Celebrating 80 years of God’s faithfulness
The year 2012, is World Outreach International’s (WOI) official 80th birthday! Wow! God has been so incredibly faithful to WOI. It all began when a seed of faith was sown in the heart of the founder, the late Dr Len Jones, back during the Great Depression years of the early 1930’s. God challenged
Dr Jones to help make a difference in war torn Eastern Europe.
‘DESPISE NOT THE DAYS OF SMALL BEGINNINGS’ would aptly describe the early days of WOI. As a new political force rose, spreading its communistic tentacles in Eastern Europe, God raised up a man, and a mission, to help address a great need among tens of thousands of displaced people. While the major focus was a humanitarian one, Dr Jones and his willing co-workers would take every opportunity offered them to tell ‘refugees’ about Jesus. At the same time, they endeavoured to stir up Christians everywhere to get involved, whether in practical ways like distributing food, clothing, and blankets, or in prayer and in giving. Dr Jones travelled continuously, sharing the challenges and needs with Christians in church services and house meetings, over cups of tea, wherever opportunities allowed, as well as by writing and posting news reports around the world.
Has WOI changed in the past 80 years? While scores of cross-cultural workers have since come and gone, today WOI has regular ministry programmes and projects in more than 60 nations with over 350 people involved full-time with our ministry. Now in the 21st century, the world has dramatically changed since WOI was birthed 80 years ago, but some things have not changed. WOI remains:
- A faith-based ministry totally dependent on God
- Committed to making disciples, and growing and developing leaders
We diligently abide by our agreed upon core-values, which are easily identifiable by our ‘distinctives,’ strive to be responsible in our management, and are cost effective in our stewardship of resources.
What’s new then? The 21st century sees WOI involved on five continents of the world. Cross-cultural workers are no longer (just) coming from the developed nations, but also from developing nations. More than ever before, WOI is regularly participating in post-earthquake, flood, and famine relief, as natural disasters increase worldwide.
A steady stream of a younger generation of cross-cultural workers is embarking on different pathways for service, and a number of modern and effective training programmes have been developed in recent years to better prepare people for cross-cultural service.
One thing that fervently remains the same after 80 years is the focus to take the Gospel to ‘Least Reached People’ (LRP) groups, ethnic communities who have never heard of Jesus. Many hundreds of such people groups are still waiting! This remains our great passion.
It is our hope that many of our faithful ministry partners from around the world will join us at one of the two 80th anniversary celebrations. As we remain committed together for the cause of world mission, I strongly believe the next few years will truly see a much greater harvest for the Kingdom of God.
Together in His Service
John is the Present Emeritus of World Outreach. He lives with his wife, Mary, in New Zealand.