Heroes on the Homefront
Hero #1 Ruth
My Heart goes out to all those little boys and girls who are caught up in the excitement of the missionary challenge and are encouraged to give their lives to that cause even at an early age. Dr. Ruth Tucker our first "hero on the home front" was one of those little girls some years ago.
Dr. Tucker is a teacher at Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It didn't work out for her to become a missionary, but it does seem obvious that the book she has just written may actually be instrumental in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other people becoming missionaries.
The fact that site was willing to go, that she offered her life to go, makes important difference. In my opinion, as I travel around, that is precisely those who are willing to go who are the only ones qualified to stay home to help others get there.
From Jerusalem to lrian Jaya is the book I would recommend to anybody I ran into who wanted to know what book I consider the most important beyond the Bible. This book literally covers the next 2000 years! The Bible, after all, is mainly devoted, from Genesis 12 through the book of Revelation, so an earlier 2000 year period. Ruth Tucker's book picks up the story with the apostle Paul and gives 99 five-page vignettes of electrifying courage and obedience across the next 2000 years leading right down to Don Richardson today.
This book by a woman is about women as well as men. It tells the family life. It shows the background. It shows missions from the inside out.
Tucker Stayed Home
And it helps us see the spectacular role that individual single women have often played in this inward drama of the centuries.
Most people have no basis to believe the incredible impact of the mission movement until they read a book like this and find out, literally, how much was accomplished. And the story would not have been told nearly as well if someone had stayed home and kept the vision.
What makes this book even more thrilling is no fact that its appearance has catalyzed the formation of a "World Christian Series' jointly pomoted by seven different publishers! When From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is reprinted by Zandervan in November, (the first edition has gone like hotcakes) its cover will reflect the common theme of the series and an inside page will list the other lilies and publishers in the series.
Hero #2: Rob
Another hero on the home front is InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staffer Rob Malone who works out of the Pittsburgh area. Rob has been active in student mobilization and training efforts, and prominent among these has been his service as a Coordinator for for extension offerings of the "Perspectives of the World Christian Movement" course started by the Institute of International Studies. By successfully completing both the "Perspectives" course and the coordinator training workshop in Pasadena, an individual can take "Perspectives" (complete with text, study guide, and videotapes) back to his or her home town or college campus.
In the May 1983 issue of Mission Frontiers US staff member Sue Richard interviewed Rob, and she here asks him for an update on his activities.
Tell me about the three "Perspsctives" classes you will be coordinating in the spring. Where will they be, how many students do you expect, and what kinds of students do you expect to have in the classes?
Rob. One cless will be at Geneva College, one will be at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and the new class will be at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. to We're praying that God will give us 125 students between these three sites. I'm anticipating mostly undergraduate students, but we're also trying to recruit some graduate students and some who have recently graduated. We're also seeking to recruit some mission committee members from local churches. With the grapevine from last year's students and the promotional program we're putting together. are really hoping to have a large number of students. There's real interest on all three of the campuses. Actually . the CMII class will draw from tour campuses in the Pittsburgh ar!a. The IUP class will consist mainly of lUP students, but these will be from a number of different Christian groups that are there. And ai Geneva College. the administration is so much in favor of the class that they are endoureging their students to take the "Perspectives' class through the Bible and Religion department. Geneva has an Evangelism and World Missions class that they are re-vamping in light of the content of the "Perspectives" course.
What is the significance of the class in the students' lives!
Rob I think a realty key issue is that the "Perspectives" class gives students the opportunity to see the world more as God sees it especially emphasizing the world as a mosaic of peoples. His is a very new thing for most the students. The class also affects the students' lives in flat it increases their faith as hey see how God has acted in the past and how He is accomplishing fulfillment of His global mission. The class gives them models and ideas for their own involvement as they see that God raises up people to accomplish His purposes. The students see that God could use them in His work.
What effect does the Perspectives course have on the campus environment?
Rob: I think that seeing God's heart for the world intensifies the students' commitment to their campus fellowship and their efforts on campus. Their commitment is intensified because they see that what they do on their campus does affect the world in the long run. I suppose some people might be tempted to leave their church or fellowship group it they feel that the rest of the group can't understand their interest in missions, but we encourage our students to remain in their fellowship body so that they can influence those other Christians toward a better understanding of what missions is all about. The "Perspectives" class also ends up being a unifying factor amongst fellowships so that students are joining hands across organizational lines for prayer-month, world missions prayer meetings have been going on here for three years running. And some of the IV students that look the "Perspectives" class have been helping students in other fellowship groups to establish missions small groups where such specialized groups hadn't previously existed. So there's a kind of sharing that is happening on several different campuses around the city. I'm really hoping that as time goes on and as we influence more people and churches, that this kind of coming together will happen across denominational lines.
What contributions do you think "Perspectives" is making to the missions movement?
Rob: Ultimately. I think the impact of this course will be revealed in a tremendous surge of new structures, new workers, and churches revitalized. As these students go from the campus to the church, many of them start sharing their understanding of God's love for all peoples Some of them even try to organize missions studies in their churches so that the whole church is influenced. Dr. Ralph Winter says that it is the students who are going to be the labor force to finish this last challenge, whether they go or stay and create a sending base. The 'Perspectives" class stimulates all of this.
Rob, why are you giving your life to this now! Why don't you go overseas yourself?
Rob: Well, to answer that question really have to tell you how I got involved in the missions movement. I attended the Urbana missions conference in 1973. Between that conference and my own studies of Scripture I knew that God's heart has always been for the whole world. Because of that, I realized that I needed to actively pursue options that would involve me in what God was doing in the world.
That next summer I went down to Guatemala for my first real crosscultural experience through an IV training camp. All the time I was there I kept asking God if He wanted me to be a missionary.
God revealed that instead of me being a missionary, he wanted me to return to where I had come from (at the time, I was an IV staff person in West Virginia) to share God's heart for the world with as many people as I possibly could.
So I began to integrate my worldwide interest into everything I did, leading small groups, large groups, one on one time with others, calling them first to Christ's Lordship over the nations, and then helping them to find where they fit into God's purpose. I believe there are many different roles to be filled in the missions movement as missionaries and as senders, and for now, God is asking me 10 mobilize others to be World Christians. Without mobilizers, a new surge in missions won't happen.
I do have a desire to do cross cultural ministry, but so far I've only gone overseas for summer team projects. For the past couple of years I've led teams into Malta for cross-cultural experience with Muslims. Some of the people who have Come with me are preparing to go back to Malta, or to go to other places overseas, but before they go back, they are influencing others in she Pittsburgh area toward becoming World Christians. I want to be a model for others so that they know how to be World Christians for as long at God would have them be here.