| Jesus said in Mark 16:15 and 16, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever
believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Jesus did not say for some
of us to go. He expects us all to do our part.
Twenty years from the time Jesus commanded this, it had been done. The whole world had received the Good
News. How do we know this? Because the Bible tells us so!
Acts 17:6 quotes some local leaders declaring, These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now
come here. The KJV reads, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also. When Paul wrote
the Roman Christians about six years before Nero burned Rome, he told them, "First, I thank my God through Jesus
Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world." Later in his letter he defended the fact
that the gospel has indeed gone to the whole world. Did they not hear? Of course they did: Their voice has gone out
into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Romans 1:8; 10:18). And in another letter, Paul was just as
This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I,
Paul, have become a servant (Colossians 1:23b).
The Bible tells us that the Good News went out to the Orient or Far East (Matthew 2:1,2), the Middle East (Acts
2:9-11), Africa (Acts 8:27-39), and Europe (Acts 14-28). But how was that possible with only a nucleus of twelve
Acts 2 explains that on a day sometime after the selection of the apostle to take Judas' place (verse 1), the Holy
Spirit gave a special gift to the twelve: All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues
as the spirit enabled them (verse 4). Yes, all of them were speaking with the Spirit's guidance, not just Peter. Verses
9 and 10 list all the people present who heard in their language, and when you add up the number of languages
represented, there are about as many languages as apostles. We only know Peter's sermon, although there is
indication that all the apostles spoke, possibly to various groups around the temple and probably to several hundred
each. Then collectively the account tells of the people asking "Peter and the other apostles" what they should do to
Of course this gift was no surprise since it had been predicted for hundreds of years in the Old Testament in such
places as Isaiah 28:11. With foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people. This being one of the
signs of the apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12), they gave this power to other Christians to help spread the Word to the
whole world. (Some weaker Christians abused this and sometimes spoke these foreign tongues to people who did not
speak them and did not understand them, just to show off. Christians in Corinth were among them.)
Because of this ability to speak in foreign languages not previously learned, the Christians of the first century
were able to preach the gospel to the whole world. But what about us today? We have the "miracles" of radio, the
printing press, airplanes, automobiles, world-wide mail, etc. We are expected to use whatever resources are available
True, our part of the world for us to convert begins with our own neighborhood. This in itself is an encouragement
to foreign missionaries. E. Stanley Jones explained seventy years ago in his book, The Christ of the Indian Road:
I do not make a special drive upon you because you are the neediest people of our race, but because you are a
member of our race. I am convinced that the only kind of a world worth having is a world patterned after the mind and
spirit of Jesus. I am therefore making a drive upon the world as it is, in behalf of the world as it ought to be, and as
you are a part of that world I come to you. But I would not be here an hour if I did not know that ten others were doing
in the land from which I come what I am trying to do here. We are all in the same deep need. Christ, I believe, can
supply that need.
So, yes, it is important that we begin to do missionary work in our own neighborhood. It is such a tremendous
encouragement to foreign missionaries. It seems that the more people are interested in teaching people where they
live, the more they become interested in what the foreign teachers are teaching where they live too. Kind of goes
Now, in what ways can we be fellow workers with teachers in other countries? Monetary support is one obvious
way. Inflation in other countries is often much greater than our own, and it may take five times as much money to buy
groceries as in our own country. Of course they need a house or apartment to live in and transportation, and clothing,
and supplies and materials with which to teach. These all cost money. God can supply what they need through you.
Missionaries return to the states temporarily for various reasons: Add to their education, allow teenage children to
go to a Christian school, raise funds, visit previous supporting congregations and friends, or just to have a good rest.
They need someone to stay with if they don't have the money for motels or rent. You could be a fellow worker with
them by providing a place to stay whenever they are in your area.
Probably the most noted ones in the Old Testament to provide housing for a traveling preacher was a Shunamite
couple. 2 Kings 4:8-10 tells how they added a room onto their house, and Elisha was to consider it his room whenever
he was in the area. A Christian couple in the New Testament often cited as an example of having many godly qualities
were Aquila and Priscilla. When Paul went to Corinth to live and preach for a little while, he stayed in their home (Acts
18:1-4), working at his occupation during the week and preaching on weekends. Of Aquila and Priscilla, Paul spoke in
Romans 16:3 as "my fellow workers in Christ Jesus."
What about the missionaries when they are doing their work in the foreign country? How can we help them? First
of all, we should look at the missionary and his work in perspective. Most have given up a great deal to go to a foreign
country. They have given up all their family except those going with them, and all their friends. They've often given up
nice homes and nice church buildings, nice cars and shopping centers. Would we do the same? Usually they have
given up their own native language and must learn the language of a new country, a new world so to speak. They
must leave behind many of their customs and learn the customs of the new country. Many even have a hard time
obtaining food and water that are safe to consume. Some missionaries spend their entire years with digestive
disturbances because of this, but are willing to stick it out for the sake of Christ Jesus and people's souls.
Most importantly, most missionaries do not consider any of these things as really sacrifices. For the joys and
blessings of bringing Christ to these people far outweigh anything they may have given up. They have their difficulties
in the new culture and have given up many material blessings left behind in our materialistic society. But as Paul
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose
sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ Philippians 3:8). The KJV refers to the
rubbish as dung ~ manure.
We, too, can have the privilege of giving up some things for the sake of Christ and the lost, some of our material
things. We can go with these missionaries in spirit and in other ways to these foreign countries.
Have you ever given up a certain pleasure for a certain length of time, and put the money for it in a jar every time
you wanted that pleasure, such as a movie, bowling, ice cream, or whatever? If you've already cut down everywhere
you can think of so you can help monetarily, but still wish you had more to give to the Lord through some missionary,
have you ever skipped a meal and set that money aside? Paul said, But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss
for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7).
Whenever we buy something new, do we consider it something lost by Christ? Whenever we eat more food than
we need, do we consider it something lost by Christ? This is a very difficult thing to understand and do, especially
living in the richest and most materialistic nation in the world. But Paul attained it, and must have enjoyed freedom
from the slavery of materialism which no doubt was as prevalent in the days of the great Roman Empire as it is today.
Perhaps the best way to try this out is to be with others who want to give up something for Christ too. If it involves
missing a meal, get together during meal time and sing praises to God, pray for the cause for which you are
sacrificing, and talk about that good work together. Keep before you the reason you are giving up your meal, the
spiritual reason, and after it is all over you will feel you really did not sacrifice anything at all. You may not understand
how this could be; but try it, and you will understand.
There are some who miss a meal once a month to help buy Bibles in the language of the people in a certain
country. Certainly Eastern Europe, Russia, China and India are starving for these Bibles, with hundreds of thousands
trying to get one for themselves now that they have been legalized.
Others miss a meal once a month to be able to send support to a missionary who might otherwise have to miss
many meals without their help. Still others miss a meal once a month so they will have sufficient postage to mail relief
clothing or food to a needy country. North Africa has been plagued with drought for the past few decades, and
continually needs help.
Of course you should determine for yourself the number of times you miss your meal. It does not have to be once
a month. It may be once a week or once every other week. You may do this until you have filled the need for which
you were sacrificing - say, four months - or you may wish to continue indefinitely. If possible, do it with others. Your
will power and the reason for your sacrifice may be stronger in your mind if you do, and you will be encouraging one
Sending "recycled" clothing is probably one of the easiest and yet most effective things you can do to show others
how much God loves them through you. You can set aside the clothing your children outgrow, those you no longer
wear for one reason or another, or something nice you have that you simply want to share with someone else.
Another source of clothing is a Goodwill store or any second-hand stores in your community. You could notify
various clubs in your community who also may wish to help the needy in a particular country. You may wish to contact
people on the last day of their garage sale to see if they'd like to donate the clothes not sold. And you may wish to set
aside a place in the foyer or coat racks of your church building for people to bring their clothes.
Such clothing should not be fancy. It should not have any tears in it. If it does, mend them before you send
them. All the zippers should be working, and there should be buttons on everything that requires them. If the people
to whom you are sending them are generally small in size, such as most Orientals, do not send large clothes. Save
those for local benevolent work.
Also, do not send shoes. They are heavy, for one thing, and also most people can manage to obtain a pair of
shoes where they live. Often the shoes of another country are made of different materials or are in a completely
different style. Perhaps they wear sandals year around, or shoes made of rubber for rainy climate, or no shoes at all
when it is hot. So save the shoes and purses for local needs.
Extra buttons, zippers, thread, and other mending supplies would be most helpful in keeping up the clothes.
You may wish to donate used blankets or make quilts and send them along with the clothes. Often these same
people who are poorly clothed and cold during the day, are poorly covered and cold during the night too. So do not
overlook this need. They do not have to be a work of art and sewn by hand. Just sew them together on a sewing
In wrapping your clothing and quilts for shipping, choose boxes that are not over a certain number of inches
around, long, and wide. Check your post office for exact measurements for the country you will be shipping to. Apple
boxes are usually a good size and thickness. They should not be over 22 pounds when packed, or whatever the
present postal regulation is in your country. Tape securely closed. Do not be skimpy; these boxes will be literally
thrown from vehicles to ships and back to vehicles all the way around the world to their destination. If there is printing
all over your boxes, you ought to wrap them in butcher or freezer paper.
Then tie securely. If your twine is not very heavy and durable, wrap it around two or three times. Wrap the twine
so there are four connecting points on each side of the box; that is, each side will look like a tic-tac-toe diagram.
Then, using about four-inch pieces of twine, tie a knot at every intersecting point all over the box so the twine will not
slip off. This sound like a lot of work. But you want the clothing in your box to arrive securely, not handing out, which
does happen to boxes not wrapped sufficiently secure.
You will have a customs tag to attach to every box. In order to avoid custom taxes to the missionary or possible
theft by handlers, on the side requesting that you itemize and give a dollar value for everything, write "Used clothing
for relief~- No cash value."
If you are sending several boxes, you may wish to write some code numbers on the lower left-hand corner of the
front of each box. If you have ten boxes of clothing, on the first box write 1/10, the second 2/10, the third 3/10 and so
on. This way the missionary will know whether all the boxes arrived. You may also wish to write the date of shipment
below that, such as June 8.
Once they arrive at their destination, the missionary will go through the clothes and sort them by sizes. It may help
if you write the sizes on those which are not marked directly on the item. Then the missionary will most likely take them
to the family he or she knows of who is in need, tell them that Christians who love them are concerned for them and
sent these clothes. They will probably tell them you are praying for them, so don't let them down with this. Then they
will tell them of the God of love, whom we serve by helping others. Not everyone is converted as a result of being
given clothing, but many will be, and all because you cared.
Another similar need that you may wish to help with is food. There is usually some country in the world going
through a drought, or some natural disaster such as earthquake, or involved in a war. You need to write the
missionary there and find out what would be practical to send. However, it is generally the rule to send foods that
remain preserved for a long time and that do not weigh much. Some ideas are:
Do not hesitate to send a large quantity of the same item. Variety is not necessarily the best policy here. Nutrition
and distributing to as many people as possible to keep them alive is the main objective. Probably milk and rice are the
most needed. The toiletries listed are also a big help.
The Bible is the foundation of Christianity. Clothing and food will help bring people to the Bible, but then they will
need the Bible to go from there to become Christians. They need Bibles in their own language.
The best and most economical source of Bibles in the world is the Bible Society. The entire Bible can be
purchased for around $5.00, and the New Testament alone for about half. You may write to them and request that
Bibles be sent in the language of the people directly to any place in the world, and in your name. Give them the
names and addresses of any individuals you would like to receive them. To obtain their address, call your local library
information desk or look it up in your computer.
If you live near people who are newly arrived in your country and are just learning English, find Bibles written in
both their native language and English. Hand those out to them, even if they are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. You never
know which ones are dissatisfied with their religion and always wanted to know what was in the Bible. Now is their
chance. Give them that chance.
Probably the average meal costs about the same as one Bible. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could send one
Bible a month to the foreign country you are interested in to help save souls there! If you have a family of four, that
would be the equivalent of one Bible a week. My, the missionary work you could accomplish within a year!
If you have the Bibles sent to a missionary for distribution, you may request the missionary give your name and
address to those to whom he gives the Bibles. Many of them probably will want to write you. And to think we take
Bibles for granted.
Bible school material is very scarce overseas. There are few Bible school supply outlets in Europe, and probably
next to none in the Orient, South America and Africa. You could gather pictures to send to missionaries and native
Bible teachers. Your pictures should include outdoor scenes, food and animals primarily. The Caucasian race, which
is the subject of most of our printed material in America, looks different from the majority of races in the world, and our
buildings often look different too. Your pictures should make it easy for the children to identify with.
You could collect pictures from greeting cards, calendars, magazines (National Geographic is excellent),
newspapers, store displays and Bible school materials no longer being used. If you do subscribe to a magazine
dedicated primarily to African Americans, Orientals, or Spanish, you could send pictures from these magazines as long
as they do not depict too much of the American culture in them. Colored paper could also be sent. Send them
"educational materials" rate if your country has that, and your postage will be cheaper than a letter.
In the chapter on letter writing there is a long section on taking care of Bible correspondence courses by
English-speaking people throughout the world. If the missionary in the country you are interested in does not have
funds for advertising in the major newspapers and magazines, you and your friends might want to help with some
funds for this. Many countries have thousands of people who respond to such ads. These people are right now out
there waiting for someone to reach out to them with God's word. You can!
Are there more congregations than preachers in some countries? Does your missionary friend try desperately to
get around to as many of those as possible and then go to bed exhausted every Sunday night feeling guilty that he
couldn't have gone to five more congregations that day? You could help with the preaching. You could purchase a
battery-powered cassette and some blank tapes to send the missionary so he can tape lessons and sermons and
have them passed around the congregations, just like the apostles' letters were passed around among the churches
of the first century.
Do you have any records or tapes of hymn singing? You might write to those who made the records and tapes
and ask if you could get a special discount to send them to missionaries and passed onto various congregations. Or
you may know a group of singers who would like to send some tapes of their singing. These should not be used in lieu
of their own singing, but could help teach them tunes of new hymns. They often receive words to hymns in their own
language song books, but need someone there to teach them the tunes. You could help teach these people yourself.
Worship is very important, and Christians all over the world want to worship; yes, they look forward to worshipping.
Don't forget the missionaries themselves. Send them tapes or letters occasionally. They are probably lonely and
need someone to talk to, or to listen to, someone full of encouragement. Do explain to the missionary that their family
does not have to reply to every one of your letters. For they are busy most of the time, and often very rushed - dawn
to midnight. And how about sending them snapshots of yourself, or others of their friends or family?
Remember their birthdays! We all love birthdays. It is a celebration that we're here in this world, and everyone is
happy because of it. Show them you are happy the world was blessed by them. Send them cards. Send them gifts.
But be careful what you send them, so customs taxes do not cost more than the gift. Clothes and books are probably
the most appropriate and appreciated. Or perhaps you could send a package of some food that is a special favorite
and which they cannot buy where they now live. Plan far ahead of time for this and send your gifts two or three
months early if they go by ship so they will arrive in time.
You could be a secretary to the missionary. If they don't use a computer, encourage them to dictate their
correspondence and monthly reports onto a tape to send to you. You could type them up and make some accept-able
arrangements for signatures. This would save hours that they could be using out working among the people.
Letter writing is a necessity to a missionary, for something congregations and individuals think that if the
missionary does not write them regularly, they do not appreciate their support. Here they are out working their way
into exhaustion trying to do the things they are supported to do, and do not really have much time to write. But they
take the time - often around midnight or at daybreak, or perhaps during meals or riding in their vehicle. They do
appreciate everyone's help and love to hear from everyone, and you could help them reply to these who are
interested in their work.
Last, if you work for an international company, you may be sent abroad for a few days at a time or a year at a
time. Even if there only a few days, if you are there over the weekend, try to locate a congregation and attend on
Sunday. There may or may not be a missionary there. You will come away from worshipping with them with a new and
wonderful understanding of the universality of God's love. You may not understand their service, but during the
singing, you will recognize many of the tunes. Just join in and sing in English as heartily as you would at home and as
they are doing in their own language. God knew what he was doing when he insisted on singing in worship. It is the
international language. It knows no barriers. The love flowing from your heart and that you receive from those around
you will be just as dynamic as you ever experienced in the past and probably more.
If your company sends you abroad for a year, choose a congregation that needs your help the most and work with
them. The members will have you into their homes and you will learn more about them there than in any international
meetings at work or international courses at a university. They will reveal their heart and soul to you. They will laugh
with you and celebrate life with you. You will also learn what their needs are. Jump in and help their congregation all
you can, and when you return to America, tell the rest of us all about it.
Yes, you can do missionary work. There is so much you can do right from your home, or as a part of your
employment. You can do all of this, and you can pray. Pray daily for the missionaries. And do not forget to pray for
the people with whom they are working, that their faith may be solid. Your prayers are worth more than you ever
dreamed. It will probably not be until we are in heaven that our Lord reveals to us how much our prayers did do for his
cause on earth. Indeed, you CAN go into all the world and preach the gospel.