So, you’ve probably noticed that the last blog post you got from me wasn’t from “Jhillinlouisville.” That’s because I’ve changed the name of my blog, along with its design and focus, to reflect what I want my ministry (and my blog ministry) to be focused on. So, I owe it to you–my subscribers–to let you in on the what, why, and how of Acts 1:8 Ministries.
The “What” (and “Where”) of Acts 1:8 Ministries:
“Acts 1:8 Ministries” is a description of the focus of my family’s ministry. It comes from the famous verse in the Bible often called the “Great Commission,” which is Christ’s last recorded spoken words after his resurrection before he ascended into heaven.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8 (ESV)
So, in short, the “what” of Acts 1:8 is that we are all called to be “witnesses” of what Christ has done for us and, as Matthew 28:19-20 states, we are to “make disciples” in our hometowns (“Jerusalem”), in our region (“Judea”), and to “the end of the earth.” I believe that that verse, as well as many others, teaches that every Christian has an obligation to share the gospel and make disciples in those three areas. Some will be called to spend more time witnessing locally, and some–like my family–will be called to primarily serve overseas. But all of us are required to spend some time in each of these areas. I cannot forsake sharing the gospel with my neighbor simply because I’ve been called to foreign missions, nor can someone who is called to serve locally forsake foreign missions. We are all called to serve in “Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 Ministries is one of the means by which I aim to be a witness and make disciples. So, some of my blog posts will be “witness” posts–telling of what God has done in or through me–and some of my posts will be “disciple making”–engaging my readers in critical thinking of practical issues based upon biblical teaching. Occasionally, I will also give status updates of our progress towards the mission field.
The “Why” of Acts 1:8 Ministries:
Why in the world would someone leave what is arguably the greatest nation in the world, move to some third world country where they know absolutely no one, can’t speak the language, and don’t know the culture simply for the hope of making disciples? Paul explained it well in his letter to the Romans:
For”everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:13-15 (ESV)
The simple truth is that there is no hope of an eternity in heaven without repentance from your sins and belief in Christ. (See my pages on The Gospel for a full explanation of the Bible’s teaching on salvation.) And, as Paul states, those who don’t know about what Christ has done can’t believe in him. They can’t learn what Christ has done for them unless someone tells them. And we can’t tell them without going to meet them where they are. So, as Christians, WE MUST GO. It’s tragic enough that there are people who have rejected the gospel after hearing it, but it’s simply unacceptable that millions would perish without ever having heard the gospel. It’s our responsibility as Christians to make sure they have the opportunity to accept the gospel. And that is what Acts 1:8 Ministries is all about. Why would people pack up and move to a third world country to share the gospel? Because…
the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
II Corinthians 5:14-15
As far as the specific “why” of Bible translation, consider the following statistics from Wycliffe. Of the approximately 6800 spoken languages in the world, just under 2,000 have no portion of the Bible translated into that language. That amounts to about 209,000,000 people who have no access to the Bible in the language that they understand. We’re not just talking about the number of people who haven’t heard the gospel, we’re talking about the number of people who have absolutely no hope of ever hearing the gospel because it’s not even in their language! We can’t hope to see successful church plants in these cultures if God’s Word is not even available to them. God’s Word is powerful and has the ability to transform entire people groups. (Check out this story for a great example.) The foundation Wycliffe’s “Vision 2025” is their goal to begin a translation project in all of those remaining languages by the year 2025. Due to technological and strategical advances, combined with people who are willing to count the cost and share the hope of Christ, they are on track toward meeting that goal. I, for one, would like to be a part of that.
The “How” of Acts 1:8 Ministries:
Well, obviously my blog plays a part in how I carry out the Great Commission. But since I’ve already talked about that, I’ll concentrate on our progress towards going on mission with Wycliffe. (I’ve learned through experience and Biblical teaching not to assume that I know what the future holds, so I will offer this disclaimer: “If the Lord wills,” these are our plans for the future.)
Before we can proceed any further with our plans with Wycliffe, we need to confirm that Bible translation is, indeed, where God wants us. In January, Jennifer and I will be going down to Dallas for TOTAL it Up (TOTAL= Taste Of Translation And Linguistics). TIU is a one week crash course on translation, held at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL), designed to help aspiring translators discern God’s calling to the field. Jennifer and I would certainly appreciate your prayers for that week, both for our spiritual discernment and for God’s financial provision for the cost of tuition and travel.
In the meantime, Jenn and I are focusing on paying of our debts and getting me through seminary. Seminary is not required for service with Wycliffe, but will certainly be helpful in missions. Getting rid of debt, however, is a requirement. So, we could certainly use your prayers in that area. We have just completed Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, and that has helped us a lot. Pray that God would provide in abundance so that we can use that money to pay off debt and get on the field sooner.
Once we have paid off enough of our debt, we can begin the application process with Wycliffe. That process will take a couple months, and once accepted we will counsel with Wycliffe to determine which language and people group we will have for our initial field assignment. After six weeks of online orientation and a two week training session in Orlando, FL, we will then begin the process of raising funds. We hope that you will prayerfully consider supporting our ministry if/when that time comes. “How are they to preach unless they are sent?” Just as important as the missionaries who take the gospel are those who send them.
Upon completion of raising the funds we need for our assignment, we will move to Dallas to attend GIAL for one year, where we will be taught the basics of language acquisition and translation. Then, it’s off to who-knows-where. We will work for two years on our initial field assignment. During that time, we will work on learning the language and building relationships in the community we live in. Then, we will come back to GIAL for another year of more specialized training before heading back overseas for our final field assignment, which will culminate with the release of a new translation of the Bible in a language that didn’t have one before.
You may or may not be called to a career in foreign missions, but we hope that you will partner with us and support us in prayer as we pursue our calling to take the gospel “where Christ has not been named” and to those “who have never heard.” (See Romans 15:20-21) Thanks for your dedication and support! We will keep you posted!