As I write this letter, it is Easter week. HALLELUJAH! He is risen! He is risen indeed.
I can say those phrases each day, as I rejoice in the grace that I live in because of the finished work of the cross. God so loved me that He gave His only son, in whom I believe. Because of Him, I will not perish, but will have everlasting life! That is not just Good News; it is the best news that Bev Upton could ever receive!
However, for one out of four people across the world, Easter has no meaning. They do not know Jesus. They have no knowledge of the saving grace that is available to them and the joy of journeying in Him.
They experience a poverty that far exceeds any material poverty that they may endure – Gospel poverty – with no opportunity to hear and respond to the message of Christ.
After the resurrection, Jesus traveled with his disciples for 40 days. He continued to remind them of all that they had learned during their time with Him about the Kingdom. At the end of these days, He gave them one final instruction. As far as we know, it was the last thing he said to them: “Go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.”
These are the orders under which we serve! How can it be that over 2,000 years later, 2.1 billion live in Gospel poverty? Look at the graph below. The lines represent forms of poverty that have been reduced: inadequate health care leading to death for many children (child mortality), illiteracy, and extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 per day).
These areas of poverty have been reduced through highly effective, highly resourced, and highly focused sustainable initiatives.
The fourth line represents the unevangelized of the world – those living in Gospel poverty. It, too, was trending down until the year 2000, when it leveled off. And, the projections out to 2050 show that trend continuing.
It will take significant focus by all believers to reduce and end Gospel poverty. I pray that Haggai International will play a huge role in this work in the 188 countries in which our 108,500 leaders live and work.
Because of you, 59 leaders from 31 countries are completing the Haggai Leader Experience at the Mid-Pacific Center. I had the blessing of being with them last week and hearing about how God was moving in their hearts and forming their plans for demonstrating and presenting the Gospel. They understand Gospel poverty; they live among so many who haven’t heard about Jesus. Please pray for them as they go back to their nations to “seek and save the lost” – doing their part to end Gospel poverty.
Dr. Bev Williams