“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached
in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations,
and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14)
We would like to share a burden for us all to bear before the Lord that we could labor in prayer, giving, and going to accomplish Matthew 24:14 in practicality in our lifetimes! This may well need a comprehensive operational plan similar to the one the co-workers put together three decades ago to evangelize Taiwan. The goal would be to produce lampstands as a testimony in every nation on the earth.
Our history indicates that the forerunner to open the doors to unreached countries is the ministry literature. We have done some preliminary analysis to identify all the countries that lack lampstands and the major languages needed to introduce the ministry into those countries.
There are 12 countries in Asia without lampstands—Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Azerbaijan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, North Korea, and East Timor—where the seven Rhema-distributed books have already been translated into languages that can be used for distribution, except for Afghanistan, where it would be helpful to have translation into Dari and Pashto. For these countries, the primary matter is to get the ministry flowing in and distributed. Certain areas in key Asian countries, such as northern India with over 800 million people, need additional translation efforts into major local languages to reach even more people in their native tongue.
In Africa, there are 28 countries that still need to be reached: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Tunisia. There are now strong efforts to open doors for the widespread sowing of the ministry in western, eastern, and southern Africa. We believe this next decade will see a marked expansion of the distribution, which with adequate follow-up, could result in lampstands being established in every nation on this continent!
In Europe, the only countries remaining to be reached are some parts of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo); some island nations such as Cyprus, Malta, and Iceland; and small principalities such as Luxembourg and Monaco. The ministry fortunately is already available in either the primary or secondary language of all these countries. So again the only need for the ministry to reach them is to have the funding and manpower to do distribution in these countries.
The distribution of the ministry in all these areas will then flow into the second major part of the effort, that is, to contact and shepherd groups of seeking readers so they can become the nucleus of local churches. This is in the sphere of the work and will likely require the allocation of full-timers who can be assigned, along with adequate financial resources, to contact the seeking readers, visit them, conduct virtual seminars, and shepherd them through the steps of raising up a model of the church life in their country and their language.
May the Lord provide all that is needed to first get the ministry books translated and flowing into all these unreached countries. May He then go on to provide the manpower and finances to shepherd the seekers into the church life so that He can fill the whole earth with golden lampstands as the practical expression of the universal Body of Christ, as the bride. Then the Lord Jesus can return to establish His kingdom on this earth!
The free distribution of the ministry continues to advance in Colombia. Even with the restrictions generated by the pandemic, we were able to accommodate all requests received for printed books, and the download of ebooks increased significantly. The number of books delivered and the expressions of gratitude by the seekers are encouraging. Some are in remote regions and going through difficult situations. Conversations to clarify an address or to resolve an issue of returned books are often ended by calling on the name of the Lord. One reader told us that he was depressed and even lost contact with his family, but he was brought out of his great sadness by the free literature we sent him. He found the content very helpful in continuing to seek the Lord even when he does not have a Bible. He was full of gratitude for the help he received. Our response was JESUS CHRIST IS THE LORD!
In December of 2020, in addition to online books, distribution of printed books in Estonian became available, with 125 orders so far. By advertising on Facebook, we have 184 unique followers and 252 downloads. Many readers write emails with thanksgiving and ask for more books. The ministry reaches people all over Estonia, even in distant places, via printed books and even more via the Internet.
As a way of making known this ministry in the midst of the pandemic, we have initiated a series under the title “Rhema Talks.” In these short episodes we have been sharing contents of the articles that are on the website, and we are considering including episodes containing portions of the books, and testimonies from volunteers, readers, and college students who have also been receiving the books. For this we are using Facebook Watch as our digital platform, plus our YouTube channel. The benefit of these recordings is not merely local but also to all our contacts on these social media platforms. Our primary burden is that many can click into the website and either order or download the free books. May the Lord use this way so He would touch and gain many.
We have enabled the mailing of physical books, and we are happy to make deliveries personally when the destination is Montevideo. That allows us to see the great need that people have. The experience of listening to them and interacting with them is something wonderful. Very often we also speak by phone with people from faraway provinces. It encourages us to see that no matter where people are, the Lord has a way to reach them and operate in them through literature. We want to share with you that those of us who are part of this distribution service are a group of very happy saints. It’s wonderful to be part of this channel of supply for God’s chosen ones in this part of the earth where the Lord has placed us. We trust that the Lord will enlighten the hearts of many so that they may see what the purpose of their lives is.
In the past months, we have had a lot of orders from Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. People are happy with Sets 1 and 2, and they are ordering a lot of Set 3 books. Two brothers are helping with Facebook orders, and people are ordering daily through Facebook and the Rhema website. We started an online webinar and now have a few seeking ones to shepherd. The response was very positive so we will continue to have more webinars.
A second shipment with 40,000 books in Portuguese is on the way. We pray that they may soon be in the hands of many who are hungry for the truth in Brazil. We are continually working on the Portuguese translation of more gospel articles so that they can be made available on the Rhema website and spread through social media.
We have resumed mailing of physical books to Spain and Portugal. Every day we receive requests from all over the country from interested people. Every month readers are invited to webinars coordinated by the work on the Iberian Peninsula in which the nine cases found in the Gospel of John are being covered. Little by little, readers have responded positively by attending these online events. We are praying that the ones who are more open will fill out a form requesting an online appointment with saints who will follow up with them.
There are currently 10 regional radio stations broadcasting the Life-study of the Bible program daily. During each program, the free books are offered to the entire audience. Each radio station has an inventory of books in such a way that they have become pick-up centers where people can collect their books. We thank the Lord for such a wonderful provision and coordination in the Body!
We are inviting free-book readers to attend online workshops where additional ministry resources are presented to them, such as the Recovery Version of the Bible and the Life-study radio programs. As they are learning to use these resources, they are realizing that there is an open mine, full of the unsearchable riches of Christ available to them. We pray that many will be captivated by the vision of God’s economy and be led to the banqueting house.
Small quantities of books have begun to enter the country! We pray that the One who holds the key of David will keep a door open so that thousands of books can enter in this year and the truth about God’s economy can be made available to this population of nearly seven million who sorely need it.
Through the Slovak Rhema Facebook page we have had 15 personal contacts. Seven of them have expressed their desire to distribute the gospel through our free literature. We have a special meeting where we pray specifically for the gospel of the kingdom to be preached, and for our contacting people. Recently, we started to pray that the Lord would stir up a hunger after the truth in our society and that the Lord would find more readers burdened to distribute the gospel of the kingdom through the ministry books. We can already see an answer to this prayer from the Lord.
There are 1,000 New Testaments along with ministry books ready to be transported directly to the saints in Lomé, Togo. We pray that the saints in Lomé will enjoy Christ abundantly through the books of the ministry for the advance of the Lord’s economy in Lomé and all around French-speaking Africa. Amen!
Virtual seminars were held in February and March. The number of saints participating was about 55 and readers 35. There were study groups from many different regions of Poland. The time was so sweet and enjoyable for all. A Polish reader from Germany was very happy that he met the saints in the study group. Four weeks after he was contacted by saints in his area, he was baptized.
In the first four months of 2021 the Amsterdam office distributed almost 500 sets of ministry books. We are very encouraged by these numbers, which were greatly aided by our Facebook page and the distribution of flyers advertising the Rhema website. Pray for both the labor in the Netherlands and Flanders and that the Lord may open doors to come into further contact with those who are open to this. Praise the Lord for the seed of the kingdom that is being sown in many hearts.
Most of the orders for Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 2 are from people who have received the New Testament from Bibles for Europe. Some of them write to us saying: “I am very impressed by the New Testament Recovery Version translation.” “I got a beautiful booklet with the New Testament. I would like to read more books.”
Our books help believers all over the world, even in places...which we never imagined that we could reach. We have received letters from these places asking for permission to translate and publish our books. Believers in Burma, for example, have read our publications even though we do not know how the books reached them. The publications have spread over a great area, even more than we could ever have imagined. (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1984, vol. 5, pp. 250-251)
The publication work is a great item in the Lord’s recovery today. It is the arsenal of the Lord’s recovery; it is exclusively for the production of “weapons” and “ammunition.” The defense department of any country relies heavily upon its arsenal. Eighty percent of the credit for the spread of the churches abroad, especially in the West, must be given to the publication work. During the past twenty years of labor in the West, the Lord’s recovery has increased to over three hundred churches and has spread to every inhabited continent. Local churches have been raised up everywhere through the publication work. The churches in the Far East also rely upon the supply from the publications for their going on. (Ibid., p. 325)
Rhema Ministry [firstname.lastname@example.org] / P. O. Box 31651 / Seattle, WA 98103 USA