Just One Reason Why I Support the Cooperative Program
I have an older email account that I seldomly check, but many of my friends still email me there, so I have decided to keep it in order to keep in touch with them. One of them is a good friend of mine and IMB missionary serving in a militantly Muslim country. Let me share with you a part of his most recent email which he sent. This is just one reason why I believe in supporting the Cooperative Program:
Dated Wednesday, May 10, 2006:
About two weeks ago I mentioned to everyone that I would be taking a group of four visiting Americans to an isolated place in our area. This place is a smaller island, with about ten thousand people. The island has no power, and had never had anyone present the gospel to them before. Thank you so much for your prayers. Here are some things you might want to know.
While there, we distributed about 100 new testaments, as well as Jesus Film on cassette (some people have a few battery operated things) and other evangelistic materials. I figure that about ten percent of the people received some type of written or oral witness. If you count by the number of homes, then nearly everyone had some type of impact. On the way in someone stole a few of our cassettes. They run a generator at night in the market area for a few hours. We heard the Jesus film in the market for the next two days.
The first day we were in an older man's home, where we shared the gospel. He didn't agree to follow Christ, but I heard him talking the next day to some men about what we said. "Yesterday, those men came to my house and asked me if I thought I would be in heaven when I die. I told them I didn't know. Then, they told me that if I were to believe in Isa (Jesus), I would go to heaven." When we were leaving I heard him again telling some others about it. He goes on to ask for prayer concerning several matters, not the least of which is their safety and boldness for those who will follow up on this work. This dear friend mine is graciously supported by the giving of SBCers who believe in the work he is doing in taking the gospel of Jesus to people who have never heard. What church, even mega-church has a sustained impact among the unreached peoples like the IMB has through our cooperation? Where would these "visiting Americans" go if there was not a missionary already there doing the groundwork?
Short-term mission trips exist only because there are long-term missionaries welcoming them to the work they have long been laboring in. It is not either/or but both/and. Our missionaries need our encouragement, prayer, and support through serving with them. Moreover, we need to preeminently support our brothers and sisters who have left houses, families, and countries for the sake of Jesus and His gospel. And when CP giving goes down because churches think that cooperation doesn't matter and that they can do missions on their own, they will soon find out that the missionaries they failed to support will not be there to greet them in the airport.