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2bobcraft2We have our fingers on the pulse of modern missions. Mission work is changing rapidly as the world's cultures and global conditions are changing. Ease of travel and communication impact how the Gospel is spread. But at the heart of missions, there is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the obedience of the Church to carry out Jesus' command to go into all the earth.

We want to present challenging biblical truths, insights into today's missions environment, and progress reports on reaching the entire world with the Gospel. Please keep checking our blog regularly for updates, stories and challenging thoughts from Scripture! 

Stand Up for Believers Treated Unjustly Around the World

“Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
save them as they stagger to their death.
Don’t excuse yourself by saying, ‘Look, we didn’t know.’
For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”
Proverbs 24:11-12 NLT 

In some parts of the world, Christians are often treated unjustly, face wrongful imprisonment or other forms of persecution. For example, in July 2016 Russia passed anti-terrorism laws that are unjustly being applied to Christian activities. These laws restrict Christians from evangelizing outside of government-sanctioned churches.

Missionaries are required to have permits which are difficult or impossible to obtain, and religious activity can only occur within registered church buildings, making house churches illegal, among other restrictions. Individuals who violate the law can be fined up to $780, while organizations can be fined as much as $15,500!

I urge you to mark your calendar and join together with us in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world during the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted on November 5.

Though many of us in America do not face such strong persecution, God doesn’t want us to turn a blind eye. He wants us to do what is in our power to rescue and save those who are unjustly persecuted. Our options may be limited, but we need to speak up when we can to defend the innocent, whether that means speaking with our politicians or fellow citizens.

Even more importantly, we can appeal to the One who knows, sees and is able to help. We can all pray, asking God Almighty to intervene.

David prayed for God’s help in Psalm 119:154 (NLT) saying, “Argue my case; take my side! Protect my life as you promised.” We can pray that same prayer on their behalf.

Those who are treated unjustly because of their faith are looking to God and us to step in and help.

P.S. Russia’s lawmakers are working on yet another restrictive law expected to be passed this November. This law may include confiscation of property and loss of parental rights. In Russia, evangelical churches are viewed no differently than cults. As a result, believers could lose their children! Please pray for evangelical Christians in Russia!

Press Release About CrossTies Asia and Reach A Village

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reach A Village and CrossTies Asia unite for greater Kingdom impact

PARK FOREST, Ill. – A common vision and burden for an estimated 1 million villages worldwide that have no churches and virtually no access to God’s Word has brought international mission organizations Reach A Village and CrossTies Asia together in a new partnership. Leaders from both organizations announced that CrossTies Asia will now operate as a ministry of Reach A Village.

“This partnership joins together time-tested biblical missiology and the latest technology. It could really be a game-changer in our work to fulfill the Great Commission,” Reach A Village President Robert Craft states. CrossTies Asia Executive Director Dwight Martin adds, “By working together, we greatly enhance each other's ministry and can make a significant impact for God’s Kingdom.”

Through years of ministry experience and research, Craft and Martin have each come to the conclusion that indigenous Christians are the most effective in reaching their own people for Christ. Both organizations are committed to equipping and empowering local Christians to spread the Gospel to unreached villages within their countries.

Reach A Village provides training, Scriptures and Bible study materials and mobilizes national Christians to evangelize, disciple and start churches in nearby unreached villages. CrossTies Asia specializes in supplying Christian literature and resources in local languages, as well as research, data and technology that enables church and mission leaders to collaborate and formulate strategic ministry plans.

In Thailand, Martin serves as research coordinator for the Thai Church’s national plan for strategic evangelism and church growth. He and his team developed a database and mapping system called Harvest that tracks and maps the Body of Christ in Thailand (https://thaichurches.org). In looking at 10 years’ worth of data, Martin realized that the Thai Church was not growing fast enough to meet the goals of the national plan, and he wanted to find a method to accelerate the growth.

“Bob and I have known each other for a number of years as acquaintances,” Martin shared. “He took me to Myanmar and Cambodia, which are also Buddhist-background countries, and I was blown away by the church-planting work they were doing there. I thought, ‘We need to partner together!’”

Now, Harvest system data is available for Cambodia (https://cambodiachurches.org) and will soon be available for Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. With this technology, it will be easier to pinpoint unreached villages, and the hope is that church and mission leaders across denominational lines will be inspired to develop strategic national plans for church growth in these countries.

“While CrossTies Asia is now under the 501(c)(3) umbrella of Reach A Village, it will still continue to function as it has, serving the Church at-large,” Craft noted. “One of the intended consequences of this new relationship is to share the data and encourage a spirit of cooperation and strategic collaboration between mission groups and denominations within a country, making our combined efforts more fruitful in fulfilling the Great Commission in the face of such huge need.”

The Unreached Are Not Unreachable

Luke 15:4-7 (NLT)
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

John 10:16 (NIV)
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

I love the fact that Jesus used such simple, real-life illustrations to show His love and His purpose. These two stories both speak of those who need to be reached.

The first is about one lost sheep, separated and alone while the rest of the flock is well-fed and safe. Picture a little lamb, hanging off the edge of a rocky crag, bleating and most likely bleeding from its perilous wandering. Then Jesus comes to the rescue, carries the sheep upon His shoulders to safety. This parable speaks of salvation, assurance and love.

We most often apply this parable to ourselves. We are helpless sheep, and we know it. Jesus said that, “when he has found it,” he will joyfully carry the lost sheep back. “When he has found it” expresses the confidence of Jesus that He will reach and find the lost sheep. There is no “if” in this story. The lost can be found. The unreached can be reached. The unreached are in no way unreachable.

Near the end of His life on earth, just before He entered Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus told another story to his disciples about sheep. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” This time it is not just a single lost sheep.

There are entire flocks of sheep outside the reach of the shepherd. They are not just lost, they are in danger from thieves and robbers who intend to kill and destroy them. Who will reach and rescue those very real “sheep” for the Great Shepherd? That duty, as the disciples soon learned, would fall on them. Jesus said that if these sheep could but hear His voice, they would listen and become part of His one flock. Again, Jesus speaks with assurance that these sheep will listen.

There are an estimated 1 million villages and communities that have yet to hear and respond to the voice of Jesus the Shepherd. No one has reached them with the Good News of rescue and redemption. The little lambs continue to fall prey to the sex traffickers and abuse. Sometimes their own parents or relatives will sell them into slavery. Drugs and alcohol will rob these sheep of their hope and continue to cause death and destruction of families. It is all because these sheep remain unreached and un-rescued.

When will we reach them? They are reachable, especially today with our resources and technology. The question is when. How much longer must they continue to wait to hear His voice and follow?

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