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There is a cremation centre in the city of Varanasi in India that dates back hundreds of years. Day and night smoke rises from the funeral pyres. For centuries the centre has been tended by the Doams, a group of untouchables. Dressed in black rags, they keep the fires going and manage the cremations. People bring corpses to them for burning. The Doams immerse a corpse in the Ganges, complete a ceremony, burn the body and throw the ashes (or the partial remains of those whose families could not afford enough firewood) into the river.
The Doams live day in and day out without the joy and comfort of knowing God. They have no idea that they are loved by Him, that they are always on His mind...and that He has a wonderful plan for their lives.
The Doams are precious to God. And for His sake, they and peoples like them, are special to us. They are the reason we do what we do. They are the reason we can work each day with an eternal purpose in mind. They are the reason our recording teams travel the globe from the Amazon to the Himalayas and to the ends of the earth to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ.
Given the number of peoples that are still outside the sphere of the Church's evangelism efforts, we believe that this is not a time for business as usual. Neither is it a time for tame goals or small vision. Rather it is time to launch out into the deep and set our sights on fulfilling a vision that is so big, so impossible, that we only dare contemplate it on our knees.
Introducing the 10K Challenge!
This is a vision to see a recording work begun in 4000 more languages.
Why the "10K" Challenge?
Adding another 4300 languages and dialects to our existing library of nearly 6000 vernacular recordings will bring the total of languages in which we have made recordings up to the 10,000 mark, hence the name 10K Challenge.
It really is not about numbers though. It is all about our Lord receiving His inheritancethe nations of the world. It's about Him receiving love and adoration from the people He has redeemed. It's for His sake that we are driven by an urgency to get to every language.
We see the 10K Challenge as the next phase of our mission's assignment to put the gospel into everyone's language. We know it will mean recording languages at a much faster rate than we have averaged over the years. It will require many more people to be recruited, trained and deployed as recordists. It will require many more support staff to handle research, equipment maintenance, administrative duties, etc. It will require many more ministry partners to join with us in prayer and financial support. All of us connected with GRN will need a whatever-it-takes attitude to do whatever it takes!
But we know the effort (in His strength) will be worth it. We long to see His Kingdom increase and Jesus Christ exalted among the nations. Unreached people groups like the Doams and oral societies have waited long enough to hear about Jesus Christ. It's their time! If not now, when?
Our work will not end at the 10,000-language milestone. Current research indicates that there are probably several thousand more languages still without the gospel. Our vision and calling impels us to look beyond to the final frontiersto those very tribes and language communities who will be the last to hear.
As the 10K Challenge progresses, our language tracking teams will be researching and looking beyond to those people at the very end of the line in terms of receiving any kind of witness. So, by 2020, we should have a much clearer idea of who is still waiting to hear the gospel. Every tribe has value and none should be overlooked or bypassed. We are not saying that we will accomplish this huge task on our own. But we do have a vision to see it done. We will seek kindred partners to be part of this endeavour knowing that we can accomplish much more with the active participation of others.
We know that we can count on His Spirit, whose main aim is to draw people to the Saviour, to empower us for this glorious task. And we don't want to limit God. Our dates and goals are only guidelines. He can make it all happen so much sooner!
Colin Stott is the Executive Director of GRN USA