I recently came across this article and infographic (Click Here) which divides a world map into four sections of equal population. What may be shocking to some is the two smaller sections located in Southern and Eastern Asia. These are densely populated areas with relatively low gospel witness!
Many are aware that China and India each have far more people than any other country, so these two nations being in separate divisions comes as no surprise.
Notice though that grouped with China is Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world. Then notice that there are so few countries grouped with India. How is it that this South Asian cluster of countries can compare to a group with both China and Indonesia? The answer, maybe shockingly, is Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are countries that we don’t often hear about in America. We probably hear even less about them in Christian circles. This is unfortunate because Pakistan and Bangladesh are the world’s fifth-most and eight-most populated countries respectively.
Pakistan is home to approximately 220 million people. Bangladesh is home to roughly 165 million people. Don’t be deceived by their small geography and land area. Even relatively smaller Bangladesh has 20 million more people than Russia!
I would encourage you to check the infographic, find Pakistan and Bangladesh on the map, and consider how densely populated they must be to each have more people than Russia. These countries have so many people and yet so few laborers reaching them with the gospel.
Friend, will you commit to pray for Pakistan and Bangladesh? Will you pray that the Lord would raise up preachers willing and able to take the gospel to these needy countries?
I challenge you to research these countries. I challenge you to learn a bit about their languages, cultures, and current level of gospel witness. I challenge you to consider what the Lord might have you do to send or take the gospel to them. I challenge you to ask the Lord to move you with compassion as you research them, praying that the Lord would send forth laborers into His harvest.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Would you equip a preacher? Would you send a preacher? Will you go and preach?
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
The people in Pakistan and Bangladesh could use some glad tidings. They need to hear the gospel of peace. How can you get involved?
This fascinating article recently popped up on my news feed detailing the “megacities” of the world. The article, published in 2018, includes an infographic which maps 33 current megacities as well as six others considered “on the way by 2030.” A megacity is defined in the infographic as “an urbanized center, housing ten or more million inhabitants. They are often the primary nodes for investment in a country and feature the most affluent households.”
The article and its infographic got me thinking of the God of a certain son of Amittai.
The Original Son of Amittai
We are all most likely familiar with the story of Jonah, the son of Amittai. The word of the Lord comes unto him and tells him to arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it. Jonah then decides to tuck his tail to flee from the presence of the Lord. He makes it down to Joppa and books a one-way ticket to Tarshish. This is the rough equivalent of a Californian, told of the Lord to go to New York City, booking a one-way ticket for Honolulu — he didn’t exactly go the right direction. In other words, he disobeyed God. Why?
Over the events of chapters one and two, the Lord uses a great wind and eventually a great fish to get Jonah to go to the great city. By the time Jonah shows up and preaches, the people believe God and we find Jonah pouting like a four year old, complaining to the Lord and saying he knew from the start that He would graciously spare the city.
Let that sink in. Jonah complained about God’s grace toward sinners.
Here’s what Jonah says:
“I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.”
Not only does he complain about God’s grace toward sinners, he admits to knowing that God is gracious and merciful before God spoke to him the first time in chapter one. Then he admits that he ran away because of God’s grace.
In other words, Jonah didn’t want to preach in Nineveh because he was afraid God would forgive them. He knew that even though Nineveh was a great city and home to 120,000 sinners, God’s grace was greater and great enough to forgive them all!
There’s the “why”. The reason why Jonah didn’t obey the Lord the first time was because he didn’t want to share the grace of God with others.
After he finishes pouting, Jonah begs the Lord to kill him, storms out of the city, finds a shady spot, gets comfortable, and waits to see if the Lord will change His mind and destroy Nineveh anyway.
Having been gracious towards undeserving Nineveh, the Lord extends that same grace back to the undeserving messenger by causing a gourd to grow up and give him some more shade. There goes God being gracious again! It’s OK this time though because it’s for Jonah.
But when Jonah finds the gourd eaten by God’s prepared worm the next morning, Jonah gets angry all over again.
The Lord then rebukes Jonah for taking more pity on the gourd and his own personal comforts than on a city of 120,000 sinners. The Lord says:
“And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”
You see, Nineveh was a great city – a great city in need of the greater grace of God. Jonah knew their condition, knew of God’s willingness to forgive them, and chose to run to Tarshish so as to prevent the Lord from sparing them. Jonah was satisfied to lead a comfortable life enjoying the great grace of God while knowing of a great city that needed to hear the word of the Lord but choosing to ignore it.
The son of Amittai would rather hoard all of God’s grace to himself.
Mega Grace for Megacities
Circling our attention back to the fascinating article mentioned above (feel free to click again and check out the infographic), there are some great cities in this world today filled with people who know nothing of the greater grace of God. They know nothing of the grace that is greater than all their sin.
Friend, should not the Lord spare these great cities, wherein are more than thousands upon thousands of persons that cannot discern between light and darkness, right and wrong, righteousness and sin? Should not He spare them of the wrath to come?
He wants to. He desires to, and He delights in bringing His message of salvation through messengers. That’s why He sent Jonah to Nineveh. That’s why He lead Paul and his company to the “chief city” of Philippi. That’s why the Lord sent Phillip to the Ethiopian eunuch. God sends messengers who know of His grace to preach it to those who don’t.
A Plea for “Would Be” Sons of Amittai
Friend, how about you? If you are reading this article it’s probably safe to assume you know a thing or two about God’s grace. Would you surrender your life to go to a “great city”, a “chief city”, a “megacity”, and tell them of the greater grace of God? The Lord would love to use you as His mouthpiece.
Let’s not be “Sons of Amittai” who, like Jonah, are selfish with the grace of God, comfortable where we are, and wanting to keep salvation to ourselves. Let’s instead be Sons of Amittai who willingly and boldly launch out into the world with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
Consider Karachi, Pakistan, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Consider Mexico City, Mexico, and Chicago, United States.
Would you go? Would you preach? Or would you be a Son of Amittai?
The word of the Lord, after all, has come to you as well:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The China Inland Mission, founded with the humblest of beginnings on June 26, 1865, with 10 pounds, a prayer, and the opening of a British bank account, over the course of the following decades grew to become a missionary recruiting and sending “octopus” with tentacles that stretched from London to Chicago to the farthest reaches of the Chinese Empire. It eventually became the sending agency of over 800 missionaries before the turn of the century and over 1000 by the beginning of World War I.
The reasons for its rapid growth and success are many. There are of course the unrelenting passion of its founder, Hudson Taylor; the faithful support of ministry yokefellow noteworthies such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon and George Mueller; and the general missions fervor found in the late nineteenth century Western youth which gave rise to the likes of C.T. Studd, Montague Beauchamp, and Jonathan Goforth. Amid all of these reasons, however, the power of the written page perhaps had the most far-reaching effects.
The impact of the publication of Hudson Taylor’s China: Its Spiritual Needs and Claims fell like a bombshell in the missions world like none felt since the publication of William Carey’s Enquiry some seven decades previous. It was used in the recruitment of the initial members of the CIM in 1865 as well as others who didn’t make it to China until decades later such as Jonathan Goforth.
While China: Its Spiritual Needs and Claims was useful in igniting interest in missions, something had to be done to fan the flames and keep onlookers on the Homefront invested in the work. Hudson Taylor, after all, was a five months journey away in China for years at a time. How were hearts to be continually stirred to consider involvement in missions while those already involved were so far away? To this effect, perhaps no more was done to maintain a consistent stream of support and recruits for the CIM than the proliferation of the steady, faithful, and inspiring monthly publication known as China’s Millions.
In its infant form, China’s Millions, was a quarterly publication that ran from 1865-1875 under the name Occasional Papers. By the time it changed its name to China’s Millions, it had become a monthly magazine that was captivating the minds of both supporters and potential recruits throughout Britain. As the CIM grew to North America, the North American office in Toronto began publishing its own “American” China’s Millions as well. By the year 1919, the North American edition of China’s Millions boasted 4100 subscribers throughout the United States and Canada.
Here is what one historian has to say about China’s Millions:
China’s Millions was not primarily an anti-opium journal or a fund-raiser: it was a devotional text whose goal was to deepen the piety of its readers. Its message was reiterated in a hundred and one different ways: surrender your old life, “exchange” it for a new life of faith — and ‘step out on the promises’ of God. That message determined the type of applicants the CIM attracted. They were young people without “attachments” (engaged to be married) or “obligations” (in debt or looking after parents). Some were “so full of joy, it was the natural outcome of a heart full of the love of Christ that they should want to rush to the darkest unhappiest places in the world to tell it out. To others, and these perhaps deeper natures, the sense of sacrifice was so intense that the offer meant keenest pain…to break away from the tender ties of home.”1
“‘The Millions,’ as it was called, was an ‘effective tool’ with wide circulation among Christian leaders, politicians, and affiliated societies. With Taylor as editor, every issue had ‘a cutting edge, more than one, carrying its messages of many kinds deep into the awareness of readers. It must report to donors, inform and incite to action….It was also the conductor’s baton….So [Hudson Taylor] crystallized his messages in his own mind and re-echoed them in a hundred and one different ways, never tiring of them.’”2
“In 1875, just as he was scattering the Eighteen, Hudson Taylor started a new magazine, China’s Millions, and in its first issue he printed a map of China he had invented so that supporters in Britain could follow their itinerations.”3
“More significantly, [Frost] started a North American edition of China’s Millions that would be ‘more representative of our part of the work.’ The North American Millions was a different magazine, larger and better laid out, with photographs rather than the chinoiserie engravings that typified the British Millions. Canadian and American news was featured, less about England and Australia…Frost described the Millions as ‘ the chief deputation worker of the Mission in North America, being able to go to parts of the continent which missionaries cannot reach.’”4
May we do all that we can to stir up a passion for taking the gospel to China and around the world in our generation!
1 Austin, Alyvn. China’s Millions: The China Inland Mission and Late Qing Society, 1832-1905. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007). p. 203. 2 Ibid. p. 25. 3 Ibid. p. 140. 4 Ibid. p. 314.
Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is the largest city in the nation with a population of 1.7 million in the Kathmandu District and upwards of 2.5 million in the greater Kathmandu Valley. Like greater Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism are considered its main religions.
While Christians are certainly in the minority in Kathmandu, there are about 15 independent Baptist churches located throughout the city, with an average attendance of about 50 believers each.
As you can see, the Lord is working in Kathmandu. But, there is still so much work to be done. The vast majority of Kathmandu’s population knows little to nothing about the Savior Jesus Christ. We need more laborers who will go to Kathmandu to boldly proclaim the good news of the God of love who sent His Son to die for the world.
I challenge you to pray for Kathmandu. Pray that missionaries in the city would be bold in their witness for Christ. Pray for the churches to grow. And pray that the Lord would send more laborers into this field with the gospel.
The country of Nepal is home to over 29 million people, the majority of which are Hindus. While Christianity is growing in Nepal, it is still less than 3% Evangelical Christian. But that hasn’t stopped the Lord from doing a work in the country.
There is a church in every one of the 75 districts of Nepal, and there are at least some believers in almost every people and caste group. The Lord is working in this country and Christianity is growing. The country is open to the gospel. You can get a visa and do ministry openly. The people are receptive, but there is much work to be done.
The majority of the Nepalis, being Hindu, flock to temples inundated with the sound of bells which are thought to catch the attention of their gods. They serve gods that are asleep. They worship gods that are lazy. They pray to gods that need motivation to wake up and hear their prayers. Who will take them the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Who will tell them of the God that neither slumbers nor sleeps? Who will tell them of the God that loves them and sent His only begotten Son to die for their sins?
As you can see, there is a great need in this country. There are some missionaries already there, but many more are needed. If you are an aspiring missionary, would you consider being a missionary to the country of Nepal? Would you commit to pray for this country and the missionaries there?
Would you give your life to win Nepali souls for Christ?