We are back in the States for a time of itineration among some of the churches that support the Thailand Methodist Mission, and we praise the Lord for a time of refreshing and renewal. It is a great blessing to speak at many churches and let everyone know how their prayers and generous giving have made an eternal difference in the lives of Thai people. And the vast majority of our prayer blog updates are about prayer needs and praises for answers to your prayers, how the Lord is moving in mighty ways in the lives of Thai Christians. But today, we will share from our hearts and our relationship with the Lord.
When we visit from church to church, we are frequently asked how the Lord called us to serve as missionaries. Sherri and I both received our call from the Lord to serve as missionaries when we were students at Moody Bible Institute (MBI) in 1981. Both of our stories are long, so I will condense it into a “nutshell”.
The Lord called us to shine our lights where it is darkest. To serve the Lord where the need is great and the workers are very few.
One of the classes every student at MBI was required to take was “Introduction to Missions”. And in that class we learned about the 10/40 Window.
The 10/40 Window is located from 10 degrees south to 40 degrees north of the equator. There are 69 nations across northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia in the 10/40 Window. Nearly 4 billion people live here, including 90 percent of the world's poorest of the poor. It is estimated that 1.6 billion of these people have never had the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ - not even once! The seat of every major non-Christian religion - Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism, Atheism, and Sikhism - is headquartered in the 10/40 Window.
• Two-thirds of the world's population — 4 billion people — live in the 10/40 Window.
• 95% of these 4 billion people are unevangelized.
• 87% are the poorest of the poor, living on an average of only $250 per family annually.
• 45 of the 50 worst countries in the world for persecution of Christians are in the 10/40 Window.
• Child prostitution and child slavery run rampant in many of these nations.
• Horrific abuse of women and children remains unchecked, including an epidemic of pedophilia.
Though the needs are both and desperate and urgent, only 5¢ out of every $100 spent on missions globally is directed toward the 10/40 Window. That's 0.0005% of all missions money designated to bring the Gospel to 66% of the world's population! (source: win1040.com)
When we learned about the 10/40 Window, we knew that the Lord was calling us to serve somewhere within that window. The Lord was calling us to shine our lights where it is darkest and to serve where the need is great and the workers are very few. At first we did not know where in the Window we would serve, but the Lord later focused our call to be in one of those 10/40 nations…. THAILAND! And we will tell you about how God called us to Thailand in another blog update.
So we want to thank you for your prayers and financial support that make this mission possible and empowers us to serve in Thailand.
Now if you are geographically challenged like we are, you may not be able to identify many of the nations on that map, so here is a list of all of the nations of the 10/40 Window.