by Luis Bush
As I came away from breakfast this morning with a dear missionary brother, I said to myself: "This makes all the effort worthwhile."
The effort to launch Joshua Project 2000 in December 1995, the intense discussion, criticism, research, survey document review of 30,000 pieces of data from 80 countries, compiling and publishing the results for all the world to see has all been worthwhile.
Why was I saying that?
First, because of what it did for this missionary brother and his wife. He told me he had been about to retire and walk away from the field. After 16 years as a missionary in Egypt he had ministered under what he called an old orientation --an old paradigm. It was a ministry orientation to a generic people without specific target audience in the vision. Then came the Joshua Project 2000 challenge to the specific peoples of the Middle East.
There was a titanic shift in the way of doing missions from his own organization. The leaders had met in a quiet retreat and felt that "the Master" was walking this way and they were going that way. They took a bold decision -- to go this way, to follow in the footsteps of the Master -- regardless of the cost. From a philosophical and strategic viewpoint the mission was taken to ground Zero and totally revamped to focus on the unfinished task of the unreached peoples of the earth.
This brought a new lease of mission life to this man who was given the strategic role of coordination for the region of the Middle East and North Africa. He was more challenged, excited, and encouraged by the results than he had ever been in his many years of field ministry.
Second, it was worth the effort for what the Joshua Project 2000 has done for the mobilization of new missionaries and the focus on new assignments.
It had been a delight to meet just a few days earlier with a group of some 18 missionaries focused on the Joshua Project 2000 peoples of a given country. I had heard each tell his/her story of recruitment to a people or group of peoples in that country. There was excitement in the room as they shared their experiences in learning about the people and finding handles to reach them for Christ. Then the veteran walked in the door. 20 years this veteran had ministered with this country in view. He expressed his joy to see the new crop of strategy coordinators that together would cover each of the Joshua Project 2000 peoples of this country. "For so many years I was the only one focused on this country. Now there are 18." Praise God!
Third, it was worth the effort by what Joshua Project 2000 has done to increase the effectiveness in reaching the unreached in a country that has come by targeting each of the Joshua Project 2000 people groups in a country. This brother commented in a general way as follows: "The Joshua list has provided an impetus for my mission organization. We have moved from two missionary units in another country in the Middle East to 13 over the last two years. It has given us an effective handle. It has allowed us to address the lostness of our region and challenge missionaries and candidates through maps of lostness. It's been phenomenal. I can't imagine where we would be without it."
I asked him, "Why have you found the Joshua Project 2000 list more effective?" His answer was:
Hope / pray you now see / feel why I said "This makes it all worth while!" Praise the Lord!
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