A Troubled Journey Opens A Highway to Hearts
SGA[UK] has supported the work of Bibel-Mission in Central Asia for many years. One recent project adopted is the ‘1-10 Initiative’. Its beginnings were quite unusual. A Bibel-Mission leader was stranded in a difficult, isolated region when his car broke down. A passing shepherd kindly shared his water with him while he waited for help. His troubled journey gave rise to troubled thoughts. He had no Gospel literature to give to the shepherd and the mechanic who had helped him. He had missed vital opportunities to share the Word of Truth and give them something which would bring spiritual help.
“What ifs” filled his mind. What if relevant literature for men women and children could be made available? What if believers could be ‘armed’ with literature to give to those with whom they came in contact? What if they could be encouraged to pray for friends and make them a gift of Gospel literature? The leader shared his thoughts with other Bibel-Mission team members and the ‘1-10 Initiative’ began to take shape.
A strategy was agreed. One believer should pray for 10 contacts for a year and at Christmas, present them with a gift pack including calendars with Bible texts, testimonies, children’s stories, and CDs explaining the Gospel. The project was presented to the churches and began to grip hearts. With encouragement from Bibel-Mission leaders, believers responded and stepped out in faith. Over the next year they prayed for unbelieving friends and just before Christmas prepared the materials for their gift packs.
“More than 50,000 believers have been involved in sharing their faith”
God’s hand of blessing was very evident. The Bible calendars had arrived safely despite the container being illegally opened by Belarus customs and with willing hands, people made up the gift packs. Rich blessing was experienced in that first year and has led to an annual ‘1:10 Outreach’. Believers have responded with enthusiasm. One said:
“The distribution of literature is forbidden by law, but people come to me to have their home appliances repaired. I pray and give them a gospel calendar or other materials, and it opens many conversations.”
A husband and wife reported: ‘There is a village where people ask every year, ‘Where are the calendars? When are we going to get them?’ Another believer tells of the positive response from his strict Muslim Tajik neighbours. One lady said, ‘Thank you very much. Every year you give very special and precious gifts.’