二○二○年九月十九日／二十日 Click here for English version
Our Missionary Inheritance? Sailing Against the Wind
Rev Kinia Ng
Traditionally for the NPAC Family, September is our Mission Month. The entire month would be spent specially on caring for mission work and missionaries. But in the face of recent developments in society, would such a missionary inheritance of ours seem somewhat excessive (or otherwise)? Is it still relevant today?
When Rev. A. B. Simpson founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), he set down a dual target of Deeper Life and Mission. Under the goal, it would not be excessive at all to spend half of one’s life to care for world evangelism. After all, it is the Great Commission of the Lord to make disciples of all nations. The pandemic in 2020 and local economic situation has created pressure on church finances. In times like these, do we need to ease up a little on missions spending and involvement? Might this be a question on your mind? To address the question, let us revisit the year 1918 – a time which is strikingly similar to ours.
The year 1918 was when the Spanish Flu broke out, infecting 500 million people and killing 17 million to 50 million. At that time, the US Government ordered a suspension of church activities. Some mission conferences were postponed. That year also saw the end of World War I. Although the US did not join the war until a latter stage, its economy and human resources were very much strained. Faced with the mess, did the C&MA slow down missions work? I checked the historical records. To my great surprise, 1918 was a year in which the C&MA continued its great effort in world evangelism. And the outcome was far better than that before the war.
The number of C&MA missionaries and locally recruited coworkers at the mission fields grew from 259 in 1914 to 300 in 1918. The number of local people actively seeking the Lord and getting baptized also increased. The four years leading to 1918 saw baptisms at mission fields totaling 5,630. The result was far better than what it used to be. Congo had the largest number of baptisms, followed by China, Chile and India. A total of 226 missionary outposts were set up during those four years. The new outposts were in China, Indo-China, India, Congo, South America and Sudan, etc. Money offering and missionary spending also increased, with the 1918 offering representing a 50 per cent increase over the previous two years and a 112% increase over the previous four years. It was obvious that the offering C&MA received was not affected by the Spanish Flu and the war. Its spending on mission fields also continued to grow.
That was the early history of C&MA. It tells us that despite difficult circumstances, the C&MA kept up its effort in world evangelism. It is said that “With crisis comes opportunity” (the opportunities to share the gospel). That is also true for missions work. Our missionary inheritance is one for standing tough and sailing against the wind. It is part of our lives. It is also a lesson for us in mission work and our offering.