News and Views

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! 

Compassion for the Dogs

Compassion has truly gone to the dogs. Recently, every national news network broadcast covered the Chicago "Doggy Daycare" drama where 7 dogs were taken in a carjacking.  For 24 hours the focus of news casts and social media was these snatched, lost dogs. There was a great outpouring of compassion about the dogs who might freeze to death in record cold temperatures. Thankfully, the dogs were found, safe and sound, in the abandoned minivan and are back with their anxious owners. Animal lovers everywhere could identify with the tearful reunion of owners and animals.

Jesus told the papable of a lost animal in Luke 15. He knew that this would get the attention of those listening. His audience could easily identify with their inclination to save an endangered animal. But it becomes clear very quickly that Jesus was talking about much more than an animal rescue.

The introduction to His set of parables begins with the words, "Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear Him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." The crowd listening to Jesus that day had a problem with their compassion, or should I say, lack of it.

In fact they had more compassion on a lost sheep than they did on the people around them who desperately needed Christ's love and transforming power.  They even put Jesus down for having anything to do with "tax collectors and sinners." Jesus had come to lay down His life for everyone, including the most unlovable or most inaccessible people on earth. 

It is time for us to take a compassion check up. How much do we care for those people around us, especially people who are not in "our circle" of friends or outside our "comfort zone"? At Reach A Village we are on the greatest rescue mission in history.  We are seeking to reach those people in remote villages and communities in 20 countries who have never yet heard about Jesus.

Jesus' story talks about leaving the 99 sheep to rescue the 1 lost sheep.  In many of the countries where we serve, there is only 1 sheep that is safe in Jesus' fold. There is only 1 sheep that is not lost and we are out attempting to rescue the 99 who are lost. That answers the question, "What would Jesus do?" Luke 19:10 (NLT)
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."

Bob Craft

*A special thanks to Katie and her dog, "Duncan" who loves to be near her when she reads the Bible.



Declare the Good News

"The heavens declare the glory of God." These words echoed in my mind as we drove up and up the mountain.

In November, my first international trip with Reach A Village took me to new heights, literally. As we climbed several thousand feet in the air, this woman from the Great Plains thought to herself, "We're only a few feet from going over the cliff." I was also told about the real threat of mudslides slipping down the mountain, washing away roads, cars, houses, and even people.

People in this area can even pose a safety risk, as it's considered the 'Wild West' of the Philippines with outlaws, revenge, and people living by their own rules.

As we traveled while visiting public schools, I was struck by the danger the volunteer teachers face and the complete remoteness of these children. Looking at individual houses dotting the side of massive mountains, I thought, "How will these families be reached with the Gospel?"

But God already provided the answer. In 2007, He appeared in a vision to the founder of the program, Ruth, and she pondered that same question in her quiet time. Ruth had no resources, but miracle after miracle, He supplied every need to reach the most isolated people in this country of 100 million.

Now, this thriving program operates in hundreds of public schools reaching 60,000 children for Christ. Kids are learning Bible stories and how to build character with lessons like patience, obedience, and humility. These children are changing, and even their families are being reached. Dozens of churches are starting, just by reaching kids first. Now, many schools are requesting to start the program because of the great impact!

This is a remarkable program. Even though the isolated people in the mountain are easy to forget, God loves them and wants them to come into the Kingdom. I thank God for those declaring the Good News so that Filipino children can learn about their Savior.

Shepherds Hear the Good News

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good new that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:8-11

Of all the people waiting for the coming of Christ, why did the Lord God first send the angelic messengers to simple shepherds? I have a theory that is based on my experience and the nature of God revealed throughout Scripture.

As a former missionary and founder of Reach A Village, I have felt the call of God to focus on ministry to forgotten people, often in remote areas, who most desperately need the Savior. The Christmas story is full of examples of God's reaching out to those in society who have neither wealth nor fame.

Joseph and Mary, were ordinary people from an obscure village who could hardly afford the journey to Bethlehem. They had to rely on the kindness of a stranger to allow them a place to sleep and for their child to be born. The birth was not amidst the smells of a disinfected hospital or the burning incense of a temple or palace. The birth of Jesus was surrounded by the smell of hay and manure. Not unlike the familiar smells of the areas we serve.

The glorious announcement of Christ's birth came by angel messenger to ordinary people who roamed the Judean countryside to find food for their animals. They are hardworking and rugged people who toil in a thankless occupation. In God's will and plan, they were not forgotten.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support to reach the forgotten people of the world. Though we don't know their names or faces, the Lord does. There is much rejoicing in heaven that the least of these are hearing and responding to the Gospel.

Thank you for helping thousands of people celebrate their first Christmas this year.

Bob Craft

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