This is a big year for World Outreach. We’re celebrating our 90th anniversary as a Mission Agency. To celebrate this anniversary, we’re going to be looking back at our heritage through our 2022 Nations Issues.
We enthusiastically invite you to join us as we take you on a journey from our humble, faith-filled beginnings to be poised at one of the most pivotal moments in modern day missions
Three Lessons from our Heritage
Jesus told his disciples that it is his harvest, not ours–he calls, equips and sends the labourers into his harvest field. Ultimately, it is his work!
World Outreach turned 90 this year! Our founder, Dr Len Jones, had just returned to his wife’s birth country of New Zealand, where he registered the ‘Slavic and Oriental Mission’ (now World Outreach) on 31st March, 1932. An article written at the time of Len’s death in 1974 stated that World Outreach started with ‘nobody but God and nothing but the guidance of God’.
‘Heritage’ will be the theme of all three editions of the Nations magazines this year. In this particular publication, we’ll be continuing our journey through the decades by focussing on the development of World Outreach during the 60s, 70s and 80s. This was a significant time of expansion.
We’ll be looking back at the establishment of some of World Outreach’s key fields, namely: Egypt, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand. The histories have been written by the people who were there. From very humble beginnings, each field has developed in astonishing ways.
I believe you’ll be inspired as you read the stories of pioneer missionaries blazing a trail to new countries and people groups, sharing the gospel and serving wholeheartedly. Even though some never saw (in their lifetime) the full fruits of their labour, they nonetheless sowed and served because that was what the Lord had called them to do.
There are three applications I draw from their example.
Do what you can, where you can, while you can, with what you can!
Could our founder and the pioneer missionaries ever truly comprehend the global shape, scale and scope of WO today? Naturally, they could not. They simply ran their leg of the race with faithfulness, prayerfulness and dependence upon the Lord. Today, we’re building on their foundations, standing on their shoulders and reaping what they have sown.
One of the biggest lessons we learn from the pioneers who’ve gone before us is to faithfully do what we can with the grace and gifts the Lord gives us wherever he sends us while we have the opportunity.
Others may reap what we have sown (but a harvest will come)
Like farmers, many of the pioneer missionaries had a long view and recognised there are seasons, such as seasons of testing (Autumn), seasons of blessing (Summer), seasons of fruitfulness (Spring) and seasons of drought (Winter). Even though farmers (and missionaries) are patient with the seasons, the rhythms of life, and the unexpected, they never fail to keep focussed on the harvest. A key principle we learn from them is that we don’t sow without there being a harvest at some point, even if it’s not in our lifetime (Gen. 8:22; cf. James 5:7). At the right time (in due season), the harvest will come.
Therefore, may we ceaselessly and persistently keep sowing seeds of prayer, seeds of finances, seeds of encouragement and seeds of gospel ministry. Paul’s words about sowing to please the Spirit describe the principle that: ‘…at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ (Gal. 6:9).
Ultimately, it is God who makes all things grow
Writing about his own missionary work, the Apostle Paul encapsulates this thought in 1 Corinthians 3:6 where he wrote: ‘I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.’
Jesus told his disciples that it is his harvest, not ours (Matt. 9:38). He calls, equips and sends the labourers into his harvest field. Ultimately, it is his work, through his labourers, who, by his grace, labour in his field. He is the One who makes them fruitful and causes his work to grow. The lesson is for each of us to faith- fully do our part in the harvest, but depend upon the Lord to cause the growth.
Thank you for partnering with us in evangelising and discipling unreached people groups.