Every so often, I read something that recaptures my heart for the vastness of our global mission to “make disciples of all nations.” This article by Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, stirred my soul for the nations all over again. Maybe it will do the same for you…
I write this as my wife Charlotte and I return from Southeast Asia. We have spent a week with precious brothers and sisters in Christ who are faithfully serving King Jesus in very difficult and, for many, dangerous locations. These men and women, along with their families, are heroes of the faith for me. My assignment for the week was to minister the Word to them. I did my best to be a faithful expositor and theologian, and to encourage them in their divine assignment. However, Charlotte and I were the ones who were encouraged. We heard story after story of how the gospel is going forth tearing down the strongholds of the evil one and setting free those who had been captive to sin and the false idols of darkness. With a humility that’s genuineness shown like a brilliant light, one after another after another shared what great things the Lord had done and was doing. Even in the midst of personal tragedies and sorrows, they praised our King for His grace, His mercy, and His faithfulness. More than once Charlotte and I prayed and cried with our family.
However, one experience was not a good one. I cannot recall a time that my heart was pierced as it was on this night. Charlotte and I had asked several couples to let us take them out for dinner. As we were headed to our restaurant, our driver turned down a street where I was totally unprepared for what I saw. Suddenly on both sides of the road, for at least a half of a mile, hundreds and hundreds of prostitutes lined the sidewalks. Some could not have been more than eleven or twelve years old. They were actually dressed in seductive uniforms that were similar to what you would see in a private Junior High or Middle School. The faces of these little girls and women I will never forget. Sadness, emptiness and hopelessness was etched across their countenance. Smiles, if there was one, seemed forced lacking any sense of genuineness. Later I was informed that most of these girls and women had been deceived and basically kidnapped. Sex slave traders prey on ignorant and unsuspecting parents, especially in rural areas, promising a better life for their children in the “big cities.” As I looked into these tragic faces, it hit me. Somewhere they have a mom and a dad. Do they have any idea what has happened to their precious daughters? I was overcome with a sense of sorrow and despair I have seldom experienced. God you must do something. We, as your ambassadors, must do something!
Later my friend Don informed me that once he and two others marched down prostitution row giving out more than 15,000 pieces of Christian materials. Tracts, Bibles, and the Jesus film were distributed to these ladies of the night. He shared with me that the women would chase after them, not to pull them into a “massage parlor,” but to receive the materials telling them about Jesus. He told me the smiles of the women stood in stark contrast to the angry glares of the men who were there to take advantage of these unique and special creations of our great God. He told me as they walked back up the street after giving out all their materials they were startled to see the Jesus film being played as videos in massage parlors. Needless to say Satan took a serious hit, at least on this particular night, on one of the many prostitution rows!
I have since discovered that the IMB has a specific ministry to reach out to and rescue these ladies from the sex slave industry. I learned we have many openings but few laborers. Granted the work is dangerous and filled with risk. But where did we ever get the idea that serving King Jesus is suppose to be safe?!
The lostness and darkness of a world without Christ came home in a new and unexpected way the night I was taken down prostitution row. The need for Southern Baptists to get radically serious about the gospel and the Great Commission never seemed more urgent. The nations are crying out for hope, and we have it. The nations are crying out for deliverance, and we have it. The nations are crying out for life, and we have it. The nations are crying out for salvation, and we have it.
Do you need a little motivation to pray and work for a Great Commission Resurgence? Take a short ride down prostitution row. I think you will find it will be all that you need.