The Ends of the Earth Are….Where?
Jesus told us we were to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. If you think that’s a challenging command now, imagine what it was like to hear it two thousand years ago. How would you react? In truth, the disciples who heard His words had no idea of where the earth’s “ends” were!
For them, as for us, to obey His command put their lives at great risk. They would be faced with strange languages, strange foods, and strange customs. These are things we expect when moving across the world. They may have found it alarming to discover what other people believe and value. They, like us, would have found it risky to approach people who are “not like us”.
Steps of Obedience
Here is a story of some families who took steps of obedience to go to “the ends of the earth.”
A long-term YWAMer reports: “One night in the early 1980s, our staff in Tacoma, Washington (USA) gathered together. We had come to hear stories from two friends who had returned from a short-term outreach. Their destination? The mysterious land of Mongolia! To us, it seemed it more than qualified as ‘the ends of the earth.’”
“Communism had set out to clear the whole land of religion. They did this with great cruelty… and with great success. They nearly erased Tibetan Buddhism from their world view, replacing it with atheism. Mongolia could be called a ‘spiritual vacuum’. They were left with no belief in God, spirits, or supernatural things. In this country of 2.6 million people, no church had ever been planted. In fact in modern history there had not even been a single person coming to follow Jesus.”
Together they prayed for an isolated people in an isolated land.
Jump ahead 20 years: God answers prayer!
A Different Picture
Picture this he describes, “It’s the city of Erdenet: the 3rd largest city in the homeland of the famous Genghis Khan. I’m sitting in a home, surrounded by Mongols who love Jesus. I’m also with friends from other nations who are fellow YWAMers. The YWAMers had spent the past few years sharing the Good News of Jesus with their Mongolian friends. They made disciples, teaching them how to obey Jesus. They taught them how to make new disciples themselves. And they helped them learn how to start simple house fellowships.
A Mongolian Church “Exactly like the Book of Acts”
“I was invited to one of the fellowships. It was exactly like a Mongolian version of the church in the Book of Acts! ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ (NIV)
“Everything seemed to be done in a Mongolian way. For example, they worshiped using their unique style of music. The only ones speaking English were my translator and I. Most of the time I just listened quietly. I very much enjoyed being a witness to this amazing event. I knew I was very privileged to be there.
Let’s go camping!
“Toward the end of the meeting there was an announcement about an upcoming camping trip. It was springtime, and the trip that they proposed would be in early summer. ‘These people obviously love the outdoors’ I thought to myself. ‘This is a good idea for them. A camping trip will help this group grow in friendship and fellowship with one another.’
“No doubt that was true, but I soon discovered that that was not the main point. I listened to my translator who was telling me all that was being said in a whisper. ‘We will camp next to the lake. As we know, the nearby town has no church. So of course we will go share the Gospel. After that we will make disciples and plant a church, before we go back to our homes.’ Everyone eagerly nodded their heads in agreement.
Of Course We Share the Gospel!
“This was just one of dozens of fellowships that were planted in the early stages of this growing Disciple-Making Movement in Erdenet. In the following years, multiplication continued. The movement spread across the country, across cultures, and across national borders.”
Jesus told us to go to the ends of the earth. More than two thousand years later, the world’s population has grown far beyond what the disciples could have imagined. And many… or perhaps most of our communities have people who have no idea about Jesus. His Spirit calls us- “Go and tell them!”
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
Do you have a heart like the Mongolian campers? “They have no church… so of course we will share the gospel!” Ask the Lord to increase your faith and love, and to help you recognize the opportunities He puts before you.
After all… The “ends of the earth” may live right next door.