and erect a church in their villages (some unreached)

Today, Sam is working with Bethany on employing the GAP Strategy, which stands for Gateway Access Platforms. The GAP strategy is intended to bring intentional collaboration and networking into strategic regions bordering or in the midst of unreached people groups, to work together with local churches for the cause of the unreached.

Over the coming year, Sam is preparing to consolidate much of his training from the six training bases in the south, which are today primarily Christian, into a single major training facility in the northern capital city, Tamale. Tamale provides a strategic position to reach out into Muslim tribes and unreached people groups, and is a place to bring Muslim background believers after conversion to be trained to go further with the gospel.

Their current goal is 400 new churches in the northern region. As Sam said so fondly when we were together collaborating on our partnership, “Surely we can do so much more together than we could do on our own.” Without all of us working together, without you, none of this possible.

We all have a role to play: whether raising awareness, petitioning in the place of prayer, or financially partnering. Join us! If you would like more information on GAP Ghana or Engage 500, please visit us online at BethanyInternational.org/GAP.

The Kingdom Impact of Your Prayers

Pray bold prayers for kingdom work. Expect big answers

What do you really believe about prayer?  Do you pray like you truly believe God will move through your prayers?  Do you pray like you believe the Great Commission will move forward when you get on your knees?

Too often we think that prayer is nice but not in the actual category of doing something about the Great Commission. Yet author E.M. Bounds writes, “The story of every great Christian achievement is the history of answered prayer.”

When you see God at work in the world,  He is moving in response to the prayers of His people.   You need look no further than Bethany itself to find an example of God’s acting in response to prayer.  Our ministry did not begin with a checklist, or a mission statement, or a board meeting.  It began with prayer. Ted Hegre, one of Bethany’s original founders, offered up a simple prayer, “We give ourselves completely into your hand to do what we can to further the gospel throughout
the world.”

Many of us will never be called to the ends of the earth.  But that does not mean we are not called to the battlefield.  In fact, for many of us, the impact we make on the edges of the Kingdom is through prayer.  For this reason, I am calling for our readers to commit to bold intercession for Bethany missionaries, for their work and for the people groups they work among.

It is a profound mystery and a profound truth that God works through the prayers of His people.  Never underestimate the impact of your prayers in encouraging, supporting and uplifting Bethany missionaries.

Today I urge you to reflect on God’s heart for the nations, His gift to the nations (Christ Jesus), and His great mission to which you have been called.  Let these thoughts inspire you to a new level of prayer.

Will you be willing to pray daily for one or more Bethany missionaries?  Will you be willing to faithfully intercede for an unreached people group?   If your answer is yes, you will open a window for God to move through you.  If your answer is yes, then pray bold prayers.  Expect lives to be transformed.  Expect the kingdom to advance into dark places.  Expect our God to answer in a big way!

This article was taken from the spring 2016 issue of the coMISSION Magazine.

The Old Story in a New Tongue

Fulfilling the Great Commission by Accelerating Bible Translation

In 2015, a group of Zambian Christians attended a church service they will never forget. Their pastor was reading John 11 from a newly completed New Testament translation. It was the first time the church had heard the story of Lazarus in their heart language of Nsenga.

As the pastor read about the resurrected Lazarus stumbling out of the tomb towards Jesus, the church members started laughing out loud with joy; they had read this Bible story plenty of times, but had never heard it end like this. Cobbling together the story in foreign tongues for so many years, they had never comprehended its dramatic climax. One of the Zambian believers explained to the pastor, “Now we understand that it is about Jesus—his power to raise the dead!”

While one community in Zambia gleefully emerged from generations of Bible poverty, millions of Christians around the world aren’t so fortunate. In fact, only nineteen percent of the world’s languages have access to a complete New Testament. And only seven percent have a complete Bible. That leaves more than a billion people without access to God’s Word in their heart language. Like the Nsenga-speakers in Zambia, they have no idea what good news they’re missing.Poverty-02

Bible agencies and translators, including American Bible Society, Biblica, Wycliffe, The Seed Company, and SIL International, have come together in the Every Tribe Every Nation alliance to eradicate Bible poverty around the world.

Bethany is seeking to support these efforts through our Publish4All (P4A) print-on-demand system. Kenneth Hopson, a P4A partner working in Northern Uganda, wanted to get Bibles and Christian resources to those who had nothing. He was approached to provide the Gospel of Luke to the Thur and Ma’di Okollo tribes in northern Uganda. Up to this point it had been impossible. The P4A system enabled Kenneth to easily produce this scripture portion for the first time in these Ugandan and South Sudanese languages!

Every Tribe Every Nation’s goal is to accelerate Bible translation into the heart languages of unreached peoples and distribute them through electronic and print-on-demand formats like Kenneth produced in Uganda. Once a Bible translation is complete, it gets uploaded to the Digital Bible Library, where it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Thanks to these advancements in Bible translation and technological advances such as Publish4All, the future looks bright. Although a billion people are still desperate to engage God’s Word in their heart language, Bible translation and distribution is being revolutionized, much like Gutenberg’s printing press did more than 500 years ago. Through technological innovation and persistent prayer, it is plausible that in our lifetime, the Bible will be accessible to every person on earth.

Through Publish4All, Bethany has deployed 89 digital print systems in 55 countries.  Bibles and Christian resources are now reaching the neediest places of the world.

This article was taken from Issue 2 of the coMISSION Magazine. You can download a free copy of the magazine, by clicking here.

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