PUBLISHED ON 30 MARCH, 2017 BY JULIE BOURDON
International (MNN) — In the iconic 1950s film “The Sound of Music”, Maria von Trapp’s character realizes her plans for her life were not going to work. To console herself, she says, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” This sentiment perfectly captures the changing environment of the mission field. Gospel-sharing opportunities aren’t ending; they just shift from place-to-place.
Helen Williams of World Missionary Press is constantly in contact with distributors of their Scripture booklets all around the world. She says some doors are closing for ministry, and others are opening. What either situation has in common is this: The demand for Scripture booklets is great.
She says, “There are places, particularly in Pakistan and India, where there is a tightening of things and time is short. And most of our major distributors are well aware of this and they are pressing the urgency.” In these areas, Christians must take great care in what they say and how they conduct themselves around their neighbors. In Pakistan, the anti-blasphemy law has become an easy way to punish religious minorities. Even so, there are workers on the ground who refuse to give up.
“They’ve been threatened and they’ve been told, ‘You can’t do this.’ They’ve been attacked — and yet, they’re saying, “Just pray for us, that we’ll be bold, that we’ll be wise. We’re going to continue to do the work, we’re going to continue to share the Gospel.’” In parts of India, there is a growing intolerance towards anyone who would become a Christian.
“We are seeing more and more anti-conversion laws being proposed in India. We are doing everything we possibly can in India right now because we are hearing there that it’s getting more and more difficult,” Williams says.
One of their contacts in India has ordered 20 million booklets which will be used in just the next few months as they pass them out to a number of villages. While some organizations are focusing on leadership training in light of the closing doors, World Missionary Press is working to resource these leaders while they still can.
And while time may be limited in these areas, people from other parts of the world have a chance to hear the Gospel for the first time. Williams explains, “There are also other places where things are opening up. The refugee situation in Europe — we are getting so many requests from Sweden, and Norway, and Finland where people have migrated all the way up there.”
One contact from Helsinki told Williams that it was as if all the nations had come to Finland. Many of the refugees are coming from countries closed to mission work and evangelism. In addition to Europe, shipments of the Arabic New Testament are heading to the Middle East to be shared with families displaced by war and violence.
Whether the door of opportunity is opening or closing, Williams says it’s like there is a recommitment from their distributors to reach as many people as they can with the hope of the Gospel.
“The Word of God is not bound in any way, and we just want to be on the front lines providing material for those who are willing to go.”
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