The numbers of the people who do not have access to the Gospel often do not move us. Their numbers are too overwhelming. We do not know how to have sympathy for a billion people. However, as my friend Chris Gardner says, “When you realize those numbers have names, everything changes.”
One of those numbers became a name for me last August in India. Standing in the back of a church auditorium with a full heart and tears in his eyes, Arvind told me his story. At the age of eighteen he left Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) to attend college in Canada. He found a place to stay there among some friends of his family, an Indian family who had found Christ as they found a new life in Canada. After several months of Arvind not attending the Hindu temple, he asked his host family if he could attend church with them. He thought he would pray to his gods as they prayed to their God. After attending for a few months, Arvind was recruited by some other college students to help with a Vacation Bible School. With a desire to help people and be around his friends, he agreed. On the very first day, he walked into a room where a group of children were watching a talking cucumber on a projection screen. This vegetable, better known as Larry the Cucumber, was talking to the kids about the one true God. Arvind stormed out of the room and went straight to the office of the elderly lady who was in charge of Vacation Bible School. He demanded answers. He told her how he was from India and knew more about gods than anyone there. He said, “There has never been a god that died for us, nor a god who said he loved us!” That sweet old lady took the Word of God and, over the next few weeks, showed Arvind about the God who left Heaven to come to earth to die for his sins. So, standing in the back of that church auditorium in sweltering India, I hear Arvind say, “Why did I live eighteen years of my life never hearing of the message of Christ, while the kids in your country even have it in the form of a cartoon?” Those words nailed me to the floor. In that moment, I got a small glimpse of the horrific fact that so many people live without access to the Gospel! It was a needed enquiry into my heart and life.
As you hear about the need around the world represented in numbers do you remember those numbers are real people? They have real stories! How can they believe unless they hear and how can they hear unless goers are sent! Get involved in sending!