Latin America -- Despite political conflicts, internal strife and ongoing poverty, the people of Latin America are reaching out to the world with the gospel message.
The Cooperation in Missions from Latin America observed that more than 6,000 of their own missionaries have left their own countries to serve others in unreached nations. According to Ted Limpic of COMIBAM, a majority of these missionaries make long-term and life-long commitments to missionary service.
The implications for the future of the planet are enormous, as are its implications for our own missionary commitments and action. Their impact on my own experience as a missionary and on my career has been decisive, said Limpic, one of the first COMIBAN missionaries to Brazil.
When Lois and I went to Brazil as fresh missionary recruits; we went at a special time. The explosion in the growth of the evangelical churches had just begun and we got to see major changes especially in the countries where we served, said Limpic.
Limpic noted the efforts of the youth in making these changes. One of the big changes was that increasing numbers of young people were responding to Gods call to missions and overcoming what were tremendous barriers that would have kept them from becoming missionaries, he continued.
Limpic agreed with Latin America Missions, which also dispatched thousands of missionaries, in noting the great commitments undertaken by the workers to proclaim the gospel; most of the volunteers sell their own land and property to serve in the mission field.
While American missionaries like himself, received provisions from the faithful back home, Latin American missionaries found that obedience required an even higher level of commitment, said Limpic.
Many missionaries from Latin America sell all they own to go to the field and live without the medical and retirement plans that we North Americans require, much less the vehicles and appliances that we consider essential. They often head to countries that have no diplomatic relations with their own and where missionary visas are not granted. In many places where our Latin friends serve, if you come as a missionary, you are not even welcome, Limpic said.
Nevertheless, the movement of Latin American missionaries continues to make an impact on people around the world.
The breadth of the impact of this new missions movement from Latin America cannot yet be fully appreciated, continued Limpic. By faith we know that behind the rise and fall of political powers and of the spiritual life of nations is the hand of God who moves history with a declared purpose. He longs that all nations will see and know that only the Lord is God, and that He is gracious and kind to those who are marginalized by the powers of this world. The expansion of the missionary outreach of the Church now from Latin America might be part of a major new effort by God to bring peace to all people of good will as was promised at Christs birth.
Latin American missionaries focus on reaching out to Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus and other peoples Americans and Europeans have traditionally avoided.
Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus are not only objects of Gods love, but friends for whom prayers are being raised from all over Latin America. Latin Americans are learning how Muslims think. They are praying for them. They are engaging in their lives and not withdrawing, said Limpic.
Someday, Muslims who have come to Jesus through the witness of missionaries sent from Latin America will sing Jesus praises alongside believers from among the poor and marginalized from Latin America.