We have had the privilege of traveling to many incredible continents, countries and cities over our 15 years of ministry. Many are surprised that we have ministered in so many different places, many of them very dangerous places, and one of the more common questions that we get asked is, “How do you decide where to go? Why do you choose to go to the places that you do?” This is a great question, and I want to answer it today. There are a number of factors that go into our decision of where to minister, but one of the primary reasons is because of the prayers of the people to whom we are ministering. We truly believe that when we go to minister, we become an answered prayer to the people in that place. Let me explain.
The apostle Paul and his mission team traveled to many places preaching the Gospel. Virtually everywhere he went, he was the first one to tell those people about Jesus. The entire world needed to hear the Gospel. So how did Paul decide where to go? Sometimes it was in response to a letter from a church or an individual. Sometimes it was just along the way. But more often than not, Paul went where he did by listening to and obeying the voice of God, but also in response to the prayers of others. Acts 16:9-10 records an amazing story. Luke writes, “During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.”
Here is a story about a man in unreached Macedonia who is crying out to the one true God to reveal Himself. He saw the sky and the stars and the animals and realized that whatever gods there were around him, they weren’t the real God. So instead, he cried out for the true God to reveal himself, and notice what happened. God did not send an angel to preach the Gospel to him. Jesus did not appear in a vision or a dream to preach the Gospel to him. Instead, God gave a dream to Paul to direct him to Macedonia to preach the Gospel to that unreached area. God had heard the cry of the Macedonian man and was sending Paul in response to this man’s prayer.
There are many who want to justify their inactivity in sharing the Gospel and fulfilling God’s Great Commission with the belief that if they don’t preach the Gospel, then angels will do it for them, or perhaps even Jesus will show up to that unreached person in a vision or a dream. But time and again throughout Scripture, God has proven that that is not how evangelism works. To save the Ethiopian, the Lord sent Philip, not an angel, to explain the Gospel to him (Acts 8). To save Cornelius, God sent an angel to him, not to preach the Gospel, but to tell him to send for Peter so that he could preach the Gospel to Cornelius and his family (Acts 10). Even when the Lord appeared to Saul in a vision, God still sent Ananias to Saul to lead him into salvation (Acts 22:16).
God could have set up the system in any way that He wanted. He could have decided that for people to hear the Gospel, He would just appear to them in a dream or a vision. He could have just sent angels to preach the Gospel. But God didn’t do that. Instead God chose to use people—you and me. What an incredible privilege we have to be God’s choice to bring the Gospel to the world!
So, how do we decide where to go? We believe that we are led by the Spirit to go in response to the prayers of men and women who have been crying out for the Gospel. We do not minister anywhere by accident. We go as an answered prayer to someone who has been crying out to God. And when God heard that cry, He did not send an angel or a vision or a dream; He sent us. Today, there are so many people who are crying out to God, desperate to hear the truth, and God is ready to send people to them, if they will only obey. We have devoted our lives to obeying God and responding to the prayers of many like the Macedonian man. With your continued prayer and financial support, we are joining together to bring the Gospel to the most unreached areas of the world, because we believe that Jesus gave the Great Commission to us—not through dreams or visions or to angels—but to us!
For the Lost,