Thank you for coming to MCNW 2018: There Is Hope!

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From the Blog

Is Jesus Some Person Living in Your Village?

A message from our friends at SEND International.

….“I have personally met people who, the only image that they have of Jesus is what they’ve seen on TV in American movies. I have met people in the Philippines or in China who don’t know Jesus’ name at all. They’ll ask me, ‘Is Jesus some person living in your village?’”

Folks like these, whom International Director Warren Janzen meets as he travels to SEND’s fields around the world, live in unreached people groups. SEND International workers are part of a global movement of Jesus followers making disciples among the unreached. Today, we’ll explore what “unreached” means — and what it doesn’t.

Unreached means outside help is needed.

As SEND considers where to focus our efforts, we primarily rely on the Joshua Project definition: “An unreached or least-reached people group is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance.”

“The unreached are people who have little or no access to the gospel,” Janzen explains. “They don’t know where a local church is. They don’t trust a local Christian because there are no local Christians that they know of in their setting.”

Mathematically, SEND considers a people group unreached if it’s less then 2 percent evangelical Christian. Add all the people in all the unreached groups up, and you have 3.11 billion people — 42 percent of today’s world population — with little or no access to the gospel. The need is great. The opportunities are enormous.

A people group is based on barriers.

“For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the gospel can spread as a church-planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance,” according to the Lausanne Committee. Language tends to be the main barrier, but caste, religious tradition, location, and common histories and legends can also act as primary boundaries.

A people group is not a country.

SEND just opened a new field. It’s in North America, where Christianity is the largest religion. It may seem nonsensical — but Joshua Project reports that 85 unreached people groups have populations that live in the United States, and 50 live in Canada. Our new field — Diaspora | North America — intentionally seeks to reach people from these unreached groups with the gospel.

This is the case for SEND’s work throughout the world. Though we refer to our teams by geographic region, our missionaries often minister both to the majority population and to minority groups. SEND Europe, for instance, has contacts with members of 29 unreached groups — only a handful of which are majority populations.

There are nearly 200 countries in the world; there are about 16,600 people groups. More than 6,700 of these groups remain unsaved. God’s Kingdom still has plenty of room for growth.


A people group is not a religion.

Joshua Project reports that:

One in five people on earth live in the 50 largest unreached people groups.

22 of these groups are Muslim, 18 Hindu, 5 Buddhist, 3 Ethnic Religions, 1 non-Religious, 1 Sikh.

Fifteen percent of the Islamic people groups today are considered reached. Praise God! But Islam is a religion, not a people group. There are thousands of Muslim people groups that still have little to no chance to hear the Good News.

The unreached are not the unsaved

You might live in a North American neighborhood where not a single one of your neighbors are Christian. They might not yet be saved — they might never be saved — but they aren’t without a gospel witness or access to the Word in their own language. They have a chance to know a Christian. They have a chance to know you.

Unlike your neighbor, many of the world’s unreached will never meet a Christian. Worldwide, there are 300,000 Muslims for every one Christian worker; only 13.3 percent of Muslims personally know a Christian.

By all means, reach out to your unsaved neighbor! But, as you consider how you will use your resources and direct your prayers, don’t forget the unreached.

Find more information about the unreached and understand how you can be a part of reaching them by visiting


When Journey Becomes Call

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

I did not plan on it. I was reading the Book of Genesis for an assignment in college, and as I was closing in on the final chapters, suddenly I had a country on my mind that had not been in my thinking 48 chapters earlier.  When these thoughts did not go away, I sought counsel from a veteran missionary who happened to teach missions at my college, and nine months later found myself being sent out by the college to this country as a summer missionary…

God has so many unique ways to get our attention as He graciously leads us to fulfill His purpose in our lives, and He often uses others in the process.

The Journey Deepens (TJD) is a two-day event Mission ConneXion hosts annually which allows those to whom God has been speaking, to join others who, like me, sense their journey with Christ may be turning into something more serious. Veteran missionaries who have followed a similar path are able to listen and provide one-on-one input.  Here are just two stories of people who experienced the Lord lead them after attending this weekend:

“When I was seven years old I felt the strong call of God to be a medical missionary in Asia. Many thought this was a strange thing and even told me I would change my mind. However, I became a nurse and prepared in every way I could for missions work. During my first year of work I started praying through missions organizations and Asian countries, seeking God… I felt I needed something like the Journey Deepens to help me refocus and to obtain advice and wisdom from experienced missionaries about what to do next… The prayer, advice and wisdom I received at this event helped me to cut through the fog of noise and distraction…  In the next two years, I repeatedly went back to the tools and counsel I received at TJD … Now, I am a missionary in Papua New Guinea working as a nurse supporting Bible translation…”


“During TJD retreat I was able to learn practical next steps and came to realize that God would take me one step at a time. I didn’t have to know everything at that exact moment. Once home, I followed each of the steps I made for myself and as God brought me through each step, His plan began to unfold before my eyes. A few weeks after the retreat, my church had our annual mission conference and I connected with a couple who works with the organization I was looking into. They encouraged me to attend a 9 month ministry internship they have in Portland with this people group. Then I got in contact with the organization and saw God’s clear path. Finally I moved to Portland, began the internship, and now, two years after starting this journey, I am headed overseas to work with this people-group…”


If you have been reading this and saying to yourself “this is me!”, or if it sounds like someone else you know, I would invite you to check out The Journey Deepens coming this weekend. Sometimes opportunities come quickly, and you have to make a decision…that could change the rest of your life.

If you think this might be the freeway entrance on your journey you’ve been waiting for, then please register hereand prepare to go deeper toward your calling…





I Was a Spiritual Midget

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Al Fadi is a former Wahabbi Muslim from Saudi Arabia who writes for several ministries including “Answering Islam” and runs an outreach ministry designed for non-Muslim and Christians. He is also a keynote speaker for Crescent ConneXion next weekend.

Al’s religion informed him from an early age that he had no hope to be accepted by God without doing things for God. His highest hope to have his sins forgiven would be to go on jihad, and at 16 he was inspired by a charismatic, dedicated neighbor who lived only three blocks away –Osama Bin Laden.  However, his parents forbade him to go.

So, he decided to go on a mission to America to invite people to join Islam; and through an international student welcome program, Al befriended an American family to learn more about American culture and practice his language skills. He thought that just by virtue of their relationship, the family would convert to Islam.

It turned out to not be that simple because the family were Jesus-followers. He was baffled asking, “Where do they get this moral value from?” They began studying the Bible together, and he said, “I felt like a spiritual midget next to them – as if I [was] lacking something!” More and more he began to think that “Islam may not be the religion that I grew up thinking it was.”  His pilgrimage toward Jesus continued after he completed graduate school and went on to his first job in America. To hear the rest of Al’s story, you will want to register, and plan to join us for Crescent ConneXion – Loving Your Neighbor from the 10/40 Window!


Hope Taken Home

by Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Whether it was all 1300 parking spaces filling up 90 minutes after outside doors opened; the lines that stretched around the building to get in, or all 2500 seats in the auditorium once the inside doors opened… “There is Hope” 2018 brought together about the largest crowd ever assembled at Rolling Hills Community Church (RHCC), in addition to the more than 1700 live-streaming online. To God be all the glory!

We were reminded that while biblical hope is both invisible and future, it is also “certain”, i.e. something you can count on. Many who attended and took the follow up survey made these startling comments as to what they took home with them that was certain…

  • After today, my wife and I launched a non-profit school. Where we both could travel to Africa and teach people skills trade in nursing and bookkeeping.
  • Loved the conference, and so did the group of students we brought from Bend, OR!
  • Loved being challenged in my faith and seeing my two boys 12 and 15 being challenged and inspired! They were able to meet so many wonderful real life heroes of the faith.  Their favorite of the weekend was JAARS.
  • I almost drove back to Eugene before the last speaker due to driving home late. But I decided to stay, and I am SO glad I did! I went home excited about my work as ministry!
  • I can’t thank you enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t wait for Mission ConneXion each year. It’s my favorite event!! It provides a space for life-changing encounters with God every year.
  • The presence of the Holy Spirit during the large group worship times was very noticeable.  He ministered to me in a profound and significant way.
  • I think that the mission centered emphasis can only bolster the area wide witness for Christ.  
  • Attending Mission ConneXion completely changed the way I live (pray, worship, give, eat, etc.).  My heart now breaks for the global church and those who have never experienced the freedom of the gospel. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit used this conference to open my eyes.

For those of you who supported us financially, thank you. With your help, we’ve raised more than $26,000 towards the $25,000 matching gift goal we announced at our event. If you have not had a chance to give, you may still do so by clicking here.

For those of you who prayed with us for God’s blessing, He heard your prayers. Lives were touched. Connections took place. People made commitments to serve. God showed up. Hope for many was made more certain. Thank you!

After waiting 11 years for the opportunity and privilege…we were so grateful for being able to partner with Rolling Hills Community Church again this year and for all the volunteers who made it possible for this event to take place! The RHCC staff team were a joy to work with!

Finally, if you’re interested in building on your Mission ConneXion Northwest experience, please check out the 2018 events that will take place in the coming months:

Short-Term Mission ConneXion, Feb.22-23

Crescent ConneXion, March 16-17

The Journey Deepens ConneXion, April 6-7

Prayer ConneXion, May 18-19

Student ConneXion, Nov 2-3

Francis Chan – On Hope

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Francis Chan is a preacher, writer and motivational speaker who we’re privileged to have as our plenary speaker for Mission ConneXion Northwest 2018. His surname, Chan, in Mandarin Chinese means, “to produce, to give birth to, or to yield.” He has “produced” five books on love, faith and spiritual awareness, and two of children’s fiction.  He and his wife, Lisa, have seven children. He started Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California in 1994, but resigned as pastor in 2010 to follow a new path chosen by God.

We recently posed seven questions based on our “There is Hope” theme for 2018…and allowed Francis (FC) to answer them in his characteristic authenticity, through what he has already written in his books…

Why is true Christian hope NOT dependent upon us or our good efforts?
FC: “But I know that if God’s mercy didn’t exist, there would be no hope. No matter how good we tried to be, we would be punished because of our sins.” (From his book: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)

In Titus 1:2, Paul says he is “an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect in the hope of eternal life” – how should that fact affect the living out of our faith?
FC: “True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity.” (From his book: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)  

How can believers today reflect the hope that Jesus spoke of in Luke 14:13: “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…”?FC: “When Christians sacrifice and give wildly to the poor, that is truly a light that glimmers. The Bible teaches that the church is to be that light, that sign of hope, in an increasingly dark and hopeless world.” (From his book: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)

There is a place for strategy and planning, but where may it be limiting in doing evangelism?
FC: “Let’s not place our hope in clever sales tactics. Let’s not give up on Jesus’ strategy of reaching people simply because it feels impossible at times.” (From his book: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples)

If my church is not pursuing God’s mission, how are we missing out?
FC: “If your church does not pursue God’s mission, then your community misses out on being exposed to the hope that God offers them in the Bible.” (From his book: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples)

What would you say to those who question the mission of Mission ConneXion: “To connect local churches and individuals to mission, so that increasing numbers of believers are actively serving in areas of the world’s greatest [spiritual] need and opportunity”?
FC: “There are people around the world who desperately need hope, healing and salvation but who don’t have access to the message of redemption.” (From his book: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples)

What advice would you give to the believer who wants to be used of the Lord, in missions, but who is overwhelmed by doubts, and feelings of insignificance?
FC: “You may think that you are weak. You may think there is no hope. You may think that you should always feel like obeying God, but you shouldn’t believe everything you think.” (From his book: You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity)


Hope – To Keep from Drifting!

By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director

Peter Greer, President and CEO of Hope International, is no stranger to Mission ConneXion Northwest! While he comes as our Plenary Speaker this January, he has often led workshops in the Business as Mission track over the years. Hope has determined that 2 billion people around the world do not have access to financial services and that only 2.7% of microfinance institution clients are served by Christian organizations. So this is the ‘niche’ that Hope International seeks to fill in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

Peter has also written one of the most important books of our generation on the topic of Mission Drift – how organizations get off base when it comes to keeping the gospel central – and he’ll be speaking at Leadership ConneXion on Friday, January 19th from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

We recently caught up with Peter to ask him a few questions about himself, his calling, and why he’s coming in January:

Peter, you were brought up in a Christian home, but what were the circumstances that ushered the hope of Jesus into your life? My father pastored a church in

Boston, and each Sunday, we were in the front row. My dad would open Scripture and share passionately – but even more significant was the way that my father lived out his faith, not just on Sundays, but on every day of the week. My parents were—and still are, to this day—one of the clearest, most authentic expressions of Jesus Christ that I have witnessed. My faith became my own in high school, and I was shaped by international missions experiences, as well as Camp Brookwoods, a Christian camp on Lake Winnipesauke. Our camp counselors were college students, and I admired watching these college students going all-in for Christ. To see these students, who were just a little older than me, sold-out for God in the ways they spoke and lived their lives—it left a lasting impression on me, encouraging me to not just commit my life to Jesus, but to make it central to all I do.

How has that hope transformed your life and led you to express it in cross-cultural settings both here in North America, and overseas? At the airport as I was about to depart for my first international job in Cambodia, I can remember my mom praying for me. It’s a prayer that I have never forgotten. She prayed that I would love all people with the love Christ has shown to us – and specifically, that I would love all people with equal urgency, whether that person was living in poverty, or an individual with abundant wealth. Since that time, I have met with many people living on less than $1 per day and I have met with many people of extraordinary wealth. My goal is simply to love God and love people, recognizing that we all have great need and we all have great wealth. And we are all invited to run towards the hurting, and ultimately love our neighbors with the same unconditional love that Christ has shown us.

What can we expect, and how would you like to see people respond to the unique emphasis you will bring to Mission ConneXion Northwest this January 2018 with regards to our “There is Hope” theme? In my role with HOPE International, I have been absolutely wrecked by the brokenness in the world. I’ve experienced challenges with governments and seen the reality of poverty—and quite frankly, it can feel overwhelming. In the face of enormous physical and spiritual need, we all can wrestle with, “What can I do?” But pain becomes the backdrop for the love of Christ to shine brightly. I hope that at Mission ConneXion Northwest, we will be able to see and celebrate glimpses of the Kingdom breaking through around the world. In my role, I am inspired by people like Anasita Zita, a blind Rwandan widow. From the surface—and certainly from a material standpoint—she had very little. Not only does she live in one of the poorest countries in the world, but she is also doubly-marginalized as a woman with a disability. Yet, she thrives. She has started multiple businesses, beautifully lives out her faith, actively serves her community, and loves other people incredibly well. She models courageous generosity and a heart of service. Stories like this give me hope, a hope that pierces through desperation and desolation. When tested, we will emerge either proven or broken, either buoyed by hope or sunk by despair. With the Spirit’s empowerment, I believe that we can love and serve well, unleashing hope to a world that desperately needs it.

I don’t know about you, but I need the Hope that only Jesus can give, and I do not want to drift off God’s calling for my life…so I can’t wait to hear what Peter has to say to us this January!

Register for Leadership ConneXion: Mission Drift.

Register for Mission ConneXion Northwest 2018: There Is Hope.

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