The world is stirring as never before.
God apparently decided Americans needed an education on the Middle East, not just Eastern Europe.
And, He wanted the U.N. Security Council to agree on something for a change.
And, what do you know, India, after all these years of being nasty to missionaries has decided to allow any former missionary to return for five years at a time!
Mozambique, whose coastline laid alongside the U.S. would run twice as far as from Seattle to Los Angeles, is now inviting missionaries to return to that worlds most torn country. They can't do without the missionaries!
These events are as hard to believe as the relaxations in Nepal, Albania, and the handshaking between North and South Korea.
Can you visualize that huge Soviet naval vessel being welcomed in San Diego--for the first time in a hundred years?
THIS IS A DIFFERENT WORLD!
Donald McGavran, that dear, redoubtable warrior, would be pleased. He was already pleased--at the time he died a few weeks ago.
My great fear is that Americans will take all these amazing things in stride mainly as a new form of entertainment instead of all this dawning on them as the preparations God is making for the final push in global evangelization.
Tomorrow I leave for Denver where I will find out a lot more astounding things. Two significant conferences back to back in the same Hotel will bring together more walking encyclopedias on the really crucial, current events of the world than could be gathered in any other way in any other place at any time. Each of some 500 participants in these two conferences is an executive holding a key position in the leadership of one of 200 mission agencies with work in thousands of specific places all over the world.
These people are in more specific contact with what is really going on than any other kind of professional. Being for a week among people like that is like breathing pure oxygen!
But, there is still a lot that does not meet the eye.
What is Happening?
Like bombs falling about us, key meetings have just taken place and are about to take place.
It is astounding the mission upsurge in South Africa! See pages 34- 35, where Thomas Wang reports on big meetings in three cities. At one of those they hoped to "restart" the Student Volunteer Movement, which petered out 50 years ago. They wanted to believe that 100 students would step forward (as happened at the start of the original SVM), and 170 stepped forward, with over 1,100 signed up by now! David Bliss, who worked on our staff in the early days of the USCWM is back with his wife and three children, to work on our staff for two years. Welcome David Bliss!
Do you recall the huge, first-ever meeting we reported two years ago, COMIBAM, which brought 3,000 people together at Sao Paulo, Brazil? At that mission-focused event the Asian visitors were stirred to do something similar. The baton was picked up by the Evangelical Fellowship of Asia, an association of church leaders (not specifically mission leaders), and the result was good but not all we could have hoped:
The resulting Asia Missions Congress '90, was held two weeks ago in Seoul, Korea (pages 32-33). I guess I feel offended that the entire speakers roster was originally devoid of any of the many illustrious Asian mission leaders, although fine church leaders gave stalwart speeches. The opening welcome, by Joon Gon Kim, the Campus Crusade head in Korea certainly mentioned aggressive efforts to complete the Great Commission by the year 2000, and Thomas Wang was invited, at the last minute, to give a brief report, and a few other speakers made passing remarks about the year 2000 but, as you can see on page 33, the official Declaration makes no reference at all to what might be accomplished by the year 2000.
Many good things appear in the "Declaration," but by the time the next meeting of this size occurs in Asia, IT WILL BE TOO LATE FOR THESE LEADERS TO MAKE DYNAMIC PLANS FOR THE YEAR 2000!
This does not mean others will not be making significant plans. This does not exclude all of the amazing Asian mission movement--largely invisible at this meeting of church leaders (as if the NAE were to stage a large mission meeting without the help of the IFMA and the EFMA).
If you want to think further about timing you can glance at my comments in "Time is Running Out!" on pages 43-45. There is where I say, and I repeat here, IF WE DO NOT TAKE GOALS FOR 1993 SERIOUSLY WE CAN FORGET ABOUT THE YEAR 2000. All of the 2 to 3,000 clusters of peoples, within which there are unreached groups, need to be specifically adopted by the end of 1993 in order for work to begin by 1995, in order for "a viable, indigenous evangelizing church movement to be established by the year 2000."
Immediately occuring following this meeting in Korea was the Baptist World Alliance. There, in no uncertain terms, the exciting, daily- more-feasible goals of the year 2000 were trumpeted, partly, no doubt, due to the outstanding vision of the (American) Foreign Board of Missions of the Southern Baptist Convention.
But this edition of Mission Frontiers is just bulging with good things. Put it where you can get back to finish! Shall I be sorry for too much good news?